Slowing Down To Look At Vintage Hot Rod Ephemera

I know next to nothing about hot rods, dragsters, automobilia or even cars in general, but I do recognize the value of vintage car part catalogs, like these Almquist “Equipment of Champions” catalogs, to fans and collectors of such things.

And I’ll admit, looking at old hot rod custom sport bodies, kits, 3-D chrome emblems, classic flame decals, etc. is cool — even when it’s all in black and white. (If you think so too, click the images to see large scans.)

But after taking some time to page through the pair of catalogs from Almquist Engineering Co., Inc. of Milford, PA (founded by Ed Almquist), I decided I had to list them for sale (1959 catalog, 1960 catalog) for collectors in need. (And if you collect, you know it’s a need — you need to know what was made and when, the part’s official name and/or stock number, etc.)

However I won’t be selling what I found inside one of the vintage catalogs — sketches of what I presume, my dear Watson, to be flame-type designs for the former owner’s dream car.

I won’t be selling them because they have no monetary value: A) the former owner doesn’t appear to have any fame, 2) most collectors or fans of hot rods probably have their own similar drawings, and III) fans of such finds typically won’t pay for such things — they prefer to enjoy the serendipity of their own finds.

I myself fall into the third category, and so will enjoy holding onto the vintage drawings, ever wondering if the maker of these drawings got his dream hot rod… If so, after sketching did he realized “flames” were more difficult than the thought, and so he just purchased them, or paid for a custom paint job… Or if he still pines for the awesome hot rod of his fantasies.

Discovering Vincent Lopez

We purchased a lot of ephemera from a dealer going out of business — and when I say “a lot,” I mean “a lot of boxes.” So many that we almost couldn’t fit boxes and the one slender child we had with us that day into the van. While we did manage to get all that belonged to us home, it took some time to be able to inspect each piece — and the investigation of each may never ever be completed because I love to research everything.

In fact, that’s part of my problem. I’m supposed to find something from these boxes to sell — to recoup some money, feed the kids, whatever. But I keep falling in love with things. Things I didn’t know existed. Things I don’t even know about enough to love them. But in the researching of them, I become utterly smitten.

Like this 8 x 6 3/4 inch piece of now quite tanned brittle paper. It charmed me with its illustration of a man playing piano — with a photo of a man’s head pasted in place (all printed in blue ink). The signature seemed authentic; the ink not mechanically reproduced but signed with a personalized “To Wayne.” But I wasn’t sure of the name, let alone if the guy was of any importance.

I quickly discovered this comical piece depicts and is signed by Vincent Lopez, one of America’s most popular bandleaders for decades.

In 1917, at the age of 19, Lopez was already leading his own dance band in New York City. In 1921 he began to leverage the power of the new medium, radio, into popularity — and he, in turn, helped create the popularity of radio.

He began his band’s weekly 90-minute radio show on Newark, NJ station WJZ by announcing, “Lopez speaking!” (The station and Lopez would become fixtures in the NBC family.) The show theme song was Felix Arndt’s novelty ragtime piece Nola, causing Lopez to became so identified with the song that he’d satirized it in his 1939 Vitaphone short, Vincent Lopez and his Orchestra, by having the entire band singing Down with Nola.

(Sadly, attempts to find a clip of this performance only resulted in “removed” notices at YouTube.)

In 1925, Lopez gave the first-ever Symphonic Jazz concert at the Metropolitan Opera House; later that same year, he took his orchestra to London and met with great success.

Comparable to Paul Whiteman, the “King of Jazz,” Lopez became one of the most popular musicians leading Big Band, dance bands, and/or jazz bands. Charles Hamm calls them “white ‘jazz’ bands,” saying they were of the Tin Pan Alley style of jazz as opposed to the “authentic” black jazz of the time. (In his book, Putting Popular Music in Its Place, Hamm notes that even performers like Josephine Baker had their music “mediated for consumption by white European audiences.”)

Many famous and still recognizable musicians passed through Vincent Lopez’s band, including Artie Shaw, Xavier Cugat, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, and Glenn Miller.

Lopez is also credited with giving Betty Hutton her first big break, resulting in both being showcased in two Warner Brothers’ Vitaphone shorts. Shot in New York in 1939, the following video clip of the afore mentioned Vitaphone performance features 18-year old Betty Hutton performing a fantastic (classic Betty Hutton!) jitterbug to Vincent Lopez & His Orchestra’s rendition of Old Man Mose.

