Sunday, August 7, 2011

Spectacle Island Artifact Collection and Identification Part 2: Identfications

Artifact 1: Clay Door knob- This is definitely a door knob because the shape and indentations in the other side were exactly the same a modern day doorknob. After the 1850s clay door knobs were patented in the United States. I think it was used anytime after that up until the dump on Spectacle was closed. These door knobs held up well and perhaps the mechanism failed and the door knob was thrown away. A door could have also made its way over after a house demolition, and the wood disintegrated in the ocean and what was left was the clay knob.

Artifact 2: This looks to me like a fastener probably on a toilet or some other installation piece. It looks to be made of limestone and its likely been broken off during a demolition as well. The piece behind it is a germicide top. It says quality made germicide and the bottom side had a small place that was likely inserted into a bottle. Germicide was used and still is used today to kill bacteria, it is used to clean wounds and sterilize.

Artifact 3: Safety Glass- (**photo at the end of previous post) Glass technology was such that to make glass stronger and shatterproof people put chicken wire inside the panes to fortify the final product. These products were used in industrial buildings and most likely came to the island after a building was demolished or after a pane broke and needed to be replaced. Someone who used this needed a protective layer of glass while getting sunlight. Possibly in a police station or in an industrial factory where broken windows might be a problem. They also serve as a defense against break ins so maybe in store windows or entrances.

Artifact 4: Clay Roof Tile- This clay panel seems to be part of a roofing tile system. These tiles would be placed edge to edge along a roof and were used. These tiles are rarely seen in architecture today but were used after many fires ravaged houses in Boston and became part of the building code from from the 16th to the and of the 18th century in the city. These were desired in urban locations because they wouldn't catch fire. Clay tiles went in and out of fashion and probably this one ended up on Spectacle after a homeowner was modernizing the look of their house. This tile probably came down when a building was demolished. The person who used it was probably a home owner that was renovating or after a house fire and a house needed to be rebuilt. This tile is an old version of the kind we use today usually made of copper.

Artifact 5: Shoe Soles- In these pictures you can observe the holes where shoe nails were hammered up into the shoe base to make the heel of the shoe. They are a separate part of the shoe made of a material that seems to be more impervious to the elements as the softer probably delicious leather that the shoes were constructed from. I noticed a lot of different sizes of the heels indicating that there were many sizes of shoes represented. Shoes wear out also people grow out of them, they also go out of style. This is often why people throw them away. They remind me of the soles of the shoes my father would wear to work every day. He would wear the same three pairs until they were worn through. This is probably what happened with many of these heel remnants. These shoes were probably used before 1960 when shoe construction technology was a little more basic and heels were nailed onto the shoe base.

Artifact 6: Glass Mustard Bottle Base- The shard that I collected had the words Guldens mustard raised in the glass. Guldens is an American brand that has been producing mustard since 1862. Condiment containers are used by households across the country and in restaurant. After they are emptied they serve no alternative purpose and are thrown away, judging by the amount of restaurant china ware they could possibly be from restaurant trash. The ranger told us that dates are often written on the bottles and I did note one that I found with a date around 1930s. I am wondering if this Guldens shard came around the same time period as the ware on it is similar to the one with that date on it. The trash incinerator on the island was closed after 1935 where trash was just put on the island to sit there until 1959. The person who used this mustard probably liked hamburgers and hotdogs and were probably using it in a restaurant where they were dining, it was likely a casual style restaurant where they put mustard bottles on the dining tables.'s

In addition to these objects I also found many shards of china, I focused mainly on looking at the markings that I found on a few bits that were probably the base of the china pieces. Of the information from these markings I could find was that the pottery makers supplied restaurants and hotels and other mass produced items.

When I throw my trash away a capitol waste truck comes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to clear away any bags of trash left outside our door. I tried to research where the trucks eventually take the trash but there was no information online I also couldn't get through to them on the phone although I wasn't trying to contact them on a work day. It's pretty interesting that there is nothing on their website explaining the process just the pick up... Makes it easy to forget what impact we have on the environment and landfills.

Lauren Miller

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