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Cool Things - Fretwork Clock

Fretwork clockAs leisure time became more available to middle-class Americans in the 19th century, hobbies gained in popularity. One such hobby was fretwork.

Men as well as women desired to fill parlors with all manner of handworked artistry. Some hobbyists found a creative outlet in fretwork, the creation of wooden articles using a scrollsaw. The result was an abundance of lacy and delicate letter racks, comb holders, picture frames, and small furniture.

Perhaps one of the most prolific fretworkers in Kansas was J. T. Genn of Wamego. A Civil War veteran, Genn was hobbled by injuries after his discharge. He spent much of his recovery at a scrollsaw. The hobby continued throughout Genn's life, with him creating dozens of decorative and utilitarian household items.

In 1915 Genn donated 25 pieces, including this clock, plus his scrollsaw, to the collections of the Kansas Museum of History.

View other images of Genn's fretwork:

Entry: Cool Things - Fretwork Clock

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: November 1998

Date Modified: December 2014

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.