It Came To Me From Aunt Lilith…

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April 26, 2011
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so it has to be at least 200 years old!

I recently went on a house call to look at some furniture.  There was one piece the owner told me was at least 250 years old and she could prove it. How?  Well the piece belonged to her father who would have been 106 years old and it was passed on to him from his grandfather, so when you add the ages of the three generations, it dates the piece to over 250 years old. Lets apply this logic to a piece I own.  I have a transistor radio that belonged to my grandmother.  She died in 1971 at age 84.  That was 40 years ago.  That should make that transistor radio at least 124 years old?  But wait.  My grandmother purchased that radio in the mid-1960’s brand new.  So now my grandmother’s  124 year old transistor radio is less than 50 years old? I think you can see where I am going with this.  You can’t assume your relatives purchased everything they owned the day they were born and didn’t buy anything again throughout their life!  Even though your grandfather may have lived to be 100, it is quite possible he purchased items in the last few years of his life, so that doesn’t make those items 100 years old! In the case of the 250 year old piece of furniture, since it was passed down to the current owner’s father, and he was born in 1905, it is possible that the piece was purchased by his grandfather in the 1880’s or 90’s.  That is the time frame I would date the piece of furniture from.  Technically an antique, but not 250 years old. I have encountered this method of “dating” a piece, many times over the years, and in most cases, it just isn’t accurate. I once looked at an old electric refrigerator, and the owner seriously told me…in fact repeated it twice…that the refrigerator was 200 years old!  That would make it a very rare refrigerator.  It was a General Electric…the owner seemed it think it was a General Washington! So be careful when you are using the family tree to date a piece.  To carry that analogy a little further….what you think is a 200 year old oak tree, may be closer to a sapling! Rob
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