Heritage Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

2 Mysteries Solved

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:

Tim Ryan solved this mystery. It is a Buffalo Nut. I found the following information on the Urban Forestry South website:

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.



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  • Reply
    September 14, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Ok. You got me to hunting the origin of “stove up.” Mom & her folks from KY & SW Va used it, & my dad picked it up. I heard it all my life, tho’ I’m a flatlander now.
    Here’s what I found:
    “Posted by Graham Cambray on January 22, 2009 at 01:59
    In Reply to: Stove up posted by ESC on January 19, 2009 at 12:27:
    : : What are the origins of the phrase: ‘stove up’?
    : I have heard it in West Virginia. “I’m all stove up.” From the references below, it sounds to me like it has to do with the strips of wood used to form a barrel, etc.
    : STAVE — Verb. To act recklessly or heedless, rush, drive, stick, smash, etc. See also “fall to staves” and “stove.” 1904-07, Kephart “Notebooks,” “I stove a nail into (my foot).”
    : “Many common English words are used in peculiar senses by the mountain folk, as stove for jabbed.” 1913, Kephart, Our Southern Highlands.
    : STOVE – Verb, past participle of stave. Adjective, bruised up, crippled up so it’s hard to get around, sore or stiff from overwork or injury, worn out.
    : FALL TO STAVES – To collapse, fall apart. 1914, Raine, “Saddlebags. “We had a cedar churn, but it fell to staves. “Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English” by Michael B. Montgomery and Joseph S. Hall (University of Tennessee Press, 2004).
    : STOVE UP – Broken down. Stave, to break to pieces, splinter, shatter. “Southern Mountain Speech” by Cratis D. Williams (Berea College Press, Ky., 1992). Page 110.
    : Another reference has the expression under the “Yankee Talk,” New England, section. STAVE UP – To break up. “She staved up the whole place.” “Facts on File Dictionary of American Regionalisms” by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 2000). Page 305.
    I ain’t rightly mountain folk (I live in Wiltshire, England) but I would (and do) use this word, although I would say “stave in” (as when I careless drove my car into a fence post, and stove in the bonnet / hood). I don’t know the “stove up” useage over here (or the “worn out / crippled” meaning).
    “Stave” (the noun) is basically the same word as “staff” – in the same way that the plural of “wife” is “wives”, the plural of “staff” was “staves”, and so “stave” was originally an erroneous back-formation). It’s a word with a pedigree, then, going back to the Old English “staef” and thence to the older Germanic tongues.

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette-Dean
    September 14, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    I have heard and said “stove eye’ my whole life.

  • Reply
    September 22, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Thanks for the link to the Pan Man, looks like some good reading there. We use electrolysis when cleaning our cast iron. Makes it look awesome.
    Good information that Tim ryan gavae you. He’s a cool guy!

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    September 22, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    What fun. I love a good mystery solved. I have a skillet that supposedly came home from the Civil War with one of my kin. I may have to dig it out and see if I can verify its time frame.

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    September 21, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Tipper, I’m glad you found some info on that kettle. And the plant. Never heard of it.
    I say stove eye. And I say stove up,too. Had a chiropractor laugh at me when I told him I’d stoved up my back. course he wern’t from around here. Kinda feels like it’s in a bind, scrunched together, maybe, not sure how to describe it.
    Patty H.

  • Reply
    September 21, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    So glad you finally got your information. Wow a hundred year old teapot & in great condition also. Lucky you, hope your friend dosent want it back.
    Also so glad you found out about the buffalo nut. I think that is what I was wanting to know about the most. LOL Love you blog. Thanks for all you do for us.

  • Reply
    September 21, 2010 at 6:16 am

    Nope, never heard the stove eye term before. Makes sense though.
    Glad you got your mysteries solved. Wow, almost 100 years old!

  • Reply
    Canned Quilter
    September 21, 2010 at 4:03 am

    Another mystery solved!! I have always heard my mother refer to “stove eyes” and I still use the term “stove up” referring to stiff joints even as far south as Louisiana where I grew up (: What will we hunt down next Tipper ?
    Love the Blog…

  • Reply
    September 21, 2010 at 12:27 am

    Tipper, as you know, I love my cast iron which has been passed down to me from my mother and my husband’s mother. Your tea pot is so unusual and fine.
    My father always said that when Mother went to using the electric stove her biscuits were never as good as the ones cooked on the wood stove. That was about 1946. when the lights went on in our home in southwest Georgia.
    Love your blog.

  • Reply
    Janet Pressley
    September 21, 2010 at 12:22 am

    Glad you got some answers! Very interesting. Nana

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    September 20, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Good to know the solution to your questions!
    Yes, I’d say stove eye — though I only learned it after moving to the mountains.

  • Reply
    September 20, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Glad it all worked out for you. I see why when we were searching for trees and shrubs it wasn’t coming up. Awesome educational posts.

  • Reply
    September 20, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    my mom says ‘eye.’ my wife says ‘burner.’

