Antique tools show a nod to a different time

3 months ago 64
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'A piece of history': Antique tools at Cayuga County museum show a nod to a different time

KING FERRY — Even though most of the tools Bruce Manuel had with in him in King Ferry Saturday were more than 100 years old, he said they were still useful.

Manuel and Toby Dean displayed various items at the Antique Tool and Equipment Swap Meet at the Rural Life Museum. The event allowed people to show off, trade, and sell vintage and antique tools and pieces of equipment such as small farming implements, lanterns, tractor parts, oil and gas cans and more.

One of the largest items on Manuel's table was an old pulley, which he said he still uses. He said he believes events like this teach people about older tools and how they are used. There has been a substantial increase in recent years of people buying older barns to convert into houses or for other uses, Manuel continued, and "these old tools work the best."

Sprawled out on Dean's table were knives, a hammer and a "bark spud," which takes bark off of trees. He and Manuel were also trying to determine what exactly a small item Dean brought with him was. Dean said he believes there is a demand for traditional tools.

"There's a revival in interest in making things. It's a hobby, not a living, but people want to work with their hands, they want to learn metal work," he added.

Toby Dean talks about a hammer and industrial history in Auburn at the Antique Tool and Equipment Swap Meet at the Rural Life Museum in King Ferry Saturday.

Later, Anto Parseghian bought a couple of orange clamps and a machete from Dean. Parseghian, a woodworker, said he's not a collector, but he tries to look for good deals.

"I think it's important to appreciate tools. I think it's important to appreciate people who make tools," Parseghian said. "Tools are just such a foundation of Western civilization."

The Genoa Historical Association serves as the board of directors for the museum. Shannon Armstrong, the town of Genoa historian and a historical association member, said the museum held the tool and equipment event in 2019 but didn't host it last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She noted there are a lot of farmers in the area, so there is a lot of interest in old tools and historical equipment. 

Armstrong added that she believes people are proud of the items they have collected over the years and want to learn more about them.

"It's a piece of history and they get excited about it and they want to know more," she said. She added that she believes people's passions for why they collect such things brings people together.

The museum, which was first opened by the historical association in 1987, was temporarily closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of the museums volunteers are older, Armstrong said, saying that they wanted to ensure the community's safety. That following month, the museum was available for tours by appointment only. Normally, the museum is open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but recently it was opened back up for Wednesdays. The museum hopes to resume its former three-day availability at some point. 

The museum kept on going during the outbreak, holding tours by appointments while following COVID-19 restrictions. Armstrong noted the board held monthly meetings via Zoom, the phone was still being answered and someone would check in on the area during the winter.

"It's just a place where people can go and learn more about their community and their families, and we didn't want to lose that," she said. "We didn't want the museum to ever go, no one wants it to go away. "

Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.

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