Some Modest Desserts

historic recipe for syllabub

by Rachel Hertzberg, Bryn Mawr Student and Wyck’s Summer 2018 Collections Intern

In the previous blog post, we looked at some ways that beef, pork, and veal were prepared in the early 19th century.  Now we will move on to dessert, examining a few of the baked goods and confections from Jane Bowne Haines’s recipe book (or “receipt book,” as it was called at the time).  Many of her recipes can be traced back to traditional treats from the British Isles.  Not overly sugary or fancy, these simple desserts reflect Jane’s modest sensibilities.

Whipped Syllabub

Although the origins of the word “syllabub” are obscure, we know it refers to a British sweet made of frothed milk.  Before wire whisks were popular, bakers beat air into their batters with tools such as porcupine quills or bundles of twigs. Jane’s version of syllabub seems to be a sort of sweetened and flavored whipped cream, perfect to conclude a summer meal.

historic recipe for syllabub

A pint of cream sweetened with loaf sugar, ½ a pint of wine, the juice of a lemon, the white of one egg. Whip it with quills and as the froth rises put it in your glasses.

Almond Cream

This almond cream is reduced over heat, rather than whipped, to form a custard-like consistency.  The term “loaf sugar” in Jane’s recipes is just another name for white granulated sugar.

almond cream historic recipe1 quart of cream sweetened agreeably with loaf sugar.  Then take 1 lb of blanched almonds, pound them in a mortar of marble with a few drops of rose water.  Stir them into the cream, put it over the fire stirring it till it thickens. Then strain it through a sieve.

Soft Gingerbread

Jane also included a recipe for “crisp gingerbread” in her collection; both the crisp version and this soft cakey version are flavored with ginger root and molasses.  As usual, we have only the sparsest of directions.  The reader is left to her own devices to determine the proper baking dish, temperature, and cooking time.

gingerbread recipeA pint bowl of sugar, the same quantity of butter, of molasses, of milk, 4 eggs, a teaspoon full of pearl ash [salt], a cup of ginger, a few cloves, and flour sufficient to make it stiff as pound cake.

Raised Plumb Cake

Plum (or plumb) cake was an earlier name for what we now call fruitcake, a British favorite which appears everywhere from novels like “A Christmas Carol” to nursery rhymes like “Little Jack Horner.”  In previous centuries, “plum” was a catch-all word for any kind of dried fruit. In this recipe, the dried currants are not related to the fresh fruit by the same name, but rather were a particular variety of raisins, made from tiny black grapes.

Raised Plumb CakeBeat 1 lb of butter and 1 ½ of sugar together.  Then add 3 lb of soft raised bread [flour], 6 eggs, a glass of brandy. 1 lb of raisins, the same of currants, and nutmeg and cloves to your taste.

Dough Nuts

Because Jane doesn’t specify how to shape these doughnuts, we don’t know if she would have fried them as spheres or formed them into rings.  We do know that the iconic ring-shaped doughnuts were developed in the mid-1800s; according to legend, it was a sea captain who first decided to punch holes in doughnuts in order to speed up the cooking time.

doughnuts historic recipe Take 8 lb of flour, 1 ½ of sugar, 1 lb of butter, 3 ½ pints of milk, ginger, orange peel or cinnamon, a large tea cup full of yeast. Warm the milk to mix them and keep them near the fire to rise.

To Roast a Pig

roast pig recipe

by Rachel Hertzberg, Bryn Mawr student and Wyck’s Summer 2018 Collections Intern

Jane Bowne Haines is remembered today as a student of horticulture and the creator of Wyck’s rose garden. While the garden is the most prominent part of her legacy, Jane also impacted many other aspects of domestic life at Wyck.  For example, her recipe book, which she kept from approximately 1810 to 1840, was passed down through the generations, a living document which other family members and descendants added to, amended, and copied.  The compact, densely-filled little notebook is a treasure trove of culinary history.

