Bottles, bottles and more bottles! The first batch was found in the backyard under a cement pad. We got about 20 of them from there--some old beer bottles, baby bottom ointment, medicine bottles--all sizes, shapes and colors. The next batch was found when we reframed the front porch. The most recent batch of bottles was found in a 4x6' area just behind the house where the side porch ended. The contractor found about 20 more bottles there. The most interesting ones are the cobalt blue one and the one with the green coating on the inside.
During the house renovations a religious card from 1904 was found somewhere in one of the window frames.
The previous owners left a sideboard and some tools in the basement, a statue made of chalkware of a woman with a dog, and lots of pieces of maple which were used to patch the floors.
What they gave me, however, were two cast iron shoe lasts that were in the house when they bought it in the late
1970s. They belong with the house!
I moved into a mobile home over 25 years ago, about 5 years I ago I was installing vents on the skirting. As I took the skirting off to make my cutouts, I found some decoys for duck hunters. Somehow the previous owner put them their and forgot them.
When we started our remodel a few months ago we found old newspapers behind the wall panels from 1968 which we assume is when the previous owner first finished off the basement. So it was pretty interesting about Jackie Kennedy getting remarried, some of the development of downtown Columbus as well as the first Bob Evans restaurant being built. Which was ironic because my wife (architect) was working on a project for them.
I live in the Northeast Bronx and after moving into our co-op apartment, I found things of interest on the street from other renovations. I found several glass door knobs and all the parts that were discarded with the old doors. I also found an old interior door that replaced the hollow door that was in the bathroom. It needed some trimming and shaving but fits nicely and even has an antique lock and two glass knobs that all work.
When I started the resurrection of an old abandoned victorian I first found old newsprint dating back to 1888. The unblemished prints were between the tongue and groove fir floor and a linoleum type flooring, maybe the moisture barrier. On the walls behind eighth inch sheet paneling were layers of wall paper attached to a fabric mesh that was nailed to wooden boards some more than 20 inches wide. Under the house while digging for the new foundation I found a collection of marbles, one a jumbo with orange swirls. Also under the house were bullet shells, old coins, buttons, a couple rings and a hand from a porcelain doll. It was truly a treasure hunt.
Well I found two things. First is more serrious the heating system had no furnace filter, and no heat ducts in the bathrooms and bedrooms. Strange for a 1913 sq. ft. house. The second is more on the humorus side. I found out in the shop a wooden nutcracker made out of walnut shaped like a naked lady.
When I moved into my home started to redo the attic and found a gun case. When I open it I found a shotgun that was engraved with gold figures and later found out it was made in 1933 Model 53 by Beretta. Still have it since it is worth over 20 thou.
Ten years ago my husband and I bought an 1887 Queen Anne with a barn on the property that was filled with old furniture, boxes and other sundry. Imagine our surprise when I opened a trunk and discovered a human skeleton inside! A quick call to the previous owner who had lived in the house for 75 years alleviated any fears that we had stumbled upon an old crime scene. Turns out, the trunk had belonged to a Civil War surgeon who, like many doctors of the day, kept skeletons for reference and teaching purposes. Phew!
Vic by the Sea
I smile to myself every now and then when someone throws around the plattitude 'you don't find craftsmanship today like you did back when.'
When I moved into my 80 year-old craftsman bungalow here in Wichita, I noticed that the floors were a bit bouncy - not as steady as I'd like. Under the front half of the house, instead of using 2x8's or 2x10's for floor joists, they used 2x6's. And instead of spacing these joists on 10 or 12 inch centers, they are 24" on center. I'm amazed the original hardwood floors are still there!
While I was tearing down a half-wall that leads from the basement area into the crawlspace, (to run beams to firm up the floors) I found a trove of old boxes, jars, and other materials from '28 when the house was built. They included an old electric fan and it's box, a jar full of old nails used in framing the house, other random jars, and one neat shaped art deco-looking jar full of shellac that is still liquid.
I'm just starting my work doing some renovations on This Old House, so I hope more fun stuff will follow.
I am working on a row home in Philadelphia and during removal of a non-working fireplace which had been closed off, I found newspapers dated in 1877 which had articles of people being quarantined for yellow fever. Also, several old soda bottles. But so far no old coins or valuable treasure.