Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Vintage Farmhouse is all the rage right now and no matter what your own personal style or taste may be I certainly don't see the popularity of Prairie Style and French Chic slowing down anytime soon.  Call it what you will...fad or trend...I put the explosion of all things natural, soft white and gently worn it in the same book as that of it's hugely popular predecessor, shabby pink cottage chic!  Like it or not I'm sure the look is going to be around for quite a spell...

For me personally, I draw the line a bit when things become too rugged~too industrial. Although I love the look and feel of antique furniture and old laces blended with useable finds from our ever-changing modern world, I'm just not prepared to trade the luxury of my refrigerator for an old ice box in order to snap some amazing Pinterest-Bound-Photos!  No matter how fabulously Farmhouse Chic something may be, for me to welcome it into my home I have to not only LOVE IT, but it has to be something fun and potentially functional as well.
Ever heard of a CONSERVO?

Yeah...me neither!

A couple of weeks ago one of my Mr. AGPMan's buddies/co-worker, Mr. Randy, asked him he thought I'd be interested in an antique kitchen-thingy he found in the attic of a family member.  Knowing ahead of time his wifey never turns away free stuff he responded with an enthusiastic YES and then asked me later if I wanted it!
What is it?  What's it do?  Is it enormous?  

Well my, my, my....love at first sight!
 I found the following article on the Internet about
The Conservo:
"THE CONSERVO" - A Housewife's Blessing
By Joy Stevens, Grantsville 2003

If there was anything my mother despised more than dirt it was a hot, steamy kitchen during summer canning season. Her dreams came true when my father, who loved her very much, brought her a "Conservo."
"The Conservo was produced by the Swartzbaugh Manufacturing Company. I do not know when it was patente.  It's been said it was a huge blessing over the wash boilers and tubs used for canning vegetables and meats at that time.
 For those fortunate enough to own a Conservo, it was loaned to neighbors during busy canning periods for it allowed unbelievable speed-up in canning time.
The steam canner was made of heavy tin and was without a doubt the simplest outfit for home canning, then and now. It was designed to fit over one single burner of any type of range, gas, oil, coal or wood. The copper bottom held several quarts of water to provide steam. It was so well insulated that only the slightest heat escaped into the kitchen.
 The time for steam canning was the same as that used for wash boiler or cold-pack canning. The steam from the boiling water in the tank permeated and thoroughly cooked, by steam pressure, the food placed on the shelves.
A tube was inserted through the hole in the upper corner ot the Conservo from the outside, and a whistle indicated when water was needed.
 One commenced counting the canning time when water started to boil. If steam escaped, it meant the cook was firing up more than needed. For cooking meals, potatoes with jackets or corn-on-the-cob, the items were placed directly on the shelves, or on top of canning jars, in case you were doing both at once. Two compartments, one above the other, held sixteen quart jars, or by using the two racks, thirty-two pint jars. Imagine!
The Conservo manufacturer warned users not to use preservatives with this type of canning. They said all "jarred" foods should be cooked a minimum of 10 minutes before serving. My mother never lost a jar to spoilage.
 Even fish, first browned and then placed in jars with drippings added, could be processed three hours under steam pressure.
The Conservo was well-built, no parts to get lost or broken - and easy to clean, a boom to a housewife in a small kitchen. Every test given the device gave it high claims, and it gained a national reputation.
 I say God Bless the inventor of the Conservo, and hopefully some alert aluminum company will investigate whether the patent is pending and consider manufacturing the device again.
The savings in the price of gas or electric in being able to can 16 quarts of vegetables or meats over one burner is extraordinary..."
With my hubby's schooling finally coming to a close our attention will soon be returning to our total kitchen remodel.  When my guy walked in the door with this CONSERVO my first thought was that it would be a fabulous addition to our new kitchen.  Since we are still in the layout stage of the square footage I have no idea just WHERE I will put it...I just know it will be in there somewhere!  
 Above is how my Conservo looked on Friday when it landed on my make-shift kitchen counter!
Since I have no plans to use it for canning (although I suppose I could!) I decided to paint the outside of it!.  First thing I did was hose the thing down in my backyard.  Then I washed it up really good, you know, sudsy and foamy, and then sprayed it off again with the hose.  I turned it over to drain and a few hours later dried the entire thing out by hand.
Since the bottom portion of the Conservo is copper (LOVE THAT!!!) I didn't want to paint it.  So...I coated the entire top portion with a water-based sealer and after it dried (a few hours) LIGHTLY brush painted the outside with a chip brush.  The brush was almost DRY and it took about six passes (drying between each coat) before it had the look I wanted!

I didn't paint the inside of the Conservo because I love how it looks.  Amazingly, the original racks are still in place AND the original pan as well.  I'm not sure what I'm going to store inside of it...but my first thought was that it would be perfect for things I like to keep out of sight...paper plates and napkins, etc.
Here it is again...

How fun, huh?


Now...yesterday I started a GIVEAWAY and I hope you'll check it out!  It's for a Snowman Pillow Combo
and you can read about it here:


Today I'm going down to my booth space at 
to begin work on one of the 
front windows!  

Christmas Display Here We Come!

Hope your day is fab...

Love to you~  


Shabby chic Sandy said...

What a fun thing you found here...and of course you made it pretty. :)

Laura's Rose Garden said...

WOW Rebecca! What a treasure you have there! Perhaps you could use it as a bread box or pie safe! I love how you have finished the outside! You are such a clever gal!
Hugs, Laura

Julie Marie said...

What a lucky lady you are!... I would LOVE that! I don't think "country" will ever go out of style, and I personally don't care what's "in or out", fads or trends... many of the things in my home are the same things we had in our little farmhouse twenty five years ago... I'm sure our grandparents, whose homes we all loved, did not even think about what their "style" was... it was just home... cozy and comfy!... I can't wait to see what you end up using it for... you get the BEST stuff!... love it!... xoxo Julie Marie

Theresa said...

Beautiful! Only you could have that vision of pretty:) Have a blessed day dear friend, HUGS!

stefanie said...

oh!!! love it! and FRRRREEEEE!!!!

Hojas que caen..... said...

Todo bello , me gustaría que incorporaras un traductor a tu blog.Besos.Olga.

Passionate for White said...

Great find made even greater by your touch!

Людмила said...

Как человеку из другой страны мне было очень интересно увидеть этот прибор!Спасибо за экскурсию в историю кухни!

Rebecca Nelson said...

Translated Comment Above:

As a person from another country, I was very interested to see this unit, thanks for the tour in the history of the kitchen!

annaKristianne said...

Dear Rebecca,

First of all, I have been wanting to let you know how much it means to me that you've visited my blog and joined it =)! Thank you so much.

My angel adopted Mom is a fine artist, and I originally joined your blog because it reminded me so much of her. She and I love antiques, and we can spend hours in a antique shop.

You do an amazing job with your blog. It's so beautiful!

Hope you're having a wonderful week too!



myletterstoemily said...

brilliant! you're a magician!!

i am fond of french farmhouse but
worked hard to design a swiss farmhouse
kitchen . . . and i LOVE it!

NanaDiana said...

Holy Coolness! That is one of the neatest things I have seen in a long time. I'm with you- while I like looking at industrial I would not be comfortable living with it long term..but this piece....OH MY...what a find. Your hubby was on his toes this time- xo Diana

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Rebecca,
One wonders what all lives at attics across the nation. It must have been a true blessing back than!
You did a great job on it already.
I'm like you, first practicality comes into play and also the ease of cleaning. Things need to be smooth and not eating up dusting cloths and all. Rough wood and course iron has never been my idea of putting inside our home.
Hugs to you,

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