Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rock-a-bye Baby

Earlier this month, I found a wonderful antique cradle of mid-nineteenth century vintage at an estate sale in upstate New York. Such handsome features: the local hard maple wood, the dovetailing, the gently curved top and rockers, the carrying handles, and an early safety feature: two brass knobs on each side with which to “bundle” the baby with rope, ribbon or twine so s/he could not escape!   I quickly paid a very reasonable price for such a handsome period addition to one of my farmhouse's bedchambers!

It must be noted that such cradles as these are of picturesque interest only. Their practical use, holding babies (despite knobs for bundling!), is cast in doubtful light if we consider that one wrong step, on one of the rockers, may catapult the little one who knows where!

Cradles of this vintage were often made by the father or grandfather with locally-milled woods and were handed down in families through subsequent generations.  It is quite likely that my particular cradle has never left the county in which I purchased it.  Early cradles were made to be placed right next to the parents’ bed, since bedrooms were actually a later addition to architecture that came with the ability to heat the home more efficiently.

I hope one day to find a mid-nineteenth century baby quilt at another estate sale!


  1. Dear Cassandra, What a wonderful cradle. One can just imagine the infants rocked to sleep with lullabys in a bygone era. Yours looks to be most handsome and made beautifully. A real piece of craftsmanship.

  2. Even with a modern babyquilt this cradle is a wonderful piece of craftmanship!
    What a find!

  3. A wonderful cradle Cassandra. So well-made - a true heirloom. Interesting history and accomanying images too. Look forward to seeing the baby quilt when you find it!


  4. I'll bet you are busy as a bee up in your farmhouse, battening down the hatches for a New York winter. I looked at the farmhouse link on your sidebar and the house is just wonderful. How cozy you will make everything, with all the marvelous antiques. We certainly have the same tastes.

  5. Dear Cassandra,

    What a precious post.., Those darling, wooden baby cradles of yesteryear sure could tell the sweetest stories!.., Hope you find just the right baby quilt soon!..,

    ~ Please do feel most welcome to pop by to 'my little corner of blogland' for a visit and to, 'share a fragrant, piping hot, cup of tea and a treat', sometime!..,

    Happy, 'Show And Tell Friday'!

    Cheers and hugs from Wanda Lee


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