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Old And Sold Antiques Digest Article

SHAKERS WOODENWARE

The woodenware of the Shakers in New Hampshire and New York is of special interest. As early as 1789 cooper's ware is mentioned in the account books, and keelers, pails, tubs, churns, casks, barrels, and firkins were sold until 1830 or 1832. On January 31, 1790, the following item appears: "To 6 wooden bottles." Wooden dippers were made of ash and maple as early as 1789. In 1835 they were making "Root dippers" at 22s. and 2-quart ash and 1-quart maple dippers at 20s. Nests of dippers (3) sold for 20s. The Shakers were also noted for their hair sieves and for their pantry and herb boxes.



Round and oval boxes with pine tops and bottoms and maple bands cut in fingers and secured by hand-made copper or wrought-iron rivets were stained red, yellow, or blue-green. The Shakers also made wooden bowls, spoons, rolling pins, trenchers, and mortars and pestles for their own use. The bowls were usually painted on the outside. The large Shaker apple-butter scoop is of fine design. Small boxes for candles, knives, and pipe boxes and pipe racks were also made of pine. Shaker articles are simple in design and excellent in proportion and workmanship. They have no carving or decoration except for the use of mellow yellow, orange, blue, or blue-green on their boxes, bowls, and buckets.

Shakers used walnut and curly maple for bowls and ash for sieves and cooper's ware. They also used apple, cherry, and pear. They used lignum vitae for an occasional article. Except for the few still owned by descend ants of the original families the majority of the Shaker articles are in museums or private collections, so it would be a rare find for the collector to come across any of the early pieces.

The woodenware of the Pennsylvania Dutch also deserves special menCion. It, included many carved pieces such as the spoon racks painted red and blue and with decoration of stars, spirals, tulips, heart, and "hex" signs. Spoon racks with similar carving were also made in the Delaware and Hudson valleys, and the swastikas, hearts, and tulips are also found on Swiss carved spoons, spoon racks, and small boxes. The spoon racks usually date from the 18th century and some are marked with initials, names, and dates. Carved embroidery-yarn holders, spindles, pie markers, and spoons with carved handles as well as knife and fork boxes with hearts and tulips and many other small wall boxes, both with and without drawers, are of Pennsylvania origin. The carved Pennsylvania Dutch butter molds usually have tulips or hearts, but the strawberry, the cow, and the three-feather designs are also found. The tulip is used as a single flower and leaf, or sometimes as many as three tulips are grouped in the small circle. Again, the tulip may be arranged in a conventional basket or designs may be made of the tulip and geometrical figures. Initials are often incorporated in the oldest butter prints. One such mold has two hearts and the letters "H.R." The Pennsylvania Dutch also used various eagle motifs. These molds were lathe-turned and then carved by hand until about the middle of the 19th century, when the factory took over.

Cookey molds, known as "springerle" molds for decorating flat cakes, are also from Pennsylvania. These usually consist of sections with six, eight, or as many as two dozen patterns, all carved in detail with a border around each design. The patterns include flowers, a kingfisher, cherries, a goat, birds flying, a carrot, a fish, a rabbit, a Turkish mosque, and allover designs, scenes of a summerhouse, and a girl with a basket. Some springerle designs are carved on cylinders that look like rolling pins. Springerle rnolds are 19th-century products, as are most of the butter molds, although rare ones are found dated as early as 1793- Carved cabbage cutters and linen pressers with heart motifs were also made. Pennsylvania Dutch toys were carved out of red cedar, and the carved eagles and toys of Wilhelm Schimmel date from the second half of the iqth century, as do the turned and painted egg-cups, salt boxes, saffron boxes, and bowls and buckets and tubs made by Joseph Lehn.

Marzipan molds are square and oblong. They were made out of pear, apple, cherry, box, pine, maple, and walnut. Their subjects are religious, historic, military, and commemorative. They were later made in tin and iron.

Woodenware is still being made, and bowls and spoons with a few years' usage often look old, so that the collector must be careful. Certain earmarks identify the genuine old pieces of woodenware. The marks of the old tools are uneven and worn. Wooden pegs, hand-forged nails, and handthreaded screws distinguish the genuine antique. In cooper's ware the old staves are smooth and well finished, while the new product is sharp and unfinished. Old wood is light in weight, and to the trained eye there is a certain patina. The sides of old bowls are often uneven and they show the stain and scratches of wear. Old dippers are worn at the ends. And finally, if you have trained your eye to recognize fine line and form, the old object always has the finer proportion and the old carved designs are superior in spacing to the later products. Of course, certain articles are rare; among them, knot or burl bowls, especially those with handles, burl plates, mortars, or, in fact, any article of burl. Curly and bird's-eye maple articles are few and desirable. Ladles or spoons with carved handles and carved spoon racks are scarce items. Small mortars, cups, platters, wooden sieves or drainers, the large apple-butter scoop, smoothing boards with carved handles, salt bowls, and all dated pieces are rare and desirable for your collection.



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