Archives

Church Bell

The church bell called the community together for worship and marked events taking place at the church, including weddings and funerals. Everyone in the community, whether they attended church or not, heard the bell at least once per week. When someone died, the bell rang once for each year of the person’s life. Life-cycle and family events in rural New York, concerned not only an immediate family, but the entire community.

Hoe Washington Press

This Washington-style press was the type used in many printing offices that farmers visited. Printers could print any number of items on this press, including almanac pages and newspapers, important to farmers.

Slate

Instead of writing in notebooks, students used a slate and slate pencil to do their school lessons in the mid-nineteenth century. After copying a lesson, they would study and memorize it in preparation for reciting the lesson to the teacher. The slates and slate pencils were usually purchased at the local general store.

Horseshoe

Horseshoes were very common in a blacksmith’s shop. The blacksmith would not only make the shoes by hammering and shaping hot iron, but he would also assist farmers by putting the shoes on their horses.

Mortar and Pestle

Doctors and independent pharmacists had to mix their own medicines during the nineteenth century. Solid ingredients could be ground into powders and mixed with other ingredients using a mortar and pestle. Powders could be mixed with liquids to make liquid medicines, or rolled into pills and lozenges.

Inkwell

Although school children most often used slates to complete their lessons, older students sometimes used quill pens and ink. The quill pen was dipped into the inkwell, then dabbed on a blotter to remove excess ink. Quills were used to practice penmanship and spelling, which was known as orthography. The teacher also used a quill pen and ink to write merit slips and other official school papers.