In 1941, Lopez and his band took what was supposed to be a sort engagement at the Hotel Taft Grill Room — where they remained for 20 years. And in 1949, The Vincent Lopez Orchestra and the Martin Sisters recorded a song called Potato Chips, which played on air along such songs as Rum and Coca Cola and The Popcorn Polka. What’s not to love about that? Other than not being able to find a copy of Potato Chips, I mean.

Lopez’s popularity meant he was widely interviewed as an authority on jazz. To this day, he remains quoted in several works discussing both the origins of the word “jazz” (proffering a story that, in essence, “jazz” came from the name of a musician named Charles, shortened to “Chaz”) as well as, in 1924, it’s definition as “contrary to music.”

Sadly, these footnotes, his recordings (including a few CDs and Mp3s), appearances in advertisements, and a few other collectibles like my autographed bit of ephemera are about all that’s left to prove the former popularity of Vincent Lopez.

But it’s time to get back to the drawing board — back to my vintage drawing of Lopez.

There are no markings to identify the illustrator or to indicate the paper’s purpose, so I’m left to conclude this was a promotional piece printed by Lopez — possibly for the purpose of providing autographs. I believe it dates to the late 1920s or early 1930’s, based on the simple caricature style of the illustration (quite popular in the 20’s — in fact, Cugat and Enrico Caruso both drew caricatures) and the youthful photographic image of Lopez.

Will I be selling it? Mmm, probably not. I don’t think I’m done investigating Vincent Lopez yet. (Stay tuned!)

PS You can keep on eye on my eBay listings to see if and when hubby twists my arm enough to make me selling it.

Image Credits:

The scan of autographed Vincent Lopez promotional vintage ephemera piece, circa late 1920s or early 1930’s, is my own.

Vincent Lopez and His Orchestra Vitaphone clipping found on page 135 in the Octorber 14, 1939, issue of Boxoffice.

Color photo of Vincent Lopez at radio microphone via Wikipedia.

The 1929 Vintage Miller Tire ad with Vincent Lopez and his chauffeur — featuring Vincent Lopez’s famous “Lopez Speaking” — via Antique-Ad-Shop.

1957: The Year In Typewriters

I continue to be delighted with vintage magazines, this time another article in that November 1957 issue of Good Housekeeping has me thinking how advice on buying typewriters from 1957 might be of use to the collectors of typewriters today.

According to The Latest Word On Buying Typewriters, 1957 was a (at least semi) pivotal year for typewriters:

If you’re one of the many thousands of people who haven’t bought a typewriter in years, you’re in for some surprises.

Some of the gadgets offered on modern machines include easy-do ribbon changers, concave keys for finger comfort, automatic devices that show the number of type lines or inches remaining on the page, top plates that spring open at the touch of a button (to facilitate inside cleaning jobs), settings for light and for heavy touch, half-spacing to correct letter omissions or spacing errors, knobs to adjust the carriage speed to your own typing speed, special paper supports for post cards, practically noiseless type bars, and improved push-button settings for margins and tabulator. Often you can get typewriters to match the decor of your room, in pastels ranging from turquoise-blue to pink. You can usually choose a type style and size to match your whim, too; one manufacturer lists six sizes and 25 different kinds of type faces available in his portables.

Reading of yesteryear’s tech gadgets is both amusing and charming — like this part, explaining the “development of electrics” in typewriters:

In an electric typewriter — which is plugged into a wall outlet like any home appliance — the type bars, carriage return, and operational parts are moved by electrical power rather than by “finger power.” The typist mere touches the keys lightly, and electricity does the rest, the action resulting in a uniformly typed page.

How quaint the need for explaining an electric typewriter seems to this internet addict!

Such information may be charmingly amusing, yes; but this article may also help collectors identify the age of vintage typewriters too. So feel free to click the image to read (or download) a larger scan.

The Name Of The Game: NFL All-Pro Football, By Ideal

A couple of years ago, my son Hunter scored a sweet purchase at a garage sale: a NFL All-Pro Football game (Ideal # 2520-5, from 1967) for $3. He helped me review the vintage National Football League board game too, which prompted an email from Larry — and if you ever wondered why I spend so much time documenting (babbling about) collectibles online, Larry’s email ought to clue you in.

Larry’s email tells the tale of how nostalgia and childhood memories drive us to “buy back” or collect, of how our desires can frustrate and elude us because we just can’t see the name on the cover… And how writing online can save the day!

