Out of the Museum

Mystery item is even a mystery to Lincoln Area Archives Museum docents
By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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Where: Beermann Plaza at 640 5th St.

When: Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays

Free: Donations always accepted.

This week, the Lincoln Area Archives Museum docents really need your help in identifying this week’s mystery item pictured here.

The very knowledgeable docents always know the history and interesting tidbits about the many museum exhibits and artifacts relating to earlier Lincoln days.

Except for this week, in which the pictured item has stumped them.

What is this week’s mystery item? The docents would appreciate all answers. Send your answer to Answers will appear in next week’s newspaper.


Last week’s mystery item

Last week’s mystery item, while the docents knew, almost stumped residents.

But resident Natalie Bradford got it right when she said, “My guess is that this is a Boye metal carrying case for Boye needles for a sewing machine.”

James H. Boye of the Boye Needle Company continued to improve displays for his traveling salesmen and for store owners where his company’s products were sold. Better display cases meant more sales. The company, founded in 1870, patented this tin needle case 36 years later.

Today, the company still manufactures sewing needles and knitting needles among other offerings.

This Boye display case was used at the Lincoln Pharmacy as late as 1955, according to museum docent Shirley Russell, who sold needles there from this case in the 1950s.

“It was easy to turn the top to the correct needle and then take it out and sell it to the customer, both of us knowing it was the correct needle,” Russell said.

Serilda Tofft, a former Lincoln elementary teacher, bought the case when the Lincoln Pharmacy sold vintage and antique cases, bottles and other collectibles.  Her son, Jan Tofft, who was active with the museum during the early years of the museum, donated the case.  The needle case was one of the museum’s early acquisitions.

Visit the museum and see more collectibles from early Lincoln.