Another hidden treasure found

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It is often said if you want to see someone or to try to meet someone, go to Wal-Mart. Well, a few days ago I went to Wal-Mart, and someone I know came up to me and said I sure enjoy reading the articles you write in the L’Observateur.

We talked a few minutes, and

he said he collected antiques and wanted to give me something for

my museum. Not long ago, I

wrote about people with hidden treasures in their home. I went to a home in St John Parish, and this man’s home was full of hidden treasures. He had antiques everywhere, and he said, “I want you to have this.”

It was a wrought-iron blacksmith’s vise. The blacksmith’s vise is listed in the 1897 Sears & Roebuck catalog, and it was sold by its weight. A 35-pound vise sold for $4, a 40-pound vise sold for $4.20, and a 60-pound vise sold for $5.20.

The vise was handmade by a blacksmith. Blacksmiths would put pieces of iron in the vise to hold it while they beat the iron into the shape they wanted. The vise had several names — post vise, leg vise or staple vise. Back in the time of the blacksmith’s shop these tools were considered so standard they were sold without reference to manufacturer. Very few were even marked with the maker’s name.

The vise is now on display at Louisiana Treasures Museum

along with other tools used by

the blacksmiths in their shops.

For hours of operation or to schedule group tours call me at 225-294-8352.

Wayne Norwood is a lieutenant with the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Department and owner and operator of the Louisiana Treasures Museum.