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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Horn & Hardart Spoon

“I found this spoon in a drawer at home. It was gray and I thought it was stainless steel, but after polishing it with silver polish it looks like silver. The front of the handle has PROPERTY OF HORN & HARDART CO pressed into the metal and the back has W and HORN & HARDART CO. Can you help me to find any information about it?” Some of the staff of the Newton Falls Public Library had heard of the Horn & Hardart Automats in New York City, and thought perhaps that the spoon may originally have come from there.

We began searching through the library’s antiques and collectibles books, including Antiques Traders Antiques & Collectibles 2009 & 2010 price guides and The Kovels' Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2010 by Ralph and Terry Kovel. While these resources have a great deal of interesting information, we were unable to locate any about Horn & Hardart collectibles.

Continuing our investigation online, we first began researching Horn & Hardart Automats. A book, The Automat: the history, the recipes, and allure of Horn & Hardart's masterpiece by Lorraine B. Diehl and Marianne Hardart was found at The restaurants opened in the early twentieth century and were also located in New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Customers received their freshly made food by opening the small doors in self serve vending machines. In the FAQ section of the website someone had posted a question about the value of Horn & Hardart silver spoons, and was followed by the suggestion to check on EBay. Several spoon offerings were listed at that site.

According to National Geographic [], the last Horn & Hardart closed in the 1990s. Internet searching even revealed a blog posting about one of the spoons which was found in yard in Hawaii [].

The Automat: the history, the recipes, and allure of Horn & Hardart's masterpiece is available through our shared TiPL (Trumbull Independent Public Libraries) catalog. Our patron requested the book and is eagerly looking forward to learning more about this early fast food restaurant, which served its food on china with silverware

Friday, July 16, 2010

Can My Dog See Colors?

“My puppy seems to prefer toys that are bright lime green. He goes wild when I hold up his stuffed green elephant; so I was wondering, can dogs see colors?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff enjoys answering these types of questions, as it often helps us to understand more about our own family pets.

The book, Inside of a Dog: what dogs see, smell, and know by Alexandra Horowitz has a chapter, Seen by a Dog with information about dog gazing and attention. Nothing is there about whether or not they suffer from colorblindness. Examining the index, we located pages about color vision. On pages 128-129, in the chapter Dog-Eyed and the section entitled “Go get the green ball!” we found a possible answer to our patron’s question. Because a dog has two kinds of photoreceptors, as compared to the three in humans, it seems that canines may be most sensitive to the colors blue and greenish-yellow, thus they experience color most strongly in the blue and green ranges. According to the author, other colors such as red, yellow and orange might look different to them only in degrees of brightness. For people this would compare to how colors appear at dusk, immediately before nightfall.

A veterinary clinic employee we spoke with said to remind our patron that the feel in the pet’s mouth and the smell have strong effects on their selection of a toy. The clinic employee suggested that we look also at the website of Veterinary Vision Inc. Animal Eye Specialists []. The site has a page titled What Do Dogs and Cats See? Here it says that new behavioral studies reveal that dogs may be able to distinguish the color blue, but have trouble differentiating between red and green.

Though the information from these two sources was somewhat conflicting, our patron found it to be interesting and is planning on presenting different colored toys to her dog to see if he truly has a color preference. Library staff members thought they would have to try this with their own dogs to see if they would respond strongly to specific colors.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Are There Statistics of Shootings by People With Cancealed Carry Permits?

“A group I belong to is discussing whether or not to allow people who have concealed carry permits to carry their weapons in our building. Are there any statistics of shootings by people while carrying concealed?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff is aware that the process and regulations for getting a permit are quite strict; they are not readily familiar with incidences of misuse.

To find the most current information, we began our search online. The MSNBC article, Record numbers licensed to pack heat. Millions obtain permits to carry concealed guns by Mike Stuckey [], says there “are a record 6 million” licensed concealed-gun carriers. The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action’s Fact Sheet Right-to-Carry 2010 [] is filled with information about the right to carry. It includes a link to Florida Division of Licensing, Monthly Statistical Report that states that “Florida has issued more carry permits than any state (1.7 million), but revoked only 167 (0.01 percent) due to gun crimes by permit-holders.”

