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.
In Alabama for the past week we have been enjoying temperatures peaking near the 70 mark. It has been exciting to sneak a peak through the mulch looking for my old friends returning to my garden. And as much as I enjoy my infamous wood burning heater it has been a relief to let the fire go out. Feeding a continuous fire is hard work although rewarding. . I k n o w !! This is still February and more times than not my crocus heads find themselves buckling in an unexpected snow. But still this spring break has been great fun.
Letting the fire go out was not a smart move in Early America. The ceramic head match was a luxury afforded only by the more fortunate and not prevalent until the second half of the 1800. The fire in the hearth was important 24/7 regardless of the ambient temps. The hearth of course important for preparing daily meals for the hard working families and don’t underestimate the welcomed light source the fire provided. These have been my thoughts as I study the recently acquired andirons that Charles added to Noordermeer’s inventory.
- note top basket and inside curl.
These are the best andirons I have had in my inventory in a good while. Look at the multi-functions. On the inside of the vertical surface of these andirons you can see a curl that would hold a skewer serving as a rotisserie for a good size piece of meat for dinner. Now notice the well formed basket top. This basket was often used to hold a warming dish for sauces and whatever. The basket was also convenient in holding a light source when a roaring fire was not in best interest , i.e. a spring day in Alabama. Nice iron always a cool addition to a collectors fireplace.
I love it but it is the type of thing you only want to move once!
The concept of the picturesque Maple Chopping Block is a relatively new one. Until the 1880’s the block of preference was a slice from a Sycamore Tree on three turned legs. The trusty Sycamore because it was the largest hardwood on the North American continent with a diameter up to 10 feet. Being a round tree trunk it held up well but could develop a split due to shrinkage and drying. In the 1880’s a couple of meat packers had the idea of using “End Grain Maple”. Maple was known to be extremely hard and end grain pieces bolted together could withstand pounding. After about 100 years modern America cultivated hysteria by stating that plastic chopping blocks were healthier. The plastic industry insinuated that wood chopping blocks would trap bacteria. This hysteria was promptly reversed by laboratory test that proved wood had an enzyme that killed bacteria. With in 3 minutes the bacteria was pulled down into the block leaving the surface pathogen free. A test was perform on plastic finding that bacteria multiplied to twice the original count. The original maple block in 1880 was called “THE SANITARY MEAT BLOCK”. They had no idea just how right they were. I would like to add that intelligence and common sense should tell you to clean a good chopping block with salt and vinegar and retreating with mineral oil to prevent build up of what ever (never a good thing). And don’t misunderstand me I am not telling you to run to the land fill with our plastic chopping block. I feel certain that with proper cleaning they too have their place in even my kitchen. But given a choice “I CHOOSE WOOD!!” can’t beat it.
Recently acquired this scarlet maple chopping block, end grain with original bolts. Nice piece. circa 1890
AT LEAST I THINK SO… I was told it came off of a baker’s bench. But I came to the conclusion long ago “Listen to everyone but think a little for yourself” Sure it might have lived part of it’s life on a baker’s bench. There is a possibility the object in question was used as a “Pot Prop” but what a great child prop. It should be and probably was “A Wall Mount Seat”. Your child would need some level of balancing skills but it works for adults too! Judging by the quality of the cast iron mounting it was made late 1800’s. The seat measure 10 1/2″. When it is collapsed its vertical dimension is 17″ . I am afraid to say but if there is a question to its height that would depend on how high you hang it> For more information please contact Kit Jenkins the author via comments on blog or you can call (205)870-1161.
One of my favorite finds. This is a dugout from a Sycamore tree. It dates clearly mid 1800’s. It shows the gouges from the early adze, and evidence of old hand-made square nails. It measures 28″ diameter and 27″ tall. I understand that not many of you are in need of a barrel for leaching lye but this would make one cool coffee table base. If a coffee table is not in your plans how about a receiver for kindling or firewood at the lake house.. Please contact Kit for more info. thanx Kit Jenkins