Breaking News Bar
updated: 2/7/2013 7:40 AM

Collector restores wax wedding 'crown'

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Toni Skelley, of Decatur, holds the delicate wax crown adorned with tiny white, wax blossoms worn by her grandmother Pauline Bucher when she married in 1895.

      Toni Skelley, of Decatur, holds the delicate wax crown adorned with tiny white, wax blossoms worn by her grandmother Pauline Bucher when she married in 1895.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

DECATUR -- It's hard to imagine what brides wore nearly 120 years ago, but Decatur sisters Toni Skelley and Martha McNamara were able to look into the past when they received a wedding headpiece their grandmother, Pauline Bucher, wore when she married in 1895.

"Our mother had it when our grandma died, and then when our mother passed away, I got it," Skelley of the a delicate wax crown adorned with tiny white, wax blossoms. "I wanted to use it in my wedding, but we realized it was too squished to use."

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

Nearly three years ago, the sisters turned to Nancy Torgerson -- a talented seamstress who has been collecting antique clothing for nearly 20 years -- to help restore the headpiece and use it in presentations, and on Sunday, they were able to see it again in all its glory at the Macon County Conservation Area as Torgerson spoke on 19th- and early 20th-century wedding dresses and accessories.

"When I got the wax crown from Toni and Martha, these were black," said Torgerson, pointing to the white blossoms on the headpiece and addressing an audience of about 40 people. "I didn't want to damage it, so at first I just used a Kleenex to see if I could get the black off, but that didn't faze it. . so I ended up just using my thumbnail and was able to get all of the black off. It was probably placed up on a shelf so nothing would happen to it, but with people cooking with coal back then, they turned black."

In addition to the wax crown, Torgerson displayed everything from gloves, wedding shoes and men's wedding vests to antique wedding dresses she has restored over the years.

"In the 19th century, women wore their best dress as their wedding dress," she said, gesturing to a display of a gold dress from the 1830s, a maroon dress from the 1880s and even a black and brown striped dress from 1859. "They would then re-use their dresses."

Torgerson noted that white dresses did not become very popular until the late 1800s.

McNamara said the presentation brought back a lot of memories for her.

"Our grandma lived with us for years when we were little girls and we have such good memories of her," she said. "Being here today, I felt like I was going back in time. I really enjoyed it."

"I like doing this presentation because people respond so positively to it," said Torgerson. "I didn't start out collecting wedding things specifically, but I ended up collecting a lot of them because wedding things are the things people always save. They're special."

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here