Object of the Month
Longfellow House - Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site has a large museum collection consisting of thousands of objects, many of which are not regularly displayed in the house's furnished exhibit rooms. Every month, an object will be featured on this page, providing a look at an unusual piece from the collection.
A key feature of the device is the stone used, pumice. Pumice is a type of volcanic rock that has a low density due to the many bubbles that are created in it during its formation process. This structure enables the pumice to absorb enough fuel oil to burn continuously for 10-15 minutes.
Regarded by some as a cleaner and simpler way to light a fire in a hearth or wood burning stove than using paper or kindling, these fire starters were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One of the best known manufacturers was the Cape Cod Shop, which produced handmade brass and copper items with an Arts & Crafts style influence. The Cape Cod Shop, with a location on Fifth Avenue in New York City according to an early 20th century advertisement, operated from the 1890s to the 1930s. The piece pictured here has the fish-shaped Cape Cod Shop trademark symbol on the bottom (shown above) and features the flared "fishtail" end to its handle that was a common feature of the shop's pieces. It was probably purchased by Alice Longfellow, or her nephew Harry Dana.
Did You Know?
The garden at Longfellow National Historic Site features over 30 different types of flowers, many of which are present in more than one color.