Wednesday, July 24, 2013

From the Collection

Shingle Mill with attached edger with five planing blades ( 19th Century Willowbrook Village Collection).

7 HP Gasoline Engine (19th Century Willowbrook Village)

Shingle Mill

Ice block delivery necessitated at Dr. Trafton's House on Elm Street in Newfield. This sign indicates that a 25 pound delivery is requested as the "25" corner is positioned at the top. A hole is seen above the "50"; each corner has a hole from which the sign was hung to signify how much ice was needed. we hope to present an authentic ice harvest in Newfield this winter.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A billet of patent welded steel. Notice the twirls and patterns in the steel created by pressing together many different pieces of steel with a hydraulic press. We will making our knives in the upcoming bladesmithing class with billets of this type of steel. Scroll down for details of the class to be given at 19th Century Willowbrook Village.

Master Bladesmith Adriaan Gerber visits the smithy at 19th Century Willowbrook Village. Visit his website and see his portfolio of finely crafted knives, swords, halberds and other edge tools.

Blacksmithing/ Bladesmithing Class at 19th Century Willowbrook in Newfield

Be Wowed by History!

When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, August 9,10, & 11, 2013, 10-4PM.
Where: 19th Century Willowbrook Village, 70 Elm Street, Newfield, ME 04056
Contact: Email:, 207-793-2784

Registration for the 19th Century Willowbrook Village Blade-Smithing Course is now open. This class is limited to eight students. We have five forges, anvils and enough tools for the class, so you need not bring any tools with you. Metal and other materials will be supplied. You should register and pay in order to secure your place in the class. The price for three days of instruction (18 hours) by a master bladesmith is $325.

The course will focus on creating a knife from "Damascus" steel (patent welded steel prepared on a hydraulic press) or welded cable steel folded and pressed. The class will include an overview of forge safety, fire-making, hammering, cutting and shaping methods, filing and polishing, and heat treatment for the purpose of hardening (tempering) an edge.

The first project will be a knife. If time permits an additional tomahawk project may be completed. This second project will involve creating a composite of two metals, a softer steel and hard steel. This will be an exercise in forge welding using borax powder. A tomahawk shape will be created through the folding, heating, hammering, and drawing out of the steel metal stock.

A section of dulled file will be heated and cut. It will be inserted into a cavity created in the hot tomahawk shaped metal where borax, a flux, will be poured and cause the two pieces of metal to bond with additional hammering. A similar process can be repeated to achieve a froe, draw knife, or other early edge tools under the direction of bladesmith Adriaan Gerber; these may be projects for future classes depending upon interest.

Registration can be in person at 19th Century Willowbrook Village at the red barn activity building or the "Country Store" across the road during normal operating hours ( M, Th, F, Sat, & Sun: 10-5PM). We accept credit card payment over the phone:207-793-2784, or at the Country Store on the museum campus. More information may be had by calling: 207-793-2784---Please leave a message and a phone number.You can also connect with us during a visit to the Newfield Artisan & Farmer Market on Saturdays.

You own protective eye wear is required. Cotton long sleeves and pants are highly recommended. Boots or shoes that are easily removed are also recommended.


Courses and Artisan Workshops at 19th Century Willowbrook Village

What: Victorian Jewelry Workshop
When: Saturday: Free-To-The-Public Talk, 11-11:45AM; Lunch 12-1PM ( Don't forget our Sandwich Shop on the grounds), Hands-on Jewelry Workshop, 1-3:30PM.
Where: 19th Century Willowbrook Village, 70 Elm Street, Newfield, Maine
Contact/ Registration: Phone: 207-793-2784; Email:

The talk will include an overview of Victorian jewelry from 11-11:45; this will be free to the public. The workshop is from 1-3:30PM. Biddeford Pool artist Ann Thompson will define the Romantic: 1837-1860, the Grand: 1860-1885, and the Aesthetic: 1885-1910 periods of American jewelry making. There will be a slide show of representative pieces.

Ms Thompson will facilitate the creation of romantic pieces of jewelry that reflect the prevalent styles of the period. Traditional fabrication will be used as well as metal casting techniques that have remained the same over time. Students will also have a chance to explore "jet" (black) , which was a common material used in mourning jewelry.

Students will have an opportunity to create faux hair jewelry using a hairlike nylon. Hair jewelry examples from the museum's collection will be a starting point.

Those taking the workshop should, if they can, bring antique buttons or meaningful found objects to "cold connect" into jewelry with rivets, tabs, and staples. Students will have the opportunity to cast iconicsymbols in pewter and attach things to them.

Tuition: Willowbrook members: $80.00, Non-Members: $100.00

For Sale at the Willowbrook Village's Country Store is this reproduction Repousse Hair Receiver.
 There are two original examples in the collection of the museum. "The origins of this odd dish are fascinating. Refined Victorian Women would brush 100 strokes before braiding at bedtime. The strands were removed from the brush and poked into the hole. Later the hair would be woven into intricate weavings of sentimental hair jewelry and floral designs under glass.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Maine Milk Lids: When Milk Came in a Bottle

Hancock County Creamery, Ellsworth, ME
Oakhurst Dairy
Hemond's Dairy
Serendipity Farm, Pam & Mike Lewitt, Upton, ME
Pleasantdale Dairy, W.I. Hughes, Bingham, ME
Beauhaven Farm, Skowhegan, ME
Whalen's Dairy, Lincoln, ME
Elmrow Milk Farm, Wilson & Roberts, West Falmouth, ME
Brookside Dairy, Lee Stinson, Richmond, ME
Milk Maid Service, M. Thompson
Pearl McFarland, Bar Harbor, ME
Elmaple Farm, Westbrook, ME
Ricker's Dairy, Milo, ME
Ray's Dairy, Madison, ME
Wyman's Dairy, Benton, ME
Hunt's Dairy, Skowhegan, ME
Hillside Farm, Tony & Mary Bok, Camden, ME
Gonneville's Dairy, Saco, ME
Titcomb's Dairy, Farmington, ME
Willow Farm, K.C. Haggett

