American Heirlooms - January 2020




It’s hard to believe another decade has come and gone. When I look back on the past 10 years, I can’t help but feel some of the pain, excitement, and changes we experienced. In 2009, our shop acquired the Penns Creek Furniture Company. This gave us access to sales in furniture stores. This move would help our shop grow over the next 10 years. In addition to learning about the styles of Penns Creek line, We learned to build private label furniture for Throughout the decade, we discovered how to paint solid colors with water-based paints and respond to recent trends. As we have discovered, you have to adapt in order to survive as a small business. Our accountant has been very helpful as we gain a clearer understanding of our business needs and where we can grow. We sold our Dover, Delaware, showroom in 2017, which brought our office and sales back to the shop. While closing a store may not seem positive, it was the right move for our small business. Finally, in 2018, my father, Fred Zimmerman, sold the shop to me. This transition had been the works for a long time up until this point, so it was a formality more than anything. Still, I’ve been honored to continue this family tradition. It felt like a natural move for me.

Adrian will be 12 and halfway through his schooling. Our now first- grade child, Kendrick, will be 17 years old in 10 years. I can see him hunting deer and enjoying the rugged outdoors. Our 9-year-old child, Malcolm, will be 19. By that point, Bethany and I may need to do some teen coaching focused on searching for a life's companion. By the time this happens, we will have had some experience, too, since Heather, who is now 17, and Megan, who is 13, may have their own families to care for. As for Bethany and me, the next 10 years may find us with a little grayer or with less hair but still enjoying our time together. By that point, we will have lived through two more presidential elections and possibly a recession. Regardless of what the next 10 years have in store, I know the Creator has big plans, and I’m excited to see them unfold. –Ethan Zimmerman

As for my family, a lot has changed in the past decade; it’s been 10 years of growth and bittersweet memories.

August 2019 was the 11th anniversary of the death of our 4-year-old son, Patrick. That anniversary brought back memories, but our faith in God has guided us through this heartache. We know innocent children are safe in heaven. Relying on that faith has helped our family for the past 10 years, and the heavens continue to have a special meaning for us.

Looking ahead to the next 10 years and what’s in store for 2030 is difficult to fully understand.

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People don’t often wonder about everyday objects, like the seemingly inconsequential drinking straw, but National Drinking Straw Day falls on Jan. 3 and gives people a chance to scrutinize the growing concern over straws’ contributions to global pollution. The Straw’s Origin While the drinking straw has been around for centuries — dating back nearly 5,000 years to ancient Sumerian times — it wasn’t until 1888 that the first drinking straw was patented. Marvin C. Stone, a manufacturer of paper cigarette holders, created a prototype straw by wrapping strips of paper around a pencil, gluing them together, and removing the pencil to create a hollow cylinder from which people could drink. The Straw’s Industrial Boom By 1890, Stone Industrial was producing Stone’s paper straw in massive quantities, surpassing the production of cigarette holders. Stone’s straws were effective for glasses or containers that were difficult to drink from, and as a bonus, they didn’t leave any gritty residue like previous prototypes. Its popularity grew, especially among children and hospital patients who found it challenging to drink directly from a glass. Straws became even more accessible in the 1930s when they were manufactured with the ability to bend.

The Straw’s Consequence It wasn’t long until the rapidly growing plastic industry saw an opportunity. Plastic straws were not only more durable than their paper counterparts, but they were also cheaper to make. Unsurprisingly, the mass production of plastic straws starting in the 1960s contributed to worsening pollution. Today, the National Park Service estimates that Americans use nearly 500 million straws every day. Most of these straws are then discarded, joining millions of tons of plastic materials that wash up across the world’s beaches. To help reduce the amount of plastic in use, people are taking action. Several cities across the U.S., including Seattle, have banned plastic straws in bars and restaurants. Many alternatives have also taken to the market, such as metal or silicone straws that can be used more than once. If you want to help contribute to alternative solutions, most local grocery stores, as well as big manufacturers like Amazon, sell metal or biodegradable straws for less than $10.

The Stories That Came Alive The first book, “Little House in the Big Woods” introduces readers to the Ingalls family, including Laura, Ma, Pa, Mary, and Baby Carrie, on their plot of land in northwestern Wisconsin. The remaining eight books follow the family as they settle across the U.S., including homes in Minnesota, the Dakotas, and the family’s most famous home, Kansas. Perhaps the most well-known “Little House on the Prairie” is the third book in the series and follows the family as they begin their life away from Wisconsin and on the prairies of Kansas. The series also features stories from Wilder’s future husband, Almanzo Wilder. Eventually, the series sees the pair connect, marry, and begin their lives together. The Influence of Wilder’s Writing Today Generations of readers have enjoyed the harrowing, heartwarming, and beautifully told tales of the Ingalls and Wilder families. The books provide wholesome entertainment for the entire family. It’s certainly a favorite in the Zimmerman family! Get lost on the

The American frontier is one of the great hallmarks of U.S. history. From families forging their own path to tragic tales of loss, the frontier and the stories that came from it remain treasured. Laura Ingalls Wilder is one of the most well-known authors and preservers of this great history. This winter, introduce your family to her tales with the nine-book series. How It Began The Wilders lost nearly everything when the Great Depression imploded the U.S. economy in 1929. Coupled with the loss of her mother and older sister just years before, Wilder felt compelled to preserve her family’s pioneering history and story in writing. Wilder shared the story with her daughter, Rose Lane, in 1930, with the hope of preserving her family’s story and possibly generating extra income. Her daughter’s publishing connections — like her mother, Lane was a successful writer — encouraged Wilder to expand on the story, and in 1932, Wilder’s first book, “Little House in the Big Woods” was published.

