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Category: Plymouth History Museum

Modern Kitchen Conveniences circa 1909

Modern Kitchen Conveniences circa 1909

It is easy to take for granted the modern kitchen, or more specifically, modern refrigeration. Food can last incredibly long inside of our modern refrigerators, but modern refrigeration is barely 100 years old. What did people do to keep food cool and away from pests before widespread refrigeration? In the 1800s, the icebox became increasingly popular which created a global market for ice to fill the iceboxes. In the Yearbook of the Department of Agriculture, 1909, one chapter focuses on…

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The Best Way to Maximize Profit

The Best Way to Maximize Profit

The economics of agriculture, or any sector of the economy, are actually quite simple at their core. A product is produced and someone needs to be willing to purchase that product. What is the key to maximum profit? Connecting the product to the consumer in as few steps as possible. The process of getting the product to the consumer can be a very complicated process and every step of the way incurs a cost upon the farmer and ultimately their…

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The Rise of Manure as a Commodity

The Rise of Manure as a Commodity

When thinking of commodities, the first thought would probably not be manure. Commodities like oil, gold, coffee, and natural gas have a fairly high demand, but who would pay a premium price for manure? In many cases, large farms need to pay others just to get rid of their massive amounts of manure. However, as the price of man-made fertilizers increases, it is entirely possible that manure will return to its state as a highly valued commodity. Notice that I…

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Rural Flight: The Migration from Farm to City

Rural Flight: The Migration from Farm to City

The statistic is quite striking. In 1820 it is estimated that 72% of Americans worked on farms. In 1920, the number was 30%. Today, less than 1%. This concept continues to come up repeatedly. For 200 years, people have been leaving farms for the city. The underlying question is, “Why?”  At the Plymouth Historical Society, there are stacks of old books that give a glimpse into the past of Plymouth and the United States. One stack included different copies from…

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Object Spotlight: The Schiebe Gunny Sack

Object Spotlight: The Schiebe Gunny Sack

One of the challenges of working at a historical society is coming across objects that do not have clear provenance or purpose. This week’s Object Spotlight focuses on a gunny sack that is difficult to completely decipher. The reusable bag is made of tightly woven cotton or hemp fibers. Printed on one side of the sack is “A. F. Schiebe.” Schiebe is a common name in Plymouth history. The likeliest original owner of the sack would be Albert Frank Schiebe…

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Object Spotlight: Fish Hook Hog Rings

Object Spotlight: Fish Hook Hog Rings

At the Plymouth Historical Society, we have a box of fish hook hog rings made by Decker Manufacturing Company. This company was established in 1878 and is still around today. Originally the company worked predominately with barbed wire, but has since developed many different agricultural products. It is difficult to tell how old the box is, but it is clear the rings must have had some practical purpose on the farm. In fact, nearly the same exact product is still…

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Collections Website

Collections Website

The Plymouth Historical Society has been working on a collections inventory for the past 8 weeks. So far, we have inventoried about 525 objects, or about 1/3 of the objects we planned to inventory during this phase of the project. Now that we’ve reached this milestone, we’ve decided to make our work public. One of the reasons for completing this inventory is to be able to share our collections online. For the first time ever, users are able to see…

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Object Spotlight: 1930 Hay Harvest Photograph

Object Spotlight: 1930 Hay Harvest Photograph

I recently came across a photograph at the Plymouth Historical Society that caught my eye. It depicted a man standing in front of an automobile in 1930. The vehicle was barely visible underneath the massive pile of hay on top of what was likely a hay wagon. A small three-pronged fork sat beside the pile and a open barn door was to the rear of the hay pile. If you look closely, a small building sits to the right front…

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Object Spotlight: Paris Green

Object Spotlight: Paris Green

Museums often advertise white glove tours. These special tours provide guests with opportunities to touch museum artifacts. The cotton gloves protect the artifacts from oils and fingerprints and protect the wearer from any harmful substances that might be found on the artifacts. At the Plymouth History Museum, we wear blue nitrile gloves to protect ourselves and our artifacts from harm. These gloves came in handy the other day when we came across a seemingly harmless keg. It was clear that…

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Object Spotlight: Historic Photographs

Object Spotlight: Historic Photographs

In the past three weeks, the Plymouth Historical Society has completed an inventory of 47 historic photographs, including 4 images mounted in specialized hinged cases trimmed in gold and lined with velvet. Set in their jewel box-like cases, the photographs seem extra precious. Although hundreds of thousands of photographs like these exist in museum collections all over the world, the word “precious” still applies. These are among the oldest photographs ever produced. A daguerreotype like this was most likely made…

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