Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mysteries at the Museum

The Farm and Forest Museum at Chippokes Plantation
is an open air museum,
chock full of unique and mysterious implements from centuries past.
We were fortunate to have Gary the handy man give us a tour
because he was very informative
about all of the odd contraptions and machines on display.
Seventeenth and eighteenth century time-saving devices for field, forest, and household
look very crude and hardly efficient to modern eyes,
and from our perspective, it was almost impossible to figure out what many were used for.
Following are some of the more mysterious items we saw.
Try to identify each of these strange objects, then check below for the answers.

Item 1

Item 2

Item 3

Item 4

Item 5

Item 6

Item 7

Item 8


Item 1:  tobacco basket
Item 2:  pig oiler. I knew what this was, but was mistaken about how it worked.
              The pigs rub against it as a means of protecting their skin.
              I thought the farmers picked the pigs up and rolled them across the top of the oiler! 
Item 3:  lard press
Item 4: 18th-century peanut separater. Since peanuts grow underground, they are a dirty,
             tangled mess when harvested. (The harvested peanuts are visible in the photo.)
             This machine separated the peanuts from the dirt and chaff.
Item 5:  Name unknown. Its function is to lower pail(s) into a well for water.
Item 6:  corn sheller
Item 7:  Chattanooga Pea Huller. Not green English peas, something called Southern or cow peas.
             A type of cow pea is the black-eyed pea.
Item 8:  cotton mopper. Our guide didn't know what function it served.
              I thought it must be used to sweep  the cotton dust off of the gin floor. Wrong!
             According to Mr. Walter Bell, South Carolina Cotton Museum,
             this device was used to kill cotton boll weevils in the field
             by mopping them with "a mixture of black strap molasses and arsenic of lead."
             Probably killed more than the boll weevils, I'd say.

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