Note: All novel ideas listed below are up for grabs. Feel free to add your own ideas in a comment. Let’s get the creative juices flowing!CANNING: Canning was the first major industry in Delaware. The first cannery, Richardson and Robbins Company, opened in 1855 and by 1889, Delaware had 49 canneries. Delaware has great farm land, so the fruits and vegetables were canned fresh and shipped out by railroads.
Novel Idea, Historical Fiction: She’s a cannery worker, and he’s a migrant peach picker in town for the harvest. Sparks fly and peach pie abounds!
HOLLY: In the 1920s and 1930s, Delaware had a boom in holly wreath pruduction; so much so that Holly became the state tree in 1939. Farmers spent their “off season” collecting holly from nearby woods to make wreaths and decorations. The boom ended when plastic wreaths became available.
Novel Idea, Historical Fiction: He’s going to fulfill his father’s dying wish and save his family’s floundering wreath business. She’s a representative with the plastic wreath company that’s going to put him out of business.
THE GRIST MILL: Delaware is peppered with man made lakes and ponds, all of which used to be connected to mills for grinding flour. The miller was often paid one tenth of the flour he ground. The process was labor intensive and the results were less than fine. Oliver Evans designed a revolutionary new mill that included bucket elevators, chutes, and conveyors, and was fully automatic. That meant that the flour was easier to grind and, more importantly, it never touched the dirt floor of the mill house, so it was clean and bug free. In the 1780s there was no patent protection, so Evans made almost no money off of his invention, although thirty years and three patents later, he did receive a check from President Jefferson when Jefferson built a mill. (www.farmcollector.com)
Novel Idea, Historical Fiction: The story of Oliver Evans’ invention of the mill and struggles to have his newfangled ideas accepted.