None of Jane’s recipes could be called easy or simple. Even keeping in mind that the cooking was completed with the help of a team of servants, one can’t help but be impressed by the foresight that had to go into preparing a single meal. Many recipes require several days’ time, as well as physical exertion that must have been quite strenuous in the days before food processors and electric mixers. Reading Jane’s recipes reminds the modern history student that food has always been the result of significant labor. Although that labor tends to be invisible today, performed by total strangers in distant factory farms, processing plants, and orchards, we continue to depend on it for our sustenance.

Bologna Sausage

Long before the start of DIY culture and the farm-to-table movement, ordinary people found ways to produce the things they needed, entirely from scratch. This recipe takes for granted that the reader will have cows’ intestines in the pantry to use as casing, and assumes a basic knowledge of pickling and charcuterie methods!bologna sausage recipe

Chop very fine 10 lbs of the round of beef and cut into small pieces 2 ½ lbs of pork. Add ¼ oz cloves, ¼ oz mace, 1 oz pepper. Mix all well together and put them into Beef entrails. Then put them in ham–Pickle for 5 days. Smoke them + hang them in a dry place.

Calf’s Foot Jelly

When this recirecipe for Calf's foot jellyperecipe continued was written, a craving for jelly couldn’t be satisfied by a packet of dry mix from the jello packet. Jane’s recipe for “Calf’s Foot Jelly” describes the process of obtaining a gelatinous stock from boiled calves’ feet, which was then flavored and sweetened before cooling. This might make us feel a little squeamish nowadays, in our more sanitized culture. At the same time, we can admire Jane’s matter-of-factness and her commitment to using the entire animal.

Take 4 feet, split them open, and lay them in weak salt and water for 4 or 5 hours.  Then wash them clean and boil them in 6 quarts of water down to 5 pints, pour it through a cullender and skim off all the fat.  Set it away to cool and when the jelly is perfectly stiff, if any fat arises scrape it off with a knife & wipe it off with a dry cloth. Cut it in pieces from the bottom of the dish, and pare off all the discolored parts.  Put it in your preserving kettle and add to it sugar, wine, lemon peel and juice, mace and cinnamon agreeably to your taste, then pour in the whites and shells of 4 eggs well beaten.  Put it over the fire and give it a good boil, pour it [in] the jelly bag until it is very clear.  Then wet your moulds and let it run in.

To Roast a Pig

Could you imagine roasting a pig on a spit in your kitchen, let alone mincing its brains to make a sauce? Jane wouldn’t have found this strange, judging by the breezy, casual way she wrote this recipe. It would probably take at least eight hours, if not 10 or 12 hours, to roast the pig. During this time, someone would have to tend to it at least once every half hour, washing it with butter and drippings to make sure the meat didn’t get dried out.

Let the pig be well washed in several waters, dry the inside with a coarse cloth.  Then make a stuffing of bread, pepper, salt, sage, and cayenne, a large piece of butter, mix two yolks of eggs with it. Put it in the belly of the pig and sew it up very tight.  Then spit it and wash it well with salt and water until it gets warm; for the sauce you must take the insides of the pig, and boil them. Mince them up very fine with the brains then add melted butter.  And a little sage, salt, and pepper.  Keep the pig covered with flour till the eyes drop out. Then baste it with butter to make the skin crisp.

roast pig recipe

A Rose by Any Other Name…

by Rachel Hertzberg, Bryn Mawr student and Wyck’s Summer 2018 Collections Internpink roses

Wyck is famous for its beautiful rose garden. When in full bloom, the flowers are a delight for the senses: colorful, fragrant, and delicate. But long before Wyck’s heritage garden was planted, roses were more than just beautiful to observe. They had many practical uses as well. Hannah Marshall Haines, who married into the family in 1725, kept a “receipt book,” or a recipe book, that shows how she incorporated roses into her housekeeping.

