Rococo Cast Iron Hot Water Radiators inside the Deyo House

What is considered in today’s standards as a basic amenity, central heating in the late 19th and early 20th century was a luxury for Americans. Nestled underneath the two east windows in the Music Room of the Deyo House, the gold painted Rococo cast-iron hot water radiators – manufactured in 1894 by the American Radiator Company in Detroit, Michigan, and subsequently sold to the Hasbrouck and Weismiller Store, a local 19th century heating and plumbing business, formerly located at 101 Main Street, New Paltz, New York – served one integral function for the Broadhead and LeFevre families: showcasing affluence for guests.

Background Information:

When analyzing objects from the 19th century, I often envision objects strictly for affluent families: automobiles, phonographs, telephones, or cameras. I never would have considered a 19th century heating system inside a former Dutch style stone house as an object of any significance. This type of mentality can be explained by the fact that amenities such as central heating, running water, and refrigeration have been fully integrated into modern life in the United States, where people no longer notice the essential role these utilities fulfill every day. Throughout my extensive research in the Historic Huguenot Street collaborative project, I have developed a fundamental understanding of how the gold painted Rococo cast-iron hot water radiators inside the Deyo House served one integral function in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: displaying a family’s opulence for guests.  

Originally constructed in the 17th century, the Deyo House was a Dutch style stone house consisting of one story. Over the course of 200 years, five generations of the Deyo family would live in this house before it received its first renovation (The Huguenot Historical 7). Displayed in Figure 1 is a photograph of the Deyo House in the late 19th century, before the first renovation.

Figure 1: The Deyo House in the late 19th century (The Huguenot Historical 7).

In 1889, Abraham Deyo Brodhead acquired the property; shortly after in 1894, he authorized the first wave of significant changes to his ancestor’s home (The Huguenot Historical 7). As shown in Figure 2 is the Deyo House after the 1894 renovation.

Figure 2: The Deyo House after the 1894 renovation (The Huguenot Historical 11).

The notable additions to the Deyo House included electric lighting and a central heating system. While these changes were significant for the time, when the Deyo House was sold to Frank J. LeFevre on November 3rd, 1915, the LeFevre family immediately began the house’s second renovation, purchasing “a new heater and a number of new radiators” (New Paltz Independent). All the gold painted radiators currently inside the Deyo House are from the 1894 and 1915 renovations.

Physical Description:

The gold painted radiators I decided to analyze are located inside the Music Room of the Deyo House, the room immediately to the right after walking through the front door. The Music Room is “heated by two ornate cast iron hot water radiators (3’-6” wide by 1’-10 ½” high) located in front of the two east windows” (The Huguenot Historical 55). For each set, there are seventeen individual sections, and each section measures at 2.5” wide by 1’-10 1/2” high, with the capability of housing a half gallon of water. Displayed in Figure 3 is a set of gold painted radiators inside the Music Room.

Figure 3: A set of Rococo radiators located inside the Music Room of the Deyo House.

In an attempt by the Broadhead and the LeFevre families to display their opulence, all the cast iron hot water radiators in the Deyo House were coated with a layer of gold paint. According to an article published by the United States General Services Administration, the technique employed to paint cast iron hot water radiators in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is called bronzing (1). The required materials for bronzing consist of “bronzing liquid and bronzing powder to achieve a metallic surface appearance” (Refinishing a Radiator 1). While the exterior of the radiators may have been aesthetically pleasing inside the Deyo House at the time of the installation, showcasing affluence and sophisticated technology, the one major caveat with bronzing radiators is that the composition of the paint contains lead, a toxic chemical that can wreak havoc on an individual’s brain and central nervous system.

Regarding the exterior design of the Rococo radiators inside the Deyo House, they followed a design commonly employed during the Gilded Age. Attached in Figure 4 is a detailed photograph of the exterior design of the Rococo cast iron hot water radiators.

Figure 4: Exterior design of the Rococo cast iron hot water radiators.

For example, according to the Historic Resource Study of the Vanderbilt Mansion located in Hyde Park, New York, “by the 1880s, manufacturers could easily cast metals into decorative design and so radiators abounded with scrolls and other cast decorative elements” (215). In other words, the radiators inside the Vanderbilt Mansion, an estate owned by one the wealthiest families in the United States of America at the time, and the Deyo House followed a standard, late 19th century design.

