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Birch bark waste paper basket
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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High prices placed early automobiles beyond the reach of most consumers. This changed when Henry Ford used the assembly line and other cost-saving innovations to produce the far less expensive Model T Ford. Ellen and Carl Larson and their two young children joined a growing number of motorists who drove their Model T's for pleasure as well as business. Scenic routes like the Mohawk Trail in western Massachusetts were particularly popular. Ellen Larson purchased this birchbark wastepaper basket at a stop on the Mohawk Trail in 1923. The basket is an example of the way in which Native craftspeople used a traditional material to create an object that would appeal to a non-Native buyer. Simple, inexpensive birchbark goods, like this wastebasket, were often manufactured in bulk for non-Native consumers. Mrs. Larson was especially fond of this basket because it reminded her of the birch trees in her home country of Sweden.
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