American frontier with your family by finding “The Little House on the Prairie” book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder at


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The most notable contribution Brewster made to the world of optics is understanding the polarization of light and the influence of outside objects on the eye’s processing. Brewster is credited with creating optical mineralogy, which studies the eye’s processing of crystals in certain minerals and materials. In addition, Brewster developed the first 3D viewing object and is remembered as a pioneer in photography. Brewster’s observations and discoveries are still taught and used by optics students today. Perhaps the most popular contribution Brewster made to modern life was the invention of the kaleidoscope in 1816. For centuries, children have delighted in the colorful shapes and scenery created with properties discovered by Brewster, yet many users do not know Brewster was the scientist who found it. Throughout his studies, Brewster remained steadfast in his faith. A man of science, Brewster would make public claims in various publications that challenged evolutionist theorists to find proof of evolution’s existence. According to Brewster’s theories and the texts he read, no such proof existed.

For many people, seeing is believing. But, for Sir David Brewster, research supported his beliefs. Brewster spent his life preaching and discovering. He was born and raised in Scotland more than 200 years ago, and from an early age, he possessed knowledge unmatched by his peers. By age 12, Brewster began his studies at the University of Edinburgh, fully intent on joining the clergy. Brewster would later serve as a minister, but his fascination with science led him to discoveries that are still used today.

Today, Brewster is recognized by Scotland as one of its foremost scientific experts and pioneers in the modern world.

Brewster died at age 86 on Feb. 10, 1868. According to, just before his passing, he said, “I shall see Jesus and that will be grand.” After a lifetime of professing belief in what he could prove and the complexities of optics, Brewster was afforded the sight of the heavens.

Inspired by The New York Times

INGREDIENTS • 2 cups all-purpose flour • 2 tsp baking powder • 1/4 tsp salt • 1 tbsp sugar, optional

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups milk

Unsalted butter or canola oil, to grease skillet


1. Heat a griddle or skillet to medium-low. 2. In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (including sugar if you like a sweeter pancake). In a separate bowl, beat eggs into milk. Gently stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ones. Mix only until flour is moistened. Clumps are fine. 3. Add some butter or oil to the skillet. If the butter foams or oil shimmers, the temperature is correct. Pour in a pancake of any size, cooking until bubbles form, about 2–4 minutes. 4. Flip and cook other side for 2–4 minutes. Serve warm.

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Brought to you by KCS Builders of American Heirlooms and Penns Creek Furniture The Swiss Craftsman


P.O. Box 280 • Kenton, DE 19955 • Phone: (302) 653-2411

Inside this Issue

Celebrating the End of a Decade Page 1

Do You Know the History of the Straw?

Warm Up With ‘The Little House on thePrairie” Book Series This Winter Page 2 The Creationist Scientist Whose Findings (and Toys) Are Still Used Today

Simple Pancakes From Scratch Page 3

The Most Surprising Crime in History Page 4

Maple syrup holds a proud place in the history and culture of Quebec, Canada. It’s also a big part of Quebec’s economy, with 72% of the world’s maple syrup produced in Quebec alone. Due to tactics employed by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (FPAQ), the NPR-backed podcast “The Indicator” estimates that maple syrup is valued at approximately $1,300 per barrel — over 20 times more than crude oil. The FPAQ controls the available syrup supply, never releasing enough maple syrup to meet demand, which increases the price. As a result, most of the world’s maple syrup is stored in various reserves. This is what made the events between 2011 and 2012 so dubious. During this period, a group of thieves snatched the country’s beloved syrup from an FPAQ facility in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, Quebec. At the FPAQ facility, syrup was stored in unmarked metal barrels and only inspected once a year. The heist, led by a man named Richard Vallières, involved transporting the barrels to a remote sugar shack in the Canadian wilderness, where they siphoned off the maple syrup, refilled the barrels with water, and returned the barrels to the facility. The stolen syrup was then trucked east to New Brunswick and south across the border into Vermont. The thieves sold their ill-gotten goods in small batches, avoiding suspicion from legitimate, honest syrup distributors.

In what is now known as the Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist, thieves made off with 10,000 barrels of maple syrup valued at $18.7 million. This remains one of the most costly heists in Canadian history. Vallières himself became a millionaire and took his family on three tropical vacations in one year. Eventually, the thieves got sloppy and stopped refilling the barrels with water. When an FPAQ inspector visited the targeted facility in the fall of 2012, he accidentally knocked over one of the empty barrels. The inspector alerted the police, who would go on to arrest 17 men in connection to the theft, including Vallières himself. Police were then able to recover hundreds of barrels of the stolen syrup, but most of it was never recovered — likely lost to pancake breakfasts far away.


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