Saturday, November 9, 2013

Another piece of history discovered!

We're almost finished priming all of the walls of the upstairs.  Boy were they dirty!  It's been rewarding seeing the dingy, dirty walls transform into clean white space. 

Tom and I were having a "discussion" about a certain wall in the gallery area, which is along the side of the freight elevator.  It seems he doesn't like this wall - he feels it's ugly and it should be covered up.  I am against that idea.  I said it's old, it's part of the elevator and we should incorporate it into the gallery space.  He didn't think it was old - he thought it was some cheap wood they put up, maybe in the 70's.  I disagreed.  He agreed to let me prime and paint it before he made up his mind.  As I was getting ready to prime it, something caught my eye.  It was a little round metal tag about the size of a quarter nailed into the wood.  Whoever painted the last time painted right over it, but there it was, the lettering still plain as day.  Wildman Manufacturing Co.  Norristown, PA

Of course, I had to do some research on Wildman Mfg. Co. to find out what it was and how old this metal token or tag is.  Here's what I found:

Wildman Mfg. Co. was founded in 1898 and provided knitting machines to textile mills.  That means that this token would have most likely been put there when it was operating as Chipman Knitting Mills, which means that the wall in question was actually original to the building.  Score!

Here are some interesting tidbits I found:

This is from a Wildman Mfg. Co. catalog

This is their logo - the nail went right through it, but
you can see a little of it.

This is their manufacturing facility in Norristown in the late 1800's - impressive!

This is the wall where the tag is nailed.  You can see it in the bottom right corner.
The other nails were for a sign that's long gone, but when it got ripped down someone
left paper underneath each nail, and the person who painted previously just
painted right over the bits of paper.  When I pulled the old browned paper out
from under the nails, you can see that the original color of the wall was yellow. 
I believe ours will only be the 3rd coat of paint this place has had in 100 years!

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