Here’s what Larry wrote (with photos of Hunter & his vintage All-Pro Football game mixed in):

I have been poking around on the internet intermittently for months/years, (not in an obsessed kind of way, but in a once-in-a-great while, when-the-wife-and-kids-are-in-bed, all-other-husbandly, fatherly, business-related-things-are-done kind of way,) unable to figure out the game I used to play at my grandparents’ house in the country with my cousin when I was a little boy.

I couldn’t for the life of me remember the name, or if I did, how the heck I’d hunt it down. I remembered it being a very generic-type name (alas, All Pro Football,) and remembered vividly what it looked like, and that was all. My grandparents were dirt poor and had few games, (& maybe just this one,) in the house. Most of our fun was comprised of finding things to do outside with sticks, rocks, railroad tie nails and anything else we could find. I’m in my mid-40’s now, remembered this game once I saw it as if I played it yesterday, with the board, game pieces, etc… Obviously, Hunter is a lucky boy to have found the real thing!!

Both of my grandparents are deceased and no one in my family either a) remembers the game I’m talking about or b) would have any idea where it could’ve possibly ended up after they moved all the family belongings off the farm. I’m sure it ended up getting thrown away, was ruined from being stored in their cellar, pieces lost, etc., or a hundred other negative possibilities.

I’m not trying to pry or badger, but I would give anything to own a piece of my childhood again and have something that instantly reminds me of my more innocent, carefree days at their farm, and everything that went with being there. I have two children of my own now, 11 and 6, and wouldn’t dream of asking one of them to give something up that became precious to them, but if Hunter ever grows tired of the game and, (contrary to his promise!), would ever dream of letting it go, I would pay handsomely for the chance to have it. …I am not a collector of any sort, nor do I do any (real) looking or know the avenues where I could get hold of the board game myself.

Thanks for taking the time to read the ramblings of a total stranger — I hope Hunter enjoys the game and it possibly creates memories later for him as it does for me, and if there’s ever a time you would consider selling it, I would jump at the chance to discuss purchasing it.

Sincerely,
Larry

The bad news is that Hunter’s not interested in selling his vintage NFL All Pro Football game. Nor do I have another one here to offer you (if and when I do, I will email you!)

But the good news for Larry (and other fans of the game) is that now that you know the name of the game you can check out eBay and other online sales venues. Try searching for (or clicking these links to the searches for) NFL “All Pro” Football game as well as ideal “All Pro” Football game.

Now that you know the name of the game you so vividly remember and so touchingly talk about, Larry, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t search for it and buy it as soon as possible. It’s clearly not “just a game” to you. Wouldn’t you love to play the game again with your own children — to share the stories of your childhood memories of the game with them, creating new memories too?

I’ll be honest and acknowledge that your boys may not appreciate the game or your stories right now — what kid does? *wink* But, like you, they will remember years later.

And whether or not the physical game is an actual heirloom from your childhood or not, this new-to-you vintage board game is destined to become one of your family’s heirlooms.

In fact, I suggest you get two copies of the game. That way each one of your children can keep a game along with their memories and share them both with their own children in the future… A future where the memory of Grandpa as well as Grandpa’s memories live on and on and on.

PS At the risk of being entirely too girlie for covering a vintage sports game, this whole thing brings a tear to my eye. I can only hope that our children’s treasured memories include family game time.

Nostalgia Calling: Cute Vintage Pay Phone Bank

There’s lots to love about this vintage pay phone ceramic bank I spotted at a local thrift store.

To add money to the piggy bank, you drop the coins in the slot at the top — just like you did with those pay phones. This particular bank was missing the presumably rubber stopper sealing the hole in the bottom for coin retrieval, signaling that someone had spent their pennies earned.

This vintage ceramic bank is a real conversation piece. First, in terms of true style of old telephones. There’s a rotary dial to really confuse kids — other people’s kids; ours have been educated in the ways of earlier technology. Heck, with the popularity of cell phones some kids don’t even know what a “pay phone” is.

But what I love most about it is the coin return detail and the memories it brrrr-rings. Had that been how one actually retrieved their coins from the bank, I probably would have bought it because I have fond memories of checking the coin returns of public pay phones.

My sister and I would race to see who could check the coin return first — or, if there was a bank of pay phones, who could get the most money. My sister was far more determined (greedy?) than I, and she often pocketed the most winnings.

She did win the all-time best story about pay phones too. One time, she stuck her greedy fingers into a coin return and came out with some partially eaten and/or melted candy. (We dared not dwell on all the possibilities too long.)

That moment in “Eeeiiww” nostalgia now makes me wish I had bought this vintage bank. I could have set it out in my home; it’s mere existence a prompt to tell that story over and over again… Or maybe even mailed it to her, eagerly awaiting her phone call to discuss pay phones and other gross childhood memories.

