As anyone who has spent time with me in the Collections storage area knows, the Duplex Fireless Stove made by Durham Manufacturing of Muncie is one of my favorite artifacts. How could you not like this giant, early crockpot?
Mostly forgotten except by a small group of devoted fans, this artist was once well known in Muncie. He worked as a janitor, a sign painter, a piano player, and composer. He was even known to handcraft violins. Local citizens knew him best, however, as a wandering painter of landscapes.
Everyone is familiar with Ball blue jars and with the company’s clear jars. Many have seen green, amber, sun-colored amethyst, and swirled Ball jars. Very few people know, however, that there was once a white Ball jar and even fewer people have seen or own one.
W. Edwin Fager was born in 1897 near Fairview, a very small town in Randolph County, Indiana, but spent most of his life working in Chicago or spending time at his farm near Michigan City.
Many of you will remember the Vegematic, made by Ronco and heavily advertised on TV. The promise was that “It slices, dices, chops and peels, makes thousands of julienne fries in seconds!” Well, to show that there is nothing new under the sun, Muncie had its own version of a similar kitchen specialty back in the early 1920s.
How could such a great, happy photograph come from a morgue? It can when it’s part of a collection of eighty boxes of archival material donated to Minnetrista in 2004 from Ball Memorial Hospital—now IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital.
Last month I shared the story of my trip to Columbia, Missouri, to meet Louesa Danks and see her collection of Meeks furniture. Several years after this visit, Louesa’s friend, Jeanne, called to tell me that it was time to pick up the furniture.
In 1998, I got a telephone call from Louesa Danks, granddaughter of James Meeks of The Meeks Mortuary family. When I heard that she was interested in donating a large collection of Meeks furniture, then registrar Heather Davis and I immediately booked our flight to Columbia, Missouri.
Look at the children in the front row of this group of glass workers. How old do you think they are? Eight or nine years old, maybe? While we would be horrified now to think of young children working in a glass factory—or any place, for that matter—it was common fewer than one hundred years ago.
Every now and then an object of mysterious function comes into the Minnetrista Heritage Collection. Often, the donor doesn’t know what it is, but just that they “found it when I cleaned out grandma’s basement.” We look through our reference books and search on-line. It is hard, however, to Google something when you have no idea at all what it is.