The Silver Twin's ...Place...
In New England Decorative Art
I would enjoy... and will get to... a brief pontification upon the New England bed warmer; its design, construction, nuance features and ...a duo of heritage anecdotes... right along. Further... I will write my desire to summarize my progress of inspecting the Silver Twin’s ...Place... in New England decorative art. But first I want to... cable and drag... New England intellectual ponderance (American Renaissance) ...into my discourse.
‘Intellectual ponderance’ I qualify by pushing “quasi” before those two joined words... making three joined words. I do not like using quasi but... it is safer to use that word so as to allow old New England intellectual ponderance a ‘hole out’ (‘escape hole’). This is particularly needed when I essay about old New England antiques and
The peoples of them.
It is a dirty trick I know but allowing one to “quasi-out” by stepping away from all of this and ‘going to the flea market’ (both physically and intellectually) IS a “right” (in its many meanings)
That even I have
In addition to being... quasi... inclusive... “of all”.
I end up at the flea market all the time with all of this; “every weekend”. Where are you? I sell old drilled three legged cast iron fireplace kettles to... no one. Sap yokes, sap spiles and coffee cans full of wooden clothes pins find... no one taking them home.
Even as decoration. A bed warmer is too confusing; no one knows “What that is”.
“Oh.” And I do have them around... ‘if needed’.
Did Thoreau use a sap yoke (starting in Part Three). Have one? Make one?
Did Thoreau make a sap yoke? Once... in his life.
At his homestead? With his hatchet.
What about sap spiles? (Part Two)
Did he use a bed warmer? Did he HAVE a bed warmer. Or did his FAMILY have a bed warmer that he ‘saw’ from ‘childbirth to death’ “over there; next to the fireplace... hanging” (Part Six). Am I suggesting an intensive examination of Thoreau’s journals... including all printed and published versions but defaulting back by necessity to critical examination of the actual journals (due to printed and published “omissions” [so called]... to determine if
Henry David... noted (noticed) a cast iron three legged Colonial Era fireplace cooking kettle (Part Five) and... ANY OTHER ‘such and such’ (old New England Decorative Art) “ANTIQUES”. Now the reader is clear as to why I cabled and dragged the word ‘quasi’ on to this... cabled and dragged ‘intellectual ponderance’?
Yes you are because Henry David turned the kettle over outside the Walden hut in late November so it would not ‘crack’ when it ‘froze’ after being ‘used’ as a flower pot before the Walden hut “all summer” and after
He drilled it (June journal entry note: “Today I drilled my fireplace cooking kettle”, etc. ?) ‘so it will drain’ ‘last June’. That (‘drilling to drain’ Part Five) is in the journals? No... I have brought you the word ‘quasi’ for the ‘like this’... of Old New England Decorative Art. And you see where I’ve gone with it.
Thoreau’s sister “presented” the family’s Concord made Patent Banjo Timepiece (clock) to the Concord Museum. They still have it. It is beautiful and wonderful. “What’s that?” you say. These; this presented timepiece, the presenting family, the museum and the low-cal (Concord) are... therefore... ‘at the flea market’ in all of this when “What’s that?” (a “YOU”) comes to “SEE” the “THE CLOCK”. The flea market is the third word of old New England Decorative Art. It is “quasi”. It creates a (quasi) “old” “clock”... that no one knows about... let alone pays admission ‘to see’.
“Quasi”: You can bank it.
“Quasi” is the word that trumps even ‘decoration’... in the study of old New England Decorative Art.”
Did I just say “study”? Maybe that would be easier as “quasi study”.
Autumn. The bed warmer’s lathe turned hardwood (maple) handle more often then not was finished with rapid single color paint brush strokes (green or red) as decoration upon the handle. Two hundred years later these old paintings are hard to notice for they are oxidized and worn ‘away’. They are there and the know-to-look-for-them eye easily denotes them. This denotation assures ‘authentic’ ‘first surface’ (original surface) ‘handle’. Should this decoration be vibrant... then it is best to be suspect that this vibrant painting was recently done. That too should be carefully considered if there is abundant painting that is ‘too well done’. The original old paint was done by an eight or ten year old boy painting as fast as he could. It should look like that.
The old surface of the wood should look like that too; an old surface. No ‘oiling’. No varnish. No.
Wear (worn paint and surface finish) should be where the hands held the pan when using it. Other surface areas were ‘left alone’. Always. They look like that; old left alone.
