Like Flies To Honey… An Antique Primitive Fly Trap

We’ve sold a number of these primitive antique fly traps — but none quite this large. (I forgot to measure it, but it’s at least a foot tall.)

large primitive antique fly trap ayr north dakota

Nor did any have their original maker tag with instructions for use.

The Wonder Fly Trap
Made By
W.P. Rose, Ayr, N.D.

Bait with cake or bread with sugar and vinegar over, or anything that attracts the flies

Patent Pending

These taps work for hornets and bees too. No reason it wouldn’t still work today. But some continual baiting and cleaning of the trap would be required. 😉

Rose was quite the inventor and a member on the board of directors for the Ayr Farmers Elevator.

This one was purchased at that Bonanzaville museum auction this past Fall. It is now available for purchase; available in our space at Exit 55 Antiques located on I-94 in Fergus Falls, MN. (The shop’s Facebook Page is here; our personal sales page at Facebook is here.) Also, more photos and information regarding what we have for sale right now can be seen at We Have Your Collectibles.

antique wonder fly trap primitives

Vintage Industrial & Primitive Candle Holders

Vintage dairy cream separator funnels have a great industrial look — and a great primitive look when rusty.

They make great candle stick holders!

If you plan on lighting the candles, you should place them on an appropriate heat resistant/fire-safe container — antique saucers and plates work well for this and you can even mix and match leftover saucers or find a use for those in not-so-great condition. You might even want to weave some lace or ribbon in the holes to play up the textures against the old metal. …And if you are using ribbons and things, why not add some vintage buttons too? There are lots of possibilities.

What’s This Antique Primitive Barrel Or Keg For?

My most recent Collectors Quest column was about primitives. Within a few hours of that column being published, I received an email about one of the items in the photographs, a small-to-medium sized antique keg or barrel.


I just saw a photo on your post I’d like info on. It was a primitive barrel-like container with a stoppered hole on top.

I recently obtained something very similar and don’t have a clue as to what it is. Can you tell me?



There are no labels or markings on this keg; no clues inside to what it once held. And, being handmade, there are many variations in size and design on barrels and kegs. The keg in the photo is now in our booth at Exit 55 Antiques, but to help you identify it, let me describe it in more detail. The keg stands between one and two feet tall. It’s made of tin, or other thin and light metal, covered in wood. (You can spy the metal through thin gaps in the wooden pieces.) There is a corked-hole, slightly off-center, at the top. The construction itself tells us what this was likely used for.

The hole at the top tells us that this barrel once held liquid. Where the hole is positioned tell us that the liquid was to be poured out. And the stopper at the top tells us that the liquid was likely poured out in small amounts at a time, rather than completely emptying the barrel all at once.

The tin or other lightweight thin metal also suggests a fluid. The wood used to cover the inner metal barrel was likely applied to protect the thin metal from punctures as well as to add strength to the piece, avoiding accidental ruptures. At the same time, use of wood keeps the piece relatively lightweight. (Had thicker metal sheeting been used, this keg when full would be very heavy and difficult to pour from.)

As mentioned, there are no obvious clues to what liquid this antique barrel may have contained. I’m sure scientific testing would provide results; but I’d rather save my money for buying more collectibles. *wink* Plus, like many primitive pieces, barrels like this were reused and repurposed. So even if we knew what it last held, it may not have been what it originally contained.

The best guess hubby and I have is that this antique primitive barrel was used to store household oil, like oils for cooking, kerosene for lamps, benzine and naptha for cleaning and other uses in the home. But honestly, there are a lot of options in types of fluids used back in those years — many of which likely occurred over the life of just one barrel.