Further searching took us to the Ohio Attorney General’s website, This site has a wealth of information about the topic including annual and quarterly concealed carry statistics. In 2009 199,423 people had permanent licenses and an additional 11,989 were issued in the first quarter of 2010. Licenses may be suspended if the bearer is arrested or charged with certain offenses or subject to protection orders. The licenses may be reinstated if the charges are dismissed or if the owner is found not guilty. In 2009, 596 were suspended; first quarter 2010, 172 were suspended. Licenses are revoked if the holder moves out of state, dies, decides not to hold the license any longer, commits and is convicted of a disqualifying crime, or becomes subject to the law’s restrictions on mentally ill people or those considered drug or alcohol dependent. In 2009, 378 were revoked; first quarter 2010, 52 were revoked. The reports do not specify if any of the suspensions or revocations were due to incidents of shootings.

The Violence Policy Center’s website,, has statistic and “vignettes describing the circumstances for each killing, listed by state.” Nationwide from May 2007 to June 30, 2010 there were 9 law enforcement officers and 166 private citizens killed by concealed handgun permit holders. There have been 10 cases in Ohio involving the shooting of 16 people. Pending cases include one negligent homicide, one involuntary manslaughter, and two cases of murder. Convictions were given in one voluntary manslaughter, the murder of a police officer and the murder resulting in three deaths and two individuals wounded. There was also one suicide and two murder/suicides.

Our patron felt he had enough information for their group to make an informed decision.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Is My Home a 'Kit' House?

“I believe my home on Broad Street is a ‘kit’ house. I don’t think it is an Aladdin, Craftsman, or Montgomery Ward home. Do you have any information about kit homes built in Newton Falls in the 1920s?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff had also heard that some homes in town were this type.

The books Houses by Mail: a guide to houses from Sears, Roebuck and Company by Katherine Cole Stevenson, H. Ward Jandl and Small Houses of the Twenties: the Sears, Roebuck 1926 house catalog are interesting and may be borrowed through our shared TiPL (Trumbull Independent Public Libraries] catalog, but unfortunately do not list where all the homes were built.

A general online search resulted in listings of some of the numerous companies that manufactured kit homes. The names the library staff found are: Aladdin, Bennett, Brick, E.W. Stillwell, Fenner, Garlinghouse, Gordon-Van Tine, Harris, Henry Wilson, Hodgson, J. W. Lindstrom, Jud Yoho, Lewis/Liberty, Lustron, Montgomery Ward, National, Pacific, Radford, Sears Roebuck, Standard, Sterling, Wardway, and Ye Planry.

Sears Catalog Homes -- Hudson Valley NY How to Identify a Sears Kit House [] has valuable information of what details to look for to determine if it is a Sears Roebuck home. There is also a list of some of the other prominent kit home manufacturers. The Arts and Crafts Society [] has a great deal of information as well, including a forum involving people seeking to identify kit homes and an article Do You Have a Sears Kit Home? Tips for Identifying Sears Catalog Houses. Antique Home [] is also a useful resource featuring some homes which are quite large with beamed ceilings, wainscoting, and built in china cabinets. Examining some of the plans on this website, it appears that the foursquare style is similar to many of the older homes in Newton Falls.

In our Local History Room, where there is an interesting display of home building tools formerly belonging to early 20th century local contractor Mr. Nicholas Risko, we spoke with our volunteer who contacted the Risko family. None of the Newton Falls homes he built were kits. At present we only have information about two kit homes in town, neither of which is on Broad Street and both were manufactured by Montgomery Ward. Anyone having information about kit homes in our community, please contact Carol Baker at the library or by email We would love to assist our patron as well as preserve the history of these homes in Newton Falls.