Provenance:

While analyzing the Rococo cast iron hot water radiators inside the Music Room, I noticed the words AMERICAN RADIATOR COMPANY were inscribed on each section. Displayed in Figure 5 is an image of the inscription.

Figure 5: One of the Rococo cast iron hot water radiators with AMERICAN RADIATOR COMPANY inscribed on the side.

Established in 1888 as the Michigan Radiator and Iron Manufacturing Company, and then reincorporated in 1892 as the American Radiator Company, the company manufactured in 1894 “the first boilers [and radiators] for house-warming purposes” (Burton 598). The epicenter of manufacturing for the American Radiator Company at the time was Detroit, Michigan. While the American Radiator Company did own other manufacturing plants across the American Midwest, the radiators installed in the Deyo House in 1894 and 1915 were most likely produced in the automotive city.

The American Radiator Company throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries forged business partnerships with local distributors and small businesses across the United States of America. An example of this would be the cooperation between the American Radiator Company and the Hasbrouck and Weismiller Store – a local 19th century heating and plumbing business, formerly located at 101 Main Street, New Paltz, New York (Johnson 79). According to an advertisement published on May 23rd of 1903 in the New Paltz Independent, the Hasbrouck and Weismiller Store was trying to notify the residents of New Paltz about the new heating technology they were selling. Attached in Figure 6 is the advertisement from the New Paltz Independent.

Figure 6: A Hasbrouck and Weismiller Store advertisement in the New Paltz Independent.

Even though there are no financial records from the 1894 and 1915 renovations of the Deyo House, it is likely that Abraham Deyo Broadhead and Frank J. Lefevre supported a local family owned business by purchasing the Rococo radiators from the Hasbrouck and Weismiller Store. While there is no documentation of the price the Hasbrouck and Weismiller Store was selling the Rococo radiators, a Sears, Roebuck catalog from 1910 offers some insight as to how much the Broadhead and LeFevre families paid. Attached in Figure 7 is a page from the Sears, Roebuck catalog, in their heating section.

Figure 7: Heating section from the 1910 Sears, Roebuck catalog (STEAM AND HOT 99).

Based in Chicago, Illinois, the American Heating Company designed and manufactured the AMCE radiators shown for sale in Figure 7. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the American Heating Company was the American Radiator Company’s rival in the heating industry (Burton 598). While the prices of the American Radiator Company radiators are not advertised in the Sears, Roebuck catalog, analyzing their competitor’s prices for a very similar product offers some insight as to how much the Broadhead and LeFevre families paid. Based on the dimensions of the Rococo radiators inside the Music Room of the Deyo House – 3’-6” wide by 1’-10 ½” high – they would correspond to the 20-Inch Height column, as shown in Figure 7. For each cast iron hot water radiator inside the Music Room there are 17 sections, so with a little math, the total theoretical price for the 17 sections in 1910 would be $4.68 (STEAM AND HOT 99). However, these are not the only radiators inside the Deyo House. Accounting for all 123 sections purchased during both renovations, the total theoretical cost for the entire package of Rococo cast iron hot water radiators in 1910 would be $33.83 (STEAM AND HOT  99). In the late 19th and early 20th century, this was a significant amount of money to invest in a household utility. According to officialdata.org, $33.83 in 1915 is equivalent to $851.45 in 2019 (1). Considering all the radiators inside the Deyo House are identical, this sheds light on the obsessive and compulsive nature of Frank J. LeFevre to match the other gold painted radiators.

Narrative:

The late 19th century was a transformative era in the United States of America, where mass industrialization and exponential technological growth gave rise to the materialism and consumer culture of the 20th century. Innovations such as electric lighting, automobile manufacturing, camera design, audio recording, and central heating systems were developed. Like most first iterations of a consumer product, these material items were very expensive, where only affluent families could even consider purchasing these products. The Broadhead, LeFevre, and Vanderbilt families, through their rapid spending on luxurious, non-essential technology, are early examples of Americans immersing themselves in material culture.

