A weekend road trip that was intended to be a cabin trip to New Jersey, but it’s hunting season and all of our usual cabins were booked— so we went to Pennsylvania in search of antiques and general get-out-of-the-city time. This resulted in some wonderful new acquisitions for The Museum*, the above object being easily the most exciting of which. Explanation and more photos after the jump.
A mechanical separator, or more specifically, a cherry seeding device. A simple machine, its basic mechanics involve merely a hand-cranked wheel (clean, moves readily) with periodic curved fins or ridges to aid in seed removal. I’ve no cherries with which to test it, so I’m not altogether sure how it relieves them of their pips (and likely their souls), but I look forward to seeing in action. This untrustworthy-looking insect of a steam-age cast iron robot claims to’ve been patented in November 1863 and May 1866, and measures approximately 11″ from front claw to back. Its shapely stems have holes to allow the thing to be bolted to a surface, and it’s held together entirely with wing nuts, allowing for adjustments. Modern cherry seeding machines are far less exquisite— downright boring, really.
What appeals most to me is how, when gazing at it— from across a room, for example— one gets the distinct impression that it will scuttle away (or worse, toward you) the –moment– your eyes are averted. A Civil War Era Weeping Angel as imagined by Edward Gorey; a nightmare creature of diminutive (and thereby deceptive) proportion. I’m simultaneously frightened of it and *adore* it. It needs a name. (Feel free to posit suggestions in the comments.)
Incidentally, after a quick Google search, I found a similar one in poorer (rusted) condition sporting a price tag of $165 listed on Etsy. I paid $35 (haggled down from 40, ’cause haggling is part of antiques shopping). More photographs below, and more acquisition images to follow shortly in a separate post.
* A note on the Museum: this is the nomenclature Zac and TL awarded my apartment— being filled, as it is, with art, old books and photographs and a general plethora of old curiosities and oddments. I began a tumblr with the intention of cataloguing same, Zac having given it the title, “Sterling & Pervert’s Museum of All that can be called Just So,” but I think I may migrate its (meagre thus far) contents to this and have everything in one place.