Pennsylvania Dutch Hope Chests
The Dower Chest, higher referred to as a Hope Chest or Blanket Chest in current time, is referred to by the Pennsylvania Dutch as Ausschteier Kischt. This piece of furnishings is essentially the most cherished and most consultant of the Germanic Immigrants who got here to dwell in Pennsylvania through the late 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries. Young women between the ages of eight to 10 got Hope Chests inscribed with their names and normally the date of presentation. This storage chest was stuffed with home items that the lady made, was given or bought in anticipation of her future marriage. On her marriage ceremony day, this fully stuffed Hope Chest was proudly positioned within the “Wedding Wagon” to be taken to her new residence. Items would have included blankets, mattress linens, child garments, quilts and a few household heirlooms.
The design types, dimensions and building sorts differ amongst these Hope Chests which exhibits that the craftsmen didn’t copy one anothers work. The foot design adjustments from Dower Chest to Dower Chest with a big number of bracket ft, rounded ball ft or no ft in any respect. Some Hope Chests had two or three drawers alongside the underside, whereas others had none. Many Blanket Chests had inlay designs or particular painted designs.
The painted designs on a few of these Hope Chests are very elaborate which has enabled historians to have the ability to categorize them by area and to acknowledge particular craftsmen. These Dower Chest designs included the usage of inlaid leaf and flower motifs, unicorns, hearts, birds, hex designs to thrust back evil spirits, flower designs primarily of roses or tulips, the title of the lady receiving the Hope Chest and the date that the Hope Chest was offered.
The two frequent components of those Hope Chests are the highest closing lid and the darkish wooden staining or paint. Dark coloring was vital for the design components to face out, particularly for the inlaid motifs. Beautiful hardwoods of Walnut, Oak and Eastern Pine had been primarily used within the building of those finely crafted Blanket Chests throughout this early time interval.
These Early American Hope Chests weren’t made with cedar on the within. Cedar linings and bottoms are the additions of current day craftsmen to their Blanket Chests. This is a favourite function amongst consumers since cedar eliminates insect pests and releases a beautiful aroma each time the lid is opened. This contemporary scent could be rejuvenated by merely roughing the cedar with small grit sandpaper.
Even although society in lots of areas has discontinued the custom of giving Dower Chests to their younger daughters, superbly constructed Hope Chests are nonetheless loving given as marriage ceremony presents or as a particular reward.
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