September 2013 Newsletter

Store opening in Gettysburg!

Gettysburg Store

After many years of contemplation, I am extremely proud to have opened a retail location in Gettysburg. The response has been great and people have been tremendously supportive and enthusiastic.

Right now we have weekend and evening hours there, but we are flexible if people are needing to schedule an appointment.

The store is located at 1425 Chambersburg Road, on old Route 30. It is about a mile from the center of the town square, heading towards the first days' battlefield.

There is ample parking, and the stock is constantly changing. As there is even a degree of camping space, we are looking to the possibility of holding living history events and an artillery demo in the field next door.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (973) 557-6733

New Footwear items added!

Brogans, brogans brogans!

Another of our long term projects has been footwear. Having worked both with Chris Schreiber and Hank Kluin, I have combined with artistic eye of Schreiber with the pragmatism of Kluin to offer what they did but on a grander scale.

We are using materials that have been made specifically for this project, primarily the waxed calf.


Federal  Brogans for sale here!

 Federal Brogans

Customer of the Month

Annie Wickersty

Annie's family was always interested in history for as long as she can remember.  When she was about 10, her parents got into Civil War reenacting and became involved with her local living history museum, Historic Richmond Town.  Fascinated by the prospect of recreating everyday life of an earlier time (and, of course, the possibility of time-travelling herself), she naturally followed suit.  Her mother made my clothes --- a boy's suit, because she wanted to be a boy at the time!

She started in 1993 or 1994, making it 19 or 20 years!  She said "I feel old now.  Thanks, Nick!"

When her parents started volunteering at Historic Richmond Town, they became friends with Bill McMillen, who was the Supervisor of Restoration at the time and also headed the tinsmith shop.  Her parents put her into a tinsmithing apprenticeship that summer.  Bill got the impression that she was obedient and handy, and so he kept her on indefinitely to study with him every summer and at special events throughout the year.  As she got older and understood a little better what it was we were doing in the context of historic trades, she read and experimented more and more on her own and began making her own patterns, collecting tools, and doing demonstrations at other museums.  With Bill's retirment, Annie began teach the apprentices that come every summer. Always obediant, she still goes up to see her old master every year or so and learn something new from him every time!  It was always less important to him that she was female, but that she was devoted to the work.  She stated that she has always been  honest with people about what she is doing --- and her goal is to demonstrate the tinsmithing trade itself, as accurately as possible, rather than to attempt to represent a tinsmith of the period (who would, to the best of knowledge, almost certainly be male). 
She would not venture a guess as to what the future holds for living history museums and the reenacting hobby, but hopes that both will experience an upswing at some point as the economy recovers and history recaptures the popular imagination, noting that these things tend to come and go in waves.

What attracted Annie to living history as a child is still what attracts her now, except for the opportunity to magically travel back in time.  Annie finds it intellectually exciting to set ourselves to the task of learning about something exhaustively enough to recreate it with some degree of accuracy. She finds it an honor to be in the position of making a final presentation to the public after years of work and study.  She says that "this is also a way of life that keeps one humble (or at least, it should!)--- the more you learn, the more you realize you don't know." She has been astonished while researching to see my mental "rules" about this or that crumble in the face of some new discovery or more in-depth understanding of a subject. With that in mind, she said that she would like to see less schadenfreude in the hobby.  "Sophomoric self-righteousness from the "hard core" community can be just as mentally  limiting and dangerous as ignorant farbery.  None of us really knows everything, but if you think you do, you might just stop trying to learn." 


In her time travel, Annie went from passenger to conductor, and has never ceased to enjoy the ride.

Annie Wickersty

 Annie Wickersty


 Examples of Annie Wickersty's tinsmithing

Hospital Department Bedsacks!

Made to the dimensions of the single size, this utility item has been long overlooked or misrepresented in the field hospital impression. Like our other offerings, we are very excited to be adding it to the line.

 Hospital department Bedsack

 Lady's shoe

Ladies Items!

At the request of customer Jonathan Bocek, we embarked upon reproducing a wooden button that we utilized on garments produced by the Confederate Depot in Richmond Virginia. Contract documentation shows that these buttons were produced in the millions, making them a grossly under-represented button in the hobby.

Ladies Corsets


In apparrel manufacture, foundation garments (and swimwear) are considered to be one of the the ultimate test of skill and accuracy. The challenge of doing an item of greater complexity and precision is what intially drew us to the project.

Most of the original corsets we examined are extremely well made, and display a level of workmanship that could easily be the best of the time period. These items were originally produced on a large scale by specialty houses, which all come together to make a very sophisticated garment.

We are very excited to be offering several different styles, featuring the same high level of workmanship found in those period factory made garments.



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