Square Nails

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Square Nails, my favorite subject.  I love them because then I know I got an old one. Yes, nails have been around for over 1000 years. The earliest settlemensts of the new world show  evidents of construction with nails.  the shape of the nail in our furniture is a good indicator of age .  The earliest nails found in antique furniture were made by making a tapered shanks form raw stock. To  make the  rose head the blacksmith would make 4 strikes with the hammer. Early in the 19th century cut nails were made with a square head and a spatula tip. Not until later in the 1800’s  did we invent the wire nail that look similar to the modern round nail.

And yes you can put square nails in a new piece. Therefore, it is important to look for appropriate oxidation and proper staining of wood around the nail to assure of good real age.

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Face Lift

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Lately we have felt like our sign needed a little pick me up. Let’s face it, after being here for 20 years your sign evolves  from weathered to illegible. So, both kids climbed up and touched it up! It’s one of those small changes that isn’t the most obvious but sure does help the look of the place.

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New England Glass

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I’m very proud of the two 18th century onion bottles at Noordermeer Antiques.  When I see a picture of a good early New England home they always have a couple of these on the table.  The name only identifies the shape. They have extra wide bases for stability and concave bottoms for displacing the sediment of the less than perfectly filtered wine.  These bottles have wonderful personality enhanced by their imperfections and asymmetrical shape. When looking at old glass always look for a hand formed mouth and an applied slip of molten glass to form a lip.  They are often referred to as black bottles but in reality they are very dark green. They can be found in different shades of green and even in amber. These bottles were used for oils, spirits and actually im sure any liquid could have been found in these beautiful bottles.

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How do you know…


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No1. Standard bulb comes in frosted or clear. Exposed bulbs looks better with frost.  A clear bulb looks best with a shade because you are less likely to see the silhouette of the bulb.

No2. Fan Bulb is more durable because it can withstand the vibration of the fan and it is made to shine downwards.

No3. 3-way bulb is perfect if you need more light. Wattage varies between 50 – 150. However, it does require at least an 8” supporting harp.

No 4 and 5 Chandelier bulb with a blunt tip or bent tip, a more elegant bulb, which can be found in clear or frosted. Personally I do not prefer the bent because it interferes with a shade

No6. Torpedo Bulb is a great bulb for antique chandeliers that have a standard base.

No7. Flame Bulb with standard base is often used in victorian fixtures. I prefer to use them with a dimmer.

No8. Mogul Bulb is rarely found  in an American house hold. You may see them in antique tourtiere floor lamps or industrial mechanics lamps.

The nostalgic Edison Bulb – I am an absolute fan! They have a great industrial look but just prepare yourself to pay high dollar. You can find a similar look if you use a clear bulb on a quality dimmer.

New Years at Tybee Island

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This new year we decided to switch things up. We wanted to bring 2013 in with a “beach”. Both kids are officially college graduates and the perfect opportunity to celebrate. At some point we all questioned the logic of going to the beach in January. We persevered and it was a blast! We spent the weekend admiring this quaint historical island. We toured Fort Pulaski , the lighthouse and surrounding historical structures.

Tybee’s North Beach in short is my kind of beach. Our rental was a 1920’s Men’s Mess Hall for Fort Screven. They are dog friendly , fenced yard screened porch and my personality. Im not a condo kind of girl so my first call was to confirm our Mess Hall rental from Mermaid Cottages. I highly recommend them. . Check out the pics of our favorite spots!

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“Daniel Drake Pioneer Life in Kentucky

An Interesting Read….

Excerpt from “Daniel Drake Pioneer Life in Kentucky

...“There were a number of motives which accounted for the spectacular migration to the West (Kentucky).  Land was cheap and an inhabitant of the Atlantic states could sell his hundred acres  and acquire,in Kentucky,over a thousand .  The desire for adventure or for acquisition of riches in a newly developing territory played a part.  Some  wished to escape  persecution  for debt or crime.  Taxes were high in the Seaboard states. The climate was milder than in the more northerly Atlantic states, though this deterred at least on Pennsylvania German as reported by Schoepf ( Travels in the Confederation,1783-1784,…) “He had heard that in Kentucky there is no real winter; and where there is no winter, he argued, people must work year in ,  year out, and that was not his fancy; winter, with a warm stove and sluggish days, being indispensable to his happiness.”

I have often wondered why it took the New Englanders so long to migrate in a southwardly direction  to our milder winters.  I did come to the conclusion there is great security in knowing “ just what you got” therefore you would have a tendency to “stay put”.  Also I never underestimated the tremendous amount of effort it took to carve a settlement out of a wilderness.  But it never occurred to me the milder winters would be a deterrent.