In stark contrast to most Americans in the late 19th century, the Broadhead, LeFevre, and Vanderbilt families enjoyed the luxury of owning a low maintenance central heating system. The rationale, however, behind purchasing gold painted radiators was significantly different for each family. For example, the primary reason Abraham Deyo Broadhead and Frank J. LeFevre purchased gold painted radiators for the Deyo House was to display their affluence. During the 1894 and 1915 renovations, the Broadhead and LeFevre families were attempting to emulate the lifestyle of the Vanderbilt’s, but since neither family accumulated as much wealth as the Vanderbilt family, the Broadhead and LeFevre families had to express their wealth through other means. One method the Broadhead and LeFevre families employed was installing decorative, gold painted radiators. When the Vanderbilt’s purchased their radiators in the late 19th century, they deemed it “unnecessary… to purchase fancy radiators [from the American Radiator Company] because they [the radiators] appeared only in the service areas” (Albee 215). Even though the Vanderbilt’s cared about displaying their wealth, as shown by their luxurious 211-acre summer home in Hyde Park, New York, they did not care about expressing their wealth through smaller material items.

In addition to emulating the Vanderbilt’s lifestyle, the Broadhead and LeFevre families, through the purchase and installation of golden radiators, wanted to impress wealthy families in the local Hudson Valley. An example of this would be the countless events the Broadhead and LeFevre families hosted at the Deyo House. Articles published on March 1st and March 6th of 1895 in the New Paltz Independent discussed an event the Broadhead family hosted on February 27th, 1895, where high profile families from the neighboring towns of Kingston and Newburgh attended. According to these articles, significant emphasis was placed on the electric lighting and the Rococo gold painted radiators in the Deyo House (New Paltz Independent). In stark contrast to the high maintenance heating system most Americans owned at the time – a coal burning oven or a fireplace – the Broadhead family wanted to communicate a message to their local community of their vast collection of wealth.

When analyzing this period of American history, it is important to understand how material culture influenced regions such as the Hudson Valley. After nearly 200 years of Deyo’s living in a one-story Dutch style stone house, Abraham Deyo Broadhead authorized in 1894 a complete transformation of the Deyo House. The final product left the house unrecognizable, as seen in Figure 1 and Figure 2, and equipped with, at the time, sophisticated technology – electric lighting and a central heating system. While the gold painted radiators did fulfill a function in providing heat in an efficient, low maintenance manner, their intended purpose was to showcase the wealth of the Broadhead and LeFevre families. In contrast, the Vanderbilt’s focused on the practical application of a central heating system, rather than focusing on the optics of owning state-of-the-art technology. The Huguenot Historical Society and the National Park Service have preserved these objects so they can serve as a reminder to people of the consumer culture of the late 19th and early 20th century. I firmly believe that the preservation of these radiators inside the Deyo House has contributed immensely to the rich history of New Paltz.

Works Cited

Technology in Academia

For this weeks blog post, I am going to provide a detailed history of how my Vaio Z Canvas – my primary laptop at SUNY New Paltz – came into my possession and how it has helped my academic career.

            In September of 2015, I was beginning my junior year of high school. One of the courses I was enrolled in was Introduction to Engineering Design (IED), a course focused on Computer Aided Design (CAD) modeling and 3D printing. Prior to the beginning of IED, I had no experience with CAD modeling; while I found the material interesting, I struggled to keep up with the assignments. The software used in the course, Autodesk Inventor, was only available on the computers in the engineering classroom, so if I did not finish my assignment in class or during office hours, I was not able to continue my work outside of the classroom. I tried downloading Autodesk Inventor onto my father’s laptop, but his laptop did not have the appropriate computer hardware to support the program. After a few assignments passed, I decided to make an investment in my education: purchase an affordable, compact laptop, where I could run sophisticated software such as Autodesk Inventor and complete assignments in a timely manner.

After two months of extensive research, I concluded that the Vaio Z Canvas was the laptop I was going to purchase. I choose this unique laptop for a few specific reasons: the performance of the central processing unit (CPU) in executing demanding tasks was remarkable; the graphics card in the computer was, at the time, the best Intel could offer for a non-discrete graphics processing unit (GPU); the utility of having so many accessible ports; and the ability to travel with the laptop without the concern of losing a significant amount of storage space. At the time of the purchase, there were few options on the market for a fast, reliable, and compact 12 inch laptop, so there was little competition in persuading me to purchase another laptop.

