Between 1803 and 1900, approximately 250 U.S. patents were filed for designs of apple peelers. One of the first designs was in the late 1700s.
Apples were a major crop in the U.S., and the evolution of kitchen tools like apple peelers significantly sped up fall harvesting chores. Apple peelers were taken to neighbors’ houses for annual paring bees, where men operated the hand-cranked machines, and women completed the finer work of quartering, slicing, and stringing the apples for drying. Dried apple slices were stored in bags and used to make applesauce or pies or for other culinary uses throughout the winter season.
Apple paring bees not only served a vital function to harvest food but were also popular social events. An unmarried man or woman would toss apple peelings over their left shoulder and try to see if they formed the initials of a future spouse.
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Q: Do old tin toys have any value? My dad was born on a small farm in 1916 and rarely had any store-bought toys, but he had a windup tin car that goes into a garage and a tin airplane. The airplane has a grooved wheel that would make it roll down a string tied between two objects. The plane is missing part of its tail piece. There is no maker’s name on either toy. I don’t want to sell them, but I’d like to know if they are valuable.
A: Tin toys were made in the United States, Germany, France, and England beginning in the early 1800s. The Golden Age of tin toys was from about 1865 to 1914. The first lithographed tin toy cars were made about 1900, a few years after automobiles became more common than horse-drawn carriages. Cars that replicated real model cars were made by 1930. Tin toys were made in Japan after the end of World War II. Many were made from scrap tin from beer cans discarded by American soldiers. Others were made in factories from sheet metal. Old tin toys are collectible if they are in good condition.
Windup toys and other toys that move bring the highest prices. Some sell for over $100, and a few sell for over $1,000.
TIP: Marble will eventually react to rain and deteriorate. Keep marble ornaments out of the rain and frost.