Special artifact has roots in Preeceville

This year the Preeceville and District Heritage Museum received a special artifact, a Russian Samovar (used for making tea) from Sue Johnson, daughter of Karen Holm who was the daughter of Agnes Holm.

"This summer it was returned to Preeceville and we heard the story of this beautiful artifact. It has Russian writing on it and is date stamped beginning in 1893,” stated Agnes Murrin, chairperson.

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Agnes Holm (wife of Thorvald A. Holm) who was the creamery manager in Preeceville from 1924 to 1950 received the samovar from Scott Rattray. The original story is that Holm found the samovar in the trash heap across from the creamery and asked Rattray if she could have it. She cleaned and polished it and kept it in the family all those years until it was returned to Preeceville by Holm's granddaughter Sue Johnson.

The Holm's lived in a house situated behind where the Midget Flour Mill had been located, which was started by Scott Rattray in 1924. The Holm house was made from logs and had plaster-filled walls.

Agnes Holm (nee Laursen) came to Canada in 1925. She was 30 when she left her home in Hatting, Denmark. She knew she would not see either of her parents again but was on her way to marry T. A. Holm. He was waiting at the train station to meet her and whisked her into a special room where immigrants could conveniently be married. A Lutheran pastor pronounced them man and wife. So began her new life on a cold and barren landscape on the Canadian prairie, vastly different from Denmark.

She could not bring much with her so the Eaton’s catalogue and the local hardware store and Red and White store supplied their needs. The couple raised three children: Agnes, Karen and Thorvald Junior, and were active in the community. They spent 25 years in Preeceville before the Holm's left Preeceville for Flin Flon, Man. in the 1950s.

A samovar is a heated metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water in Russia, stated the encyclopaedia website.

Additionally, the samovar is well known outside of Russia and spread through the Russian culture to Eastern EuropeSouth-Eastern EuropeIranAfghanistan, the Kashmir region of India, the Middle EastVietnam and is also known in some parts of Central Europe. Since the heated water is typically used to make tea, many samovars have a ring-shaped attachment around the chimney to hold and heat a teapot filled with tea concentrate.

Though traditionally heated with coal or charcoal, many newer samovars use electricity to heat water in a manner similar to an electric water boiler. Antique samovars are often prized for their beautiful workmanship


Samovars are typically crafted out of plain ironcopperpolished brassbronzesilvergoldtin, or nickel. A typical samovar consists of a body, base and chimney, cover and steam vent, handles, tap and key, crown and ring, chimney extension and cap, drip-bowl, and teapot. The body shape can be an urnkrater, barrel, cylinder, or sphere. Sizes and designs vary, from large, "40-pail" ones holding four litres (1.1 US gal) to those of a modest one-litre (0.26 US gal) size.

A traditional samovar consists of a large metal container with a tap near the bottom and a metal pipe running vertically through the middle. The pipe is filled with solid fuel which is ignited to heat the water in the surrounding container. A small (six to eight- inch) smokestack is put on the top to ensure draft. After the water boils and the fire is extinguished, the smokestack can be removed and a teapot placed on top to be heated by the rising hot air. The teapot is used to brew a strong concentrate of tea.