Eco Relics has a wide variety of antiques, a treasure trove of history awaiting a new chapter in its life. Here is the opportunity to find out a little more about how these antique pieces were used, learn the history behind a few of these items, and to offer ideas for the use of these pieces. Some may be perfectly appreciated as they are, others can be restored to their former glory, and others have the potential to take on a whole new life as another piece through repurposing. As a continuation of last week’s post, this post will cover more of the recently acquired farmhouse merchandise.
Antique Cobbler’s Bench
While the titles of cobbler and shoemaker are now used interchangeably, this wasn’t always the case. Originally, a shoemaker was a skilled craftsman, and a maker of shoes. A cobbler, on the other hand, was unskilled person who only repaired shoes. The cobbler, or shoemaker, would sit on the rounded end of the bench and use their knees as a vice grip to hold the shoe in place where the middle of the bench narrows. The compartments on the opposite end would hold parts and tools. Often, the benches will have small drawers below and on top to hold tools. This cobbler’s bench would look great as a coffee table, which was quite popular in the 1950’s and 60’s.
Antique Grain Separator
While separating grain is what it does, it is actually a fanning mill. Its purpose is to separate the desired grains or seeds from dust, foreign objects, and unwanted seeds. In 1852, the fanning mill was invented, using not only a fan but also two different screens to eliminate impurities from harvested grain. This invention took over the labor intensive process of winnowing, which relied on someone holding pans of grain up to the wind to get it separated.
The first fanning mills were high quality and finely painted. Later fanning mills were motorized, powered either by gas or electricity. While fanning mills, such as the Clipper, are still manufactured today, their popularity declined around the 1940’s. Having long been worn away by time, this fanning mill is devoid of any brand name, stamp, or labels. The wooden fan blades are still intact and the screens and frame are in good condition. The drawer used to collect the desired grains and seeds is located on the side towards the bottom. This piece would be great for a collector, but could also take on new life as a cabinet.
Primitive Single Tree Hitch
This primitive hitch was used to pull farm equipment such as a plow. Single tree hitches are used for one animal. The wooden part of this hitch evenly distributes the weight so that the load is balanced. This rustic hitch will make a beautiful decoration or has plenty of potential to be repurposed. A couple of repurposing ideas include attaching hooks to create a coat rack or other type of hanger. Alternatively, lights could be attached for a decorative light fixture.
ABC Electric Oscillator Washing Machine
The ABC Oscillator washing machine was a product of the Altorfer Brothers Company, which was started in 1909 in Roanoke, Illinois, by Silas Altorfer. The ABC was a leading brand in washing machines at the time, and was one of the first companies to ship an entire train load of a single product across the country. The company experienced huge growth in its short 25 year life. Like most companies of the time, it shut down normal production during WWII and began manufacturing bullets instead. After the war, it was unable to compete and was sold.
The Oscillator model was manufactured in the late nineteen-teens and early nineteen-twenties. According to an ad from Electrical Merchandising, in 1922, it boasts “the greatest value ever offered in an oscillating washer, by a standard maker”. Priced at $99, it was marketed as a more affordable alternative to ABC’s high end model, the Super Electric, which cost $150. The ABC Oscillator washer sports a copper oscillating tub with a capacity of six sheets, and a wooden wringer, both operated by electricity. This one hundred year old washing machine is definitely a very unique piece.
Much More to Come
The next installment of the Farmhouse Merchandise will include a grinding wheel, an antique band saw, a vintage Maytag washing machine, and more. All of the items featured are currently available for purchase at Eco Relics, located at 106 W. Stockton St. in Jacksonville, FL.
Sources: Antique Cobbler’s Bench https://shakerml.wordpress.com/2016/08/10/apostasy-and-carpentry-the-tale-of-a-shoemakers-bench/;
Grain Separator: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/grain-separator/?redirect=1, https://www.farmcollector.com/equipment/fanning-mill; Singletree Hitch: https://chimacumtack.com/blog/2017/09/02/singletrees-eveners/;
ABC Oscillator: http://eastpeoriahistoricalsociety.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/22894461_10213559264471705_5407942535368509905_n.jpg,