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October 2014 Source Guide
Eye on Antiques: Understanding Wardrobe Cabinets
Antiques and furniture dealers call them "massive case pieces," but our ancestors had a variety of names for these cabinets that played the role of clothes closets—armoires, kasten, schranks, and wardrobes. We consulted museum experts to help you sort out the names as well as the styles.
When Fred and Pam Grote wanted more history than could be found in Illinois, they went house hunting in New England, snaring a remarkably original first period house (or it, them) in Massachusetts. Only later did Fred find that it had once belonged to his ten-times-great-grandfather
Protecting Your Precious Metals
You might think that antiques of sturdy metal—whether copper, iron, pewter, or silver—would require little care, but even metal can succumb to the ravages of time through rust, corrosion, tarnish, and disaster. We asked conservation experts for advice on how to protect—and even polish—your precious metal antiques.
The Cooper's Trade
Easily rolled, sturdy enough to protect delicate contents, and waterproof when necessary, barrels, buckets, casks, and kegs could fill nearly any storage or shipping need in home or business. The cooper made them all—and a few still do—after years of practice.
Life in Early America: Celebrating the Harvest
Harvest festivals, still celebrated in communities and historic sites, trace their roots back to a once-pagan English ritual called Harvest Home. Unlike Thanksgiving, which offers thanks to God, these harvest festivals offer secular rejoicing—feasting and merriment—to celebrate a bountiful harvest.
Spice for a Price
Worth its weight in silver, saffron is the most expensive spice and is often found in the most exotic cuisines. Surprisingly, it’s also a foundation of Pennsylvania German cooking. Frugal farmers in the Keystone State learned to grow autumn crocuses to harvest the spice and created a 19th-Century cottage industry.
Day of the Dead
In Mexico and the Southwest, the dead come visiting on All Soul’s Day, and it’s a joyous celebration of reunion, feasting, and maybe munching a candy skull. The holiday, a remnant of Mayan culture, also features colorful decorations that combine smiles and skeletons—which have incidentally become collectibles.
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