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 20, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    That’s a cool teapot Tipper. Glad you were able to find it’s origin. Don’t know much about the old cast iron except that I like to cook with it and the old cast iron is solid iron and lighter weight than the current cast iron that is not pure iron but a mixture of other metals.
    Buffalo nuts, who’d of thought it!

  • Reply
    kenneth o. hoffman
    September 20, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    tipper: well how about all that help. my number 8 is just a little more important now. i have a beautful yellow and black porcelain cook stove in my watch repair shop. i use it to store watch parts in, until someone takes a notion to buy it from me. thanks for your kind thoughts, and keep up the great work. k.o.h

  • Reply
    September 20, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    This sure is a lot of fun. I never
    saw so much stirr over a kettle, but I’m happy for you. And I have
    had the experience of a wood cook-
    stove, removing the eye lids to
    put seasoned laurel in from the top. That created a lot of smoke so we usually put the wood in from
    the little door front. Our stove
    also had a warming closet overhead. Mama always had beans
    stored in that warming closet and
    I remember cold snowy nights when
    we would open that closet and peel
    back the grease, dip out a plate
    full and cornbread and onion, I didn’t know there was anything better. Even today I fix pintos in
    a crockpot often, but they ain’t as good as the ones cooked on top
    of an old wood stove…Ken

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    September 20, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    I’m glad you got your two mysteries answered … thank goodness for good friends, the internet and, in the case of the tea kettle, a company that care enough to help out.
    Several of my neighbors, years back, had their wood cookstove beside their electric stove, but always preferred the cookstove, no matter what the season. I have to agree that the food tasted better from the woodstove, especially the breads.

  • Reply
    September 20, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    congrats on the old tea kettle. it is wonderful. we have a parasite plant called strangler fig that does the same thing as yours does. thanks for all the info, now we know something we did not know before and the mystery is solved. this was fun

  • Reply
    kat magendie
    September 20, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    First I need to thank Granny Sue, and Jim, too — on the wood stove comments!
    Granny Sue – I never knew they kept it burning . . . I had my character light it when she was going to cook something; although, this was a young girl with a very sick mama and there wasn’t daily cooking going on, I’d imagine, and it was summer time. Still, this is quite interesting to me. Now next time I write about a wood stove, I’m going to remember this!

  • Reply
    petra michelle
    September 20, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    It’s so glad to be back to such an intriguing post, Tipper! It’s pretty evident I’ve missed quite a bit during these past months!
    First off, what a wonderful gift, and for it to inspire such an exchange of discussion and information, Tipper! Invigorating! :))

  • Reply
    September 20, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    I did look on Google, etc…for info on that kettle. I did read where one person described that spout as a “bird spout”.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    September 20, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    So sorry but I can’t stand it..I have to comment again about the wood cook stove…
    This is a story my mother told me about the warming cabinet on the old cook stoves…which held a lot of times leftovers from dinner, breakfast and alas supper…
    This is the way it was told to me…A little girl (of a prominent family) got up early one morning…opened the warming cabinet…took out a piece of chicken…later took ill and died…evidently it was accidently left over and had spoiled…
    Mom said this warmer was on the side of the stove not on the top like some stoves and wondered if that contributed to it spoiling quicker…ewwww.

  • Reply
    September 20, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Jim-my Granny Gazzie kept her wood cook stove in the kitchen right by her electric stove (she used both).The first place I went when I visited her-was to check the little overhead cabinet-cause I knew there’d be biscuits left from breakfast waiting for me.
    I still hear-and use stove up. I honestly can’t think of any other way to describe the condition of being stove up.When I was growing up it seemed Pap always had a least one finger that was stove up from work or one of my brothers had a leg or arm stove up from playing baseball.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Helen G.
    September 20, 2010 at 11:54 am

    What a wonderful gift. And how fun to challenge folks to trying to find out more about the kettle and the unusual shaped fruit/nut. I don’t think I ever heard the expression ‘stove eye’, but then my daddy was the Tennessean I was around the most and I don’t think he ever cooked anything in his life. He always had his momma and his sisters cooking for him at home and then when he married my momma she did all the cooking at home. I always heard burner. Thanks for the great info!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    September 20, 2010 at 11:05 am

    I am so happy that you found the maker of your kettle…however I think the spout of yours is shorter than the picture in the old catalog…
    Could have been the artists drawn perspective…LOL…
    Yes…we have always said “stove eye”…and “cook stove”…when referring to a wood stove used for cooking…When we put in a stove that burned wood back in the day in our home for supplemental heat..we called it a wood stove…eventhough I cooked beans on it a lot..LOL Wonder why we did that?? Changes in language useage..?
    So happy that you found the plant also…I still wonder what ate the little fruit don’t you??..and is it still surviving! LOL

