Highlights from the 2003 annual meeting, Burlington, Vermont

Highlights from the 2003 annual meeting, Burlington, Vermont

Hall, Elton

Mother nature played her little games throughout the four days of the 2003 Annual Meeting, but generally was not too hard on us. As we made our several ways to the Northeast Kingdom on May 28, there were scattered showers. In some places they were scattered very heavily, blinding the highway around us while sunlight played across the mountains ahead. There was a break for tailgating, but before all of us had grazed to our entire satisfaction, a sprinkle sent vendors scurrying to cover up or pack away their goods. Many of us took refuge in the hotel bar and passed the end of the afternoon amiably quaffing the products of the Otter Creek Brewery. For most it was a free evening for sociability while the Board met to conduct the business of the Association.

Thursday morning, May 29, found the book sales table set up under the direction of Linda Stanton assisted by Bob and Chris Kozakiewicz. After the usual bountiful breakfast buffet, Karen Peterson of the Shelburne Museum gave us an introductory talk on the history of the museum, some of the things we would see and the special programs that had been arranged. Thereafter a short drive brought us to the remarkable collection of buildings, shops, tools, and folk art assembled by Electra Havemeyer Webb. Many of us began with the lake steamer Ticonderoga, which had been borne to the museum on a specially constructed 2.5-mile railroad. The vessel has recently been beautifully restored, and we gave her a good going over. Of particular interest was her walking beam steam engine and boilers.

Throughout the day we went from building to exhibit to demonstration at our various paces, some lingering in exhibition galleries, others at the tool storage area, while many preferred the demonstrators. Among the latter were Ted Ingraham, who demonstrated doormaking; Randall Henson, who worked at Windsor chairmaking; and Bob Tarule, who was building a Hadley chest, showing seventeenth-century joining and carving techniques. Other presentations centered around a magnificent quilt exhibition, the sawmill, blacksmith’s shop, Jacquard weaving, tools for hearth and homespun, and the doll collection. The hardiest remained until the museum closed at 5 p.m., then made their weary ways back to the hotel, well pleased with what they had seen.

Thursday evening’s program included a reception for first-time attendees at the meeting followed by the traditional “whatsits” session over which Ivan Risley presided, assisted by Carl Bopp and Don Wallace. About three dozen items had been brought in. As usual, some were positively identified, some were the subject of speculation, and others remained enigmas. Ivan offered his characteristic blend of instruction and entertainment.

Friday morning, May 30, began with breakfast and another opportunity to add to our personal libraries. The morning program was a series of lectures: Ted Ingraham on “History of the Eagle Square Comany of Shaftsbury, Vermont;” Jan Lewandowski on “Chinese Timber Framing: The Lin Yu Tang Project, Salem, MA;” and Art Cohn on “History of Lake Champlain Shipwrecks” constituted the morning program. In the afternoon there were two concurrent sessions: Scott Lynk on “Stanley Special Rules,” Tom Lamond on “Axe Manufacturers of NH, VT, and Northeast NY;” and Mark Hughes on Tool Makers of Vermont.” At the same time, Rabbit Goody spoke on “Understanding Historic Textiles.” The common theme among these speakers was the amount of information they have accumulated on their respective subjects and the intense enthusiasm with which they shared their knowledge with us.

There followed a suitable interval allowing for dinner on our own of which some partook right at the hotel’s perfectly respectable dining room while others ventured into Burlington to see what the city could provide. One excellent discovery was the New England Culinary Institute, which produces both cooks and their products. By the experience of several EAIA parties that turned up there, both appear to be outstanding.

That evening, Clarence Blanchard provided a cataloged auction of 263 lots. Most attendees participated, and while some lots fell to absentee bidders, many an armload of tools made their way back to hotel rooms. It was a pleasant occasion continuing a tradition now in its third year, which provides a pleasant evening’s activity, an additional opportunity for examining and collecting tools, and a nice contribution from Clarence to the EAIA.

Saturday, May 31, offered the Collector’s Day program. After breakfast, the dealer, display, consignment, and book sales tables were all set up at once, with buyers admitted simultaneously so that no one could feel that anyone had a special advantage. Don and Linda Carpenter, Florence Feldman-Wood, Bill Gustafson, Ted and Lois Hopkins, Mark and Judy Hughes, Ted Kinsey, Frank Kosmerl, Tom and Lorraine Lamond, Sandy and Barbara Moss, David Parke, Roger and Eleanore Phillips, Trevor and Laura Robinson, Irwin and Helen Sitkin, Roger and Marsh Smith, and John and Carol Turbek all provided displays from their collections on a wide variety of subjects.

The consignment table worked well under the “Rees System,” and many dealers seemed very happy as tool after tool walked out the door. Don McVay representing our new corporate sponsor, Woodcraft Supply Corp., offered a presentation on their business which attracted a good deal of interest. By noon the activity tapered off, and the tents were folded in preparation for the afternoon activity.

At 1:30 almost all participants proceeded to the water-front and boarded the Spirit of Ethan Allen, III, for a cruise on Lake Champlain. We enjoyed a two-hour cruise with an interesting but not obtrusive commentary on the natural and historical features we passed. Many of us were happy for the opportunity to sit down and chat with friends after three days of fairly intense activity. It was a pleasant interval. Upon going ashore, some took the opportunity to inspect the replica of an 1862-class canal schooner Lois McClure under construction by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum at the Burlington Shipyard.

The final tool collecting opportunity came at the annual banquet and meeting that was proceeded by a silent auction. Members donated 83 lots, which were sold for a total f over $2,900. Thanks to all who donated and all who bid.

Following the auction, we proceeded to the annual banquet and business meeting. When we were all well fed and happy, President Hathaway called the meeting to order. The usual reports were rendered and then the secretary announced that Dave Englund, Judy McMillen, Paul Van Pernis, and Phil Stanley had been elected to the Board. President Hathaway welcomed the new board members and thanked Bill McMillen, Dan Semel, Roger Smith, and Anne Wing, who had completed their terms on the Board. The assembled members elected the new slate of officers – David Parke as president, Phil Cannon as 1st vice president, and Don Rosebrook as 2nd vice president.

At this point, our new president, David Parke came forward and thanked the outgoing president for his years of service from board member through president and presented Pete with a token of our appreciation in the form of an axe head patterned after B.D. Hathaway’s trade sign, carved from cherry by the new president, and suitably inscribed and decorated. It was a fine tribute to Pete’s service to EAIA. The presentation of awards – long time service awards to Louise Muse and Jim Packham and the J. D. Hatch award to Paul Kebabian – completed the agenda, and the meeting was adjourned.

Many thanks are due to Judy McMillen and her gang of able and helpful assistants, especially Ted Ingraham who had charge of the program of speakers, Harry Audley who with his team organized and ran the silent auction with such excellent results, and Linda Stanton who ran three sessions of book sales.

Come to Wilmington, Delaware, next year and help make that meeting as great a success as this one was!

Copyright Early American Industries Association Jul/Aug 2003

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