January 11, 2017
In my previous blog, “A Tramp-art Picture Frame,” I focused on a typical work of that folk-art genre. Here is a very different example (see photograph).
January 03, 2017
A folk-art phenomenon of yesteryear was so-called “tramp art”— wood items handcrafted from discarded materials, ostensibly by hoboes, either to sell or to barter for food or drink. Pictured here (see photo) is a tramp-art frame with its religious oleograph (which I acquired for my collection in 2002).
December 14, 2016
Dr. Kilmer’s Swamp Root Kidney medicine began in the mid-1870s and in time became a household name. It was the creation of Dr. S(ylvester) Andral Kilmer (1840–1924) who developed a line of patent remedies in Binghamton, New York.
December 06, 2016
Although not a precious gem like the diamond, the so-called “Herkimer diamond” is itself the focus of much attention. In June 2016 I was able to add to my collection of curious stones by searching for “Herkimers” at a mine in New York state and learning more about their natural and allegedly magical properties.
November 29, 2016
Where my travels take me, I often have occasion to check out a “haunted” tavern or inn. In several months’ time in 2015–2016, for example, I visited two such places in Australia, others in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands, Vancouver’s Gastown, and Niagara Falls, NY, and then in June 2016, the Tavern on Main in Chepachet, RI.
November 22, 2016
“Black Oil” is an old English name for a horse liniment. It eventually came to be sold in America as “a never failing Remedy for Man and Beast.”
November 18, 2016
LeRoy, New York, has many claims to fame—apart from the mysterious twitching outbreak I investigated for Skeptical Inquirer in 2012. It was the birthplace of Jell-O in 1897 (the museum is well worth seeing) as well as something called Mother Gray’s Sweet Powders for Children, among other products.
November 07, 2016
The Infant Jesus of Prague is a small (18.5 inches tall) wax-covered wood statue of the child Jesus in a church in Prague, Czech Republic. Many of the faithful believe it to have magical powers.