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Working with Hands - James E. Price

  Miniature Tools of a "Suitcase Museum"  

Perhaps members of this group would like to see some miniature tools I made in 1995 for a "suitcase museum" that dealt with the traditional material culture of the Ozark people.


It continued from early settlement after The Louisiana Purchase through The Great Depression.

I made at least 150 objects for an associate of mine to take to schools to show children objects of their heritage that were absent in museums in Missouri. He took a museum of miniature objects to classrooms and the children got to see tools in miniature and learn how they were used by their ancestors in the hills and hollows of The Ozark Highland.

Over the years lots of the little artifacts have been lost and those in these photos are what I have remaining. Missing are axes, a bee gum, a bark berry basket, a salt log, blacksmithing tools, planes, and lots of other things.

Upper left is a bench and below it is a stool. The handled tool is a sorghum juice pusher that was used to move the juice through a big baffled pan to make molasses. The next object is a rake and upper right is a grain flail. The bottom object is a livestock trough, For scale, the rake is three inches long.

Upper left is a cornstalk cutter. Next right is a hand scythe. There is a planting dibble in the center and to its right is a lard squeezer used to press fat out of cooked pork cracklings. The bottom artifact is a neck yoke to keep cows from jumping fences.

Upper left is a froe and to its right is a froe club. Next is a mallet and a wheel traveler. Below that is an axe handle pattern then a sledge hammer followed by a glut and a framing hammer.

This photo depicts household objects. The top row, from left to right, is a boot jack, a rope bed wrench, a tater masher, a hanger, and a gambrel stick. The second row shows a possum board, a hay sampler, a sorghum sword, a flax beater, and a miller's flour board. The first object in the bottom row is a maple sap spile, a shucking peg, a basketmaker's cleaver, a food chopper, and a bumblebee swatter.

James E. Price
January, 2018

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