Hello! No, it is not Saturday just yet. I am preparing to batten the hatches, as they say, in preparation for the arrival of the winter's first major snow storm! A blizzard warning is now in effect for all of Eastern Massachusetts, and 50+ MPH winds and 24" of snow are expected to impact a wide area. I think I'll spend tomorrow with a good book and a nice warm fire in the woodstove.
In the spirit of the season, today's timely update features something that will come in handy for days like tomorrow. John O. Dean (1835-1912) undoubtedly saw a few good blizzards in his life and understood the value of a sturdy shovel. Featured here is a great example of a New England snow shovel, dated to the third quarter of the 19th century. You will notice immediately that the shovel is made from wood! This is typical of snow shovels from this time. Wood is strong, resilient, and of course will not rust when used in wet weather or snow. The blade on this shovel shows a long period of use, but the shovel retains its original iron scraper at the base of the blade. As you can see in the detail, an iron flange and some rivets and washers are what holds the whole thing together. The shovel must have been valuable as well, since the name "John O. Dean " is stamped heavily into the wood blade. More than likely, this shovel didn't see a lot of snow. It was probably used inside Dean's old grain mill to coral loose hay or feed, which probably saved it from damage. Today it resides in the Museum, safe from ice and snow and all that wintry stuff!
Stay safe, and stay well, and I'll see you after the blizzard!
Curator: Frank Meninno