Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Detecting Report: Blue Ridge Summit, PA

I haven't updated the blog in a few days because I have been in Blue Ridge Summit, PA for my brother's wedding (Congrats, Tim and Beth!!).  Despite running around doing all the best-man duties, I did manage to make a bit of time for some detecting.  I was somewhat jealous of all the old farm houses around the Pen/Mar border, but being pressed for time, I simply detected my new sister-in-law's family home which was built in 1949.  The neighboring property (now woods) had contained a riding stable for one of the many resorts in the area from the mid 19th to mid 20th centuries.  Just below the back yard is a still-active rail line which was built in the 1870's-80's to service the resort area.  Lee's troops marched just a few miles from this spot on the retreat from Gettysburg.  While I could have likely found some modern silver coins up by the house, I contained my cold, rainy hunt to the slope leading down to the rail lines in hopes of finding something a bit older.
The keepers from this particular hunt were parts from three different kerosene lamp burners.  I have found a few in the past, but never so many in one place.  Perhaps they had to do with the rail line?  I love finding lamps, because they often have patent dates or manufacturers names on the wick turner which can be dated.  The first of the three (top right) was recovered with the wick turner missing.  The second has a wick turner (bottom right) with writing, but is very worn and I haven't been able to see a date yet.
The third lamp (the two pieces on the left) has a very nice wick turner, identifying it as the "Star" brand by maker Holmes, Booth, & Haydens (HB&H on the turner).  This company operated in Waterbury, CT from 1853 to 1901 making many different copper and brass products.  The back of the turner bears the patent date of July 23, 1872 indicating that this lamp was likely produced in the 1870's-80's and fitting for the timeline of both the nearby railroad and horse barn.  Based on their proximity, I would expect the other two lamps to also date to the late 1800's.  Below is an example of the burner and chimney assembly from a non-dug HB&H Star lamp, found online here.
My oldest dated wick turner comes from the Oaks area near Saxapahaw.  Patent dated 1859 by maker E.E. Jones, it was found at the McPherson family cabin (now belonging to the Teers) on Morrow Mill Rd.  I imagine that site still has a good deal of history left to find, but it has been abandoned for many years, and a large amount of modern trash targets and overgrown weeds makes for some very difficult detecting.

1 comment:

  1. It sure is nice to find artifacts that you can date with certainty. I am always amazed at how back in the day even something like a wick turner had some ornamentation on it. I've been hunting an old park where houses stood back in the early 1900's and the metal stuff I've been finding is all ornate and of course, made of copper or brass.