Antiques & Technology Archives | Nature's Art VillageNature'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


Laundry DayApril 03, 2019

The first patent for a metal washboard was obtained in 1833 by S. Rust of New York. However, some argue the origins of the washboard date back to the 1700s. Washboards have a wood frame with a scrubbing area that can be made of wood, copper, brass, tin, zinc-coated metal, or graniteware. During World War II glass washboards became popular due to a shortage of metal. 

In the mid-1850s steam-driven commercial laundry machines were available and sparked the demand for household versions. In the 1900s, Alva Fisher invented the first electric washer. Fisher’s “Thor” was a drum-style washer featuring a galvanize tube and electric motor. Single-cylinder hit-and-miss gasoline engines powered early machines in homes where electricity was not available.

Bendix Home Appliances introduced the first domestic automatic washing machine in 1937. By the 1940s most families in the United States owned an electric washer.
However, In the UK electric washing machines did not become popular until the following decade due to the impact World War II had on the economy.

Modern appliance manufacturers continue to find ways to reduce costs while improving efficiency. Features we currently rely on such as timers, child locks, and variable speeds and temperature settings were unheard of in the early 1900s. Today more than 85% of homes in the US have washing machines.

Visit our museum to see many antique appliances, like the 1900 Cataract washer, and stop by The PAST Antiques Marketplace to purchase your very own washboard!

Cash RegistersMarch 18, 2019


With the expansion of American businesses in the late 19th century, shopkeepers needed ways to secure their money.
Early cash registers were entirely mechanical, without receipts. The employee was required to enter each transaction on the register, and when the total key was pushed, the drawer opened and a bell would ring. This bell was to notify the manager that a sale taking place.
The first mechanical cash register was invented by James Ritty and John Birch following the American Civil War. James was the owner of a saloon in Dayton, Ohio and wanted to stop employees from pilfering his profits. The Ritty Model I was invented in 1879 and with the help of James’ brother, John, they patented it in 1883. Shortly thereafter, Ritty sold his interest in the cash register business to Jacob H. Eckert of Cincinnati, who formed the National Manufacturing Company. Eckert sold the company in 1884 to John H. Patterson, who renamed the company the National Cash Register Company (NCR). Patterson continued to make improvements to the cash register by adding a paper roll to record transactions. NCR expanded quickly and became multi-national in 1888 and by 1911 had sold one million machines. While working for NCR, Charles F. Kettering designed a cash register with an electric motor in 1906. NCR continued to evolve and currently makes self-service kiosks, point-of-sale terminals, automated teller machines, check processing systems and barcode scanners.

The PAST Antiques Marketplace has a number of antique cash registers for sale. Visit us on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full line of antiques and vintage collectibles.

Art Pottery Wall PocketsMarch 13, 2019

Ornamental wall pockets or wall vases first became household staples in the late 18th century. Many European ceramics manufacturers including Staffordshire, Wedgewood and Royal Doulton made decorative china wall pockets. These flat-backed, wall-mounted containers were originally designed to hold matches, kitchen utensils and sewing items.

Wall pockets saw a surge in popularity during the 1940s and ‘50s when American companies like Holt-Howard and Hull began manufacturing novelty ceramics. Cute pockets featuring animals and people’s faces often had matching kitchenware such as cookie jars or salt and pepper shakers. These novelty wall pockets were quite different form their ornate predecessors and homemakers loved them. Today’s wall pockets are still prominent in businesses and used for organizing paperwork. While not as decorative, these plastic versions are a useful addition to the home or workplace.

The PAST Antiques Marketplace has a lovely selection of vintage wall pockets for sale. Visit us on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full line of antiques and vintage collectibles.

 

MarblesMarch 06, 2019

The origins of the humble marble are not clear. Archaeologists have excavated marbles from sites in Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. Native American tribes also played with them. They were typically made of clay, stone or glass. In Roman literature there is mention of playing the game with nuts. During the mid-19th century the invention of scissors for cutting molten glass increased the production of marbles.

Martin Frederick Christensen patented a machine for creating glass-made marbles in 1903 and created millions of marbles before his company closed in 1917. There are currently only two marble manufacturers in America: Jabo Vitro in Ohio, and Marble King, in West Virginia.

Marbles are appreciated by enthusiasts for their attractiveness and entertainment. There are many different patterns and colors to entice collectors. Common styles are onionskins, corkscrews, lutz, micas, clearies, Indians, Joseph’s Coat, oxbloods, and sulphides. You can purchase handmade or machine-made marbles in glass, clay or stone. With hundreds of game variations, you’ll never get bored with your marble collection. However, we do suggest you keep rare marbles for display purposes only!

March Booth of the MonthMarch 01, 2019

March’s Vendor of the Month is Booth 110, located downstairs in the PAST Antiques Marketplace.

Comic books, vintage shakers, Matchbox cars, vintage postcards, bottles and decorative items! This booth has a little bit of everything. These photos are just a small sample of what this vendor has to offer. We’re sure you’ll find something that catches your fancy.

With more than 90 antique and collectibles dealers between two handicap-accessible floors, The PAST Antiques Marketplace is sure to have something for the collector in all of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MatchbooksFebruary 25, 2019

In 1892 Joshua Pusey patented his idea of paper matches. Match tips were dipped in a solution of sulfur and phosphorus, then stapled to a piece of cardboard. Thus, the matchbook was born. The Diamond Match Company purchased Pusey’s patent and in 1894, Pabst beer ordered 10 million matchbooks bearing ads on their covers.

