Schnockschnitzler Simmons

“SCHNOCKSCHNITZLER” SIMMONS (active 1885-1910)

was a late arriving German immigrant to Pennsylvania. An itinerant peddler, he was know by his nicknames “der alt” (the old one) and “der Schnockschnitzler” (the cane carver). Simmons traveled in the rural area around Kutztown, Moselem Springs and Hamburg in Berks County. He was described by local contemporaries as a huge, ruddy-faced “high German” as well as an extremely kind and gentle man. He probably traded or bartered his carvings to farmers and tavern keepers who provided him with hospitality. Simmons is best known for his canes, most frequently decorated with birds for handles and made from the root ends of native-dogwood saplings. His “bird trees” and single birds on varied pedestals amply demonstrate his carving and artistic abilities.

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