Last week's post was about my visit to the Stickley Museum in Morris Plains, NJ. During that trip back East, I also visited a couple other woodworking-related museums. This post is about the first of those: the home and museum of Henry Chapman Mercer.
(Picture from Wikipedia)
Mercer is famous his ceramic tile manufacturing plant and for the concrete castle he built around 1908-1912 in Doylestown, PA. The tour guide said that Mercer once built a bonfire on an upper floor balcony of the castle just to show how the castle was fireproof. The fire drew the attention of many fire-fighters who responded to the scene, only to find no help was needed.
|Chest of drawers made from concrete with drawers of wood|
|This support column shows the grain of the wooden "mold"|
that was used to form it.
|A ceiling decorated with tiles|
|Another ceiling just loaded with tile|
|Tiles above a doorway|
|A nice long Windsor-style bench|
|And interesting chair|
This museum, also in Doylestown, PA, was fantastic. It had sections devoted to individual aspects of early rural life. Things like all the tools, barrels and knick-knacks needed for butter churning and storage. You wouldn't believe how many things were needed for meat tenderization, preparation and storage. Hay raking, gunpowder making, fruit preservation, nail making, coopering, cider making, the list goes on and on. There were stagecoaches and boats hanging from the main atrium ceiling! Everything was made of wood, metal and sometimes a little leather.
|Horse-drawn carts hanging in the atrium|
(check out the size of the monstrous wooden screw at left)
|Some cooper's tools|
|More cooperage tools - something's not right with the long stave-jointing plane.|
Can anybody put a finger on it? Seems like the plane body is upside down and iron is in the wrong way!
|Yours truly at the woodworking exhibit|
|A big-ass frame saw, with several types of ax on the back wall|
|A nice old chest loaded with moulding planes|
|An interesting treadle lathe (there were 2-3 others in the exhibit)|
|An old saw with user-made handle|
|A (probably) not-as-old saw with broken, more ornate (mass-produced?) handle|
|There's a "great wheel" behind the concrete pillar attached to the right-most (cast metal) lathe|
|Interesting treadle lathe with wooden frame and metal head- and tail-stocks and treadle wheel.|
Note the changeable pulley sizes for adjustable lathe speeds
Henry Chapman may not have been a woodworker, but he did the woodworking world a huge favor with his collections and museum.