Dear Sun Spots: I recently had a small oak stand repaired that belonged to my mother. In the process we discovered it was made by a J.A. Bucknam Co. in Mechanic Falls.

Would it be possible to find out when this company was in business? My stand is at least 75 years old and probably older than that. – Virginia Hanson, Buckfield.

According to and based on information from the Androscoggin Historical Society, Josiah Appleton Bucknam died at age 72 in Mechanic Falls, Maine some time around 1893. Sun Spots has included some of that information here, however Sun Spots would urge you to contact the Androscoggin Historical Society as it’s too lengthy to include it all here. You can reach them at (207) 784-0586.

Mr. Bucknam was highly esteemed in his own community. He was an active ardent businessman and devoted to all philanthropies. He was born in Hebron on March 21, 1821. He was educated at the county schools of Hebron and then taught school himself when he was 20 for $13 a month. He was prudent as a boy and much of a capitalist, it being related that he made his first capital speculation on a dog which he wisely “swapped” for a sheep, which he fostered and whose increase netted him $90.

In May 1843, Bucknam took his limited capital to Portland, where he bought a peddler’s cart and some dry goods, which he drove that season through Cumberland and Oxford Counties with fair success. His brother, Joseph, who had established a store at West Minot, offered him a partnership, which he accepted, the firm name being J & J A Bucknam. They continued to trade in a small way until 1847, when they purchased the store of Deacon Joseph Hall and Ezra Mitchell at Mechanic Falls and began to trade on the site of what became the brick store of J A Buckman & Co.

In 1843, they began to manufacture cowhide boots and women’s kid shoes at West Minot, which was continued until 1850 in Mechanic Falls. Business at the store at West Minot was conducted until 1848. Business was then brisk at Mechanic Falls. The railroad had arrived, making it a business center and opening up a large circle of trade. The Bucknams rented the hotel (later Hawkes & Whitney’s store) and ran that for two years as a hotel as well as running their store and factory. The depression and the state of business caused the Bucknams to contract their business somewhat. Joseph sold out to Josiah Appleton Bucknam, who abandoned the shoe business and added a custom-clothing department to his store.

Dear Sun Spots: Your column is wonderful and helps so many people. I have a request and hopefully will receive some answers.

I do a lot of knitting and have a lot of Mary Maxim patterns, but I would be interested in buying some older patterns and also the Northland Yarn if anyone has these. I can be contacted in Lewiston at (207) 784-4223. – Barbara, Lewiston.

In addition to responses from readers, try contacting Halcyon Yarn, 12 School Street, Bath, ME 04530, 800-341-0282, (207) 442-7909, via e-mail at [email protected], to see if they carry this. You may also want to contact Northlands directly via their Web site at, or via phone at (320) 762-0376; their dealer, Moondance Color Co. at 622 Spencer Road, Oakham, MA 01068, (508) 882-3383.

Dear Sun Spots: Efforts to locate a local source for Silvertone Conditioning Shampoo have been unsuccessful. It is produced by Noble Hair Cosmetics Ltd. in Canada. The bottle I’ve been using was purchased locally but I cannot recall where. Any information would be greatly appreciated. – N.D., Lewiston.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at in the Inform Us section under Press Release.

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