Asa – When I worked in the Colonial Williamsburg Silversmith shop, we did most things by hand, just as they did back in the 18th century.  But there were some modern conveniences – we had coffee available all day, we had electric lights, we used stock silver instead of melting coins or other silver objects.  But the actual work of making spoons, salvers, cups, bowls, etc. was just as hard and I was prepared well for my 18th and 19th century life as a silversmith.  I did feel strange melting Spanish pieces-of-eight and older style silver objects to form new items, almost like I was destroying history.  Using the barter system was challenging also.  What should a spoon cost, or a bowl? How much firewood? How many chickens? How much fabric for Rebecca? The best thing was that people were honest in their dealings. It was valued more than greed.  Not like today.  I usually took what they offered since they knew such values better than I.  I was never disappointed. Although the one time I got bear meat didn’t work out well.

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