Quill pens were the writing implement of choice before the invention of the metal-nibbed pen in the mid 19th Century. The wing feathers of large birds made excellent quill pens. The hollow interior of the feather helped hold ink in reserve, allowing the writer to dip into the ink less often. This quill is made from a turkey feather. People gathered the feathers during the turkey’s annual molt where turkeys shed the feathers naturally. People trimmed the feathers to a fine point- that rarely needed to be resharpened.
Charlotte Chicken represents the Leghorn breed, which is prized for its prolific egg laying. Carved by Gerry Holtzman and painted by Jill Irving, she represents the poultry farms of New York on the Empire State Carousel.
A Practical Treatise on Breeding, Rearing, and Fattening All Kinds of Domestic Poultry, by Bonington Moubray, esq. (John Lawrence). 8th Edition. London: Printed for Sherwood, Gilbert, and Piper, 1842.
Throughout the nineteenth century, many different guides were published for farmers about new methods of raising animals and crops. This one, printed in 1842, focuses on chickens and other types of poultry.
In the early nineteenth century, turnpikes, also known as toll roads, crossed New York State. These roads were much different than modern paved highways. They were little more than dirt roads. These roads gave farmers a route to bring their goods to market. Farmers, and other travelers, had to pay a toll to travel on the roads. The term “neat cattle” refers to cows, bulls, and oxen.
Sheep were often raised for their wool. In order to get the wool from the sheep, the farmer uses shears like these to carefully cut the wool fleece away from the sheep’s skin. The wool can then be washed, carded, and spun into yarn.
This ceramic prize cup was awarded to someone for his or her accomplishments in raising chickens, ducks, turkeys, or other birds. This cup was probably used as a prize at a county fair or agricultural exhibition.