Monday, March 31, 2008

Sharing is Empowerment, Part Two

When I wrote my blog entry entitled Sharing is Empowerment little did I know it would be mere hours before one of my readers would contact me and tell me there was a Chester crochet hook available for purchase as a "buy it now" ebay auction.   With this reader's blessing (I wanted to ensure she wasn't interested in bidding on the auction herself), I purchased the hook immediately.  {{THANK YOU, SANDY!!!!}}

Today it arrived safe and sound! 

Upon ripping open the package and examining the hook, I wasn't quite sure if it's the real McCoy.  I tried looking it up on the CGOA's Hook Collector's page, but the page has not been restored yet.  Using the "Way Back Machine" I searched old archived pages but found no information on this hook available.  I'm not sure what I was expecting -- bone perhaps?  It's not. This hook feels and looks like plastic AND feels "new," as in recently manufactured.  Was this hook just well stored for all these years?  Was plastic being used in the early part of the 1900s? 

I'm not sure of it's age, but yes, apparently plastic was being produced, and has been since the mid-1850s.  According to this website, an American inventor, John Wesley Hyatt, had acquired the patent to Parkesine, a hard but flexible transparent material which is part of the cellulose family.  John modified the formula to come up with an Brenda's Crochet Hook Table Displayartificialivory for billiard balls.  Is it possible that the same chemical compound was used by the then Susan Bates company, while located in Chester, Connecticut, to create this hook?  I'm not sure, but I do have an inquiry out to the ever knowledgeable Nancy Nehring who heads up the Hook Collector's Group.  Hopefully she'll know more about it.

And, speaking of the Way Back Machine and crochet hooks, I was able to dig this image up from Brenda Beckman's former website ... it was a table she had found one day while at a yard sale (for those that live in the north east, we would call it a tag sale), for $35.  It measured 4 feet by 4 feet and had interchangeable drawers allowing her to change the crochet hooks she had on display.  I don't recall the specifics, but do believe she has sold off her hooks and the table.  I did not get permission to use her photograph as I do not have contact information for her.  I am posting it here in hopes that she won't mind because the image of that table is, in of itself, empowering.  It's a testament to her love of crochet, and what we all, for those with severe Hook Acquisition Syndrome, can aspire to.  :)


Anonymous said...

That case is a thing of beauty!

Hey, I wonder if the Chester is casein? I have some early hooks
my mom found that are white and plasticy that she said were casein.

Anonymous said...

what a surprise this was to see my old collection on display here! what a hoot!
I left California and with the move to the new place there was much downsizing that had to be done -- which, much to my disappointment, included the table and much of the hook collection,as I don't have any kids to hand it down to.
but! I still crochet with my favorite Clover hooks :)

happy hookin'