By: Joshua Harley, Historical Interpreter for Todd’s General Store
Todd’s General Store will occasionally receive a request for the historic craftspeople. Since Todd’s most often works as the go-between, and I am the shopkeeper most often in Todd’s, it is my job to then take the specifications of the request and consult with the appropriate historic craftspeople. Our main focus at The Farmers’ Museum is education, not production, and as such it is not always feasible for the craftspeople to meet both needs. In that event the experience and education of our visitors on site comes first. However, being the stellar group of people that they are the historic craftspeople are often able to do both with adroitness and polish.
In one such instance I received a request for a number of the spade finial hooks made in Field’s Blacksmith Shop. The couple making the request wanted to make a unique pot rack utilizing a few of our hooks, with some minor customizations, to accommodate their various sized pots and pans. I went to our lead blacksmith, Steve Kellogg, and after discussing the requirements he immediately began working. Emails were sent back and forth; details were finalized in these correspondences, questions of aesthetics and style, measurements and hook strength. Finally the hooks were ready to be shipped out. It was not long after sending the hooks off in the mail before I received a small package from the folks that had bought them. The flat rate box was filled with pictures of the completed project and a wonderful note of appreciation!
I was so excited to see these that I immediately emailed the couple thanking them for the pictures and asked if I could write a blog post using their story and pictures. When I was given the green light by them I promptly did not get around to writing it until now (sorry about that folks!). So without further ado here are the pictures of the completed pot-rack.This is beautiful work combining skills and needs from both the 19th and 21st centuries. As a shopkeeper for The Farmers’ Museum, I was glad to act as the go-between for the historical craftspeople and some of our visitors so that this collaboration was successful. All of the emails, phone calls, and running back and forth was paid in full by seeing these pictures and the knowledge of happy customers with a new well-made addition to their home.