Otto of Roses

Otto of Roses is another name for rose oil, a sweet-smelling perfume. The word “otto” comes from the Persian word atr, meaning “essence” or “perfume”. In a recipe dating from between 1810 and 1830, Hannah describes extracting Otto of Roses through a method of water distillation that took up to a week to complete. Hannah must have been enchanted by the heavenly scent of the perfume, as she was willing to undertake such a laborious process to obtain it.

otto of roses


A large glazed earthen or stone jar, or a clean wooden cash [referring to a chest or box, like a cash-box] must be filled with the leaves of the rose flowers, corolla [the inner petals], which should be previously be carefully freed from all stalks, seeds, or dirt.

On the leaves pure spring water must be poured until they are covered. The vessel must be set in the sun from sunrise till sunset, when it should be taken in for the night. This must be continued for seven days, in succession. In 3 or 4 days after the first exposure, a number of particles of oily matter of a fine yellow color will be observed to float on the surface, and in 2 or 3 days more, that matter will form into a scum [a floating layer] which is the Otto of roses.

It can be taken up by some cotton tied to the end of a stick, and squeezed with the finger and thumb, into a small phial which should be well stopped. This must be repeated, till all the Essential Oil, which floats on the surface is removed.

By this simple, unexpensive process, may be obtained by almost every family as much of this exquisite essence as may be necessary for use. It is at least worth the trial, and I am sure when that trial is made, the success will be more than an equivalent for the labor.

In the following two recipes, Hannah calls for rosewater to add a subtle floral note to baked goods. Although rosewater can be quite strong on its own, after baking it becomes more mellow, similar to other flavors Hannah used, such as orange blossom water and brandy. As you can see, Hannah gives a list of ingredients and some minimal instructions, but she did not generally record the specifics of her baking techniques. This is much less detailed than most modern cookbooks, suggesting that young girls at Wyck would have learned baking techniques by observation, rather than needing them to be written down.

Cup Cake

This “cup cake” recipe does not exactly match our modern day ideas of adorable miniature cakes topped with mounds of buttercream frosting. Rather, early cup cake recipes were based on cup measurements, just as pound cakes were based on ingredients measured in pounds.

cup cake

Take five cups of flour, 3 of sugar, one & half of butter, ½ cream, wine, brandy or rose water, 3 eggs, a little nutmeg, a small teaspoonful dissolved pearl ash [salt].  Bake in green cake pans or as a pound cake. Add, if you choose, a few currants.


Jumbles, cookies flavored with rosewater or other aromatics, first appeared in the 17th century, but were popularized in the United States in the 19th century. Jumbles were shaped into pretzel-like knot, and as we see in Hannah’s recipe, heavily sweetened with sugar.


One pound of flour. Half lb butter, ¾ sugar rubbed well together, the whites of 3 eggs. Half a glass rose water, and half a grated nutmeg. Roll them well with sugar.



It’s a Winner!

by Rachel Hertzberg, Bryn Mawr Student and Wyck’s Summer 2018 Collections Intern

In the 19th century, the piano-forte became the most fashionable form of home entertainment. Gathering in the parlor to listen to music represented the cohesion and closeness of the Victorian family unit. Wyck has a stack of piano sheet music that belonged to Jane Bowne Haines II and her brother Diedrich Jansen Haines in the 1880s and 90s. The variety of music, including Scottish folk songs, selections from the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, and waltzes by Chopin, indicates the family’s broad range of interests. A book meant to teach children the basics of piano playing, suggests that this was a pastime for the whole family. We can see the penciled-in notes regarding tempo and other technical details; these objects were made to be used, and they were clearly well-loved. Researchers will also appreciate the gorgeous cover art on many of these music books.


