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Did you know that July is watercolour month?

Wright Home 2006 4 3

This watercolour painting currently on display in Artful Architecture in the Art Space at 34 Frank is one of many done by artist John Kolstein. He was born in Holland and immigrated to Strathroy with his family in 1957. In his early years in Strathroy, Kolstein was commissioned to do a number of paintings of local businesses and houses. Many of his works were watercolour though he was known to mix in pen. He passed away September 22, 1991 in Strathroy. The Museum’s Collection houses many of his paintings.

One painting in particular is of the old Wright family home located at 40 Kittridge (Kittredge) Ave. W, Strathroy. The house was built in 1871 by James Wright (1837-1914). It was occupied by James, his wife Keziah Clark (Chinnick) and their children – one of which was Ernest Joel (E. J.) Wright who founded the Wright Piano company. After James’ death his wife and eldest daughter, Mary Jane (Polly) moved closer to the downtown core. They wanted to avoid having to climb up the hill to Kittridge and moved to 27 Metcalfe Street. Keziah lived there until her death in 1926. After Keziah passed another of her daughters Margaret Susan and her husband Alfred Brock moved in. After Alfred’s death in 1933 the sisters, Polly and Maggie, continued to live in the house for another 18 years or so until they both passed away (Polly in 1949 and Maggie in 1950).

A photograph taken in 2009 shows renovations occurred that removed the porch and the second floor balcony. Further renovations occurred, as can be seen in this 2014 Google Street photograph, with the porch being added once again.

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Ideas on how to take part in Watercolour Month

First if you have never tried it before, go for it. Pick a photo or go outside, paint with friends and family, or take a class.
Always wanted a watercolour in your living room? Support a local artist by purchasing a piece of art.
Have a favourite watercolour painter? Highlight a work of art on Facebook and other social media platforms.

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No. 5 Underwood Standard Manual Typewriter

This typewriter was used somewhere in the Strathroy-Caradoc area. It was gifted to the museum by the Salvation Army. The typewriter has a black base with gold details and lettering.

Underwood was the most successful version of the typewriter ever invented. It was created before 1900 and was popular until around 1961 with the introduction of the IMB Selectric (an electric typewriter). Most other companies modeled their typewriters after Underwood’s. This particular one is a No. 5 Underwood, a standard typewriter. They were made alongside No 3 and No 4 from late 1900 until 1931-1932. This particular No 5 model was made sometime in 1913. Underwood typewriters used a ribbon for ink instead of a pad which was easier, created less mess and had to be changed less frequently. Underwood had actually been a type ribbon and carbo paper (used to make copies before the invention of the photocopy machine) manufacturer before making typewriters.

The reason the keys on the keyboard are arranged the way they are goes back to the days of the typewriter. The goal was speed and efficiency- to type as many words in as little time as possible. The keyboard keys were originally arranged to maximize how fast one could type. There were several different arrangement ideas given but in the end one known as QWERTY won out. To further maximize efficiency every so often someone tries to come up with a new keyboard arrangement that is better than QWERTY but none so far have taken its place. This is the name of the keyboard type that is still used today. This model is slightly varied depending on the country and language used.

About the Museum

Museum Strathroy-Caradoc opened to the public in 1972. As a community museum we strive to preserve and tell the story of Strathroy-Caradoc, and inspire residents to explore and understand the community around them.

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