Soon, matchbooks advertising a variety of goods were offered to customers of tobacco products, or left in ashtrays at coffee shops and motels.

Match cover collectors, known as phillumenists, have been around since the conception of matchbooks. In most matchbook collections, only the covers are collected. Collectors carefully remove the matches and the covers are displayed or stored flat. However, the book is left intact if images are printed on the matches themselves.

Early matchbooks produced for Wrigley’s gum, like the ones shown here, are some of the most desired by collectors.

The PAST Antiques Marketplace has a diverse selection of vintage matchbooks for sale. Visit us on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full line of antiques and vintage collectibles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ThimblesFebruary 18, 2019

The conventional thimble, used to protect fingers while hand-sewing, has a long history. Originally made of leather, bone and cloth, the first thimbles date back to about 30,000 years ago. The oldest existing thimble is made of bronze and was found in the ruins of Pompeii. After the 18th century, machines were invented to produce thimbles. Machine-made thimbles are thinner and have a flatter top than their handmade predecessors. The phrase “just a thimbleful” originates from a time when thimbles were used to measure alcohol and gunpowder.

Commemorative thimbles, depicting royalty, became popular in Victorian times. Thimbles featuring British monarchy remain popular and now include Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
In the 1950s plastic thimbles bore advertising from national companies such as Pepsi Cola and Sunbeam bread. You can purchase thimbles as trip souvenirs or in the shape of people and animals. Decorative thimbles can be fashioned from crystal, glass, gemstones and wood. Collecting thimbles is a great hobby due to their affordability and availability. Plus, they don’t take up much space!

Stop by The PAST Antiques Marketplace and add to your thimble collection today!

 

 

 

Pie BirdsFebruary 11, 2019

A pie bird, pie vent, or pie whistle is a hollow ceramic device used to prevent pie filling from boiling up and leaking through the crust.  These clever gadgets are designed to allow steam to escape from inside the pie. They also support the pastry crust in the center of the pie, so that it does not sag in the middle.

Originally pie vents were simple inverted funnels, with arches on the bottom for steam to enter. In the 1930’s vents were redesigned into a bird shape with steam releasing through the bird’s mouth. Soon pie birds were created in a multitude of designs from storybook characters and animals to advertising mascots.

Pie birds remain popular as gifts and collectors’ items rather than for their usefulness. Whether you bake pies or just love vintage kitchenware, pie vents are a whimsical addition to your kitchen.

The PAST Antiques Marketplace  has an interesting array of pie birds and other vintage kitchenware. Visit us on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full selection of antiques and vintage collectibles!

 

 

 

 

The Faithful GroomsmanFebruary 01, 2019

Historians disagree about the origins of the lawn jockey because there is no documentation on who designed the first one. After the Civil Rights Movement, lawn jockeys were considered racist and declined in popularity. However, there are some defenders who feel the jockey statues are a tribute to the determination and resilience of African-Americans.

There are two popular tales surrounding this controversial figure.
The first widespread story is of the brave 12-year-old named Jocko Graves. On December 24th, 1776, Tom Graves, a free African American man, joined a local militia to aid George Washington. His son Jocko accompanied him, eager to become a soldier. Washington was impressed by the child’s courage and assigned him to tend to the officers’ horses while troops crossed the Delaware River. Jocko was to keep a lantern burning to guide soldiers back to camp once the battle had ended.
The following day, after Washington’s victory over the British, the general returned to find Jocko frozen to death, still clutching his lantern. Washington was moved by Graves’ resolve and erected a statue of the young groomsman when he returned to Mount Vernon.

Another unconfirmed belief is the depiction of a ‘footman’ with a lantern was significant to the Underground Railroad. Pieces of cloth were wrapped on the iron jockeys signaling slaves escaping from Southern plantations. Green would signify it was safe and slaves would be provided temporary shelter, red meant there was danger.

Still others believe the lawn jockey is nothing more than a decorative ornament. Over time, the statue’s original design changed, and its origin stories were forgotten. Groups like the Friends of Jocko Society hope to keep this young man’s legend alive.

With more than 90 antique and collectibles dealers between two handicap-accessible floors, The PAST Antiques Marketplace is sure to have something for the history lover in all of us.

Salt CellarsJanuary 14, 2019

A salt cellar, also called an open salt, is a special dish designed to hold and dispense salt. Their use is documented as far back as ancient Rome and continues through the first half of the 20th century.

In well-to-do households during the middle-ages, the head of the house was given a salt bowl called a master salt with a tiny silver spoon. This cellar would be passed around the table to guests, and each would help themselves. With the introduction of free-flowing salt in 1911, use of cellars declined as they were replaced by salt shakers.

Salt cellars are still available today, but most now have lids. These salt cellars come in porcelain, glass, or wood and are used at the stove instead of being placed on the table. Instead of using a measuring spoon cooks can use their fingers when a recipe calls for a pinch of salt.

In addition to being a practical kitchen item, cellars are also affordable and interesting collectibles.
They come in a wide variety of materials including glass, silver and pottery and their styles range from classically elegant to whimsical.

 

The PAST Antiques Marketplace at Nature’s Art Village has a wide selection of salt cellars and other vintage kitchenware. Visit us on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full selection of antiques and vintage collectibles!