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One Wyck music book with a connection to an odd piece of history is “An Old Wife’s Love,” published in 1886 by the company Sep. Winner & Son. This book contains the song “A Wife’s Love Song,” which describes a woman’s grief at being separated from her husband. Septimus Winner was an extremely popular Philadelphia composer and music publisher, prolific for over fifty years. He wrote songs such as “The Mockingbird” and “What is Home Without a Mother?” which became nearly ubiquitous in American homes. His popularity came with its share of controversy. During the Civil War, Winner wrote the song “Give Us Back Our Old Commander: Little Mac, the People’s Pride” in response to the removal of General George McClellan by President Lincoln. McClellan’s strategic failures on the battlefield earned him the president’s disapproval, but he retained considerable support among the public, even mounting his own presidential campaign two years later. Winner’s 1902 New York Times obituary describes the effect of his pro-McClellan song:

Fifty thousand copies were quickly sold in Washington and a few days afterward 100,000 soldiers sang the song while marching along the Rappahannock on their way to Fredericksburg, when disastrous defeat overtook them. ‘Give Us Back Our Old Commander’ could be heard at night from one end of the Union lines to the other, and at Chancellorsville, where [General Joseph] Hooker displayed his inability to cope successfully with Lee, it was sung with renewed vigor.

But at this point the commotion created by the song reached the climax when the War Department issued an order suppressing its sale and prohibiting the singing of it. The Government, however, did not stop at this, for Julia Mortimer, one of the greatest of American singers, who was then filling an engagement at Ford’s Theatre, was informed that imprisonment awaited her if she persisted in making the objectionable song a part of her role. Actors in Baltimore were enjoined by the Government from singing it in theatres.

About this time an agent of the Government waited on Mr. Winner, who conducted a music store at Eighth and Spring Garden Streets, and informed him that further publication of the song would not be tolerated by the Government, and a refusal to comply with the demand meant imprisonment in Fort Lafayette. No additional copies of ‘Give Us Back Our Old Commander’ were placed on the market. To Mr. Winner there was nothing treasonable in this musical thought, so pleasing to the ear and so characteristic in expression, and it was not intended there should be.

Despite the accusations of treason (some sources claim Winner was arrested, while his obituary makes it seem like he was just given a warning), Winner continued to run many successful business ventures, and by 1886, when “A Wife’s Love Song” was published, he was running a music publishing firm with his son J. Gibson Winner. Winner moved around considerably during this period. As mentioned in the obituary, he operated from several addresses on and around Spring Garden Street throughout the 1870s and 1880s, including 545 North 8th Street.  Also found at Wyck is the front cover of “Royal March,” composed by Winner in 1876.


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The “Good Old Days of Mud”


by Rachel Hertzberg, Bryn Mawr student and Wyck’s Summer 2018 Collections Intern

bootscraperSome of Wyck’s most interesting historical artifacts are right underfoot, and may well go unnoticed.  Iron boot scrapers gained popularity in 18th and 19th century Europe as a way to wipe off one’s shoes before entering a building.  Historians conjecture that the appearance of these objects coincided with a cultural shift that encouraged walking rather than riding in carriages; as cities became more pedestrian-friendly, people needed a way to deal with dirtier shoes.  The pair of boot scrapers on display just inside Wyck’s from door are charmingly decorated with griffins, and date from around the late 1700’s.  At that time, the streets outside the house, especially Germantown Ave., would have been filled with garbage and waste.  The scrapers are affixed inside shallow trays which would have been filled with water, and a sponge was always kept nearby for guests’ convenience.

We don’t know exactly how old these scrapers are, but one family descendant, Caspar Wistar Haines II, provided a little bit of family lore in 1927.  Caspar moved to Wyck upon his retirement, during which time he and his sister Jane frequently opened up the house to tourists.  When a reporter asked him about the scrapers, Caspar said he wasn’t sure where they had originated, only that they had been in the family since “the good old days of mud.” These words illuminate some of Caspar’s good humor and humility, and remind us that while the history of political movements or great leaders might be more celebrated, the day-to-day lives of ordinary people, mud and all, can be just as important.

