Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A visit to Ross farm museum

My girlfriend Jean, drive a school bus, today she had a school trip to make to Ross Farm museum, so I joined her for a short while.

No, that is not the bus she drive :-)
But the kids are from her bus ...

I have known about this museum for many years, but somehow never got around to visit. When you talk about rural way of life years ago, you know there is going to be a blacksmith, a cooper and other trade of interest, even a working saw mill :-)

A stave and shingle mill

It did not disappoint, the trades I mentioned were well represented by re-enactors that really know their stuff, it was quite pleasant to discuss some of the old ways of working wood and see it in action.

The pile at the mill entrance

This machine apparently cut the half round covers for the dry goods barrels.
Two half makes a cover.

Not the final products but the left over pieces

This strange looking saw apparatus, cuts a concave back on the staves

A cooper jointer, to size and refine the edges prior to fitting the staves

A wooden frame bandsaw. Obviously has some new wooden members, 
but dont know if otherwise original.

A similar marine version was called the make and break, and was a staples of Maritimes life well into the 50s

A revolutionary farm vehicle, the Ford's Fordson

Why called Fordson?
Henry Ford & Son

In 1917 it truly revolutionized farming here in the valley

A Peddler car
 Peddlers were itinerant one man General Store on wheel. They went around the country side selling (Peddling) their wares.

This particular wagon was operated until 1948

The blacksmith interacting with the kids

The drill press came from my neck of the woods... Montreal Qc
The company was established in 1859 in Montreal
And yes, the metal coated drill bit and the chuck are

The Cooper shop

Mostly dry cooperage, for nails, dry goods, apples etc

When I walked in the cooper was busy sharpening the cutter for his Croze plane

An interesting form of shave horse, for working on the staves, 
using the  natural crook of the wood 

A very neat and yes comfortable primitive rocking chair.
Coopers build

Staves awaiting their turn.
The cup you see was sawn like that, it is not cupped naturaly

This adjustable press, helps driving the hoops

Various tools Coopers used

That one is obviously used a lot ... recently

No idea why they stacked the wood like that, 
but it sure would have lots of improved air circulation...

But of course, this is a working farm museum, preserving the older ways of living off the land.

The mighty plow, leaving a furrow, turning the sod

Drying hay outside, keep turning it, daily

And into the 21st century, the kids chariots await...

It was a fun diversion for the day, must re-visit some day.
There are a lot of such rural Nova Scotia way of life's museum.
I have seen others but not this one. It is only about one hour drive from my place so a nice day trip...With the car AC on :-)

Bob, the time traveller, just call me Dr Bob..Dr Who? Dr Bob !
Excuse me while I recharged my flux capacitors... 


  1. Hi Bob
    Thanks for some great pictures.
    Looks like my kind of museum.

    1. Hi Jonas
      Thanks, my kind of museum too :-) Love the interaction with the re-enactors/tradesmen. Will definitely have to spend more time in there...

  2. Bob,

    The first motorized vehicle I drove was a Fordson tractor. It was the only tractor on the farm I was strong enough to push the clutch in with one foot. The Farmall's I had to stand on the clutch with both feet to disengage the clutch.

    Growing up on a farm in the 40's and 50's was kinda like being a draftee in the Army, one hell of an experience but I wouldn't want to do it again.

    What is hard to believe was how stable technology had been up until near mid-century and then how much and how quickly it changed after that. Folks whose lives I've touched lived in that museum.


    1. Wow Ken you are dating yourself :-)
      But in your defense these Fordson's tractors soldier on for a loooong time. They were kind of the Model T on the farming world. I never drove farm machinery, I am a city boy (Montreal) I took the subway everywhere in town :-)


  3. Good stuff, Bob. I love this kind of thing.

    1. Hi Matt
      Yes me too! I could easily had spend the day in there...
      But we only had about 2 hours together, the "other kids" had longer with her... :-)

      Bob, the eternal kid at heart

  4. Great stuff Bob. The links for the make and break engines explained a lot. I remember seeing these on skiffs and working boats down here. Never knew what they were. Now I am off to find out more about the Fordson.

    1. Glad you liked it Ralph. These one cylinder Make and Break engines were very popular on the atlantic coast, but I imagined the stationary kind would had been in uses on the main land farms also?

      Bob, the museum geek

  5. Updated information i found about the Post drill maker HR Ives