The brass ‘pans’ usually have been “once” “old” “polish”. That is what happened to the brass pan: It was ‘used’ (filled with embers to heat the beds) and ‘polished’. That is what happened
To the bed warming
Notice the hinge (‘cover joint’), handle socket and ‘turned’ (finished-flared) edge of the pan to receive the lid. The lid has a tiny hoop hook to lift it open. It has, too, ‘chased’ decoration... ranging in quality (effort) from ‘plain’ to ‘fancy’ and ‘pictorial’.
The lid folded back on the handle. Then was closed once the embers were in. Not too many embers... did the job. This was not “carrying fire”. It was hot... but not that hot... and certainly not “fire”. The pan returned to the fireplace, the embers returned to the fire and... ‘was hung (back) up”. Quickly, quietly, every night, all winger long. It did not smoke, it did not ‘smell’ and the house did not get burned down from doing this. “FIRE” was a prominent... and very well managed aspect of domestic old New England. Open flames were “everywhere”. Very little “burned flat”. “Children” were “good” “with fire”. Too. When did New England stop using bed warmers? I hope to find the answer through my study... quasi study... of Thoreau’s journals... at the flea market.
Winter: The up hill (starting Part One)... resulting from the down hill... left alone
The ‘made there’.
But... all of these things
At the homestead.
They were used, put away and left alone. Then they became a ‘still there’ when I noted them (‘found them’).
When I took them...
By the time I reach the bottom of the hill with my truck loads of... old beds, wooden buckets, window frames of ‘old glass’, hanging match holders, gilt gold looking glasses, old handle lost adze blades, maker marked drawshaves, pottery basins, ladder back chairs, farm animal salt boxes, old kitchen chair tables, trunks full of mouse leavings, a visitor’s candle lantern, religious books (“dogmatic theology”) and ...old blade worn bread knives...
All of it is a lost soul. But that doesn’t matter
At the flea market.
When they are looking at the looking glass they never look THROUGH the looking glass?
Pretty much. So I don’t have to sell it to them. Eventually someone ‘wants it’
I don’t really want to know. They tell me anyway; “Just the right spot (size, shape, form, place and, of course,) “After I fix it”.
Used, put away, left alone. Is behind it (the looking glass). Now. In its few seconds left of it being ‘that way’ (the way I found it) I passively return to my hand’s reach to its top in the dark on the pine wood paneled wall beside the fireplace where it had been ‘tucked in hiding’ for... so long ago that no one can remember anyone ever looking in... or through... that looking glass...
Then it is gone (sold); all of it. Sometimes, decades later, I find a such and such as this before me again... and it is “still” ‘just the same’. Sometimes I even buy this ‘just the same’ and ‘sell it’... again. And again... and again... I see my hand’s reach ... in the dark... where it is still ‘tucked in hiding’. In my mind. I didn’t spend forty years finally figuring out the ‘this’ of ‘this’. No. I got it early on; the ‘this’ of ‘this’.
I found out exactly what I wanted: What... I... wanted. And stayed there ever since. I wanted a certain expression... that is as if a... certain breeze... whispering: A certain expression of a certain breeze that comes whispering. This, these days, is hard to find. This ‘hard’ includes ‘quasi-hard’ to find too. I might as well include that for I see the ‘quasi’ of antiques all the time.
The two antidotes are simple enough. I have used both in my writings (blog posts) before... although the contexts were different. I couldn’t tell the reader what writings they are in. I have no index. It doesn’t matter; the two jewels are real jewels.
The first is the legend-legacy-tale that the Newburyport merchant-poet Timothy Dexter (and his missive masterpiece “A PICKLE FOR THE KNOWING ONES”) was skylarked by his local merchant fellows into purchasing a ship’s cargo of bed warming pans and ...so there... ‘hung with it’ (the bed warmer cargo). Presumed then to be a ‘loose’ so to foster his ‘financial decline’... did not occur. Dexter peddled the whole cargo ‘for a fortune’ in the West Indies to be used as ‘molasses ladles’ by the sugarcane-rum-slave industry.
The second and notable anecdote is the late in Twain’s HUCKLEBERRY FINN tale (page 322 ) old attic relic retrieval of a bed warming pan by Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn to use to cook their ‘Witch Pie’. Twain’s snappy words do very concisely affirm all I have written about the ‘put away’ ‘left alone’ old New England heritage of the warming pan including it being evident to the reader that Twain himself was a fellow traveler with the old New England decorative art of the bed warming pan. He understood its relic realm and its ‘hung there’ heritages (note plural).