|Crowds Line-up During the Gold Rush, Eager for Their Mail|
Image Courtesty The Museum of San Francisco
|Miners "Feasting" on a Letter From Home|
Image Courtesty The Oakland Museum
The following projects involve recreating two mid 19th-century portable writing tools that were considered useful for keeping up your correspondence.
|Traveling Porte Folio Illustration From "The Workwoman's Guide"|
|My Replica Porte Folio in Closed Postion|
Photos Lindy Miller 2011
|My Replica in the Open Postion|
Showing Tools, Wafers etc.
Finding all the right tools took some time. The hardest was the antique paper knife, which is intended to scape away mistakes written in ink. My only deviation from the original description was to add a small piece of gum-rubber eraser, tied to a length of cotton tape. I felt it was a nice compliment to the pencil that was mentioned in the original description. The goose quill pens, stripped of most of their feathering, were easy to acquire as was the plain cedar pencil. Figuring out what 'wafers' meant led to some interesting research. In the period I am working in, wafers were small, gummed discs of paper that were sometimes embossed with various designs. Basically, they served as an alternative to sealing wax. A man named Edward Law has done extensive study on what he calls "Adhesive Wafer Seals."and his research is available on the web. I found some embossed paper that I painted red on top and then gum coated the underside. A good gumming medium is liquid hide glue, available at most hardware stores. After it dries, it is easily moistened back to a sticky state. With a 5/8" round punch centered on the embossed design, I cut out a disc and voila, out popped my version of a wafer.
|My Replica Penner in Opened Postion|
and Some Mail I Created for Past Living History Events
I would recommend both of these fun projects to anybody who is interested as neither requires highly specialized skills and materials similar to what I used are readily available. After that, you might just have to write a letter or two. As my grade school teacher would say, keep practicing your penmanship !