Archive for June, 2012

Our mystery object remains mysterious, although most viewers agree that it was probably used to make holes.

Thanks to all who participated. Your comments have been included in the accession notes for the object to assist the next person who tries to take a stab at it!


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The ends were heated and used to curl hair in the 18th century. These provided an alternative to the clay curlers (see What is it? January 12, 2012) which could only be used on wigs.

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This tin container was used to safely transport 4 dozen eggs through the US mail service from York, Maine to Brighton, Massachusetts in the 1930s.

The eggs were sent by Giuseppe “Joseph” Cefalo (1894-1974) of York to his brother Louis Celfao, who lived in Brighton, MA. The brothers were immigrants from Torre le Nocelle, Avellino, Italy. Joseph and his wife and children lived in the Seabury section of York which was home to many other Italian immigrants. Some of these immigrants, like Joseph, came with their entire families; others came alone, leaving their wives and children behind, sending back paychecks earned working on the railroads, construction projects and farming to the “old” country.

York was the home to numerous immigrant families in the early 20th century. Besides Italians newcomers came from Canada, Japan, Greece, the British Isles and other countries.

Many thanks to Margaret Dube (who promised she’d “guess” what the object was but didn’t) for doing the oral history project on immigrant families in York which led to bringing this great object and the history associated with it to the Museums of Old York.

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Glove stretchers were a way to stretch out the fingers of leather gloves to ensure a better fit. It was purchased by Louise (Wilcox) Putnam (1822-1894) of York in while traveling in China with her husband, Captain William Putnam (1811-1868). Louise sailed to China at least twice during her marriage.

Check out this glove stretcher, and many other cool things Louise brought back from China, at the Emerson-Wilcox House.

Detail of carving.

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