Uncategorized | Nature's Art Village

1650 Hartford-New London Turnpike, Montville, CT 06370

Nature's Art Village & The Dinosaur Place: 860-443-4367
The PAST & The Gateway Museum:860-437-3615

VacuumsJanuary 18, 2018


Most of us take for granted the minimal amount of effort it takes to clean our houses in this day and age. Vacuum cleaners are generally quiet, easily maneuvered and seem to be getting smaller by the day. But back when they were first engineered, vacuum cleaners were a little different than how we know them today.

There are several significant contributors to the evolution of the vacuum, originally called a carpet sweeper. Ives W. McGaffey debuted what he called the “Whirlwind” carpet sweeper in 1868, and although the invention was designed to lessen the task of cleaning, the “Whirlwind” needed to be hand-cranked as it was pushed.

The first successful carpet sweeper design was invented by Melville Reuben Bissell in 1876. Interestingly, Bissell’s inspiration for the sweeper came from his allergies to dust.

The process of dirt removal for these early versions involved blowing air into a receptacle instead of relying on suction. The “Puffing Billy” model, invented by Hubert Cecil Booth did just this, and was operated by an oil engine. It was so large that it needed to be carried from house to house by horse-drawn carriage! This model (understandably) received mixed reviews from the public.

Corrine Dufour received the first patent for a carpet sweeper that used an electric motor 1890.

Walter Griffiths from Birmingham, England, created a manual vacuum cleaner in 1905 that looked like vacuums we use today.

David T. Kenney established the Suction Cleaner Company and is also known for starting the American industry for vacuum cleaners.

William Henry Hoover is another early contributor, and is so entwined with the history of the vacuum that many people in Britain use the word “hoover” interchangeably with “vacuum.” But originally, vacuum cleaners were luxury items for only the wealthy until after WWII.

In the United States, the upright cyclone vacuum cleaner has become the norm. James Dyson is responsible for this surge in popularity. In 1985 he patented the cyclone vacuum cleaner and made it so that the force from the cyclone separates larger particles from smaller ones and will send them on to the appropriate filter for the most efficient dirt-removal process. Upright vacuums are better for wall-to-wall carpeting while canister vacuums can be more suited to non-carpeted flooring. In Europe, canister models are also called cylinder models.

In other Western countries across continental Europe, the canister vacuum takes precedence. Other parts of the world rarely need vacuums at all, as more popular tile or hardwood floors can be managed simply by sweeping or mopping.

In the Gateway Museum at Nature’s Art Village, there are several antique vacuum cleaners on display. Come visit us at Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to explore all of our historic artifacts.



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This time of year is perfect for settling into the kitchen and trying out new recipes for all kinds of delicious confections. With the help of modern technology, the process of trial and error is quick and easy. Imagine how time-consuming it would be to whip up these tasty tr eats without the help of an electric egg beater!

Hand-operated rotary egg beaters have been around since approximately 1860, and were eventually patented by inventor Willis Johnson in Ohio in 1884. He originally intended it as a mixing device for all ingredients, not just eggs, and in that way, modern mixers have essentially come full-circle.

The design of the rotary beater helps to cut down on the time and effort needed to whisk the eggs. By turning the handheld crank, the motion of the gear revolutions transfers the energy to the beaters to spin them. This is much faster and more efficient than whisking by hand. Another perk of this machine is that it is able to add a significant amount of air into whatever is being mixed –this would lighten the consistency of the recipe or dessert and add to its quality.

By the 1890s, the Dover Stamping Company had a monopoly on egg beaters in the United States, so most people referred to them as “Dover Egg beaters,” regardless of the maker. Dover also popularized the shape and design we are familiar with today, and between 1870 and 1890 they sold 4 million egg beaters. The prices for these devices could range from $1.25 to $1.50.

Americans also used the egg beaters to mix other household substances such as paint. While modern rotary egg beaters are typically made from stainless steel, they were historically made from tin-wire or brass-wire.

Across the pond, Europeans seemed to prefer the ordinary method of hand-mixing or whisking with a hand whisk. The demand for the rotary beater was quite low until the early 20th century.

The Past Antiques Marketplace in Nature’s Art Village is home to several antique egg beaters for purchase. Visit us on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to check out our entire collection of antiques and collectibles.

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Bates TBT

Throwback Thursday: Bates Automatic Numbering Machine

Today’s Throwback Thursday takes us to the year 1891 with this Bates Automatic Numbering Machine. This self-inking machine was used by medical professionals, courts and businesses for identification, copyrights and dates during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Please click on a photo to view it larger, and visit The Past Antiques Marketplace on Route 85 in Montville, CT for more antiques & collectibles!

