This whimsical yet simple double repair gives a new meaning to Yankee ingenuity. What do you do when both the handle and the clapper of a small brass bell from the early 1900s are no longer functional? First you grab a wooden handle from an old rubber stamp and reattach it to the crown of the bell. Then you find a brass Civil War Navy uniform button and fasten it to the inside of the bell, which is just what an enterprising person did to their broken bell in New England sometime in the early part of the 20th century. So thanks to them, I am now able to ring in the new year with my make-do bell. Happy 2013!
Archive for the ‘household’ Category
Hunting knife with a “Bowie” blade, named after Colonial James “Jim” Bowie in the early 1800’s. Measures 11-1/4″ long from end of handle to the tip of the blade.
Marked “ALFRED WILLIAMS, SHEFFIELD ENGLAND” on the middle of the steel blade.
Both the iron guard and turned oak wood handle are replacements and are held together with the aid of a nut and bolt.
The original handle would have been made of bone, as seen on this Bowie knife made by Alfred Williams.
Photo courtesy of Northwest Pony Express
This strange pressed glass square-shaped bottle with molded Greek key band design was found in Virginia and sports a rustic “make-do” base. It has a mismatched, ill-fitting glass stopper of a different color, replacing a more fanciful stopper, no doubt. I imagine it would have looked a bit out of place on a lady’s vanity or dresser among her other delicate bottles and toiletries
Bottle stands 4″ high and has a square over-scaled unfinished wood base, replacing the original glass base that broke off years ago
This canning jar has the same Greek key design and is marked on the bottom: “HC” over a triangle, “Safety Valve Patd May 21, 1895”
Photo courtesy of Ed & Lucy Faulkner
Heavy brass skimmer made by an English metalsmith in the mid-1800’s. After many years use of skimming the contents of an iron pot in an open hearth, the skimmer finally snapped off at the end of its long handle
A thick iron patch was attached to the front, using hand forged iron rivets
Skimmer measures 25-1/2″ long and has a diameter of 9-1/4″
A combination of iron and copper rivets were used to attach the “Y” shaped reinforcement patch to the back
What do you do when a bisque doll’s body breaks? Naturally you turn the unbroken doll head in to a pen wiper! At least that is exactly what someone did in the early 1900’s to recycle a broken toy.
Unmarked German bisque doll head with a human hair wig, stationary glass eyes, painted lashes, eyebrows & mouth
Home made pen wipers were common household items and were used to remove excess ink from dip pens. Once the ink was on the page, a paper blotter was used to soak in the excess ink so it would not smear. This pen wiper measures 3-1/2″ tall
Below is an illustration from a Victorian craft book, showing how to make a decorative pen wiper, with the following description: “Girls are always trying to find something which they can make to delight their papas, and a gay little pen-wiper with fresh uninked leaves rarely comes amiss to a man who likes an orderly writing-table”
Photo courtesy of KnitHeaven
This wins the prize for being the largest antique with an inventive repair in my collection. I found this grain shovel, hand carved from one piece of wood, at an antique shop only a few miles from my weekend house in upstate NY. It measures 36″ long by 13″ wide and I believe the wood to be pine.
It was not unusual for large utilitarian pieces carved from a single piece of wood to crack. The farmer who repaired this piece was quite thorough, using a large piece of metal and dozens of small nails to repair the split blade.
Wooden “one piece” shovels of this design were first made by the Shakers in the early to mid 1800’s.
A pair of iron straps were nailed to the back of the blade to help secure the break.