I’ve been rooting through the basement again lately. I’d like to find a lot of stuff to sell, but things have been sold, given away and thrown away for several years now, so the pickin’s are getting’ slimmer. Still, the place is in a hopeless jumble, and I haven’t yet found the two cherry Tower-pattern muzzle-loading pistol stock blanks that I’ve promised the guru when I find them. I hope he doesn’t think I’m trying to renege on my promise!
The other day, I took a few things to the antique dealer again, but he didn’t want some of the stuff, and didn’t pay much for what he did take. One thing that caught his eye was a picture frame/mirror combo about six inches wide and 24 inches tall. At the top was a photo of one of my female relatives from 1932, when she was 1-1/2 years old. She’s sitting in a wash-pan of water, but with her panties and sleeveless blouse on. She also has a toy in one hand. I think her mother had probably put her there to help her deal with the summer heat, in those days before country folks had air-conditioning. I had another copy of the photo, so I left that one in the frame, as I thought the cuteness factor would make it easier for the dealer to sell. He agreed.
The few other things I took are in the photo below. I’m sure that all of you will recognize the old wrenches, hacksaw, claw hammer and brace and bit (auger) for what they are. A few of you may not recognize one or more of the other things. Above the bit is a cabinet scraper set into a wooden handle, while above the brace is a rather old plumb-bob.
The hacksaw was my fathers and has some age on it, but I decided that since I had two high-quality modern ones, I’d part with it, since no-one else in the family would probably be interested in it. I’ll always have the memory of him using it to cut gas pipe as he began remodeling the old farmhouse. The other items that I mentioned came from a long deceased relative who lived and worked in the oilfield at Volcano, West Virginia, as did the wooden mallet and handsaw.
Concerning the handsaw, I first thought it was just worn out from use. In my reading, though, I learned that there were special saws, made that narrow, to be used for cutting curves in panels and such things. In the oilfield, I’d imagine it might have been used to cut the curves of the band wheels and bull wheels. Then again, it really might be just a worn out old saw. With no etching remaining on it, I guess no-one will ever know.
The metal beetle is a cast-iron boot-jack with a missing back leg. That flaw diminishes its value by about four-fifths. I remember it in the kitchen at my paternal grandparent’s house. The ancient milk jug is from a local company still in business, but all the “ink” is worn off from hundreds of washings, leaving only the embossing. The strange axe is a mortise axe, probably sporting only a short handle in its day, and being struck, ideally, with a one-handed wooden maul. Obviously someone used a metal hammer on this one, which I picked up in Amish country of Ohio, but hadn’t found a handle for yet. The little blue jar once held Noxema Cream, and the metal canister held the ice cream mix in the last hand-crank freezer that we had at the farm. MY,…..the sweet memories THAT thing brings to mind! Incidentally, that’s the fancy cement block step onto our front porch that you see just above the saw handle! Hey, it’s served well for the last 20 years, why change it now?
The buyer took only eight of the items shown, plus the mirror, so I didn’t get much money, but the basement is a little clearer. Yesterday, I gave the three long augers that the buyer didn’t want a couple weeks ago to my barber, so maybe I can donate the left-over items from this haul to somebody, too. I may end up keeping Dad’s old hacksaw, though. © 2016
Click image to enlarge.