What Was in My House in 1920: Egypt Whitehall House History

I recently had a free weekend with Newspapers.com and I had a blast searching for newspaper articles related to my town and my house in particular. In 2019, my husband and I bought a home on Roosevelt Street in the Egypt part of Whitehall Township, Pennsylvania in Lehigh County. One of the articles I found was a list of the contents of what was in my house in 1920. What a treasure to find this article as now I can look around my house and picture what it might have looked like in 1920!

In 1920, Charles and Catharine (Steckel) Diehl owned the house and had been living in it since at least 1910 according to the census records. Catharine passed away in 1920 and after a visit with some out of state friends (who I think are Catharine’s family), Charles returned to sell the contents of the house so he could move in with his son, Lloyd, who resided on Main Street, Egypt.

1920 census, Charles and Catharine Diehl, 4th household from the top of the list

According to the estate sale newspaper listing, in 1920, my house contained many of the ordinary everyday items you would expect like a broom and carpet sweeper, crocks of various sizes, stove, tables, chairs, kitchen utensils, rugs. There were some items on the list that I investigated further to find out more about.

A listing of the contents of my home in 1920 in Egypt, Whitehall, Pennsylvania. Notice what is now Roosevelt Street in Egypt Whitehall was then called Upper Main Street

Morris Chair

A Morris chair is a type of recliner with a wooden frame and often wooden sides.

Brussels Carpet

A Brussels carpet is machine made and the loops of the carpet are uncut. I wish I knew what color or pattern it was? Or since there was 20 yards of it, was it leftover from carpeting the home? Or were they rolling it up from the floors and selling it and leaving the hardwood bare?

Advance Sewing Machine

From another newspaper article, I know that Catharine was a quilter since even in the year she died she hosted a quilting party at home. I can image her maybe piecing the quilt by machine and then quilting by hand with her friends and neighbors. Or maybe she reserved the sewing machine for sewing clothing and quilted all by hand. I don’t know, but I do know she owned this Advance Sewing Machine. I was unable to find more information on this kind of sewing machine, so if you know anything, please comment below.

Hartman & Lanshe on Hamilton Street, Allentown

Hartman & Lanshe Piano

I first thought that Hartman & Lanshe was a piano manufacturer, but upon further digging, I found out that it is was a music store on Hamilton Street in Allentown. I don’t know who the piano player was in the house. Both Charles and Catharine were involved in the nearby church which is now the Egypt Community Church and I like to imagine that whoever played probably played hymns as well as other songs.

1910 Advertisement from Morning Call from Hartman & Lanshe

Five Piece Parlor Set

The five piece parlor set is parlor furniture. Think Victorian with wooden frame, elegantly upholstery. A couch and four chairs is what I see on my internet searches. I wish I knew what color and patterns Catharine and Charles had! And some day I hope to have this kind of parlor set back in the house again.


Agateware is pottery created by two different colors of clay so the end result looks marbled. The pottery then looks like agate stone which has a swirled look to it. Find pictures here.

Eight-day clock and eight-day alarm

An 8 day clock is a clock that must be wound once a week with a key. Here is more info on clocks that have to wound. To the best of my knowledge, an 8 day alarm is like a bedside alarm clock that needs to be wound once a week. There are a variety of clocks that need to be wound at different intervals.

Thor Electric Washing Machine

Thor Electric Washing Machine

I don’t know exactly what model of Thor washing machine the Diehl family had, but here are some pictures of some I found online. The machine would dip and lift the clothing in the water. There was no spin cycle, so after the washing cycle, you would need to run the clothing through the wringer, then hang it on the clothes line to dry. I have metal poles in my yard now that are for clothes lines, but they must have been added later since in this listing they are selling some clothing poles.

What a treasure this listing has been! As I sit in my living room, I can picture the Morris chair, the parlor set, the agateware sitting on the shelf, while listing to the piano playing or the swishing of the Thor washing machine or the ticking of the 8 day clock.

Do you own or are familiar with any of the items above? Do you have any information about Egypt, Whitehall, PA? I’d love to hear it!

4 thoughts on “What Was in My House in 1920: Egypt Whitehall House History

    1. I was surprised, too. I’m not sure. He moved in with his son and his wife and maybe they just didn’t have room for it? Although there was other family in the area too. Maybe they didn’t like that particular fruit? Maybe they wanted to see if it would sell? I wonder how much actually sold.

  1. I have two blue and white agate speckled enamel pie plates and one gray agate graniteware pie plate that belonged to my grandmother. I use the blue and white ones to serve hot rolls or biscuits. I use the gray one under a potted plant.

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