Tin Smithing at the Bement Billings Farmstead Museum

Tin Smithing at the Bement Billings Farmstead Museum

Join the Newark Valley Historical Society (NVHS) on June 1, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. as they present Tin Smithing with Scott Baylor. Learn about history as your create a flour scoop and wall hanging lidded match safe using stakes to form the metal, tin snips to cut out the patterns, and solder and copper irons to join the pieces. Hand and arm strength is required. All materials and tools will be provided. 

Tinsmiths are a small group of people who make daily use items out of sheet metal coated with tin. This tin helps to make the sheet metal rust resistant. Common use items made of tin are mugs, plates, cooking utensils, storage containers, and lighting fixtures.  

The tinsmiths began working in England in the 1700s and sent finished goods to the colonies around 1740. Some tinsmiths settled in the Northeast around Boston and began to manufacture items there. It was cheaper and more economical to ship the raw material to the colonies than the finished goods, which might be damaged during travel. 

The tinsmith would produce his wares all winter and in the spring he would pack it all into a wagon then start out in all directions selling his wares. Since actual money was scarce he would also trade his wares for other goods. So by the time the tin man would travel any distance from home his wagon could have a wide variety of things for sale, hence the name -peddlers wagon. Along with the sales of new tin items, the tinsmith would repair customer tins and household items. 

Enrollment is limited and scholarships are available.

The workshop will take place at the Bement Billings Farmstead Museum, located at 9241 State Route 38 in Newark Valley. The cost is $35 for NVHS members and $38 for non-members. Register by May 22 by calling Leslie at (607) 427-8373. 

Visit www.nvhistory.org to learn more. 

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