Garden Gnome

A garden gnome’s friendly smile may not be as it seems…

  • Garden gnomes are human-like figurines based on dwarves, typically used in gardens for decorative purposes.
  • ‘Garden gnomes’ are also known as ‘lawn gnomes’ or are simply called ‘gnomes’.
  • The stereotypical garden gnome is a bearded-white male with a red hat, though variations exist.
  • Garden gnomes have their history in statues that were placed in gardens during the Renaissance period in Europe, and in some of the 17th century statues, dwarves were depicted.
  • Some of the earliest manufacturers of garden gnomes were Johann Maresch and Adolph Baehr, who became partners in about 1841 and established a factory in Germany.
Garden Gnome, Dwarf, Invention, Stereotype, Old, Man, Red Hat, Assortment, CollectionGarden Gnome
Image courtesy of Pixabay
  • Early garden gnomes were made of clay, porcelain or wood, while modern ones are typically made of resin, plastic or ceramic; though cement, plaster and cast iron materials have also been used.
  • Gnomes, and garden gnomes by extension, traditionally are symbolic of good fortune; and they were likely to be first used in gardens because they were seen as protectors and night-time helpers.
  • Garden gnomes are generally painted in bright colours, and they are often depicted holding a garden tool or other object.
  • As a common practical joke, or as an act of vandalism in extreme cases, garden gnomes have been stolen – ‘kidnapped’ – from gardens, and been taken on a journey and photographed at places of interest.
  • Garden gnomes were popularised in Germany during the 1800s, and from there, the ornaments were distributed to England and other parts of Europe.
Bibliography:
Garden Gnome, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_gnome
Lehman S, How the Tradition of Putting a Gnome in Your Garden Started, 2013, Today I Found Out, http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/10/tradition-putting-gnome-garden-started/
White S, History of Gnomes, 2016, LoveToKnow, http://garden.lovetoknow.com/wiki/History_of_Gnomes

http://home.earthlink.net/~artifactsco/id1.html

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Refrigerator Magnet

Life is not complete without refrigerator magnets.

  • Refrigerator magnets are decorative objects that can be magnetically attached to flat metal surfaces such as fridges.
  • ‘Refrigerator magnets’ are also known as ‘fridge magnets’.
  • Refrigerator magnets are often used for decorative purposes as well as to hold objects in place, such as paper for convenience or as a reminder.
  • There is a very large diversity of refrigerator magnets, with various colours, images, designs, shapes and sizes.
  • The magnetic part of a refrigerator magnet is generally set out in a ‘Halbach array’, with both north and south poles in an alternate pattern on the same side, which adds to the magnet’s strength and is more cost effective.

Refridgerator Magnets, Collection, Flat, Square, Shapes, Note, Picture, Ten Random Facts, Invention, Decorative

  • Refrigerator magnets are collected by numerous people; and the largest collection in the world is owned by Louise Greenfarb from the United States’ Nevada, and in 2013 the collection consisted of at least 35,000 magnets.
  • The unofficial term for a refrigerator magnet collector is a ‘memomagnetist’, coined by an enthusiast from Russia.
  • Originally, the magnets of refrigerator magnets where manufactured in the shape of a rectangular prism or cylinder, but they are commonly now thinner and often more flexible.
  • Do-it-yourself refrigerator magnets can be easily made, due to the increasing availability of magnetic material suitable for this purpose, and it has become a common craft activity.
  • Some refrigerator magnets can be used for educational purposes, especially those that depict letters, to make words, and these have been available since the mid 1900s.

 

Bibliography:
Refrigerator Magnets, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refrigerator_magnet

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Christmas Tree Topper

These Christmas tree topper facts will top off your brain.

  • Christmas tree toppers are Christmas decorations that are typically positioned at the very top of a Christmas tree.
  • Christmas tree toppers are varied in appearance, but are generally shaped as an angel or a star.
  • Christmas tree toppers are often made of glass, plastic, or metal, but they can also be made of fabric, paper or the like.
  • Christmas tree toppers are sometimes fitted with Christmas lights, typically those made of plastic.
  • Christmas tree topper stars are symbolic for the Star of Bethlehem, while the angel represents Gabriel the Angel, as well as the Heavenly Host, all of which are part of the story of the Birth of Jesus Christ.

Tree topper

Star Tree Topper
Image courtesy of Flickr
  • During the later 1800s, the Union Jack was a popular Christmas tree topper, although more recently finials, Santa, ribbons, rosettes, crosses, owls, and even pineapple shaped ornaments can be seen on the top of Christmas trees.
  • In England, in the mid 1800s, Queen Victoria popularised the German tradition of Christmas tree toppers, and the first known topper of the Queen’s was an angel.
  • ‘Christmas tree toppers’ are also known as ‘tree-toppers’ and ‘treetoppers’.
  • Besides decorating trees, Christmas tree toppers can be used as centrepieces, as well as house decorations.
  • Christmas tree toppers can be easily bought from stores during the Christmas season, or they can be handmade, and sometimes they are family heirlooms.
Bibliography:
Tree-topper, 2013, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree-topper
Tree Topper Information, 2009, Christmas Tree Topper.com, http://www.christmastreetopper.com/category/info/

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Bauble

Hang these facts in your brain like baubles on a Christmas tree.

  • Baubles are, typically, Christmas tree decorations that are common and cheap, although collectible ones are available and some stores do have expensive options.
  • Baubles are generally shaped as a sphere, often plain or frosted, shiny or one-coloured, but any design can be manufactured.
  • Baubles were first invented in Germany, in Lauscha, notably by Hans Greiner, who first manufactured them in the late 1840s.
  • Baubles have their history in fruit and nut shaped glass, the shape eventually changing to become a spherical shape.
  • Queen Victoria brought the bauble tradition from Germany to Europe in the mid to late 19 century, while American F.W. Woolworth became rich by being the main importer of the decoration in the USA, in 1880.

Bauble, Gold, Shiny, Flash, One, Spherical, Christmas Tree, Hanging, Plastic, Ten Random Facts, Val Laird

Bauble
Image courtesy of Val Laird
  • Modern baubles are typically made of plastic, which allows cheaper manufacturing and makes them affordable for everyone, although glass baubles are still commonly available.
  • The first baubles, are said to have originated from the idea of blown egg shells, that could be hung on Christmas trees.
  • Baubles were originally quite expensive as they were hand-crafted and made of glass, and were therefore only for the rich.
  • Although Germany was the top producer of baubles before the World Wars, America became the top manufacturer after World War II.
  • Antique baubles from countries such as the Czech Republic have high values, as they are typically made from quality glass and are rarer than industrial decorations.
Bibliography:
Christmas Ornament, 2013, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_ornament
Coope L, Christmas Baubles through History, 2010, http://ezinearticles.com/?Christmas-Baubles-Through-History&id=4837006

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