Thursday, November 14, 2013


Last week Mom went to an estate sale, which is something she does sometimes.  I can't seem to cure her of this bad habit, which is a shame because when she goes to a sale, she often spends money she doesn't have for stuff she doesn't need.  If it was stuff for us dogs, that would be different, but usually all she gets for us is some blankets or something fairly boring like that.

Anyway, last week's sale was in a regular suburban neighborhood, with houses that Mom thought were probably built in the 1950s.  There were no sidewalks on either side of the street.  The house where the sale was had maybe been there longer than a lot of the other houses because it looked different, and it had more land around it.  Here's a picture, which is kind of hard to tell anything about, but the house had weathered wood siding, which is not the kind of thing people usually put on their houses in suburbia.

In my opinion, the very best thing in the sale was this great big teddy bear.  I wish Mom had bought it for me because I could have had an extreme amount of fun ripping it open and unstuffing it and eating the pieces.  But Mom does not like me to have much fun, so she didn't buy me the bear.

In fact, Mom didn't buy a whole lot of anything.  She bought some little blankets for kitties and a small quilt and 4 pencils, and that was about all.  She only spent $12, so I guess I can't complain too much about that, but for only $20 more, she could have got the bear for me.

Mom saw some interesting antiques at the sale, though, which was mostly what made it interesting.  In the house, there were three apple peelers.  What you do with one of these is you screw it onto your table, and then you stick the apple on a little spiky part.  After that, you turn the crank, and the  cog wheels go around, and a blade peels the apple.  You can also peel potatoes with one of these devices.

Here's what it looks like when you are actually peeling an apple with one of these.

Photo:  Bob Kelley

But most of the interesting stuff at this estate sale was outside in the big yard.  There were several things that would make a person's work easier back in the old days, like for example, a corn sheller.  This one is lying on its side, so Mom wasn't totally sure what it was at first, but then I did some research on hand-operated corn shellers, and we found out that that was what Mom had seen.

The yellow part with the blue handle is the crank you turn.
Then you feed ears of corn in at the top.
The toothy wheel knocks the kernels off the cob.
Here's a picture from an 1869 magazine of a corn sheller made by a Mr. J.P. Smith.  As you can see, if the sheller is mounted on a bench, you can sit and shell your corn in perfect comfort.  You can even do it one-handed while wearing a suit and hat.  Mom thinks this picture is funny because it is "phallic," but I'm not sure what she means by that.  I just think the hat is pretty silly-looking.

I was surprised to learn that you can still buy brand new corn shellers today.  They are much prettier and shinier because they haven't lost all their paint yet.

Another type of corn sheller that was at the estate sale was the type that runs with a belt that is turned by a motor.  I think if you have a lot of corn to shell, like maybe a whole field of it, you would want to use a bigger machine like this.

Here's a diagram of what all the openings and parts are for.

The biggest antique tool at the sale was an old plow.  It was made by International Harvester, and the price on it was $600.  Mom did not buy this plow because (1) we need the $600 to pay for a fancy filter system that is being put on our furnace today, and (2) if we bought a plow, we would have to buy a tractor to pull it, and (3) we don't have space for either a plow or a tractor in our yard, and (4) we can't think of anything we need to plow up.

Here's a picture of the plow.  We think it was pulled by a tractor and not by a horse, but we don't know much about farming, so we could be wrong.

This is the plowshare, which is the part that cuts into the earth.  And while that is happening, the little round wheel marks where the next furrow should be, so the farmer can follow that mark on his way back across the field.  The blue trash can is not part of the plow, so don't be confused.

If you have iron wheels, you don't have to worry about your tires going flat, so that's good.

Here's a picture I found of a antique plow hitched by a antique tractor.

Photo by Stephen Swinney
There was also an above-ground pool at the sale.  Mom wasn't sure if it was actually for sale or not.  When I saw the picture of the pool, I wanted to stay far, far away from it because I hate water so much, as I might have mentioned before.

The last thing I'm going to tell you about is the Kwik Kerb Continuous Concrete Edging van.  For only $10,000 a person could buy this van and start a whole new career putting concrete blocks around the edges of things.  What I thought was very interesting was that this van used the British spelling of kerb. Also, the side of the van mentions car parks, which we call parking lots in this country.

Okay, that pretty much covers the highlights of the estate sale.  This week, Mom is going to a sale in a ritzy part of town, so they probably won't have any rusty old plows in the back yard!

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