The head curator was not in when we got to the museum, but an assistant was there, and said "Wow!" when we showed him the knife. Shocked that we got a response like that, after our previous encounters, we were informed that he would like to hold onto it and research it a bit. We headed off into Sanford for a bite to eat and some perusal of local antique stores when we got a call a few hours later from the assistant curator. "It's a sugarcane knife...it looks like it was made by a blacksmith, from the leaf-spring of an old horse-drawn wagon...looks like around 1890 or so." He went on, "The tip is clipped, which is rare in this type of knife." A few days later we returned to the museum and the curator was available. They were planning an exhibit about the history of the sugarcane industry industry in Central Florida and they wanted to know if we could loan them the knife for the upcoming show. Patti said "It's been sitting on the piano in our garage for more than a year...it's yours!"
|The blade, 22" long, was dug 12" deep...a smithy produced sugarcane knife cir 1890|
They were pretty pleased and planned to use some museum techniques in cleaning and restoring the blade. Patti was pretty pleased herself in finally getting her artifact on display, and out of the garage. I concurred as I could picture me taking out the garbage one afternoon, only to have the knife fall on my foot on the walk back in, and losing a few toes in the process. The curator also asked us to spread the word to other metal detectorists about bringing their finds to the museum for documentation and possible analysis. So here I am, spreading it.