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Lead Spigots

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Artifact Description

The excavation of the SS Republic yielded over 950 pieces of widely assorted hardware including brown and white porcelain doorknobs, door hinges, file rasps, brass or pewter keys and door locks, as well as over 200 individual spoons plus a number of concretions comprised of spoons stacked together.

Also counted among the hardware items was a sizeable shipment of lead spigots in four different sizes, likely designed for use with wooden barrels or kegs for the dispensing of any number of liquid substances, including water, wine, rum and ale. Visible on the spigots is the stamp of the Fenn Faucet company of New York. Gaius Fenn obtained a patent for a faucet in 1810, and with his brother Jason, began their manufacture from a two-story shop in Plymouth, Connecticut. The Fenn faucet business later moved to New Haven and then New York.

The consignment of spigots aboard the Republic was presumably intended for a New Orleans hardware merchant hoping to rebuild a former trade or launch a new business. It is also possible the spigots and other hard ware items were bound for further trans-shipment up the Mississippi River to the towns and trading posts of the Western Frontier.

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