Thursday, March 26, 2009
I've been showcasing our trip to the Madison County Historical Society, Cottage Lawn, at my travel blog. You can read Part 1 and Part 2. And the previous post here with loads of photos is here.
I took so many photos of many interesting things! Back in the early to mid-1800s, America experienced an explosion in prosperity and invention. The house was filled with numerous, amazing little gadgets.
This is a "gasoliere." It was once a natural gas-fueled chandelier, but was semi-converted when electricity came to Oneida, NY, in 1888 or so. Click the photo to choose a larger view; the detail is magnificent.
What is so unique about this fixture is that, back then, electricity was limited in availability. Town residents had 2 hours of electricity per day. The rest of the day (or night) was lit using gas. Which means... that this fixture was designed to run with natural gas half of the time, and electricity at other times. Which means... that the electrical wiring is installed in the same tube that filled with natural gas for firing up the lamps. YOW!!!!! That would NEVER pass any kind of electrical inspection today, for good reason.
This is quite the curiosity.
It's a cheese curd spoon. The mouse is a quirky touch. I wonder exactly how they used the spoon? Did they fish curds out of the liquid?
Mice were no doubt a very common site to the everyday home-dweller. Oneida, NY, was built on a swamp, so I assume the residents had more than their share of the critters. I'll bet they spent a lot of their time trying to rid themselves of such pests, and utilizing mold killers to keep the swampy, moist air from ruining everything. I would think that a figure of a mouse would be the last thing they'd want on their spoons, though!
And this is a "nanny bench." It's half-crib, half-bench. The nanny would lay the baby in the cribbed section, and sit on the bench. She could be close to the baby, rock the baby, and have her hands free for mending.
I hope you liked seeing the photos of all these quirky things from the 1800s as much as I enjoyed showing you! I'll have one more post up at New York Traveler.net, so be sure to look for it!