As an electrical engineering student, a 3D CAD modeler, and an amateur photographer, I needed a computer that could support any form of sophisticated software – Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, MATLAB, Dassault SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor, and Rhino 6 – to execute demanding tasks (reference Figure 1). Sporting an Intel i7 quad-core Haswell (fourth) generation processor, 8 gigabytes of DDR4 Random Access Memory (RAM), Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200, and a 256 gigabyte SATA solid state drive (SSD), the internal hardware in the Vaio Z Canvas provided exactly what I needed. For a person who does not know a lot about computer hardware, this information may seem confusing or irrelevant. To put these specifications into perspective, the Vaio Z Canvas can compete head to head with Apple’s 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro, an elegant piece of technology that can easily execute demanding tasks, so for $1200, a $1000 less than the 15-inch MacBook Pro, I immediately jumped on the deal for the Vaio Z Canvas.

Figure 1 – My Vaio Z Canvas running Autodesk Inventor.

In addition to the hardware persuading me to purchase the Vaio Z Canvas, the ports of the computer were another unique feature. In stark contrast to Apple’s decision to switch to strictly USB C ports on their MacBook Pro line, the Vaio Z Canvas takes a traditional approach when it comes to ports. The Vaio Z Canvas includes two USB 3.0 ports, one full SD card slot, one displayport, one HDMI port, one gigabit ethernet port, and one 19.5 Volt charging port (reference Figure 2). With this wide array of a port selection, I never have to think about buying an adapter, saving me money and space in my backpack. While the Vaio Z Canvas may be slightly thicker and heavier than the 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro, I still value the versatility in having so many ports. Without these ports, I would not be able to project my laptop to two different computer monitors while studying for classes (HDMI and displayport), revise photographs while travelling (SD card slot), quickly transfer CAD files to a 3D printer (SD card slot), or establish a fast, stable connection to the internet (gigabit ethernet). These ports in combination with the computer hardware of the Vaio Z Canvas enable a higher level of productivity.

Figure 2 – The wide array of ports included in the Vaio Z Canvas.

This past December marked three years since I purchased my Vaio Z Canvas. While there are frustrating issues such as the poor battery life or the small, unresponsive trackpad, I fortunately have no regrets in purchasing this laptop. The Vaio Z Canvas has also helped me in an indirect way: introducing me to digital note taking on Microsoft OneNote. All throughout junior high school, I used five-star subject notebooks, and while I never had an issue with the notebooks, I found that Microsoft OneNote offered a myriad of features – changing different pen colors while using the same pen, offering different font thicknesses while writing, and the opportunity to record a lecture – which a five-star subject notebook simply could not match. This laptop has helped me tremendously throughout high school and college, and I intend to keep using it until the day it stops working.

Family Photograph from 1921

After exhausting every detail of the 1907 Silver United States Barber Dime, I have decided to discuss the history behind a special family photograph from 1921. Often when I sit down with my one-hundred-year-old great aunt, who we lovingly call Auntie Dot, she talks about the difficulties her family endured during the 1920s and Great Depression. Growing up in a tenement apartment without a father and six other siblings where basic amenities such as a private bathroom or fresh fruit were too expensive, Auntie Dot observed from a young age my great grandmother persevering through extreme circumstances, trying to earn enough money each week to ensure the whole family had enough food, coal, and a roof to sleep under each night. With all this under consideration, this is precisely why I am perplexed to present a well captured photograph of my family.

In 2014, after nearly eighty-five years of living in the same apartment building in the Bronx, Auntie Dot moved to an assisted living facility in Westchester County, New York. While I was helping remove furniture from Auntie’s apartment, I noticed behind one of the couches a partially torn canvas with a faded photograph of my family from two generations ago. Presented in Figure 1 is the restored canvas and photograph of my family from nearly one hundred years ago. In all my visits to Auntie Dot’s apartment as a child, I had never seen this family photograph, and after showing my other family members, no one else recognized it either. Auntie Dot, on the other hand, through a verbal description, knew immediately what I was talking about, and began telling me the story of how and why this photograph was taken.

Figure 1 – Family photograph from November of 1921

As I mentioned before, my great grandparents lived in a tenement apartment building in New York City where they could not afford clothing for all their children, forcing my great grandmother to hand sew all the sailor suites and dresses depicted in Figure 1, so the fact that they went to a professional photographer’s studio and paid, according to Auntie Dot, a significant amount of money is stunning. Upon conferring with Auntie Dot, I was told one of the primary reasons why this photograph was taken was because my great grandfather was terminally ill. In 1921, my great grandfather was diagnosed with a rare blood condition – Auntie Dot and my other relatives are not sure of the specific blood condition, unfortunately – which was not treatable at the time. This left my great grandfather with a time table ranging from six months to a year to live. Even though these photographs may have cost the family a lot of money, it was important to my great grandfather to memorialize himself in a family photograph so his children and future children could have an idea of who their father was as a person. In July of 1922, my great grandfather passed away; while Auntie Dot was three years old at the time, she does not have many memories of her father, so this photograph is a great way for her to keep a connection to her father.

