ILJOHNSO-L ArchivesArchiver > ILJOHNSO > 2009-12 > 1260741683
From: Bill <>
Subject: [ILJOHNSO] Little Egypt Heritage, "Ups and Downs", 13 December 2009,Vol 8 #31
Date: Sun, 13 Dec 2009 17:01:58 -0500
Little Egypt Heritage Articles
© Bill Oliver
13 December 2009
Vol 8 Issue: #31
O’siyo, Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen of Little Egypt,
"Ups and Downs"
Growing older "is NOT for sissies"!! And, I am an unwilling
participant!! It frustrates me when my partner of fifty-six years needs
to help me button the cuffs on my flannel winter shirts or when I make
fifty odd mistakes typing a simple paragraph due to the great
insensitivity of my fingers. It now takes more time to proof read my
writing than it takes to write it! Grandma Oliver and her children, all
afflicted with physical problems of growing older, never complained "a
word". But, not I! I fuss and fume much. The potential good news is that
all the siblings in that family reached or lived beyond being
octogenerians so I've a ways to go, and though the ranks of us cousins
is thinning/has thinned, out there have been, and there are, many more
octogenerians than not.
Though it is more of the mind than the physical, I experienced a "funny"
happening this pasted week. I entered the automobile, took up the ice
scraper, turned on the engine to warm while I scraped, but instead, sat
there marveling at the decorated windshield. It was decorated with
frost/ice crystals forming "feathers", each in random pattern. This was
a beautiful observation and I did not wish to see it disappear either by
scraping or by warm defroster air.
These little feather patterns brought more nostalgia as I remembered
that during one of my last teaching/administrative years, my students
learned how to make translucent glass panes.
An animal glue is an adhesive that is created by prolonged boiling of
animal connective tissue. A more technical definition is protein colloid
glue formed through hydrolysis of the collagen from skins, bones,
tendons, and other animal body parts similar to gelatin. The word
"collagen" roots from the Greek "kolla" or glue. You have heard that
when a horse is "put down", it is sent to the "glue factory", or when a
horse becomes very old, the owner might say that he is ready for the
"glue factory". This is its origin.
When mixed, these proteins form a molecular bond with the glued object.
Animal hide glue was used in woodworking for thousands of years until it
was replaced by synthetic glues such as Elmer's Glue and other resin
glues in the 20th century.
Today animal hide glue is used in specialty applications such as
lutherie, pipe organ building, and antique restoration. However, another
rather ancient application was in the making of opaque glass panes.
Glass artisans took advantage of animal hide glue's ability to bond with
anything and applied it to glass. As the glue hardens it shrinks,
chipping the glass surface.
The glue is typically applied hot, usually with a brush or spatula; the
worker keeps it hot in a glue pot. Most animal glues are soluble in
water so it can be liquified when it dries out.
My students, using their creative minds, altered procedures a bit, since
keeping an open "pot of hot glue" around posed a safety factor. They
first mixed the dry particles with water making a paste. They then
"painted" their panes with this mixture. Next we heated the "school
stove/oven" to about one hundred forty degrees. The heat and drying
process causes the glue to shrink. Since it bonds/adheres so well to the
glass, as it dries, it shrinks, popping off chips of glass from the
surface of the pane creating unique patterns. [Warning: these glass
chips fly when they pop off, are sharp and will cut skin easily, as will
the new pane surface.]
I wonder how many of these panes which were produced as parental
presents still exist.
A new subject again sent me off to do some research. We just "adopted" a
new cat and we are in the process of being trained by it. She does have
a bad habit of clawing at the furniture for which we are chasing her
around the house with the water sprayer. [sigh]
This prompted a search for "early" American pets. Cats and dogs, on the
surface at least, seem to be the most common family pets. There are many
other small pets such as rats, gerbils, hamsters, etc., which are family
pets. All this made me a bit curious as to what were the pets of our
Colonial and pioneer families.
There were dogs, of course, though it would seem that they were also
there to "earn" their keep as hunters. Horses seemed to also "earn"
their keep by working. Some "gentlemen" kept hawks, but again they
seemed to have a place in hunting game. We read in literature that
children adopted many different types of woodland animals. Racoons,
deer, skunks appear in the books as cultivated pets.
Domestic farm animals such as the cow, pigs, and rabbits have brought
youngsters the lessons of responsibility and companionship.
From the days of the pharaohs, cats have been a household pet.
As an adult our daughter had a cat which seemed to turn the heads of any
visitor. This cat, characteristic of the breed, was particularly large.
It possessed long fur and never really looked civilized [projecting the
ora of a wildcat], though it was a "sweetheart" in every way. This breed
was a Maine Coon cat. It was the favored cat of Colonial Days.
Maybe your family has had an unusual pet in the past. And, maybe you can
record it as a wonderful part of your written family history.
e-la-Di-e-das-Di ha-WI NV-WA-do-hi-ya NV-WA-to-hi-ya-da.
(May you walk in peace and harmony)
"Myths are universal and timeless stories that reflect and shape our
lives ..." Alexander McCall Smith, Dream Angus
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