Thanks to the detective work of the Blind Pig readers-I was able to solve my 2 mysteries.
First up the old tea kettle:
Hummer suggested I contact Lodge Cast Iron-so I did. I got a speedy response from Gayle Grier who suggested I contact David Smith-better known as the Pan Man. David specializes in cast iron cook wear and utensils (check out his site by clicking here). Right away David said-Lodge did indeed use stars on their kettles-and he knew of no other company who used stars in the same manner.
After reading the response from David a.k.a. Pan Man I sent the information to Gayle at Lodge-and after some digging she sent me the illustration above from a circa 1930 Lodge Catalog along with this information:
The number “7” in the star indicates it is sized to fit the number seven wood stove burner. (Or as we would say here in South Pittsburg, TN, stove “eye”.)
Then I had one more response from David the Pan Man:
Tipper: You sent me digging. The earliest Lodge catalog I found the teakettle in was 1918. The number 7 does refer to the size of the opening in the cook top. In this case a No.7 stove. Because of the form of the tip of the spout I believe this an earlier one verses one from the 1930s. Characteristically iron pieces tended to be more ornate earlier on.
Wow-so my friend gave me a beautiful kettle made by Lodge that is close to a 100 years old!
Second-the funny looking nut thing:
Pyrularia pubera is a parasitic shrub found in the understory of old disturbed forest sites in the Appalachians and foothills. It makes a living using other trees, shrubs and herbs to gather water and essential elements. Pyrularia pubera is a root parasite, connecting with other plant roots. The fruit is unique and the most noticed part of the plant, often being brought in from the woods for identification. This publication is the story of the buffalo nut parasite, the cobra of the Appalachians, within the forests of the Southeastern United States. Pyrularia pubera has several common names including buffalo-nut, (buffalo nut), oil nut, elk nut, mother-in-law nut, rabbitwood, mountain coconut, crazy nut, and Cherokee salve. The buffalo nut and elk nut come from early colonists who witnessed the woodland bison and the woodland/Eastern elk eating the fruit in winter. The oil nut name is derived from the acrid oil in the fruit. The mother-in-law name was derived from veiled poisoning threats. The Cherokee salve name is derived from the plant’s herbal medicine uses by native Americans.
Thanks to everyone for helping me solve the mysteries!
Do you say ‘stove eye’ like the folks in Pittsburg TN? I do-and everyone in my family does too.