Chairs for Children

children's high chair

Taking a Little Seat

by Rachel Hertzberg, Bryn Mawr student and Wyck’s Collections Intern, Summer 2018

In most upper-class American homes in the 18th and 19th centuries, children lived totally separate lives from their parents. They were cared for by servants and ate their meals in the nursery. The adage “Children should be seen and not heard” ruled the day. In Quaker households, however, children were integrated into family life; the Quaker belief in equality applied even to the youngest of the community. Children at Wyck took their meals alongside adults and all family members read, conversed, and relaxed together in the parlor. We see evidence of children’s participation in life at Wyck in the many children’s chairs throughout the house.

children's dderback chair
Children’s Ladderback Chair, c. 1730’s

This tiny chair is known as a ladderback, a simple style that can be traced to medieval Europe and remains popular to the present day. The carved details at the top of the chair, known as ring and ball finials, are one example of the fine craftsmanship that was prized even in a chair for a young child. This particular chair was custom-made for Richard Wistar who was a toddler at Wyck around the 1730s. Originally painted green, it was known affectionately as “the Wistar throne” and was used by many subsequent generations.

This diminutive chair has an interesting connection to another piece housed at Wyck. As an adult, Richard Wistar suffered from gout and so once again had a custom-made chair, this one enormous to accommodate his swollen legs.


children's high chair
High chair, left with adult chair, right, c. 1812

We get a glimpse into the daily lives of Reuben Haines III and Jane Bowne Haines by delving into the history of this adorable high chair. When the two were married in 1812, Reuben purchased a set of formal dining room chairs made of maple and rush, with latticed backs from local “fancy chair manufacturers” Hayden & Steward. A year later, the birth of their daughter Sarah warranted a return trip to get a matching high chair, for which the family paid $3.75. Reuben, or perhaps his mother Hannah, also purchased a small child’s chair for Sarah, costing $1.00. As with other children’s chairs in the house, the beautiful craftsmanship that was devoted to Sarah’s chairs differs only a little from that of the adults’ chairs, reflecting the equality of children and adults.

Photo credit:  Rachel Hertzberg

Collections Corner

Richard Wistar’s chair. Photo Credit: Victoria Mueller

Richard Wistar’s Chair

Wyck has an assortment of hidden treasures within her rooms, treasures you’ll only discover by coming for a tour. One particularly fun piece is a large walnut armchair, with a generous sized seat. This chair was commissioned by Caspar Wistar, third generation owner of Wyck, in 1765 for his son, Richard Wistar. Richard had gout, a type of arthritis which causes inflammation in joints, and therefore had very large legs. The armchair is a multi-use tool; not only can one sit in it, but this chair has a leather slip seat which can be removed to expose a toilet seat. This seat looks like a magnificent throne, and could be used as such!

This piece has been passed down from family member to family member, eventually find its way into Jansen Haines’ possession. His mother, Margaret Vaux Wistar Haines, left the chair to him, but she did not expect him to fit in the chair, stating in her will, “altho I have no ambition that he shall ever be so large as to fill it as his worth ancestor is said to have done.” Nobody has been able to fill the chair since its original owner, Richard. Today this chair can be found in the library at Wyck, eager for people to gander at its beautiful craftsmanship.

Richard Wistar’s Chair. Photo Credit: Victoria Mueller

Wyck Brew is Best

Wyck has an impressive history of brewing. Reuben Haines “the Elder,” owner of Wyck House in the late 1700s, opened a brewery in Philadelphia called “Haines and Sons.” This was moved to Germantown in 1794 after the Yellow Fever Epidemic, and then became the Germantown Brewery when Caspar Wistar Haines inherited the business. Haines’ brewery was well known in Philadelphia. George Washington visited the establishment and ventured to sell Haines barley for his brew. Haines was a prolific brewer in the late 1700s, and in 1788 he led a parade of brewery men in a commemorative procession of the US Constitution, holding banners that proclaimed “Proper Drinks for Americans” and “Home Brewed is Best.” These slogans stem from an American belief in supporting American industry by not buying imported goods. In 1789 Massachusetts passed an act which encouraged citizens to manufacture and buy American beer and ale, further displaying American pride in their own industry. Reuben Haines I continued to run the brewery in Philadelphia until 1793, when he died of Yellow Fever.

