Saturday, February 20, 2010

Quaint Stuff at the Cottage

If you have an older cottage, you probably have a lot of old stuff hanging around that you never use any more. As we inherited our place, and it was built in 1946, some of the artefacts date from an even earlier period, having been used in our parents’ homes before they were deemed to be out of date, but with enough utility still to be used at the cottage. Here are some of the items we still keep, but that we don’t use any more.

Old Wood Plane
Old Wood Plane

Who knows when this wooden model was made and used. It could even have come from our grandparents, so it could date back to the early 1900’s. It is still useable, but we have some metal wood planes that themselves date back to the 1940’s, and that are easier to handle than this monster.

Glass Washboard
Glass Washboard

Most washboards are made with wooden slats on which to rub the wet and soapy clothes, and some have form-pressed galvanized sheet metal instead. This model, however, is built with a glass washboard surface, which is a little unusual. If the power for our washing machine fails, we can always use this to wash our clothes in the old galvanized metal tub that still hangs on our utility room wall.

White Ash and Rawhide Snowshoes
Rawhide Snowshoes

I bought these myself around thirty years ago, before the new light-weight metal snowshoes came on the market, and I doubt if you could buy any like them any more. They are hardly used, but make a good wall decoration. I recall plodding around on these, and ending up the day with very sore inner thighs from having to splay my legs out all the time. Modern snowshoes are narrower, and don’t stress your thighs as much. Note the wooden skis leaning up in the corner. These were manufactured out of a single piece of wood for each ski, instead of using a number of laminated layers. As a result, they had to be made thicker than modern cross-country skis, and are very inflexible.

Crokinole Board
Crokinole Board

This dates from the time before TV, when families actually played games together rather than watching a DVD movie. If ever the power goes out, we may play this by the light of our oil lamps. (p.s. until recently I spelled 'Crokinole' as 'Croquenot'. Croquenot is a French word meaning 'clodhopper', and has nothing to do with board games!)

Chinese Checkers Board
Chinese Checkers

Up to six people can play this game, with the aim being to move your marbles from one point of the star to the opposite point, taking turns to make moves. It’s so long since we played this that I have forgotten the rules.

Other Old Stuff

Although I don’t have photographs of them, we have other ancient artefacts in our cottage, including:

A galvanized wash tub.

A reed organ.

A rack for drying tea towels, with three wooden rods that hinge at a single cast iron bracket, and which swing close up to the wall when not in use.

Manual wood drills.

A 1940’s 3hp Nautilus outboard motor that I think can be got working.

Until recently, a small low cast-iron woodstove with a flat top for cooking pots. I recall my father-in-law using this to heat the boathouse in an installation that would definitely raise eyebrows today.

Old irons.

Electric toasters, including one toaster which requires you to flip the toast yourself when one side is done.

Toasting forks.

And I'm sure there are more items that don't spring to mind right now...