This long-handled waffle iron was used at Friends Advice, a house in Boyds. The three-foot handles mean it was used over a hearth, not on a stove – think of toasting marshmallows over a campfire, only instead you’re baking waffles in your fireplace. Until waffle technology was improved in the 1860s by the invention of the stove top waffle iron, this was the way to go. Some antique waffle irons were designed in elaborate patterns; this one makes a pretty basic waffle (see photo below), though probably none the less tasty for its plainness. (Mmmmmm, waffles.) The iron (which is in fact made of iron, by the way) is marked Goddard, Balto., indicating it was made at a foundry or ironmonger in Baltimore.

The donor, Mrs. Ruth Davis Wilcox, told us that the iron belonged to Drucilla Simmons Dade Davis, daughter of Col. Robert Townshend Dade (1786-1873). Col. Dade’s father, the Reverend Townshend Dade, purchased a tract called “Friends Advice” outside the town of Boyds around 1770. The house now known as Friends Advice (the Colonel’s daughter Mary married William Wall, and they called the home Walldene) was enlarged and added to over the years, and it stayed in the family for over 200 years.

The photo above (which came out a little small this week – click on it to see a larger version) probably says as much about the Historical Society as it does about waffle technology.  (“Waffle technology” is the phrase of the day – please use it in conversation!)  Dr. Adams’ giant yellow number is visible on the side; the paper string tag on the handle has an up-to-date version of the object number, plus the storage location; and the wire loop near the top is a remnant (a difficult-to-remove-without-giant-wire-cutters remnant) of an old exhibit we put on in the 1960s. Don’t Try This At Home: in this case I doubt much damage was done, but I don’t recommend you hang up your artifacts and heirlooms with metal wire.

For more information on Friends Advice and the people who lived there, visit the Maryland Historical Trust’s page about the home. More about the community of Boyds can be found on the Boyds Historical Society’s website.

A plain waffle is better than none at all.

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