Ralph Farnsworth has 160 acres of land in New Haven; it's his childhood homestead. It's also where he keeps his collection of Americana.
"Well, this is the latest chain saw I've brought in," he said.
It's his latest purchase-- a two-man chain saw that uses LP gas.
"Well, it's an oddball," he said. "I've never seen one like it."
For Ralph that's a strong statement. He's seen and purchased just about everything.
"This is a wooden toilet... I've got probably 75 pumps," he said. "That's an old hay fork."
The 72-year-old hates to see anything go; he's a keeper.
Reporter Joe Carroll: But you are going a step further.
Ralph Farnsworth: Well, maybe. That's what my wife says.
His wife, Yvonne, says he has enough stuff, but understands his hobby.
"When I have a corner left, I have to put something in it," Ralph said.
A negative term for one who collects to extremes is hoarder.
Joe Carroll: Do you think you are one?
Ralph Farnsworth: Probably, probably.
Ralph doesn't mind being called one. He just loves the thrill of having a one-of-a-kind product. The barn holds his big stuff.
Joe Carroll: Do you remember the first thing you purchased?
Ralph Farnsworth: Heavens, no!
Across the street, another building holds his premier collection-- perhaps the largest collection of eclectic antiques in the state of Vermont outside the Shelburne Museum.
Joe Carroll: Do you have a name for it?
Ralph Farnsworth: Museum. It's a good name.
We'll call it the Farnsworth Museum. It's free to enter and you need to spend hours to see everything.
"I built this for my father," Ralph explained.
His father collected Edison phonograph players and needed a building to store his collection. Ralph took it to another level.
"And then I added this on and added that on," he said.
He has a few more buildings to hold his antiques.
"This is my country store here," he said.
Some of Ralph's stuff came from his own family. The idea of not throwing out anything seems to have been passed on.
"This is my mother's egg beater here," he said.
And of course there are his father's phonographs. There is no way in this short story to mention everything; these are just some of the highlights.
Joe Carroll: How much stuff do you have? Give me a number.
Ralph Farnsworth: I have no clue, no idea what I've got.
Ralph keeps a close eye on his inventory.
"Best things in life are free," he said.
That may be true, but he's spent thousands on his growing collection. The free part is seeing the joy in people's faces when they come into the past.
Ralph has one son. And speaking of kids, he'd prefer they stay away from his museum because there are too many things to break! Ralph shows his collection of Americana to adults by appointment only -- 802-453-2275.
PO Box 4508