Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Display of Family Keepsakes

This antique Cobbler Set belonged to my paternal Grandfather, Thomas Anthony Hall. My Dad brought it home as a remembrance of his father, soon after his death. When I was a young child it was kept near my Dad's workbench in the basement, these smaller tools were stored in the old wooden cigar box that they were found in at Grandpa's house in Pennsylvania. The larger shoe lasts and hammers were kept, along with the cigar box, in a large cardboard box in a metal cabinet where they would be safe. My Dad would sometimes bring them out for me to use when I was working on some childhood project, and used them himself at times. But they were always returned to their special storage place after being utilized. Each time we brought them out Dad would explain how to use each tool I needed and answered the many questions I always had about my Grandparent's lives and what my Father's and his sibling's childhoods were like in that place and time. .

My Grandfather was a Coal Miner, and this cobbler set was used to repair the families shoes, as money for new shoes was often hard to come by. He also fashioned many other useful items from scrap leather to replace worn straps, handles and hinges. And create change purses and small useful items for his young son.  

 When I was a teenager I wanted to put them on display in the basement game-room, and Dad and I worked together hanging the separate pieces on the wall and arranging the standing shoe lasts beneath them. Now that Dad has passed as well, I decided to create a more protective display for them, while still leaving the more useful tools accessible. By drilling holes in the top of an inexpensive shadow box, I now have the more worn, and smaller delicate pieces encased in glass and the tools that I often make use of are stored safely through the top edge of the wooden shadow box. The other tools are positioned underneath the shadow box and I have incorporated the old cigar box as a small shelf to hold the smaller items. In this way I can keep them all together in remembrance, to admire and use them.


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