Antique Gadgets

On our recent trip to Germany, we toured with a wonderful couple from Massachusetts, who happen to be antique dealers. Paula and Chris DeSimone we’re intrigued that we were with Steve Greenberg, the Today Show’s Innovation Insider.

They immediately told him about the antique gadgets they have encountered over the years. They thought it would be wonderful to show the world what innovation looked like 100 years ago. Steve can’t use these historical gadgets on The Today Show because they feature emerging new technologies. I, however, volunteered showcasing them in my blog because I knew you would enjoying seeing them.

All of these items were found and photographed at Upton House Antiques, 275 King Street, Littleton, Ma., owned and operated by Eileen M. Poland.

Thank you Paula and Chris. You are just terrific. We must meet again soon.

NIDDY NODDY:   Sells for approx.  $48     Circa 1820

A niddy noddy is a simple homemade yarn winder. The DeSimone’s said they were unable to discover the genesis of the rather unusual name. However, they did find some evidence that the name comes from the word “nod”.  While in use the implement sways back and forth like a head “nodding.”

HOG SCRAPPER:  Sells for approx. $10-$15     Late 19th early 20th centuries. It was used to scrape the stiff hairs off of a pig’s hide. The worker would grip the handle and scrape with the cup-like end.

NUTMEG  GRATER  Sells for approx. $45-$50      c1890;l

Thr nutmeg is placed in the hopper and is held there by the plunger.  The user grips the wooden handle and moves the grate back and forth until the entire piece is ground.

CANDLE SNUFFER:   Sells for approx. $25      18th and 19th centuries

Used to extinguish candles throughout the house.  The scissor-like section was used to trim wicks and the sharp point on the end was used to “dig” the wick out of melted wax.

HEARTH TOASTER:   Sells for approx. $100-$120   early 1800’s

Used to make toast in the fireplace.  The bread, no doubt homemade, would be placed in the available slot.

BOOT JACK:   Sells for approx. $35-$40  

Used to remove boots when one didn’t have someone to assist.  The wearer would place the heel of one booted foot in the “vee” shaped cutout and would step on the other end with  his other foot.  He would then  pull back with his leg thus removing the boot

APPLE CORER:  Sells for approx. $45-$50     c1885

Obviously, used to peel apples and remove the core

BUTTER STAMP:   Sells for approx. $20-$25    circa 1890. Many butter makers, when done, would place the very moldable butter into a form.  Thus giving it a shape.  They would then imprint a design on the top of the butter.  Of course, as soon oas the butter was used the design would disappear.  Butter stamps are highly collectible.  Actually, most of the items listed here are collected.