Friday, April 29, 2011

Valuable Antiques or Just Old Junk

So I'm now leading this schizophrenic existence--one foot in So. Deerfield and one foot in Southbridge.  Sometimes I'm a happy artisan, working on jewelry and doing craft shows, and sometimes I'm a cranky old lady cleaning out the cellar of my childhood home.  I'd like to tell you that after 60 years the house is just filled with valuable treasure but so far it just looks like junk.

I've been to the house 3 times now just to work on the cellar and have gifted the garbage man with 8-9 big black bags of trash.  The recycling company has now received 4 boxes of broken down cardboard boxes, 2 bags of newspapers, 8 bags of plastic, and 4 boxes of glass.  Children of The Depression don't purchase top quality products as they're too expensive, but they save every margarine and cool whip container they get because "you don't know when you'll need one."  Well you might need one or even two, but forty?!!  And all the stuff I've now gotten rid of doesn't include those items too big or unfit for recycling.  For that I'll need a dumpster--the large one.

After 37 years of working in a library, I clean by organizing/cataloging.  I have looked inside every box and jar, sorted all the tools as well as nails and screws, and set aside anything still usable that might be worth a quarter at the tag sale I'll eventually have.

The cellar was my dad's domain mostly.  He had 4 work benches buried under mounds of old tools and jars of things.  It was finding some of these jars 3 years ago that started me on the road to making steampunk jewelry.  As he was not a librarian, he was not very organized.  And it seems that it was just easier to go out and buy an new hammer than it was to try to locate the old one.  I found 2 crates of tools and 3 tool boxes.  He owned 14 hammers, 11 saws and countless replacement blades.  I stopped counting wrenches at 35.  He had 2 power drills and 4 old manual ones and over a 100 drill bits to go with them.  You might wonder if he was perhaps a carpenter.  No, he wasn't.  He was a machinist and an avid do-it-yourselfer.  I guess that's where I get it from.

Though I didn't find any valuable antiques, I did come across some interesting tools that I can't identify.  Pictured here is what looks like some kind of clamp or vise.  I took quick pictures of a few things so I could google them to see if they have any value. While several of my items are selling on Ebay for anywhere from $5 to $15, I haven't found the vise thing or the wooden items below as I don't know what to call them.  If anyone out there does, please let me know.
But the best thing I found was a list of names and addresses for some of my father's relatives in Poland and France.  While these people are probably no longer alive, this information will be very useful when I find the time to resume my genealogy research on my father's family.  And where did I find this little treasure?  Inside a Lufkin Precision Tool catalog at the bottom of one of Dad's tool boxes.  The catalog is from 1955 and is ironically the most valuable item I've found so far selling on Ebay for $23.


  1. The description of your parents' house and belongings sure rings a bell with me. Lots of stuff! I'll show Frank the two pictures above and ask if he's ever seen anything like that.

  2. Jan, not sure what the clamp thing is but the two wooden tools are carpenter scribes (for marking consistent measurements) - it was probably made by Stanley.

  3. Thanks Hystrung. At least now I know what terms to google.