Updated: Feb 5, 2021
Welcome to the June edition of our 50 in 50 blog series, where we highlight 5 different artifacts from the Transcona Museum's collections every month. There will be a total of 50 artifacts discussed by the time we reach our last post in October 2018. This series is done in commemoration of our 50th Opening Anniversary of the Transcona Museum. We have officially reached the halfway point in this series, with 25 artifacts covered and another 25 left to introduce.
#26 - TH82.7.23
Mica Composition Pintype Insulator
The Transcona Museum has approximately 140 glass, porcelain, and composition insulators in its collections. Insulators were originally designed to keep the wires linking telegraphs and telephones insulated from the wooden poles that held them aloft. First produced in the 1850s, the manufacturing of insulators would peak from the 1920s through the 1940s with production in the millions per year. Commonly made from glass or porcelain in a dazzling array of shapes and colours, antique insulators are prized for their rarity and physical beauty. This unmarked, composition pintype insulator was made with mica. A good stable material, mica can be exposed to moisture and extreme temperatures.
#27 - TH93.38.1
The vernacular term "crocks" is often used to describe this type of pottery, which were the predominant housewares of the 19th century. Stoneware of this type is usually covered in a salt glaze, but Albany Slip was also used to give the stoneware a deep brown colour, as seen on this jug. This stoneware jug is not only old but is also well-travelled; it was originally brought to St. Boniface from Minneapolis, MN by Mrs. Hedwidge Couto - the great-grandmother of the donor. The jug was transported by barge up the Red River in 1875 and was used to store molasses.
#28 - TH69.267.1.3-4
The moustache cup is a drinking cup with a semicircular ledge inside. The ledge has a half-moon-shaped opening to allow the passage of liquids and serves as a guard to keep moustaches dry. It is generally acknowledged to have been invented in the 1860s by British potter Harvey Adams. Between 1920 and 1930, moustaches progressively began to go out of fashion and hence the decline in moustache cup production. Today though, these examples of Victorian male elegance are coveted and collected by a growing number of enthusiasts.
#29 - TH22.214.171.124
The Stubby Bottle
The stubby bottle was introduced to the Canadian beer drinker in 1961 and became an instant hit. The stubby owes its famous name to its small and fat stature, which helped the beer to chill quickly making it very popular with drinkers. As popular as they were, stubbies were replaced with American-style lock neck bottles in the 1980s.
This stubby bottle comes from Uncle Ben's Brewery, established by Ben Ginter in 1972 at his second brewery location in Transcona. Located along Regent Avenue at Bienvenue Street, the brewery would remain in operations until 1976; Ginter's company would go bankrupt when the banks called in its loans - an estimated $3.9 million. The Transcona brewery was sold as a warehouse and remains vacant today.
For more biographical information on Ben Ginter, please read this news article from the Winnipeg Free Press.
#30 - TH68.18.9
Also known as a "pie fork", the pastry fork was designed for eating pastries and other desserts from a plate. A Victorian invention, the complicated dining etiquette of the period encouraged the development of specific utensils for eating particular foods. This pastry fork is among the Transcona Museum's original founding collection of 1968.
Come back in July for artifacts #31-35
"American Stoneware". Wikipedia. Accessed 19 June 2018.
"Canadian Beer Bottles: Do You Know Your History?" Canadian Living. Accessed 19 June 2018.
"Ian Macky Explains the Colors and History of Insulators". Collectors Weekly. Accessed 19 June 2018.
"Moustache Cups: A Brief History". Toronto Antiques on King & The Cynthia Findlay Collection. Accessed 19 June 2018.
"Pastry Fork". Wikipedia. Accessed 19 June 2018.
Sneath, Allen Winn. Brewed in Canada: The Untold Story of Canada's 350-year-old Brewing Industry. Toronto: Dundurn, 2001.
"Uncle Ben's Brewery: A Beer Revolution". Ingenium Innovation. Accessed 19 June 2018.