Thursday, September 7, 2017

York Agricultural & Industrial Museum

           Years ago I wrote about my favorite museum, the Jimmy Stewart Museum. I just found my second favorite, the York Agricultural and Industrial Museum.
We began our tour in the Transportation Galley, a huge room with a loft above. Among  the other vehicles that this room contained loomed a Conestoga wagon and a trolley car. The full-sized trolley car contained  a few benches where we sat to watch a fascinating video made from 8mm movies taken when trolley cars actually traversed the streets of York. in the early 1900s. 
Upstairs in the loft, we found some very cool cars, all made in Pennsylvania. Two stood out. The first one, a two-passenger, white Hanover Roadster, had been manufactured at the Hanover Motor Car Company in 1922 and advertised at the time as “the cheapest automobile in the world.” What did it cost? $300. The second one, a 1917, five-passenger, bright red Pullman, had been constructed at the York Pullman Motor Car Company and sold for $740.
The Inside of the Conestoga Wagon
After walking through a huge doorway, we found ourselves in a room with agriculture relics. Quite a few had been built by the A. B. Farquhar Company in York. We found their huge threshing machine, 1850 apple cider press, 1900 portable steam engine, and 1925 potato planter.
Taking up about a third of the room from floor to ceiling, a working grist mill towered over us with all three floors exposed. We climbed up through it. I enjoyed the skill with which the museum people exhibited the workings of the mill. They exposed parts and labeled them so that the basics of a mill could be easily understood.
We wandered through the next section called local industry and viewed many interesting machines. I especially loved seeing the many printing presses from different time periods as well as the cases that held the letters, upper cases and lower cases. Anyone understand where we got the names for our big and small letters of the alphabet, upper case and lower case?
The final section of the museum, the Hall of Giants, contained, among other things, the huge
1917 Pullman
A-Frame compressor from an ammonia refrigeration system that had been manufactured in York. The invention enabled a meat company in Wichita, Kansas, to utilize large blocks of ice when shipping their products in refrigerated railroad cars to Eastern United States.
A-Frame Compressor
I highly suggest visiting the York Agricultural Museum for its educational benefits and for the pure enjoyment of seeing sights no longer visible in our cities, farms, houses, and small towns. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017


"Young Man with a Flute" by George Romney
shows a garment that would have been made
at a tailor's shop
Until the mid-1800s, American people didn’t have factories that made cloth or sewing machines to sew that cloth. The process of spinning thread, weaving cloth, and sewing proved to be too much for most folks. More men, women, and children, rich or poor, needed Read More

Saturday, August 5, 2017


          When one of our children was teething, my mother-in-law gave me three silver spoons which had been in her family. She told me that her mother had given them to her to teethe on when she was a baby since they were softer than the silver-plated silverware her family owned. 
        I looked up the silversmith marks on the backs of the spoons. Read More

Friday, July 28, 2017


Shoe Last

            A colonial shoemaker made shoes from leather that he bought from a tanner. The early shoemaker sold his shoes to the middle and lower income people since wealthy people ordered their shoes from England and later from the Dutch and French after America declared its freedom from England.
The shoemaker began by Read More

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Early Clocks
The first clock in Pennsylvania might have been a lantern clock made to sit on a shelf. The lantern clock had a brass box and a bell on top for striking the hours. The clock had the height of about fifteen inches and a spring-driven single hand. The face had only hours and half-hour marks.
The next kind of clock Read More

Thursday, July 13, 2017


Kentucky Rifle

     In colonial times, gunsmiths worked as repairmen and as makers of new guns. A gunsmith might make a gun from used parts, new parts, or a combination of used and new. The kind of guns made in the early years of America were Read More

Thursday, July 6, 2017


A Glassmaker at 2010 Pennsylvania Renaissance Fair

Have you ever heard the expression, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?” This is referring to someone whose house is made of glass. Today, I'm describing someone who worked Read More

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cabinet Maker

In the early days of America, the essentials of life kept a person busy. The homeowner or a neighborhood carpenter built simple rough furniture quickly and simply. The country carpenter also made Read More

Friday, June 23, 2017


A necessary part of frontier life involved the care of horses. For the horse’s protection, metal horseshoes are nailed to horses’ hooves. In colonial times, a blacksmith would have made the horseshoes, and either he or a farrier would have “set” them. A farrier then as well as now traveled from farm to farm to shoe horses. 

Records show that in 1637, Read More

Saturday, June 17, 2017


In colonial days, people sought help for their illnesses from a man called an apothecary who did some of the same things as the colonial doctor did. Just as people of today respect and listen to a doctor’s advice, colonial people thought highly of apothecaries.

To decide what to do, an apothecary Read More 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Early Craftsmen and Craftswomen

Furniture Makers*

As towns grew, hardworking people continued to seize opportunities to start their own businesses. Although still dependent on England for some supplies, these townspeople made things like guns, shoes, clocks, clothing, furniture, silverware, and horseshoes from beginning to end right in their own shops. Specialized businesses produced all the wares during the 1700s.

In the small towns, people often worked several jobs. For example, a clock maker Read More

Monday, June 5, 2017

Lumber, Grist, and Paper Mills

In the preceding blog the first definition of industry given in Merriam-Webster had been “the habit of working hard and steadily.” The second definition of industry in the same resource is “a group of businesses that provide a particular product or service.” The early industries in Pennsylvania fit this category. As towns sprang up, Read More

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Early Agriculture

The early Pennsylvania colonist farmed. After he arrived in this country, he chose his land, built a rough shelter, cleared land by chopping down trees, and planted his crops so he would have food for winter. The settler deposed of the fallen trees by burning them and then sold the ashes or used them to make soap. Neighbors helped chop up or pull out tree stumps using sturdy horses, mules, or oxen.
Only after preparing his field, did the settler Read More

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hunters, Trappers, and Traders

Pennsylvania had many kinds of industries over the years. The simplest definition of industry is “the habit of working hard and steadily.”[1]  From beginning times, Pennsylvania people labored to meet their basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter.
Woods covered most of Pennsylvania before explorers came to the New World. Native Americans Read More