At present I am reading “Daniel Drake  Pioneer Life in Kentucky.”  Daniel Drake was born in 1785 and at the age of 15 he began his studies to become a pioneer physician in Fort Washington Kentucky. (Cincinnati) The book consist of letters he wrote to his children to record his recollection of his frontier.  Great book. 


The Box Opener?? Really?

  I like tools.  With a tool I can make something better ( or attempt).  While on a recent pick trip I was rummaging thru a junk box.  Found a handy crow bar/pry bar.  I even commented to my friend on how sharp the edges were.  A tool used to demolish should show signs of extensive wear.   While in my picking mode I didn’t think anything about it and  threw it in my want pile. Not until I returned home did I discover my handy pry tool had words embossed on the handle “Mellor NO.1 Box Opener”.  Really, no blade? You guessed it . The tool was made for opening wooden grocery boxes.   Early 1900’s with the expanded use of corrugated paper boxes. The definition of box openers was changed. I am not saying the Mellor NO. 1 is a museum find but  a quaint reminder of a different time. 



 

More on Hearth cooking

 

The American Dutch Oven

The American colonies  made some much needed changes to  the traditional Dutch Oven.  Cooking in the brick and mortar fireplace took finesse…

Thomas Jefferson’s cookbook, as well as The Cookery by Miss Eliza Leslie, made me realized that cooking was not just putting a bird on a skewer. Of course, they enjoyed baking, stewing, frying and roasting.  Their meals included breads , cakes , pies and more.   The colonist needed the dutch oven to be more shallow, they needed the addition of short legs and what caught my attention  was the  flanged  lid. These changes made  hearth cooking/baking possible. The oven was so valued that wills in the 18th and 19th centuries frequently included the “iron kitchen furniture” or the cast iron dutch ovens.

To make  cakes and breads the legs of the pot were set over a ring of hot coals and then a specific quantity of hot coals were placed on top of the flanged lid to reach the magical 350..

Now you can tell your children why the Dutch Oven is a Dutch Oven.

On a recent buying trip I was excited to find the dutch oven pictured below.  True age is evident by the “Split Formed Handle” on the lid and  the “Applied Handle” on the pot.

True only a minute fraction of today’s population  cares enough about an old rusty pot enough to study it for any length of time. I actually was marveled by the term “Dutch Oven” well before I uncovered the example  in the picture. The dutch part did not interest me but even as a child I asked “Why is this an oven?” I can  cross this off of my list of curiosities.  I can now move on.

Thank You  for Listening,  Kit

Hope to see you soon. Please come to my shop!

Noordermeer Antiques

731 Broadway Homewood Alabama

tel.(205)870.1161

An educated guess….

My first real science teacher  Miss Cook  was pretty scary but very memorable .  It was the way she looked at you. The thing I remember most was  when she opened the

first  day of class with the word  “Hypotheses”  then she ask    “What does it mean” ?   Of course no one had the nerve to answer. She sternly answered her own question after a fraction of a second  of a pause. >>> “An educated guess”.   Funny how something so little can stick with a young  girl in rural Alabama.  But boy I liked that answer.  A guess did not have to be an answer  out of the clear blue but  a guess could be based on the knowledge available to you at the time. Honestly a hypotheses   could be wrong and still seem okay because….Still today I get a good deal relief out of that term.

A good reputable dealer of Antiques works with educated guess work and with a little effort our reservoir of knowledge grows  everyday. A good antique dealer will welcome a customer who on occasion disagrees with our assessment of a situation .  Sometimes we admit defeat with a smile and sometimes we dig in our heals.

A customer came in last week and was clearly studying a what appeared to be a Lectern or a podium.  After working in retail for 15 years it becomes second nature to  pay attention to a customer’s body language and he was interesting.    I ask him what was on his mind. He  responded by saying     “This is not a Lectern”.  He lead into his defense by pointing out that the piece was unfinished on the back,  therefore it was intended to go against  a closed wall and not facing the intended audience.   I of course agreed with a “Huh , you are exactly  right”.  I later discussed this with my friend and her response was  “Yes it is Bob Crachit desk”.(Charles Dickens‘ A CHRISTMAS CAROL).


Now at Noordermeer’s we now  have a “Bob Crachit Desk” when we used to have an ordinary lectern.  This desk would be perfect for working with a lap top while standing.  This could ring a bell for my customers who prefer standing while they work due to reoccurring back problems.