If this bank is still at the thrift shop on my next visit, I think I’ll have to get it.

PS I wasn’t sure which room in the house to categorize this under… As a kid, my bank was always in my bedroom — but then, when you’re a kid everything goes in your bedroom. I suppose this piggy bank probably more suited mom, who likely kept it in the kitchen or wherever the telephone was. Maybe she even used it to threaten charging her teenage daughters for each phone call they had. Hey, moms had to get that “rainy day” money from somewhere.

Felt Projects With Vintage Cookie Cutters

I shared this at my other blog, Things Your Grandmother Knew, but I figured those who collect cookie cutters might be like me, always looking for ways to put them to good use — when not baking.

Because most of my cookie cutters are vintage, I’m still protective of them and am not interested in altering or damaging them; yet their simple & charming shapes seem to beckon to be put to use more often then just to make sweet treats.

I’d long been thinking that cookie cutters would make great templates for simple crafts for kids. So I put it to the test with Destiny, my (then) 12 year old, making felt ornaments. (With the various shapes, these can be used for nearly any holiday decorations.)

The project is simple:

#1 Trace the cookie cutter onto felt with a pen — twice.

(Note: If using patterned felt that’s only got the pattern printed on one side, you’ll need to cut out one piece, then flip it over and trace it onto the patterned felt; otherwise the pieces won’t both be patterned on the ‘outside’.)

#2 Cut out the shapes.

#3 Match up the shapes, then sew them together with embroidery floss using the whip stitch. Start stitching between the two layers of felt, hiding the knot; and stop before stitching all the way around, leaving an opening for the stuffing.

(The whip stitch was a new stitch for Destiny — but she picked it up really fast!)

#4 Stuff with cotton balls (as well as felt scraps from cutting & trimming and left over bits of thread).

#5 Finish sewing & then decorate. Children can make the eyes & other details by sewing on other bits of felt, using knots &/or other sewing stitches, or gluing on ‘google eyes’, pipe cleaners, and whatever other crafty bits you have around the house.

Voila! You have handmade family heirlooms!

Destiny had so much fun, she kept making more of them — for 4 hours. And she plans to continue to make more. (Rather amazing as I had great trouble getting her to finish her latch-hook rug. I think the fact that one of these ornaments can be completed comparatively fast, giving her a sense of satisfaction quickly.)

Other ideas: These do not need to only be Christmas tree ornaments or holiday decorations. They can be shade pulls, key rings, jacket pulls, cellphone &/or purse decorations. If made with just one piece of felt, glue magnets onto the backs and use them to hold up notes and more kids’ art on the refrigerator. The felt shapes also can be used as appliques for patches on clothing, to make pins, or for more complicated sewing projects. Who knows what ideas you and your kids will come up with?

It’s inexpensive too. Felt pieces are (currently at Hobby Lobby) 5 pieces for $1 for solid colors and 2 for $1 for patterned pieces; embroidery floss runs between $1-$2. Everything else (scissors, cotton balls, needle etc.) can be found in the home.

It’s a great simple and inexpensive way to have children make gifts for family and friends, keep them busy and creative on days off from school (and away from video games etc.) as well as to teach them to sew.

Introducing Pickin & Grinin, The Collecting Couple

Antiquips Pickin & Grinin

Pick: This is going to be our first article for Inherited Values so let’s show off some of our unusual collectibles.

Grin: How about your hand mirrors? You are always bragging to anyone that will listen, just how great you think they are and how well you display them.

Pick: Oh, I’d like to but I’d have to polish them all before we let a whole group of people in to see the collection.

Grin: Well, what’s your idea then? Or are you just Picking on me because it was my idea?

Pick: Why don’t we start with the smallest room in the house and show readers what can be packed into a tiny area with a little imagination.

Grin: Are you referring to your jewelry box? You sure know how to pack that thing full.

Pick: Boy we’re real smart today. No I’m talking about the powder room at the back entrance, the one that started out with a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling with a pull chain for decoration. Let’s show off our antique finds in that room first. I think we managed to accent the room nicely with some unusual pieces in a space of seven foot by four feet. Plus we did our “green piece” by recycling some items.

Grin: Five feet, it’s no longer than five feet.

Pick: Well, whatever, the important thing is we get to display the oddities within. But just to keep my reputation intact, how about a quick measure to see who is right. I say it’s about seven feet by 3-1/2” feet. What is your best guess?

Grin: I think five feet, maybe by 4-1/2 feet.

