Editor’s note: This is a new series The Franklin News-Post is partnering with the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum (BRIM) on. Each week, a photo and description of an artifact from the museum will be published.
Artifacts: All of the pictured items were made by Abraham Lincoln Gusler of Ferrum.
Lincoln Gusler was one of several makers of copper stills parts in the southern Virginia Blue Ridge. Gusler’s coppersmithing shop adjoined his house in Ferrum and included various wooden patterns, hammers, metal shears, and soldering equipment—everything necessary to shape copper into still parts. His core business was in fashioning still caps and worms. Gusler’s caps and worms were standardized in size and were stored behind a false wall in the attic of his home. When customers dropped by, Gusler usually had a few suitable pieces already prepared. After the death of his wife, Gusler began crafting a wider assortment of copper items, including a hat, cups, and musical instruments. Pictured here are his copper shoes, a still cap and a coffee pot.
Created by Ferrum College in 1973, BRIM is the largest folklife museum in the state. It was made the official state repository for Blue Ridge folk culture in 1986.