Another key detail Auntie Dot mentioned, which adds an entire new dimension to the photograph’s story and early twentieth century photography, was the fact that my grandfather, the little plump child between my great grandmother and the young, curly haired girl (Aunt Marie), was not alive when this photograph was taken. According to Auntie Dot, this photograph was taken in November of 1921; my grandfather was not born until April of 1922. Originally, the photographer had placed a flower pot between my great grandmother and Aunt Marie, most likely to fill the small amount of negative space between the two ladies. Once my great grandfather died in the summer of 1922, my great grandmother decided to bring the photograph to another photographer to see if it were possible to superimpose a separate photograph of my grandfather into the family portrait, considering my grandfather had no photos together with his father. Attached below in Figure 2 is the original photo the photographer referenced to superimpose my grandfather into the family portrait. To this day, I find it remarkable how photographic technology from nearly one hundred years ago supported an early version of photoshop. While this family photo was not digitally enhanced, of course, it still shows how the fundamental concepts of manipulating photos existed at the early stages of the twentieth century.

Figure 2 – My grandfather (left) and Auntie Dot (right)

Regarding the mechanics of the photograph, Auntie Dot made an interesting observation on how the photographer posed her mother, my great grandmother. While I did not know my great grandmother – she passed away in 1969 – Auntie Dot and other older relatives always tell me that she was the most loving and thoughtful woman they knew. In this photograph, however, my great grandmother appears to be very stern, a person you would probably not want to engage with in a conversation if you were in trouble. I am not sure if this was a compositional technique employed by photographers in the early twentieth century, portraying the matriarch of the household as a strong, resourceful, and authoritative figure, but based on my relative’s accounts of my great grandmother, this photograph does not accurately represent who she was as a person.

I found this assignment to be rewarding. I have never had the opportunity in another academic setting to discuss this family photograph in detail.  While other people may view this as a basic photograph of an immigrant family from the early twentieth century, there is much more buried underneath the cloth of the canvas and ink of the photograph. Considering this is the only photograph in existence of all my family members, I place a significant amount of value on this photograph. I hope to pass this photograph down to my children down one day and explain to them the incredible story behind this family portrait.

In Depth Analysis of the 1907 Silver United States Barber Dime

Expanding on my discussion of the 1907 Silver United States Barber dime, I decided to research how the value people place on currency shifts over time. In my last blog post, I discussed the role of the Barber Dime in early twentieth century American society: purchasing consumer friendly goods which helped make life more comfortable. While a dime produced in 2019 may not hold as much value as a fifty-dollar bill, a dime to destitute families one hundred years ago meant placing another meal on the table, buying coal to heat a tenement apartment, and sending letters to relatives. One person I know who still places immense value on a dime is my one-hundred-year-old great aunt. Growing up in a tenement building in New York City without a father and six other siblings, my great aunt was instilled with the virtue of appreciating any value of currency. Whether she earned a couple of pennies delivering bread for a local bakery or a few quarters hand sewing clothing, she knew any amount of money helped my great grandmother in supporting their family. Even though this type of appreciation for smaller currency may not be as common in younger generations, I would argue that this appreciation still exists, but it has shifted to larger standards of currency – twenties, fifties, and one hundred-dollar bills.

Over the course of one hundred years, the Barber Dime’s function in society has shifted, transitioning from daily currency to a rare collectible. While I realize the Barber Dime I found was being used to purchase a snack from a vending machine, most of these coins are not used for daily expenditures. According to the Littleton Coin Company’s website, a Barber Dime, if kept in good condition, can be sold at auction for $16 (1907-S Barber Dime 1). Even though this may not be a significant amount when compared to other rare coins, it shows how the dime has only gained value in the antique coin market, indicating that the Barber Dime’s role has shifted towards a collectible item.  

