What is it? Oh, that’s it!

Answer key

1. A small fat lamp, known as a betty lamp. These lamps burned fish oil or animal fat and had wicks of twisted cloth, which laid in a small trough near the spout. These were common in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Gift of the Estate of Alpheus C. Allebach.
2. Bloodletting cups and lancet, early-to-mid 19th century. Bloodletting was common medical practice in the 18th and early 19th centuries. It was thought that certain illnesses could be alleviated by draining contaminated blood. This brass lancet is a spring-activated cutting device with many small, closely aligned blades. The tin cups when pressed against the sliced skin, created a small amount of suction to drain some blood. More sterile letting cups were made of glass. Gift of Wallace H. Nyce.
3. Hand-forged iron sugar cutter, late 18th century. You may wonder why sugar needed to be “cut”. In earlier centuries, sugar was manufactured and marketed in solid bricks and cones, and had to be cut or chipped by the consumer for household use. So various metal tools were developed for that purpose – this one is expertly forged. Gift of Leroy M. Landis.
4. Whetstone horn, or holder, mid 19th century, made of cattle horn. This hung from a farmer’s pants and held a long, small sharpening stone, which was used to sharpen grain cradles and sickles out in the field during the harvest. This one has the initials of the owner, “H. L.” (probably stands for Henry Landis, since it came from a local Landis family). Gift of Brian Hagey.
5. Butter mold and print, mid 19th century. For farmer’s who sold their butter, eggs and produce at market in Philadelphia, this was a way to make their butter more desirable. Gift of Herman & Emma Finkelstein.
6. Eel skins were used as a leather substitute, at least by Pennsylvania German farmers, in the 19th century. Fresh-water eels lived in area creeks and rivers, like the Perkiomen and Schuylkill, and were harvested for their meat and skins. The elderly man who gave this to us back in the 1980s said eel skins were sometimes used to connect the two main parts of a threshing flail, instead of leather. Gift of Abram C. Hunsicker.
7. Butter paddles, mid 19th century, were used to press excess water out of farm-made butter, and to shape and press the butter into molds. Gift of Herman & Emma Finkelstein.
8. Pie dough crimper, made of brass, mid-to-late 19th century. These were used to apply decorative crimping to pie and pastry shells.
9. These blunt “knives” (actually small pry bars) were used to knock a hole in the edge of an oyster or clam shell, and then with the thin end, to pry open the shell through that hole. This was sometimes called oyster shucking. The user could then remove the oyster or clam meat.
10. A clamp-on cheese grater or small food grinder from the late 19th to early 20th century. The wooden top piece was used to push the food down against the small grater barrel. Gift of John E. Fretz.
11. Ear trumpet from the early 20th century. The user held the small, tubular end in their ear with one hand, and the speaking end out with their other hand.
12. A folding, decorative, personal fan, commonly used at church and funeral services, and at more formal occasions of visiting in homes.