Tag Archives: Melody Amsel-Arieli

The View From Where You Sit: Personal Magnification Devices

Microscope: 3 convex lenses in the inner cylinder, fitting into shagreen (snakeskin)- covered tube, with gilt-bronze finial cap and tripod stand, optics by Passemant, ingénieur du roi, France, c. 1750 photo: metmuseum.org

by Melody Amsel-Arieli   Simple magnification devices, like water-filled spheres and rock crystal (quartz) “burning glasses” were known around the Mediterranean and across the Middle East in ancient times. These evidently served not only to light kindling but also to cauterize wounds and enlarge texts. According to Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder, Nero viewed gladiator […]

Hudson River Revolutionary War Artifacts

Hudson River Revolutionary War Artifacts

by Melody Amsel-Arieli To drum-beat and heart-beat, A soldier marches by: There is color in his cheek, There is courage in his eye, Yet to drum-beat and heart-beat In a moment he must die. – from Nathan Hale by Francis Miles Finch (1827-1907) The Hudson River, which spans from northeastern New York State to the […]

Game Boards: The Game is Up

Game Boards: The Game is Up

by Melody Amsel-Arieli Through the ages, nearly all cultures have developed pre-marked surfaces used for playing games. Players, drawing on skill, strategy or luck while following pre-determined rules, move game pieces, like seeds, animal droppings, or pebbles, on patterned paths along their surfaces. Vintage game boards, which are available in wide variety, not only reflect […]

Civil War Surgical Tools

Civil War Surgical Tools

by Melody Amsel-Arieli The Civil War, which left over 600,000 dead, was the bloodiest war in the history of the United States. Initially, surgeons tended the injured at the front, in fields, barns, tents, stables, and private homes. “Conditions were frightful,” wrote Dr. Nathaniel Alexander Morgan, a Confederate physician serving at a Battle of Chickamauga […]

Exploring Antique Humidors

Exploring Antique Humidors

By Melody Amsel-Arieli Fans of fine cigars, like Cuban Habanos, Dominican Republic Alcántaras, or Mexican Gloria de Colóns, may not smoke them right away. Instead, many prefer to save them to celebrate special occasions like parties, birthdays, or anniversaries. Yet these rolled bundles of tobacco leaves, along with cigarettes and pipe tobacco, are produced in […]

Vintage Handkerchiefs

Vintage Handkerchiefs

By Melody Amsel-Arieli Handkerchiefs, also known as hankies, are thin, hemmed cloths carried in purse or pocket. They serve not only hygienic purposes, but also as decorative accessories. Vintage handkerchiefs, whether lacy confections, sturdy cotton florals, or designer works of art, reflect not only changing tastes, but also our cultural heritage. Wealthy ancient Egyptians, for […]