Sunday, August 30, 2015

Tool or Toy

Artifact of the Week

 Santa Cruz TrainsThis week New Leaf Community Market in Boulder Creek held a Community Day for the Museum. The Museum stationed a table with literature about the Museum and a few examples of local history books from the Museum store, including Santa Cruz Trains by Derek Whaley.

A visitor to the table, a railroad enthusiast, gave the volunteers this yellow object, which they passed on to me. I must admit I first thought it was a child's toy. A plastic, replica tool with which a three year old might play.

But the markings gave it away - no not a toy, but a tool.

Locomotive  Reverser

This is a Millerfelpax locomotive reverser handle. It is made of Versylon, which is according to Miller Felpax an "Impact-Modified 6/6 nylon." It is strong, hard, and dense and so lends itself to tough environments such as railroad use.

The reverser is a tool that determines the locomotive's direction. It has three positions - forward, reverse, and neutral. If it is in the forward position and the throttle is opened the locomotive will move forward, if it is in the reverse position it will move backward.

These tools are used on steam locomotives and diesel locomotives. Older tools were made of metal, such as bronze. It is a standard size as the tools are required to fit all locomotives regardless of the manufacturer. It is removable - a safety feature. Removed whenever the locomotive is not in operation.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

From the Collection

Artifact of the Week

Hippie Era Baby Carrier
2011-018-0001 - Front
San Lorenzo Valley Museum Collection 
This is a hand-made, hand-tooled baby carrier from the 1970s hippie era.

Strollers and baby carriages of the time just didn't work well here in the Santa Cruz Mountains and so new mom Estelle E. Fein, who wanted to carry her newborn son, Ariel, around on walks and while doing chores at home, contacted a friend who knew how to tool leather.

Hippie Era Baby Carrier
2011-018-0001 - Back
San Lorenzo Valley Museum Collection

Together they created this baby carrier, with a leather seat backed by embroidered cotton, denim straps, and leather cord with beads and bells.