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    September 20, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Wow! I was close to right, guessing late 1800’s-early 1900’s on the age of the kettle. I did not realize Lodge cookware was being made that long ago though. Good to know. I found an almost identical kettle on eBay last week and got it for $4.99–so I’ll be thinking of you when I use it 🙂 It’s painted yellow so it will be put into a bonfire to burn off the paint–who would paint cast iron anyway??
    I’ve never heard of that nut but it sure doesn’t sounds like a plant to have around does it? Learning something new here.
    I’ve heard people call it the stove eye, but we generally call them stove lids. The poster who asked about putting out a wood cookstove–they tried to keep them going at all times because it took so long to heat up and get going properly. When the fire is right, the stove’s temperature can be regulated with the dampers and air drafts, by adding green or dry wood (depending on whether you wanted to get the fire cooler or hotter), the size of wood added and by just moving things around on the top. It’s a real art to cooking on one. I used mine for many years and still have it, although we had to unhook it because of our fire insurance. We’re working on getting it installed again. I would get it hot to cook breakfast, cool it down by closing drafts and dampers a little and adding a big piece of dry wood. I always kept my kettle (like Tipper’s) on the stove for hot water, and it also had a hot water reservoir. I would also set a pot of dry beans on the back to soak, or bread to rise in the warming oven, or put potatoes on to cook over the low heat. Then by lunchtime I could add some small dry wood to heat it up and then bigger dry wood for afternoon baking. By dinner the fire would be perfect for cooking whatever I wanted, again moving pots around to control the temperature. At bedtime, we’d put in some green wood, close the dampers and usually the fire would hold til morning, when I’d add dry wood and start all over again. if you need more information about cooking on a woodstove, get in touch.

  • Reply
    September 20, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Very interesting on the pot, I guess I wasn’t any where near being correct. OOP!
    Whitetail Woods Blog / Blackpowder Shooting

  • Reply
    Tulsa Jack
    September 20, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Dear Tipper, This is so much fun! We just love reading about old things like your 100-year-old cast iron coffee pot, and the “Cherokee salve” buffalo nut. Do we know if its oil healed wounds?
    Along the same lines, wonder if anyone knows of “G.O. Blake’s Bourbon County Whisky” (sic, the English spelling)? We have an antique pressed glass bottle stamped with this label, and are probably related to the proprietor. The brand was bottled in Louisville, KY, beginning in the 1870s and sold into the 1900s.

  • Reply
    September 20, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Great that you got all this information. Another reason to love the on-line community.

  • Reply
    September 20, 2010 at 9:27 am

    How awesome to have been gifted that antique tea kettle Tipper, I’m so happy you were able to learn more about it too:) I am happy to have learned about the pan man, very cool, I love cast iron items, and have a few that need a complete cleaning, great info on his site about that!

  • Reply
    Joe Penland
    September 20, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Every year the “Cornbread Festival” is held at South Pittsburg, Tn home of Lodge Cast Iron. Tours of the plant are given during the festival. It is a facinating tour.

  • Reply
    September 20, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Oh, so glad you found the answers. Like to learn about things.Both the kettle and nut were interesting,since I’d never seen either. Reading your blog gets my day started, just love it.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    September 20, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Tipper–Good stuff, and I’ll weigh in on the stove eye a bit. It’s a common enough term, usage wise, throughout the southern Appalachians as I know them. I suspect its origin lies with the removable “eyes” on wood burning stoves. It resembled a human eye without too much stretch of the imagination.
    That in turn brings back memories of one of my first regular chores as a boy–laying kindling in the wood cook stove every night before I went to bed. I was also responsible for splitting the kindling. We got “modern” when I was 11 or 12 years old, but there was a certain comfort to that old wood-burning stove, with its little overhead cabinet-like device for keeping bread warm, which no electric device will ever offer. Grandma had one a few more years, and in the winter it was pure pleasure to sit by it to warm up after slopping the hogs or having tramped about all day hunting squirrels or rabbits.
    Finally, another mountain expression is “stove up” or “all stove up.” Terms used to describe physical ailments ranging from stiffness to arthritis, a sprain to an aching back. You blog got me to wondering about its origin. I’ll have to check my “Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English” when I get home (I’m in Bryson City, my boyhood home, right now). Incidentally, for your readers, that wonderful reference source, edited and compiled by Joseph Hall and Michael Montgomery, is an informational treasure beyond measure. It is out of print right now but UT Press has a new edition in the works, as I understand it.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    kat magendie
    September 20, 2010 at 7:44 am

    I love reading about these kinds of things!
    I just had a thought on something I wrote in the Sweetie novel:
    if the character lights her old woodstove to cook, did they just let it burn out? I guess they had to . . . can’t imagine they’d have a way to put it out…maybe closing a “flue” or something snuffed it out…. I didn’t think of this until reading the galley copy!
    Love those iron teapots….

  • Reply
    September 20, 2010 at 7:26 am

    I’m glad your mysteries are now solved! You made us all use our brains on this one. It was pretty neat learning about these items. That kettle is really beautiful.

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