What is this?

dustpan-thumbOur exhibit, Making Connecticut, showcases over 500 objects, images, and documents from the CHS collection. “What is this?” posts will highlight an object from the exhibit and explore its importance in Connecticut history every other week. What is this object? What is the story behind it?

The Newman S. Hungerford Museum Fund, 2007.47.0  © 2008 The Connecticut Historical Society.

The Newman S. Hungerford Museum Fund, 2007.47.0 © 2008 The Connecticut Historical Society.

This is my favorite object in the collection. It’s not just any ordinary dustpan. It’s an “Illuminated” dustpan. The illumination is provided by a candle that would be inserted in the candle holder which is built into the handle. The handle is constructed so that the toe of one’s shoe could be inserted from any of three directions to apply pressure to the dustpan.

Manufactured in 1882 in Monroe, CT

Manufactured in 1882 in Monroe, CT

The idea of having a source to light your sweeping area isn’t bad as vacuums today typically have lights on their heads. But an open flame with dust swirling around and trying to maneuver the pan with your foot just seems like a bad idea. It’s no surprise this product didn’t catch on. Chalk one up for Yankee ingenuity!

Directions on how to use the Illuminated Dustpan

Directions on how to use the Illuminated Dustpan

Mike Messina is the Interpretive Projects Associate at the Connecticut Historical Society.

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