Farmhouse Merchandise: Part III

To continue the Farmhouse Merchandise series, this post will cover more of the new farmhouse merchandise. This is an opportunity is to find out a little more about their original purpose, learn the history behind a few of these items, and to offer ideas for the use of these pieces. Some are ideal for the collector, others are candidates for a restoration project, and others have the potential to take on a new life through repurposing.

Grinding Wheel
A grinding wheel is used to sharpen knives, axes, and other implements. Grindstones date back to the middle ages. The wheel is typically made from sandstone. The operator of the grinding wheel sits on the seat while pushing the pedals with their feet to turn the wheel, and holds the knife or implement blade up to the wheel to sharpen it. This item would not only be interesting décor but is also still functional and relevant despite being approximately one hundred years old.

Maytag Washing Machine
This is the second washing machine from the farmhouse merchandise; the first one was the ABC Oscillator featured in the first installment of this series. The Maytag Company started in 1983 as manufacturers of farm equipment. For a short time in the early 1900s, Maytag even produced cars and tractors. In 1907, Maytag introduced its first washing machine as a side project to the farm equipment. This vintage Maytag is electric, and most likely a model 90, although it replaced model 80, which was very similar. Maytag produced the 80s models from 1922 to 1927, and the 90s models from 1927 to 1930. This vintage Maytag washer could be restored to make a great piece for the collector. A creative approach would be to utilize the frame to make a unique table with storage or a cabinet.
Cole MFG Co. Seed Planter
Seed planters were invented in the 1820s. The earliest types were hand pushed by the operator as it made a groove in the soil and would automatically place the seeds at equal locations apart, which replaced having to sow each seed by hand. The distance apart, and the kind of seed, is set by placing specific plates at the bottom of the seed hopper. As time went on, animals pulled the planters, and today large farmers use multiple row planters pulled by a tractor. However, these single row planters are still used for smaller areas. There are also planters that have additional hoppers on their planters to distribute fertilizer.
Four brothers from Charlotte, North Carolina, established the Cole Manufacturing Company in 1900. By estimation, Cole Planters planted seventy-five percent of the cotton, corn, and peanuts in the South during the 1940s. Covington now manufactures Cole Planters in Albany, Georgia. The seed hopper on this Cole Planter is in great condition, making it a prime candidate for restoration. Repurposing it as décor or yard art is also a great option.

Antique Band Saw
The early versions of the band saw have been around since 1809. This band saw almost has a steampunk look to it. It is missing a few pieces and there is no brand name to be found. However, with its sturdy cast-iron base, it has the potential to be repurposed into a one of a kind project. Incorporating a light fixture onto the frame to create a lamp would be an easy project, wooden shelves could be added to create a tiered shelving unit, or both concepts could be combined. There is quite a lot of creative opportunity with this piece.

The Custom Wood Shop Can Build Your Ideas for You
If there is a piece of merchandise in the store that you have a vision to repurpose, but don’t have the experience to execute the project, the artisans in the Custom Wood Shop can help. A common example is substituting traditional table legs for antique sewing machine bases. Stop in and speak with an artisan about your ideas to see what they can do for you. In the past, they have incorporated columns, doors, and even an airplane nose into their custom projects. While experimental ideas typically require a larger budget, the end result will be one-of-a-kind.

Much More to Come
The final installment of the Farmhouse Merchandise will include an assortment of primitive tools, antique blow torches, a glass front cooker, and a Keystone 8mm projector. All the items featured are available for purchase at Eco Relics, at 106 W. Stockton St. in Jacksonville, FL.
Sources: Antique Bandsaw-; Cole Planter,,; Maytag Washing Machine-,; Grinding Wheel-