This collection of metal artifacts was recovered from the grounds of Bonniebrook, the home estate of the illustrator, artist, and suffragette Rose O’Neill, who was also the creator of the Kewpie doll. While this collection consists of relatively mundane objects, identifying these objects, the brands and types of objects used, and the dates for when they were produced and used can give us considerable insight into the time period and the quality of life led by Rose O’Neill and her family.
This exhibit focuses on common, everyday metal objects and the products that they held: –The small can with an offset, screw-on top likely held oil for an automobile, as automobiles were gaining popularity in early 20th century America.
–The remains of a paper label on the white glass hand cream jar with a metal lid reveal that this was a Sofskin Hand Cream jar, a popular brand in the late 19th and early 20th century.
–The tops of two powder canisters have octagonal lids that suggest they were once the tops for containers of Colgate Talc Powder, another popular brand.
–The small tin can with a punctured lid is most likely a condensed or evaporated milk can; since there was a Carnation Milk Factory in nearby Mount Vernon in the early 20th century, this was probably the brand used in the area.
–The mystery of the next small can is revealed in the plastic lid that has a V on the top; this was the long-standing logo of Vitalis hair tonic, which continued to be used into the late 20th century.
–Although it was heavily corroded, the graceful shape and small patches of surviving finish reveal that the large vessel was a white enameled metal water pitcher, a common household object before indoor plumbing was in wide use.