WINTER ANTIQUES, COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG, REVOLUTIONS & EVOLUTIONS

Every object exhibited at the Winter Antiques Show is vetted for authenticity, date, and condition by a committee of 160 experts from the United States and Europe. The strict vetting regulations and the vettors’ expertise ensure that buyers can purchase with confidence.

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The show was established when two young antiques dealers, John Bihler and Henry Coger, suggested the creation of an antiques show as a fundraiser for East Side House Settlement. The fair opened on Monday, January 24, 1955, with one hundred dealers from the East Coast, and by the end of the decade, it was seen as the leading event of its kind in the United States. Now the fair includes more modern and 20th century antiques.

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SPECIAL SPOTLIGHT

Samuel Yellin, the 20th Century’s foremost artisan in iron, started his business, Samuel Yellin Metalworkers, in 1909. He called himself a blacksmith, but others called him a genius, a devil with a hammer in his hand. His business set high standards in design and craftsmanship that continue today.

Iron is one of the common materials that blacksmiths forge, and when it is heated it turns black – providing the first part of the name. There are various sources that describe the origination of the second part of the name, but generally it’s believed tocome from the word ‘smite’, which means ‘to hit’.

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BLACKSMITHING AROUND THE WORLD & ITS IMPACT

A Blacksmith is a person who pratices the art of shaping heated iron and steel (forging) with hand tools such as hammers, tongs and chisels on an anvil or with forging machines. “Black” comes from the color of the metal after being heated and cooled.  “Smith” comes from the word, “smite” or “to strike”.  Therefore the blacksmith is one who strikes black metal.

The Hittites, an  Indo-European people who moved south from the Caspian Sea into southern Turkey around2000 BC, about the same time that the Trojans were moving into Troy and the Greeks were moving into Greec are credited with developing metalsmithing. The Hittites were different from the Semitic people who had lived there before, like the Akkadians, or the Amorites, because the Hittites rode horses and knew how to make chariots and wagons for the horses as well. But pretty soon after the Hittites came to Turkey, their knowledge of horses spread all over West Asia and into Egypt as well.

At some point maybe around 1500 BC, the Hittites also invented a way to smelt iron; that is, a way to take iron ore from the ground and make it into useful tools and weapons. Seeing that this was a very valuable skill, the Hittites kept it a carefully guarded secret for a long time. They made iron tools and weapons and sold them to other people of West Asia, but they would not tell other people how to make them, and so iron remained rare. We still call this period the Late BronzeAge. The Hittite kingdom collapsed around 1200 BC: nobody really knows why exactly. Some people think there was a serious drought. But whatever the reason, the collapse of the Hittites meant that they couldn’t keep the secret of iron any longer, and by about 1100 BC people all over West Asia, like theAssyrians and the Philistines, and pretty soon the Jews, knew how to make iron tools.

The Nok people of Nigeria began the art of blacksmithing back to the sixth century BC. These Nigerian metalworkers developed a technology that gave them the upper hand in life, and would prove to be a technology to revolutionize the world. Ironworking made farming, hunting, and war much more efficient. Iron allowed for greater growth in societies. With the ability to support larger communities came social growth and the development of large kingdoms, which spread across Western Africa.

Throughout Nigeria two more very important West African civilizations arose. The Ife and the Oyo people of the Benin and Yoruba Kingdoms are very similar in their spiritual and ritual beliefs. Both base their existence around ironworking. To these African civilizations iron had become the key to their development and survival, and it was worshiped as such. The Ife and Oyo people believe that the blacksmith has the power to express the spirit of Ogun, the god of iron, because they create iron, which is the foundation for their survival.The Nok people of Nigeria show the art of blacksmiths, which date back to the sixth century BC. These Nigerian metalworkers developed a technology that gave them the upper hand in life, and would prove to be a technology to revolutionize the world. Ironworking made farming, hunting, and war much more efficient. Iron allowed for greater growth in societies. With the ability to support larger communities came social growth and the development of large kingdoms, which spread across Western Africa.

LIFE IN COLONIAL AMERICA

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