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May 12, 2023
Blacksmiths anvil

This anvil in our collection is located inside our Cleveland-Gagen Blacksmith Shop and was an integral component in the forging and shaping of metal into useful items.

In previous centuries, blacksmiths heated metal in an open flame forge and hammered it into shape by hand atop an anvil. Even today, metal has to be heated to high temperatures before it can be manipulated, although now it’s primarily stamped by machine.

An anvil is used as a ‘work table’ for shaping the metal. The smooth hard top surface, or face, was ideal for creating a flattened portion of metal. The cone-shaped horn jutting out the side of the anvil was used for shaping or creating curves in the metal.

To finish the project a blacksmith might have to do an equal amount of work when the metal cooled, including filing, smoothing and adding decorations.

May 5, 2023
sharp shooters medal civil war

After the Army’s defeat at Bull Run in 1861 Colonial Berden, a competitive marksman, organized a regiment of Sharp Shooters. To prove they were capable the volunteers had to place ten consecutive shots in a ten-inch bullseye at a distance of 200 yards!

This Sharp Shooters medal in our collection was given to Civil War Veteran USSS Corporeal Albert H. Corwin (1837-1902) who was part of Berden’s original US Sharp Shooters (1861-1865) and the Survivors Association organized in 1890.

Sharp Shooters have participated in all major U.S. engagements.

Gift of Altha S. Molle.

Apr. 28, 2023
Fanning Mill winnower

Growing grain is fairly easy; but separating the chaff from the usable grain, not so much.


This item in our collection is called a Fanning Mill and it was a mechanized way to separate the chaff, dust, weed and seeds from the grain, also called “winnowing”. 

A fan would blow the grain and chaff across vibrating screens, thus the name “Fanning Mill”, while the shaking movement of the sieves and screens cleans the grain. Top sieves catch the courser material. The grain is then further cleaned when it passes through the finer mesh screens below, which can be changed to suit the grain being cleaned.


While still a process, it was easier than previous methods of using the wind to winnow grains. In more ancient times, grain was manually thrown into the air so the chaff would blow away while heavier grain fell to the ground.

Apr. 21, 2023
Surrey carriage history

This popular family carriage in our collection is similar in purpose and usage to the family car of today.

The Surrey Carriage was made with two bench seats and was manufactured with a variety of tops, which could range from a rigid fringe canopy to a parasol or extension top. Unlike family cars of today, the Surrey was usually doorless.

Watertown Carriage Company of Watertown, NY made the body of the carriage. In 1909, a competitor called the Babcock Company absorbed Watertown Carriage and switched to making automobile and auto bodies until it closed manufacturing in the 1920s.

William R. and Mary T. Newbold owned this Surrey having purchased it from William F. Morrell & Son, a well-known Riverhead carriage dealer. The Newbolds, with their children Myra and Max W., used the carriage in the early 1900s in Southold.

Apr. 14, 2023
Bennett family loom

This loom in our collection dates back to the early 1800s when the Bennett family brought it to Southold and it remained in use by the same family until Rosalind Case Newell, a great niece of the last weaver, gifted it to the Museum. It was used in the family home on Bowery (now Ackerly Pond) Lane.


A skilled weaver could produce as much as 14 yards of cloth per day if the day was spent weaving. Interestingly, there is a char mark on the loom where the weaver may have been working late and a candle set the wood to smoldering.

Apr. 7, 2023
Trade card front and back with blue egg nest from HW Prince

Trade cards were used in the late 1800s as a way of advertising goods and services to a growing base of consumers. After the end of the Civil War commerce exploded and businesses sought new ways of inviting customers to visit their shops. The attractive cards were enhanced by the development of color lithography, or multicolor printing.  


This trade card in our collection from H.W. Prince reads:

“Complements of H.W. Prince. April 16, 1881. New arrival of goods. You are invited to call and examine.”

The H.W. Prince building currently serves as our Museum Gift Shop and Treasure Exchange and we invite you “to call and examine”!

Gift of Elizabeth Diefenbacher.

Mar. 31, 2023
Lusterware set popularized in the 19th century

Lusterware is a type of pottery or porcelain that has a metallic glaze that gives it an iridescent effect.

Mass quantities of silver and copper lusterware were produced in England in the 1820s. Pitchers were produced in a range of sizes, from small cream pitchers to large milk containers.

The copper pieces became popular in the United States due its lustrousness. As gas lighting became more available at the time, the trend was to place groupings of lusterware on mirrored platforms to be used as centerpieces for dinner parties.


The gas lighting heightened its luster.

Mar. 10, 2023
Cutter Sleigh 1800s

Winter’s not over yet! Today we have cars with four wheel drive and snow tires, but in the 1800s a sleigh rigged to a horse would be needed to whisk you through the snow.

Perhaps you recall the lyrics “Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh, o’er the fields we go, laughing all the way.” It likely was fun, as well as practical since typical carriage wheels wouldn’t function well in snow. This item in our collection is beautifully crafted with a high front board. And, a warm blanket would’ve made it cozy.