As discussed in my previous blog post, the Barber Dime was originally manufactured in 1907 in the San Francisco Mint, where 3.1 million copies were produced (1907-S Barber Dime 1). The designer Charles E. Barber, the sixth Chief Engraver in the United States Mint and the individual who the dime is named after, drafted and approved the design for the coin (1907-S Barber Dime). Past this information, I unfortunately do not know anything else about the Barber Dime. I do not know if the currency was abandoned after the establishment of the Federal Reserve, or whether the relationship between circulation and time of the coin has shown a linear or exponential decrease of usage in daily expenditures. I also do not know the previous chain of ownership, so unless I pursued forensic analysis, I will have little information regarding the coin’s prior ownership.

As an individual who enjoys United States history, I thoroughly enjoyed this assignment. I was able to invest time into researching an item I had kept in a drawer for nearly two years. Up until this point, I had never put much thought into the history of the dime, the role it performed in the early twentieth century, or the role it serves now as a collectible item. In the future, I fully intend to allocate more time towards researching the purpose and role currency served in American society during the Progressive Era.

Works Cited

 “1907-S Barber Silver Dime.” Littleton Coin Company, Littleton Coin Company, https://www.littletoncoin.com/shop/ProductDisplay?storeId=10001&catalogId=29555&r eferralCode=WRB&productId=18058&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI_6eGvfSd4AIVgo-            zCh0ifwR2EAQYAiABEgLZI_D_BwE. Accessed 3 February 2019.

1907 Silver United States Barber Dime

I have decided to talk about a pure silver dime that dates to 1907. I found this coin while working at my summer job, where I was given the task of fixing a mechanical issue in a vending machine.

While I am not a coin collector, I do dedicate a lot of my free time towards understanding United States history, specifically focusing on the Progressive Era. When I found this dime jammed in the coin mechanism of a vending machine, I immediately realized it wasn’t an ordinary dime causing the machine to malfunction. One of the stark differences I immediately noticed was that this dime did not have President Franklin Delano Roosevelt embossed on the head of the coin; rather, a Greek or Roman figure appears on the head of the dime (reference figure 1). I wasn’t sure if this was a common coin design at the turn of the twentieth century, or if I had stumbled upon a diamond in the middle of a haystack. Upon further research, I discovered that the coin was mass produced (3.1 million copies, roughly) in the San Francisco Mint, the same Mint that produced dimes with similar designs from decades earlier, and the coin was designed and approved in 1907 by Charles E. Barber, the sixth Chief Engraver in the United States Mint, hence the name Silver United States Barber Dime (1907-S Barber Dime 1).

Figure 1 – The front of the 1907 Silver United States Barber Dime

Another observation I made was the lack of a Latin inscription on the Barber Dime. In figure 3, I have photographed the back of a dime that was produced in 2000, and if you look closely, the following phrase, E Pluribus Unum, is engraved on the tails side of the dime. This phrase translates from Latin to English as the following: Out of many, one (E Pluribus Unum 1). I found this to be a strange discovery, considering the Latin phrase has been required on all United States coinage since February of 1873 (E Pluribus Unum 1); what is even more perplexing is when I analyzed photographs of the same coin (other copies in mint condition), I still could not identify the Latin phrase. I am under the impression that even though these coins are deemed to be in mint condition, there is the possibility that the inscription slowly faded away over the course of its one hundred and twelve years of existence. The only words which appear on the dime consist of the currency value (ten cents) and the word liberty. I realize from the photo provided in figure 1 it may not be exactly clear where the word liberty appears, but it’s supposed to be engraved in the headpiece that the Greek or Roman figure is wearing on the heads side of the dime.

Figure 2 – The tails side of the 1907 Silver United States Barber Dime

Figure 3 – The tails side of a modern day dime (the dime was produced in the year 2000)

At the beginning of this assignment, I was concerned that I would not have enough information to analyze. However, to my surprise, after comparing with modern day currency and researching the history of United States coinage, I was able to see stark differences in the way currency was produced at the turn of the twentieth century. After extensive research and analysis, I can say with absolute certainty that I have a new-found appreciation for this dime. While this coin might not flood my mind with wonderful memories like my New York Yankee shirts, I feel like it provides me a small connection to my great grandparents, both of which I never met. Once my great grandparents immigrated to the United States in 1899, this was currency that they most likely used to purchase groceries, clothing, or coal. Unfortunately, my family does not have a significant number of items passed down from their generation, so while this is not a direct family artifact, it still reminds me of my family heritage.

