Woods Hole Historical Museum
Weekly Dispatch
Welcome to the  Woods Hole Historical Museum Weekly Dispatch …… a new digital communication for sharing content from the museum’s archives, exhibits, and more. For the next two months we will reach out to you on a weekly basis hoping to bring back some memories, teach you something new about our unique community, and keep you posted on our plans for the 2020 season. Whether you are reading this from your home on the Cape or from locations far from WH, we hope you enjoy the Dispatch.   We encourage you to share your feedback with us at   whhmdirector@gmail.com And although the museum is not open for visitors, you can reach us by email or phone. Hoping to hear from you as we go through this challenging time. 
From the Museum Collection
Skates owned by Sam Cahoon
Sam Cahoon, the venerable Woods Hole sailor and fish market owner, enjoyed skating on local ponds and playing hockey. His skates are part of our archives collection. They don’t look very comfortable, but obviously they worked!

Skates like these, common in the late 19th century, were extensions that skaters attached to their boots, not individual boots as they are today.

The antique skates had a metal blade inserted into a wooden sole with a buckled leather strap going over the arch of the foot and around the ankle, according to an online archives article we read from Western Illinois Museum. There is a screw in the heel area of the wooden sole of the skate that would have screwed into the heel of the skater’s boot to keep the skate firmly attached. Skates made around the end of the 19th century and the turn of the 20th century tended to be fashioned with wood instead of metal.The earliest ice skates were found in Finland and date to approximately 5,000 years ago. The first ice skates were made from leg bones of horse, ox or deer, and were attached to feet with leather straps.

Sam Cahoon was born in 1878 and died in 1952, just hours after sailing his Cape Cod Knockabout, Mae Win, to win the last race of the season at WHYC. For more on Sam, check out this Spritsail article , based on a conversation with John Valois.
”Eeling Through The Ice” by Franklin Lewis Gifford shows skaters in the 1800s with skates similar to Sam Cahoon’s.
And on the subject of footwear...
Beetle Boot Jacks
Cobbler's tools
We recently found cobbler’s tools tucked away in the covered-up second floor fireplace in Bradley House and two "beetle" boot jacks in a closet.

From our website research (thanks, Wikipedia) we learned that a boot jack , sometimes known as a   boot pull , is used to help remove boots. It consists of a U-shaped mouth that grips the heel of the boot, and a flat area to which weight can be applied. Place the heel of the boot in the mouth of the jack, then stand on the back of the device with the other foot, and pull the foot free of the front boot. 
The boot jack allows the wearer to pull his foot straight up and out of the boot, using full body weight for leverage. It also keeps the wearer from handling the boots if they are dirty, or having to behind over to take off his boots. The U shape of the jack is formed by artistic elements, such as the horns of a steer, antennae of an insect or snail, or other, often humorous or whimsical, designs.

Cobbler’s Tools
This cast iron double-head boot anvil was used for shoe repair. The cobbler’s iron stand has three sizes of iron shoe molds that are inserted into the top of the stand.
Join our mailing list or become a member
Woods Hole Historical Museum
579 Woods Hole Road (P.O. Box 185)
Woods Hole, MA 02543
Phone: 508-548-7270