S. Drake, milk wagon, S. Framingham, MA

[1849 Concord Coach Now at Willowbrook Village] Old Concord Coach returns to Bath area after 39 years

From the Archives

Home again

Old Concord Coach returns to Bath area after 39 years

By James Kiley
Bath-Brunswick Bureau

Phippsburg---Richard S. Hill has a bit of Maine history with an Old west flavor in his garage here.
      It's a 130 year old [in 1979] Concord Coach stagecoach built by the Abbot-Downing Co. of Concord, NH. and it is thought to be the third oldest stage coach left in the country.
      The stagecoach's historical and sentimental value knows no bounds. It was built in 1849 for a retired sea captain, William Jewell of Phippsburg, and ran passenger routes between Bath and Small Point here before the civil War.
      Hill's grandfather, Charles T. Jackson of bath, owned the coach from 1920 through 1940, and when his grandson purchased it this summer, the grand vehicle was a part of the family again after a 39 year hiatus.
      "Unfortunately the coach needs a lot of work now," Hill said. "It had been left outside for four or five years in Arizona and has deteriorated some."
      The coach is in two pieces, the chassis and the passenger compartment. However Hill is not discouraged with its condition and is planning to restore it as it looked at the turn of the century.
      "We don't have any idea what it looked like before it was owned by the Sagadahock House (a Bath hotel) so we'll try to restore it to the way they had it. Mr. (Edward) Rowse is still looking to see if he can find any older information on how it looked," Hill said.
      Rowse, of Concord, N.H., works with the Concord Coach Society and Hill has been using his advice in purchasing the coach and planning its restoration.
      "We estimate it will take between $10,000 and $12,000---including the purchase price --- to have it restored. I can't do all of that right away but even if it takes 10 years, we'll still restore it," Hill said.
      "The first thing we have to do is take the driver's box off and tip it upside down so we can fix the bottom. The framework of the coach will have to be repaired, too, but replacing the panels on the bottom, which were made of real thin bass wood might be the hardest thing to do," he said.
      Hill plans to do a lot of the work himself but will hire a carpenter and painter to do some restoration. "I think duplicating the scroll writing which was on the coach will also be difficult," he added.
      Much of the upholstery inside the coach has held up through its 130 years and Hill plans to keep it as it is. "The upholstery is a little faded but it is still in excellent shape."
      The wagon wheels, with their metal tires, need to be rebuilt and Hill plans to coat the century-old wood with linseed oil and an oil base paint when refinishing it.
       "We're going to make a diagram and label each part" before starting the restoration, Hill said. "And i plan to build a small building to house the coach while we're working on it."
       Through older pictures and records, Hill has a good idea of how the stagecoach looked since 1892. Hill took off a section of the upholstery from one of the coach's doors and found the signatures of John Lynch, a worker who helped build the coach in 1849, and William Passmor of Bath, who finished repainting the coach for the Sagadahock House on May 20, 1892.
        Capt. Jewell, who also ran the coach on Bath to Rockland routes, sold it to H.A. Huse in 1871, who used it for the hotel. "My grandfather, who was in real estate and was an antique auctioneer, used the coach as a showpiece on the lawn of his home as an attraction," Hill said.
         The attraction was also the first vehicle to cross the Carlton Bridge during its dedication on July 2, 1928 and carried 21 people, including Gov. Ralph O. Brewster, across the bridge spanning the Kennebec river.

         However, in 1940 Jackson sold the coach to the Wigwam Resort in Phoenix, Ariz., a 17,000-acre western ranch, where it was used for tourist rides. In the early 1960s the coach was donated to Arizona State university in Tempe, Ariz. and Hill's mother and father had their picture taken with it there in 1962 when they were in Arizona on a business trip.
         In February of 1978 I attended a sales meeting in Arizona and I just thought it would be fun to see it and have my picture taken with it. I had heard so much about it," Hill said.
         However when he saw it, Hill realized how much the coach had deteriorated in the 16 years sonce his parents saw it. The university, which accepted the coach in anticipation of including it in a new museum, never saw the museum built and instead loaned the coach out to groups for special rides.
         In the early 1970s the stagecoach was borrowed by a group but was never returned. "That's when it was left outside for four or five years," Hill said.
         "We have Keith Rhodes of the university to thank. He was the one who realized the coach was missing and he bought it back to the college," Hill added.
         "Hill's interest in the stagecoach grew when he discovered the university didn't plan to build a new museum and was interested in putting it on permanent loan or selling it.
         The historic coach was auctioned this summer and Hill's sealed bid was the highest of four. "I never really planned on owning it, but all of a sudden I had purchased it and didn't know how I could get it back home," Hill said.
         Rowse came to his aid and contacted William Green of Ohio, a mover, who was in Arizona and heading back east several weeks ago. The stagecoach was delivered to Hill's driveway on Sept. 30 where seven of his friends helped him lift it off the truck.

         "I haven't the vaguest idea what I'll do with it once it's restored. I'll use it on special occasions but it's eight-feet 11-inches high and I think most of the year I'll have it stored in its building," Hill said.
         Rowse has told Hill when totally restored the stagecoach will be worth between $35,000 and $45,000. Hill said a Concord Coach was sold in Kentucky last year for $38,750.
         "In this way I look at it as an investment. If I ever have to sell it, it'll be worth something. But in the other way I look at it for its historic value."
         "It just looked so terrible. I'd like it to look nice again," Hill said.