In central Pennsylvania about 55 miles north of the state capital of Harrisburg, lies a quiet little town in Union County called the Borough of New Berlin with a population around 900. New Berlin has been around for over 200 years and is very proud of their history and heritage.
Each year on the fourth Saturday of August, the town has one of the largest street festivals in Pennsylvania, featuring traditional foods and drink, arts and crafts, historical information and for 17 years, from 1990 to 2006, a specially made cookie cutter.
In 1868, James Naugle, a tinsmith, came to town and purchased a small brick building on Market St. He opened his tinshop in this building and did business there for 56 years, until his death in 1924.
Mr. Naugle made and sold pots, pans, teakettles, cookie cutters and just about anything that could be made of tin. According to an article published by the New Berlin Heritage Association, he purchased stoves from a Danville foundry, which were shipped in pieces to his business and assembled by him. All newlyweds who purchased a stove from him received a set of his handmade cooking utensils.
In 1990 the New Berlin Heritage Association issued a limited number of reproductions of one of Mr. Naugle’s cutters and continued to release a different shaped one each year, selling them at the festival on New Berlin Heritage Day. The quantity varied each year from 250 to 750. Each cutter is inscribed “New Berlin Heritage Day,” the year, and its number (e.g. 331/500). They were custom made for the Association by Irvin’s Tinware in Mount Pleasant, PA. Only 2 years’ cutters were not reproductions of Naugle cookie cutters; 1992 – was the town’s Bicentennial and the cutter that year was a horse; 2005 was the 100th anniversary of the Narrow Gauge Railroad and a train engine cutter was issued.
There will not be a cookie cutter issued in 2007. A representative for the Heritage Association stated that they had made reproductions from all the Naugle cutters that they had available to them, so that unless someone else comes forward with any Naugle cutters to copy and the demand for them is high enough, there will be no more in the series.
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