‘Cutter’ is an American name for a light sleigh with a single seat board. The typical Portland type was square bodied with a curved dash attached to the upward sweep of the runners. See this and other sleighs in our collection in the Reichert family barn at the Maple Lane Complex.

Photo by: Michael O’Conner

Mar. 3, 2023
scrimshaw by whalers

Scrimshaw, which is the decorative art of carving bone, is considered one of the earliest ‘original’ folk art forms developed by European Americans, according to Clifford Ashley of The Yankee Whaler.

A whaler might have some free time aboard a vessel and the captain would often supply the crew with pieces of bone or teeth to pass the time.  Scrimshaw items might include canes, dominoes, dice, cribbage boards, corset husks, serving tools, smoking equipment, etc. The carving of scrimshaw alleviated boredom, created artistic pursuit and above all, “prevented the devil from finding work for idle hands” onboard a vessel.

Feb. 24, 2023
Mergenthaler Linotype machine

This item in our collection is a c. 1927 Mergenthaler Linotype Machine Model 8 on display in our Print Shop. While computers today do most printing rather quickly, this machine was a great innovation in its day, saving time and money in the publishing process.


Called a “linotype”, it produced whole “lines of type” that were cast from molten metal by simply typing into the keyboard.  These lines of type were then inked and turned into printed pages on the press.

Photo by: Michael O’Conner.


View historic footage of how the Mergenthaler Linotype Machine functioned at:

Feb. 17, 2023
Hallock family sewing machine

This item in our collection is the Hallock family sewing machine.


Did you know a women’s wardrobe was hand-sewn in Victorian days? A local dressmaker, usually a family friend, would often live with the family while she made the spring or fall wardrobes. Dressmaking was considered a genteel way for a single woman to make a living.


The mistress of the house often had a mannequin made to her sizing so she wouldn’t have to waste many hours being fitted. Often, old dresses were refashioned to the style of the current year.


Also of note, the elaborate thread and pin cushion stand.

Feb. 10, 2023
Bicycle shop and blacksmith shop 1890

Blacksmith and Bicycle Repair Shop, circa 1890, photographer unknown.

This photograph in Southold shows a blacksmith shoeing a very patient horse.  But if you look at the sign over the horses head, the blacksmith was transitioning his business model from traditional blacksmithing to bicycle repair. 

The 1890’s saw an enormous number of people getting and traveling by bicycles all over the country.  The first bicycling craze started in the early 1800s with the German-made “dandy horse”. These bicycles had no pedals and were pushed along with the feet on either side; they were uncomfortable for riders and considered dangerous to pedestrians. Later versions emerged including “tricycles” or “quadracycles”, thought to be more stable.


It wasn’t until the 1860s that rotary cranks and pedals were added to the dandy horse to make it self-propelled. Styles at this time included the “ordinary” or the “penny-farthing”, also known as the "high-wheel" because of its oversized front wheel. The largest craze started in the 1890s, when the “safety bicycle” with its chain-drive and smaller inflatable tires, really took off.


Interestingly, a blacksmith in France created the original parts for the 1860s version of the bicycle.

Jan. 27, 2023
Main Road bike path in Southold

Postcard of the Main Road in Southold looking east, 1905.

We invite you to take a closer look at this image of the Main Road facing east. Notice the two pathways on the far left of the image.  One is a sidewalk and the other closer to the road is the bicycle path that ran alongside the Main Road. 


While we are not sure if the path ran the whole length of the Main Road in town, we know it existed as far as Peconic. 

Jan. 20, 2023
Lafayette visit commemorative plate

This commemorative plate in our collection was made by Staffordshire and depicts the return of the Marquis de Lafayette to the United States on August 16, 1824. 


The French Marquis, who served as a general under the command of George Washington during the American Revolution, fought in several important battles here. The Marquis was a great champion of human rights and independence both here and in France. The plate pictures General Lafayette landing at Castle Garden, in N.Y.C. at the start of his tour of the new nation, where he was hailed as one the country’s great heroes along his route. 


The plate belonged to Mrs. Frank C. Horton of Southold.

Jan. 13, 2023
Desk belonging to Hallock family

This slant top desk in our collection is an historic Hallock family relic. Dating back to the early 1700s, it is painted black and features solid brass handles.


The item was crafted by an ancestor of the Hallock family and was handed down to Joseph Nelson Hallock, who lived 1861-1946.


The desk was given to the Museum by Ann Currie-Bell, Joseph’s daughter and is on display in the Thomas Moore House at the Maple Lane Complex.

Jan. 6, 2023
Fun Fair Tokens_edited.jpg

We are hoping you can tell us more about two tokens that are imprinted: ‘Fun Fair’ in Mattituck and ‘Fun Fair’ in Greenport have come into our collection.

While they are from the area, they are modern and we do not have a lot of information on them. Some residents told us they remember an arcade in Mattituck.

Do you have any recollections of these tokens or how they would’ve been used?

We would also like to know where the fairs or arcades were located, what they were called, and what type of attractions they featured.

Kindly email us at

Dec. 16, 2022