Germantown Brewery Sign
Germantown Brewery Sign, ca 1800. Photo Credit: Victoria Mueller

Caspar Wistar Haines, the son of Reuben Haines, continued in the family brewing business, opening up the brewery that sat on Walnut Lane and Germantown Avenue, called Germantown Brewery. A ledger of the Germantown brewery between 1794 and 1801 lists a total of 425 customers or suppliers of the brewery, many of whom were local. The Direct Tax List of 1798 helps identify the dimensions of the Germantown Brewery; the malt house and kiln were the largest structures, with the Brewhouse being almost half its length. Both houses were stone. A sign remains from the brewery with both German and English wording, welcoming customers. The faded sign reads “Germantown Brewery” and underneath that “Germantauner Braüerrey.”

Wyck Mashing Oar, ca 1793. Photo Credit: Victoria Mueller

The Germantown Brewery was not owned by the Haines’ throughout its entire history. In 1801, after Caspar Wistar Haines’ death, the brewery was leased to Thomas Hadley, who then ran the brewery until he passed away in 1840. The family at Wyck decided to shut down the brewery afterwards for a plethora of reasons, including the commonality of temperance societies, the decrease in beer consumption, and the miniscule income from the brewery. Though the family’s hands-on approach to brewing ended at the very beginning of the 19th century, the significance of the Wyck breweries live on in the stories told at the house today.

On display in the house is a mashing oar, which was used in the Germantown Brewery to mash the malt in order to make wort. Wort was the substance that the hops would be added to, and then the liquid would be fermented. Also in the Wyck collection is a hydrometer which would have been used in the brewery. A hydrometer is a device used to measure the alcohol content of one’s brew. Wyck is furthermore in possession of a volume scale, which allows one to weight their brew. Tools similar to these are still used in brewing today.

Today Americans can get any type of beer their heart desires; what isn’t brewed at home can easily be imported. But when America had just won her independence, when all the citizens of the new nation wanted to promote home businesses and import as little as possible, American brews were the norm. There was no Weiss beer or pale ale category, but Americans still had a list of brews to try; elderberry beer, wormwood ale, strong beer, china ale, treacle beer, small beer, and porters being some of the most common. Cost wise, a gallon of strong beer from a public house would have cost about fifty cents, while a gallon of small beer would have cost eighteen. Hops and malt are some of the most important ingredients in beer, and a bushel of malt would cost a dollar, while a pound of hops would cost twenty cents. According to the Family Brewer, most people usually only used a third of a pound of hops to make a gallon of beer.


Wyck has a grand history, full of interesting people and ideas. The brewery is only a small part of that history, but a part that the family and those at Wyck are immensely proud of.





Works Cited

Baron, Stanley. Brewed in America: A History of Beer and Ale in the United States. Little, Brown and Company, 1962. Boston.

Cantwell, Dick. “Brewing in Colonial America”. Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine. Unfiltered Media Group, LLC, 2017. Web. <>

“Customers of the Haines’ Brewery 1794-1801.” Brewery. Box Number. Wyck Association Archives.

“Daybooks and ledgers of Reuben haines, 1814-1824.” Page 165. Wyck Association Archives.

Gaves, B. “The Complete Family Brewer or the best method for brewing or making any quantity of good strong ale and strong beer.” Philadelphia, 1805.

“Germantown Brewery Ledger.” Brewing. “box Name”. Wyck Association Archives.

“History of American Beer”. Beeradvocate. Web. 2003.   <>

“References to the Haines’ Brewery.” Page 197. Wyck Association Archives.


Telling Time at Wyck

During the days before the American Revolution when America was still a collection of colonies, clocks and timepieces were a luxury item few had. Time was an estimation in those days, one people determined by using make-shift sun dials, or by burning candles to figure out how much time had passed. William Penn had high expectations for the use of clocks in his settlement, writing in his book that “the hours for Work and Meals to Labourers, are fixt, and known by Ring of Bell.” Penn enforced the use of clocks early on in his colony, allowing these early settlers of America to have their lives run by the chiming of clocks, much like we do today. Despite Penn’s early ambitions, it was only with the industrial revolution in the mid-eighteenth century that timepieces became widely used. Dirk Jansen was a man ahead of his time, as he bought a beautiful tall case clock in the 1720s, thirty years before clocks became a regular commodity.

