New found treasures...

I enjoyed a "sister's weekend" with my sisters and their dear husbands. We traveled to our home state of Minnesota and took in a relaxing weekend in the Mississippi river valley towns of Red Wing, Wabasha (yes, Grumpy Old men) and Lake City.  
A visit to an antique shop in Lake City turned up a couple of "antique treasures" for me
that I couldn't resist.
No, not the sampler,
nor the buttons.
a rusty hook,
and these...
 not the thimbles,
those clam shells. 
Silly purchase isn't it?
  A couple of old clam shells with holes in them...
 When I showed them to the dear husband,
 he gave me
 "the look"
 like I must have holes in my brain....{sigh} 
In the 1800's the Mississippi was full of clam beds
 the button business
 was booming along these river towns.
  The rusty hook (1st photo)
 was used on the clamming boats. 
 By nature, a clam likes to sit at the bottom of the river,
 with it's mouth open,
facing up river,
just waiting for some morsel of food
 to find it's way into it's mouth.
These hooks,
 that were drug across the bottom of the river,
would find their way into the clam's "mouth"
When these hooks touched their mouths,
 they would clamp down on it
the rest is history for the clam.
The clams were then dumped into large boiling pots of water,
they died from the heat of the water,
the meat was then recovered
 the shells were used for button making!!
See the holes in the shells?
The men would punch out the blank buttons
and it was usually the younger boys
that did the finishing work.
Button making often times
would involved the whole family,
women would sit in their homes
sewing buttons onto the cards.
I've found myself,
 a time or two,
 sewing buttons onto old cards and photos...

I think I grew up in the wrong century...
Anyone else?
I'm happy as a clam with my new found treasures
and love their history!
And another thought,
schoolgirl samplers?
How fun would have school been,
if it would have involved stitching samplers?
I definitely grew up in the wrong century!
With thy Needle & Thread,


CATHI said...

I myself sometimes think, too, that I do not belong into the current times, but some hundreds years ago (at least 100 years ago...)... I am more interested in "old stuff" and related themes than in modern "stuff"... :o) I also prefer more to preserve than to "destroy" (= throw away) old things/materials... So you see, you are not alone!!! And I know very well this "look" - my husband gives me - from time to time - these looks, too!!! ;o)


Chocolates4Breakfast (Terri Malinovich) said...

I love your finds! Never in a million years would I have guessed what the clamming hook was. The clam shells with the button punched holes are great! My DH doesn't "get" most of my purchases either. Yep, definitely born in the wrong era but I'd like the past with some of our moder day conveniences. Too bad we can't have it both ways!

annie said...

loved this post, my husband was giving you his look as I read him the captions, but as I finished reading him the post, he liked what you wrote. me, I just love old buttons too!

Natasha said...

Thank you for that great bit of information. I would have had no idea :)

I too love the idea of the "older" times and often could see myself living there, but I will admitt I do like my moderen conveinces.

Though I would be content to live in the country with a few goats and Chickens.Canning and tending to my Garden. That would make me very Happy.

Have a wonderfyl day!!

Barbara said...

Saw the clam shells and immediately thought....thread holder. Great find.

cucki said...

Thank you for that great bit of information.i loved this post so much..
i am areal old soul ..
hugs xxx

Marilyn said...

What great treasures!
I would never have thought of the hook as a clam hook though.
P.S. Does Agassi have any new Halloween hats to model for us?
If not, maybe you could refresh us with last year's pic. :)

Mouse said...

i am with you on the stitching bit at school ...we would have all come out with straight A's ...lol
loved the history lesson too ... and I love to wear 17th century clothing .. did the sealed knot re enactment society for 7 years :) happy stitching :) love mouse xxxx

Simple Pleasures said...

I love your find, and never would have figured it out! I have been without a computer for a week and am glad to be back and catching up with my favorite blogs! I hope you enjoy your weekend!

*Kountry*Porch*Primitives* said...

I totally agree!! Your finds are wonderful, never thought of sewing buttons onto a photo it's a really pretty touch! ~Kriss~

From Sherry's Heart said...

What a GREAT story!!! Since I have LOVED buttons all my life & can never have enough & LOVE clams & can never eat enough,I would have bought those pieces too had I known their backgroung!!!!

Patti-Rocky Mtn Stitcher said...

I thought the clam shells make good floss holders LOL. What a wonderful time.

Beehive Needleworks said...

Brilliant! I do fancy anything old, antique, and with a bit of "age." There are so many wonderful stories hiding quite beneath the surface, yes?
Thank you most kindly for sharing your new lovelies...I am delighted that they have found their way into a welcoming, forever home.

Linda said...

My Mother has always said that I was brought up in the wrong century. And I too believe that. I'm so old-fashioned and love old-fashioned things. I've got a big collection of old buttons. I sometimes just sit and go through them - thinking of the items of clothing they came from - and the people who wore them.

Linda in VA

Cheryl WNC said...

What a terrific find. I had no idea buttons were made from clam/oyster shells. I too thought at first glance floss keeps. How cool is that? Thanks for sharing!

Marlene said...

Wow! That is so interesting!!!
Thanks for that bit if history.