If I had a hammer …
Actually I have about 60 and I’ve been getting ready for the Curious Collections event this Sunday 15 July.
This is a first time event for the Old Highercombe Hotel Museum, suggested by long time member Jamie Shephard. Thirty collectors (National Trust members, Museum volunteers and other locals) have been invited to share their personal passion with the public. (Mine is hammers, but the range will be wide.)
Most of the Museum collection has been packed away to provide space for the collections to be displayed – on existing mantel piece, cupboard and table, as well as extra tables for the occasion.
My hammers form a small personal collection. My first hammer was a small ‘toy’ claw hammer given to me as a child. As a teenager and adult, I had several different hammers and a mallet for use around the home and some carpentry making toys, bookcases, etc. I think what started me collecting was gaining a ball-peen hammer of my grandfather. This displayed wear and tear from years of use and whenever I used it I was reminded of him.
Over the years I gradually collected others, mostly from secondhand shops, on the basis of their ‘character’. The heads are battered - almost all have sweat stained wood handles. A few show a rough and ready repair by their owner.
This ‘character’ is the essence of my collection rather than an attempt to gain representatives of each type. Indeed, there are thousands of types of hammers, used in all trades and many professions. (A USA museum has 1,500 on display.) As construction moved to steel and fibreglass handles, the number doubled, but I don’t think these have the same charm as an old well used wood handle.
My childhood claw hammer weights 80 gms … my heaviest (a maul) is 9.2 kg.
Anyway … I have given them a dust and packed a crate with the smaller ones. The longer handled such as sledgehammers and crochet mallets will have to travel loose. To assist visitors, I have made up an A3 size information poster naming the common types, plus the parts of a hammer. I have also thought about some of the others hammers around us that are not represented in my collection, e.g. a piano hammer, firearms hammer, clock hammer, ear hammer (malleus bone), water hammer, etc.
If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morning … Collectors will set up their displays early Sunday morning ready for the public to visit between 10 am and 4 pm. Most of the collectors will be on hand during the day to answer questions and receive feedback.
Admission is by gold coin. The Gift Shop will be open and Devonshire tea available in the main meeting room.
Perhaps I will see you there …