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Trivia Tuesday 6-30-15June 30, 2015

Can you help Monty find the answer to today’s Trivia Tuesday dinosaur question?

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+- Click Here for today's Answer & Explanation!

TriviaTuesday 5a

The horn above the nose of the Ceratosaurus was originally believed to be a weapon for attacking prey and defense against predators. Today, most scientists believe the horn was actually too weak to be an effective weapon, but instead was used to intimidate rivals and attract mates. Some scientist believe the horn of the Ceratosaurus was brightly colored to further attract mates, like the feathers of a male peacock. The Dinosaur Place has a Ceratosaurus among its more than 40 life-sized dinosaur in the Outdoor Adventure Park! Come by and visit on Route 85 in Montville and shake hands with this fascinating carnivore!  Click here for more on The Dinosaur Place and check back next week for another Trivia Tuesday question!

Ceratosaurus with boy



Flume Falls (Click Photo to View Larger)

Flume Falls by Charles H. Sawyer

This week Famous Friday takes us to Concord New Hampshire. Charles Henry Sawyer (1868-1954) was a famous painter of photographic landscapes for the tourist trade during the turn of the 20th century. Much like postcards, travelers would buy the small prints as a memoir of their trip. Mr. Sawyer started his career working for Wallace Nutting, where he perfected his craft and later became a direct competitor of Nutting. Most of Sawyers scenes are from New Hampshire. Sawyer was not only a talented artist, but a Businessman, Manufacturer and politician as well. He served as the 41st governor of New Hampshire and for a time in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. The Sawyer Picture Co. Of Concord New Hampshire operated from 1903 until the early 1970’s surviving nearly two decades after its founder’s death.

The painting above is available at The Past Antiques Marketplace and is Charles Henry Sawyer’s Print #13 titled “Flume Falls”, a wonderful piece of preserved history. Visit The PAST Antiques Marketplace on Route 85 in Montville, CT for more information and to see this painting up close.

Jurassic Fun at The Dinosaur Place with FOX CT Daytrippers!

Watch this awesome segment by FOX CT Daytripper Sarah Cody as she checks out the New Vortex SuperWave at The Dinosaur Place in Montville, CT! To read the full piece visit Fox CT Daytrippers Page by Clicking Here!

TBT Coffee Perculator

1904 Coffee Percolator

Throwback Thursday brings us back to 1904 with this beautiful ornate Art Deco style Coffee Percolator with pot stand burner. Made & patented in 1904 by the Manning Bowman Company of Cromwell, Connecticut this antique is really something special. The Manning Bowman Company, founded in 1849, specialized in coffee & tea pots, cutlery and more.  Click on the photos below to view them larger and learn more about this Throwback Thursday at The PAST Antiques Marketplace on Route 85 in Montville, CT.

IMG_6142 (4) TBT Coffee Perculator

Trivia Tuesday 6-9-15June 09, 2015

Can you help Monty find the answer to today’s Trivia Tuesday dinosaur question?

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+- Click Here for today's Answer & Explanation!

TriviaTuesday 3a

Pachycephalosaurus was a medium-sized dinosaur up to 15 feet long that lived during the late Cretaceous period. Its most unusual feature is an incredibly thick skull surrounded by bony spikes. Pachycephalosaurus actually means “thick-headed lizard”. The head of a pachycephalosaurus was more than 2ft long with a dome made of solid bone. It is commonly believed this dinosaur used its skull for headbutting. Originally, it was believed these dinosaurs headbutted each other to prove dominance or impress mates; but contradicting evidence has shown their vertebrae were too weak to support head to head contact. Now, it is more commonly believed headbutting was a defense mechanism or a way to attack smaller animals, and was not done head to head. The Dinosaur Place is proud to have a Stygimoloch among its more than 40 Life-Sized Dinosaurs on display. Stygimoloch is a genus of the Pachycephalosaurus family. Click here for more on The Dinosaur Place and check back next week for another Trivia Tuesday question!



Can you help Monty find the answer to this week’s Trivia Tuesday Dinosaur question?

TriviaTuesday 1q

+- Click Here for today's Answer & Explanation!

TriviaTuesday 1a

Euoplocephalus, of the dinosaur classification Ankylosaurids, is best known for its well-armored head. In fact the meaning of Euoplocephalus is “completely well-armored head”! This dinosaur was so well protected, even its eyelids featured a movable slab of bone for protection; the only known ankylosaur with this feature! The Dinosaur Place is proud to have an Euoplocephalus among its more than 40 other life-sized dinosaurs in the Outdoor Adventure Park at Nature’s Art Village. Click here for more on The Dinosaur Place and check back next week for another Trivia Tuesday question!