Archive for March, 2011
This Wildman brand rotary knitting machine was used for knitting tubular knits at the Munsingwear Corporation, which was a Minnesota knitwear manufacturer for nearly 100 years, circa 1890-1980. It was on exhibit at International Market Square, which is the former Munsingwear headquarters. Originally belt-driven, at some point perhaps in the 1950’s it was apparently converted to run on a 220 volt General Electric brand motor.
The MHS Conservation Department, in particular Objects Conservator Tom Braun, put a great deal of work into this piece to bring it back to its current state. It needed to be cleaned overall but more importantly a broken leg needed to be repaired. Now it is whole, clean, and ready to be exhibited. Even the needles on top perform their intended action now! A quote from Tom: “I am very excited that when the hand wheel on this unit is turned (clockwise only please!) the whole machine moves as it was designed to. Most exciting is that the needles can be seen to move in and out in a knitting motion.”
While we initially assumed we’d find synthetic fibers, analysis of lint found in the gears showed that this machine worked with 100% cotton fibers. To learn more about its operation, Dick Kaminski and Ted Mommsen, former Munsingwear employees responsible for customizing and operating this machinery, visited the Conservation lab and spoke with Tom and Linda McShannock, curator, about their experience with the machine.
This is one of our favorite things for what it tells us about the company, the direct link it establishes to the products it made, and the beauty of the object. Wildman machines were in use as early as the 1920s and continue to find use in the knitwear industry. It created the raw material from which the majority of Munsingwear products were made. This knitting machine will be a key piece in the upcoming exhibit “Underwear – A Brief History” at the Minnesota Historical Society.
A red painted wooden bucket, consisting of 16 staves and 3 metal hoops. Originally, this tin spigot was attached with wire about 1″ from the top of the bucket on one side. These were used for collecting sap for making maple sugar. The bucket is believed to have been constructed circa 1820 and the tin spigot circa 1920.
On July 12, 1984, Walter Mondale made history in Saint Paul when he introduced Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate for the Vice Presidency of the United States. Rep. Ferraro was the first woman, and the first Italian-American, to run on a major party ticket. Geraldine Ferraro passed away on Saturday, March 26, 2011 after a long battle with multiple myeloma. These photos and objects are just a sample of the many items from the 1984 campaign in the Minnesota Historical Society’s collections.
Learn more about Ferraro and Mondale’s campaign in the Walter F. Mondale Papers at the Minnesota Historical Society.
We celebrate the Pillsbury Doughboy, arguably Minnesota’s best-known advertising icon, with a look at some of the nearly 600 objects in the Minnesota Historical Society’s collection that feature Poppin’ Fresh. Many of these items are drawn from the Richard Ferrell Flour Milling Industry History Collection.
United States Army General’s Model 1858 black felt dress hat, also known as a “Hardee” hat, with a black ribbon hatband. Mounted on the hat is a gold bullion hat cord with acorn terminals and a sliding keeper. The hat was worn during the Civil War by General C. C. Andrews of the 3rd Minnesota Regiment.
Be sure to watch for the Civil War Daybook, coming to this site and starting April 1st!