Welcome to our “museum”. We have lots of original items, and want to share them with you.
Pencil Sharpener – You used this by placing it on the point of the pencil and turning it. The opening that you see in the picture is the blade.
Eraser – Think they didn’t have erasers? Think again. There was another style of eraser which was a sharp blade that fit into a pen holder and was used to literally scrape the ink from the paper.
These pencils were manufactured by B. Ball who was only in business from 1830-1850(?) so it’s easy to date them. The pencils were made with two pieces of wood glued together. The graphite was inlaid into one of the pieces before gluing.
This close-up of the pencil ends plainly shows the line where the pieces of wood were glued together and the typical square-shaped graphite.
Pen – An original pen of the Civil War period is shown on the right. Our research indicates that Civil War era pens had external ferrules (the metal part that holds the nib). In the 19th century, a “pen” was what we call a pen nib. The barrel and ferrule were called a “pen holder”.
Almost every example we have seen of a pen where the nib fits inside the barrel is a post-war pen. The pen shown on the left is our reproduction. The original pen is on the right.
Inkwell – a classic ceramic inkwell of the Civil War period. Photo by Julio Zangronitz.
This is the envelope flap style that many think all Civil War era envelopes looked like. This is not the case.
Another original envelope flap but this one is indistinguishable from a modern style.
One of many original envelopes in our collection. The convention of placing stamps on the upper right corner of the envelope was not in full use at the time. Often, stamps were placed randomly on the envelope.
Tobacco – A small pocket-sized pack of pipe tobacco
Dr. Strong’s Vegetable Stomach Pills. I have no idea what it actually in these but I like the little shaker box that they come in. Research shows that this package dates to 1849-1850.
Playing cards from the Samuel Hart company. These are dated to the Civil War.
Toothbrush – generally these were made with bone handles and pig bristles. Tooth powder was more common that toothpaste.
Matches and Match Safe. Many but not all matches were made in this picket-fence style. The match safe is made from gutta-percha which was the Civil War equivalent of plastic.
Flatware – Typical spoon, knife and fork from the Civil War era.
Money and Finance
Federal Money – In 1862, the Legal Tender act was passed. Since the notes were technically not backed by any gold, were printed on both sides (unusual but not unique for the era), and the backs were printed in green ink, the notes quickly became known as greenbacks.
At the same time, hoarding of gold and silver coins caused a shortage of coins. In July of 1862, the Postage Currency Bill was signed into law, and small papers printed with postage stamp imprints were introduced into the economic system in August. These notes were called Postage Currency and later Fractional Currency.
First issue Confederate currency. There were lots of Confederate notes printed in several series and sets. This set of 1, 2 and 5 dollar notes are from the first series.
A bank check from the Bank of North America. The Bank of North America was the first chartered bank in the United States.
A check drawn on a Confederate bank. This one is drawn on the Bank of Selma.