I got a lovely care package from my family in New York today. In typical care packages, most people find their favorite sweets and little trinkets & edibles. Mine, however, are filled with machine parts, cuckoo clock innards, and flea market finds from my whole family. It’s really wonderful to get one of these packages and it often results in holing myself up for the next few days and creating lots of new steampunk pieces.
There are so many great finds that I had to share them with you! The first thing I found inside was this dainty little bracelet. Clearly it belonged to a lady named Margaret and was a token of her love of Everett. Margaret & Everett sittin’ in a tree…K-I-S-S-I-N-G. Pieces like this always make me wonder–were they ever married, or did their love had some torrid end? Another treasure I unwrapped was a broken pocketwatch. Some pocketwatches are engraved with a maker’s seal or brand. The most fascinating tidbit of history is that this pocketwatch is stamped with the word “Remontoir” which indicates that this watch is powered by a mainspring on its own. Before 1860, even pocketwatches had to be wound with a clock key. Another wonderful detail is that the clock is engraved with the original owner’s name–a Mr. Irving Abel.
My godmother found this next piece, a silver & pearl pin with the words–“Ais Urites Es Usaugu” written on the front. The pin features a women standing underneath a tree by a lake at sunset. I had searched for a translation of the words to no avail. I believe they are a Latvian dialect & that the woman under the tree is Zeme māte, or Mother Earth, a figure in Latvian dainas (or folktales). If anyone has come across this before, please let me know–I’d love to pick your brain.
My family, knowing my love of old photos, sent me a tintype photograph of 3 young ladies. I am assuming they are sisters. There is no information about them scrawled on the back. I am left to ponder what their names were and what their lives were like. Here’s a close up of the sisters.Among other flea market treasures, there was a whisk-holder which I am happily converting into a business card holder; a wooden puzzle piece of Oklahoma; and some vintage jewelry to upcycle.Another piece that sparked my curiosity were the Springfield Street Railway Co. coins. The company, originally called Palmer and Monson Street Railway, operated out of Springfield, Massachusetts and changed its name in 1901. The coins are from anytime between 1901 and 1927 (when the company stopped its operation and changed to the bus system). A fare was 5 cents. More about the Springfield Street Railway Co. can be found in Albert Sutton Richey’s quantitative study, Traffic and Operation: Springfield Street Railway Company published in 1917.