The weather was perfect, the historic sites were fascinating, the tour guides were great, the demonstrations and displays were fun and informative and it appears everyone had a great time at the Early American Industries Association 2015 Annual Meeting in Quebec City. One hundred and thirty-nine people attended the meeting representing 23 U.S. states, the provinces of Ontario and Quebec and one attendee came from England for this year’s meeting. Seventeen of those in attendance were at their first EAIA Annual Meeting, and we hope to see them at more Annual Meetings in the future.
Although there was not a lot of tool trading in the parking lot on Wednesday afternoon, there were some great tools to be found. The registration table was busy on Wednesday afternoon and everyone was ready to go on Thursday morning. We boarded our buses and were informed and entertained by our guides who were dressed in 17th century outfits and represented early citizens of Old Quebec City. In the morning we had a wonderful guided tour of Old Quebec, and the Citadelle, the still active military fort established by Samuel Champlain on the high bluffs overlooking the St. Lawrence River. The views up and down the St. Lawrence River from atop the bluffs were spectacular.
In the afternoon we were on our own exploring Old Quebec with its narrow streets cobblestone streets, beautiful old buildings, great restaurants and shopping. After dinner, we greeted our first time attendees at the “First Time Attendees Reception”. EAIA board member Roy Shoalts and his wife Vivian generously underwrote the cost of the delicious Québécois desserts for this reception. Bill McMillen and Tom Graham brought along Jay Gaynor’s favorite libation and during the reception many a glass was raised in tribute to the memory of Jay.
As we enjoyed dessert, Terry Page, Chris Bender, and Rodney Richer did a great job with the wide variety of “Whatsits” that found their way to Quebec City. It was a lively discussion and most of the tools were identified.
Friday morning our guides met us again and we spent the morning on a fascinating tour of the archeological excavations under the Dufferin Terrace on top of the bluffs in Old Quebec where we got an exclusive tour of the remnants of Chateau Louis, the French governor’s mansion. We got a close look at an amazing collection of artifacts discovered during the excavations and enjoyed a lecture from a member of the Parks Canada staff who had been involved in the excavations. Our tour was topped off by a hot chocolate tasting. The recipe was the one used by the governor’s cook back in 1759. On Friday afternoon we car pooled to several different interesting sites along the Cote de Beaupre which is along the shores of the St. Lawrence River just east of Old Quebec. Those attending could choose any of several options including a to visit a copper shop and museum that’s been run by the same family for three generations where several of us tried our hand at repousse on copper.
Some visited Isle de Orleans, a large island in the St. Lawrence river that is very pastoral and had lots of orchards, farm land and interesting small villages. Others visited a wood carving shop and museum and many of us visited the cathedral of St. Anne de Beaupre which rivals the cathedrals of Europe. We all had stories to tell when we gathered on Friday evening for Martin Donnelly’s outstanding presentation on “Historic Tool Research in the Information Age”. It was a fascinating interactive presentation which left us all wanting to hear more.
Saturday morning was filled with tool trading and displays. Our members as usual came up with some fascinating and informative displays under the theme of “Tools that Fit in your Pocket”.
EAIA member Sally Fishburn showed how she replicates historic window sash using hand tools and had a crowd around her workbench all morning. Ken Weeks, a birch bark canoe maker from Maine, kept us entertained with his demonstration on the art of making birch bark canoes that included a 14 foot birch bark canoe that he brought from Maine on the top of his car.
Saturday afternoon EAIA member John Porritt of Spencertown, New York amazed us all with his presentation on “An Approach to Restoration” . John, originally from England, is a professional furniture and wooden tool restorer and showed us a few of the interesting ways in which he can color and age wood. We were mesmerized and didn’t want him to stop!
Saturday evening began with our Silent Auction which was packed with many beautiful items handcrafted by EAIA members as well as an interesting assortment of tools, books, posters, antique baskets and even a couple of bottles of local “hard cider”. The bidding was vigorous and fun. Best of all, when the results were tallied, those in attendance had raised $5,109 for EAIA.
The banquet and the EAIA Annual Meeting followed the auction. Tom Elliott was awarded the Long Time Service Award for his many years of outstanding service in so many ways to our association.. Paul Van Pernis finished his term as President and Pat Lasswell was elected to the office of EAIA President. Denise Richer was elected 1st Vice-President and Dana Shoaf was elected as Second Vice-President. The members elected to the Board of Directors were Louise Muse, Rodney Richer, David Pollak and Ross Gibson. There were lots of hugs, handshakes and long goodbyes as we all wished each other well and agreed to meet again May 18th thru May 21st, 2016 at Pleasant Hill Shaker Village in Kentucky for the next EAIA Annual Meeting.