Category Archives: Exploring Antique Technologies

Exploring Antique Technologies – Saving Scrimshaw: How it’s Made and How to Take Care of It

Sea captains’ wives and children sometimes accompanied them on voyages and produced a fair amount of scrimshaw. Notably, Sallie Smith, the wife of Captain Frederick Howland Smith, created pieces that are just as highly regarded, if not more so, then those of her male counterparts. Scrimshaw by an unknown artist, ca. 1830-1860 courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum

by Kary Pardy If you’re a nautical fanatic, a coast dweller, or a fan of early American arts, you probably know and appreciate scrimshaw. But what is it really, and how do you know you’re looking at the real deal? If you find it, how do you keep it shipshape for years to come? We’re […]

Exploring Antique Technologies – When Antique Technology Still Works: Finding our Way with a Sextant

How to use a sextant? offers a step by step guide with visuals, Davis instruments has a downloadable manual on their website, and there are several other online resources Photo:

by Kary Pardy   Do You Know Where You’re Going To? In 1714, the British Parliament established the Longitude Act, and with it, the Longitude Rewards. Equivalent to just over a million dollars today, these prizes offered rewards to any who could come up with a reliable way to measure longitude at sea. Latitude was […]

Exploring Antique Technologies: Ancient Art – Unraveling the Art of Knitting

Knitwear was the primary fabric for sporting activities in the 1920s, but with cheaper alternatives such as factory-produced sweatshirts and tracksuits gained traction, knitwear transitioned to the realm of low impact, high-end sports whose users could afford ‘fancier’ knit garments. Knitwear also transitioned to smart casual clothing, which is where we most commonly see it today. Courtesy of HoneyCombPatterns, Etsy.

by Kary Pardy Knitting is everywhere recently. Creating warm hats, scarves, wraps, sweaters, and mittens is currently a fashionable pastime for people of all ages, and skilled knitters can create art with their complex stitches and colors. When you ask people in 2020 what knitting is to them, you’re likely to get answers like “it’s […]

Looking into the Colorful Past of Stained Glass Art

Medieval window series, Troyes Cathedral, France, 14th century.

Looking into the Colorful Past of Stained Glass Art by Kary Pardy   Stirring scenes, epiphanies of light, color and symbolism, glowing recreations of nature – you may connect all these ideas with the artistry of stained glass, but what about urine? Wine? Terms like “cames,” “grozing,” or “armatures?” We know stained glass today as […]

Exploring Antique Technologies: March 2020


Using Technology to Keep your Antiques Safe By Kary Pardy In 2014, Harvard University unveiled newly “restored” Mark Rothko murals. The paintings had been locked away after previously hanging on the sunny wall of the dining hall from 1962-1979 and had been considerably faded. Many thought they would remain so because Rothko’s special paint formulations […]

Exploring Antique Technologies: February 2020


No Matter Which Direction the Wind Blows, We Still Love American Weathervanes By Kary Pardy If you are an Americana collector, you are likely familiar with the gold (or copper) standard for American folk art. Handmade American weathervanes are the celebrities of Americana auctions, racking in significantly higher amounts than their wooden and iron contemporaries. […]

Coasting into Childhood on Vintage Wooden Sleds

Coasting into Childhood on Vintage Wooden Sleds

Exploring Antique Technologies by Kary Pardy Most of us in snowy climates have fond memories of racing downhill on sleds, and these memories are not unique to our generation. Americans have been searching for worthy hills since before the American Revolution. Apart from a few notable fashion differences, children racing down the hills of Boston […]

The Maritime World Through Miniatures and Beyond

The Maritime World Through Miniatures and Beyond

Exploring Antique Technologies by Kary Pardy Peabody Essex Museum Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History, Daniel Finamore, appears on the museums’ webpage to discuss the appeal of the sea. He argues, “the concept of voyaging is, I think, pretty universally understood and desirable today. It is dangerous, but it is also alluring, […]

From Rags to Riches, not Ruin: Papermaking, Preservation, and Conservation

From Rags to Riches, not Ruin: Papermaking, Preservation, and Conservation

Exploring Antique Technologies by Kary Pardy It’s no accident that when we think of ephemera, we think of printed materials. Paper, though powerful as a vessel for art and the written word, is not prized for its durability. The very makeup of paper involves breaking other substances down to reshape them into something thin and […]