- Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 June 2011 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 22 June 2011 00:00
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A lady in Northumberland County acquired this spool cabinet many years ago. It is worn; the leatherette inset on the top is missing, and the lettering is faded. It sits on an old, but not original to the piece, frame. The frame and the cabinet are of two different tones. She asks about having it refinished or not. Several small pieces of wood are replacements.
The spool cabinet dates from the last quarter of the nineteenth
century. It is a store piece, that is, it originally served in a store on top of a counter, and contained spools of thread for sale to the public. Indeed, it did come from the cabinetshop with either a leatherette or a felt insert on the top, which served in the store as a writing desk for the storekeeper.
Every country store had one of these pieces, as the thread market was a staple of rural life where families relied on sewing both to make their clothes and to keep them in good repair. Selling fabric and thread was major role played by the country store, as well as by more specialized dry goods stores in the cities.
If I were planning to use this piece in my home, I should choose a moderate level of restoration. I recommend trying to achieve a uniform level of color on the surface and the replaced pieces of wood, lest the lat In its present condition the spool cabinet is worth $150. Properly restored, the price should more than double, but the work to be done will not be inexpensive.