An anvil is an important tool for any black smith. It is the object on which hot metal is struck. The heavy anvil causes the energy from the strike of the hammer to focus on the metal object being created.
In 1862, Lucy Medora Walker, a woman from Springfield (Otsego County), New York, kept a diary. In addition to recording her daily events, “Dora” kept a memorandum in the back of her diary that tracked how much of her money she spent. She earned her money by picking hops.
Basket making is a craft that is still practiced today. Baskets are both pretty and useful. These baskets were probably used in daily life for holding food and other goods. They have been decorated with multiple potato-stamped images.
Made by Iroquois women, beaded bags were created from scraps of cloth, silk ribbon, thread, and glass beads. Traditional Iroquois patterns were replaced by European designs, such as flowers, in the 1840’s to appeal to customers.
A trip to the general store was not an everyday event and because of this, goods were sold in bulk by weight. A farmer might purchase a few months worth of a particular item. Products at the general store were not individually packaged like they are today. The storekeeper would use scales to weigh out a particular amount, then wrap the item or place it in a jug the customer brought along.
Taverns were meeting places for the men of the village. They would discuss local politics, as well as find out about news from afar through travelers and the newspaper. The tavern was often filled with conversation and sometimes, heated arguments.
Plates were regularly used in all households in the nineteenth century for serving food. This particular plate is made of porcelain from China and was a popular style during Jonas More’s lifetime. It would have been available to middle-class and wealthy people.
During the mid to late nineteenth century, hops were a major cash crop for New York State, especially central New York. Often farmers who sold hops sold them to hops dealers, who then sold them to brewing companies for beer or other customers. Hinds & Allen were hops dealers from Cooperstown, New York, who sold New York hops to customers all across the United States.
Families expected their children to receive a practical education in school during the mid-nineteenth century. School lessons focused on what students would need to know to successfully practice a trade or run a farm.
This arithmetic book teaches students basic math, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It also includes lessons on how to count money, make change, and barter, as well as how to keep account books and ledgers.
During school, pupils practiced reading from books called readers. Readers often contained short stories to read and recite. Spelling and vocabulary words, as well as questions to answer about the story, often followed a reading.
Many of the stories in readers reflected the lives that students led. One of the lessons in Cobb’s New Juvenile Reader No. III is about a farmer’s son and the son of a widow. The story also reflects the fact that families had to pay to send their children to school. If a family could not afford school, a child did not attend.