Peter Stretch Clock, ca 1720. Photo Credit: Victoria Mueller

Dirk Jansen married Margaret Milan, thus becoming the second generation owner of Wyck. Jansen was responsible for building the front parlor area of the house, which was originally a kitchen and upstairs bedroom for his family. Jansen worked as a weaver prior to 1726, but thereafter was listed as a yeoman, or one who cultivates land. By the end of his life, Jansen was considered a “gentleman,” portraying the familiar success story of many Quakers. As a wealthy man, Jansen purchased a grandfather clock made by Peter Stretch of Philadelphia, another Quaker. Made of a fine walnut veneer, the tall case clock stands in Wyck’s front parlor. This piece of fine furniture was made and running in 1720, long before the American Revolution, and still works to this day.

After Jansen’s death in 1760, the Stretch clock was given to one of his children and eventually left Wyck. Elizabeth Morris Wistar, one of Jansen’s descendants, returned the clock to Wyck in 1988. Mervin Martin was responsible for conserving the clock. He recreated the top, molded section and bun feet using the preserved parts of the clock. Martin further reinstalled the glass door which exposes the pendulum. Randall Cleaver, another clock repairman, worked on the Stretch clock just this year to make it run smoothly. The inner workings of the clock are almost entirely original, except for the bell which was replaced around 1800. Upon a visit to Wyck, one can see the clock standing tall and beautiful in the front parlor, proclaiming the proper time.

Edward Duffield Clock, ca 1740. Photo Credit: Victoria Mueller

In the dining room of Wyck stands another tall case clock, this one created around 1740 by Philadelphian clockmaker Edward Duffield. Caspar Wistar, the third generation owner of Wyck, originally purchased this piece, but Jane Reuben Haines, the seventh generation owner, is responsible for the preservation of the clock and where it stands even today in the house. The clock was special to Jane, so she had it bolted to the wall in the dining room and stated in her will that the clock was not to leave Wyck. Over one hundred years later the clock has never left the house. Randall Cleaver repaired the Duffield clock this year, allowing the piece to once again tick away the minutes.

Today these clocks at Wyck still work. Chimes can be heard throughout the house on the hour, every hour. Peter Stretch and Edward Duffield were men renowned in their field; Stretch created the clock which stood in Philadelphia’s Town Hall, and legend has it Benjamin Franklin himself commissioned Duffield to start building clocks. These clocks only need to be wound every eight days, and a staff member at Wyck is excited to perform this task, as the owners of the house did once before.

Vicki winding Peter Stretch clock May 2017
Wyck Employee Vicki Mueller winding the Peter Stretch Clock. Photo Credit: Jennifer Carlson


Works Cited:

Davies, Alun C. “The Industrial Revolution and Time.” The Open University. 1 December, 2005. Web. < technology-and-medicine/history-technology/the-industrial-revolution-and-time>

“Notes on Documented Furniture at Wyck.” Furniture. Box 1: Research Subject Files A-K. Wyck Association Archives.

Penn, William. A Further Account of the Province of Pennsylvania. Warminghurst Place, 1685. <;view=fulltext>

Smiley, Michelle. “Clocks and Clockmakers.” The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. 2017. Web. <>

Oak Tea Caddy

This oak tea caddy with a bronze lock is a true treasure of the Wyck collection. Atop the lid is a metal plate that states, “Made from one of the old oak trees at Flushing L-I under which George Fox preached the gospel A.D. 1672. JBH.” Upon looking inside, a handwritten note explains, “Presented to Jane Bowne Haines (II) on her 17th birthday July 18, 1886 by her Aunt Jane Reuben Haines, the daughter of the original owner of this box, Jane Bowne Haines (I).” Owned by three generation of Wyck women, this remarkable piece is on display in our back parlor. For more information about George Fox in Flushing, check out this 1862 article from Harper’s New Monthly Magazine:  Harper’sNewMonthly.GeorgeFoxJBH box