Works Cited

 “1907-S Barber Silver Dime.” Littleton Coin Company, Littleton Coin Company,     https://www.littletoncoin.com/shop/ProductDisplay?storeId=10001&catalogId=29555&r eferralCode=WRB&productId=18058&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI_6eGvfSd4AIVgo-            zCh0ifwR2EAQYAiABEgLZI_D_BwE. Accessed 3 February 2019.

“E Pluribus Unum.” United States Department of the Treasury, United States Department of the    Treasury, 30 November 2010, https://www.treasury.gov/about/budget-            performance/strategic-plan/pages/dlinks.aspx. Accessed 3 February 2019.

Application of the Marie Kondo Method

Being consistent with the first step in Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, I decided to organize my wardrobe. Initially, between my summer and winter belongings, I began with nearly 50 articles of clothing. This may seem like a significant amount, but when all the clothing was neatly tucked away, it was difficult to place a definitive number on how much clothing was in my room (reference figure 1). Once I removed all my clothes from my wardrobe, it was easier to understand how much clothing I had brought from home, proving Kondo’s point that for an individual who is serious about tidying up, they need to place all their belongings from one category – in this case, it was clothing – in one location before applying the joy test (reference figure 2).

Figure 1 – Wardrobe before applying Marie Kondo’s method
Figure 2 – All my shirts and pants in one central location

I began with separating shirts into two piles: one discard pile and one save pile. I quickly realized that I had no emotional connection to shirts which had no text associated with them. For example, in figure 3, there is a photograph of a salmon colored shirt. While it might go well with other articles of clothing in my wardrobe, it did not flood my mind with wonderful memories like the myriad of New York Yankee shirts I own. As a result, I could not compel myself to discard even one New York Yankee shirt because each shirt is like a time capsule, containing wonderful memories which stretch over a period of four years. Once I finished filing through my pile of shirts, I ended up discarding eleven out of a total of nineteen (reference figures 4 and 5). Surprisingly, I did not feel any regret in placing so many shirts I had worn frequently for years in the discard pile; instead, I felt a sense of happiness knowing that the shirts I decided to keep held sentimental value.

Figure 3 – Salmon colored shirt
Figure 4 – Before the Marie Kondo Method
Figure 5 – After the Marie Kondo Method

The next sub-category of clothing I searched through was my collection of pants. I began applying the joy test to my gym shorts, and I noticed that I was discarding the gym shorts which did not have any pockets. To be honest, I do not know why I purchased these types of shorts in the first place. In addition to not providing any sense of excitement when holding each pair of shorts, they did not provide an essential function of housing my phone while listening to music and exercising. However, organizing my other pants – cargo shorts, jeans, and running pants – was a different story. In stark contrast to my gym shorts, there is little differentiation in color and design between my jeans and cargo shorts. They all fulfill the same purpose each day, so I wondered why I had purchased so many similar pairs of pants. I ended up keeping two pairs of jeans, two pairs of cargo shorts, and one pair of gym shorts, whereas I started with four pairs of jeans, six pairs of cargo shorts, and three pairs of gym shorts (reference figure 6). The pants I discarded I felt did not carry any experience with them. In other words, I did not have any distinct memories with the pants I removed from my wardrobe, so I did not have any feeling of regret. The pants I decided to keep held some sentimental value, bringing back fond memories of past work-related experiences, entertainment events with friends, and competitions in high school sports.

Figure 6 – The left pile consists of the pants I discarded, and the right pile consists of the pants I decided to keep.
Figure 7 – Wardrobe post Marie Kondo method

After reading The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, I was skeptical of whether this method would work in an experiment with clothing. I initially thought it would be difficult to part ways with a lot of the clothing I had brought to school, but it turned out to be a simple task. Marie Kondo’s method for sorting through personal belongings also helped me in an indirect way: as an engineering student, I am always looking for new efficient methods to organize my personal belongings, and while I felt that I had a nice organizational system for my clothes where I was utilizing every inch of space in my wardrobe, by employing Marie Kondo’s method, I ended up creating more room in my wardrobe (reference figure 7). This brought joy to my face, knowing that I had kept the meaningful items in my life, while downsizing and removing the clutter which had taken up valuable space in my wardrobe. This lesson taught me that there is a different relationship and story with each item I save.