John, originally from Scotland, has been working as a tinsmith in pioneer village for the past 25 years or so. He is a real character and my daughter and I were very happy to have met him and have had the opportunity to enjoy his stories and his sense of humor.
He showed us - and then the elementary school class that soon joined us - how he makes lanterns and small vessels from tin.
John told us how the women in the 1800s were essentially supposed to work in the home and raise the children and they were not really supposed to be in workshops, but to buy whatever they needed from the general store. However, they knew that if they ordered a lamp directly from the tinsmith they would get it cheaper because they wouldn't have to pay the general store mark-up. So they would send their daughters to the tinsmith and the daughter would tell him what mother wanted. The tinsmith would ask about the size and other particulars and then ask how mother intended to pay. Since only the rich had money, they would pay in bushels of produce, for example. The tinsmith would mark the amount down in his ledger and if what she ordered was worth less than what she could pay, she would be left with a credit toward the next order, and if it was less, she would owe him and pay when she could.
When I asked how long it would take to fulfill an order, John laughed and said that people did not ask such a question back then. It took as long as it took. The daughter might pop into the shop and ask if the order was ready and either it was or it was not.
These were only some of the stories we heard from John. He is happy to answer any and all questions and will amaze you with his knowledge of the times.
Tin lamps and candle holders made by John (and perhaps other tinsmiths as well) are sold in the gift shop.