Pick: What was the measurement?? Oh, guess you were closest. Now, let’s change the subject. How about we start with the egret, the old screen door decoration. You know, the one I dragged home from an auction and had to listen to your questions like “Now, WHERE can we put that old thing?”

Grin: In this instance, you were right. It fits in flush, right over the toilet, a pun intended!

Pick: Well, if you’re giving me credit, I must say, your cold air return register was a perfect fit. It’s a radio speaker grill from a Pontiac Straight 8, probably from the early 1950s. And it squeezed right into the space.

Grin: I also recall where we got the old tin sheets that we needed when I dropped the ceiling to update the electricity to enable a wall switch. We had to purchase the full lot of sheets, but only needed a few and sold off the rest at a flea market. Then you found that marvelous iridescent chandelier at a local antique store. You discovered it just in time, too, because we had not decided on the color to paint the room and the green shade enlightened us.

Pick: Dear, you are funny today – you should be “pun-ished.” And you kept your promise to let me have some stained glasswindows in the house. That was something you committed to when we left our other house that had so many! And you did a super job finding the black and white tiles that are so “1930s”, it really completed the look we wanted.

Grin: Well, let’s continue in another area in our next blog. There’s hardly room for two of us in this room!

Salvaging Mismatched Or Damaged China Pieces

I like to use my vintage things, where appropriate (and sometimes I make up uses for things). I feel it really continues the life of old things. I also don’t like to let anything go to waste, even if it’s broken or damaged; but I’m especially reluctant if it was a part of my collection.

Broken china, for example, can break your heart; but sometimes you can salvage or recycle it. Even if you can’t make jewelry from it.

I suppose most people have discovered that the odd, mismatched china saucers, custard cups, and whatever all those little shallow bowls are, can readily be put back into use at the table simply by placing candles in them — or by setting candles in clear glass and/or candles in clear tea lights upon the old china pieces.

It’s an especially lovely way to have them still sit at the table, lighting the more perfect pieces while you dine.

But what about those antique china cups with the handles broken off?

I’m sure you probably have a set of those metal candle stands sitting around somewhere…

Usually they have glass candle holders in them. Well, when my glass candle dish broke, I realized I could set one of my (many) handless china cups in them.

This works with most of these candle stands; even if they vary somewhat in diameter, you’ll find that the sloping sides of china cups eventually meet a secure resting place.

You can also stagger the candle heights by surrounding the cups recycled into metal candle stands with cups without stands, small dishes with candles, and plates with tea lights.

Not only does this salvage your old china pieces (and, I daresay, add another layer of interest and elegance to your table setting or home), but you’ll finally use all those candles you bought at your sister’s candle party. (Don’t get hubby started talking about how I own “too many” candles in my candle cupboard!)

If you don’t have a cabinet full of candles — or you don’t have any that are just the right size, Katy Teson aka “Pie Bird — Who Vents While Cooking” (Isn’t that a hoot of name?!) shows you how to make tea cup candles!

So go ahead, recycle those old mismatched china pieces and damaged china cups.

Disclaimers: I’ve never had any problems, but I will caution you that some candles may burn too hot to hold candles safely, meaning the china may crack. (And china that is already cracked probably won’t contain melted wax — though you can put a saucer beneath it all too). If you’re concerned at all, you can set clear glass votive holders inside the cups to hold the actual candles. Or you can, as many candle owners do, simply place the candles in or on the vintage china pieces just for show.

The Island of Misfit Collectibles

One of the first things that people usually ask me when they find out I’m a dealer of vintage collectibles is, what do you collect? My answer is usually short and sweet – “Anything that is chipped or cracked!”

My shelf in the kitchen holding my misfit kitchen collectibles –
lots of chips, cracks and rust spots hiding in there!

What I really mean when I say this is that my whole idea of collecting, and what I choose to keep for myself, has changed since I started to depend on selling collectibles as my income. The entire dynamic is different, but still, underneath my dealer persona, I am still a collector at heart.

I have a bit of a bird collection going on in my kitchen!

I suppose the biggest difference for me is that selling has become a way of collecting. Since collecting usually implies keeping, this may seem a little contradictory, but I can explain…

Before I became a dealer, I just bought what I liked, or what reminded me of my childhood, or my family. I never was the kind of collector that focuses on one niche, working to build a large number of items or a complete set of something (Well, except for my kitchen… for a while I had a mushroom themed kitchen, now I have a bit of a bird theme going on in there!). I was the kind of collector that picked up things I found at yard sales, estate sales and flea markets that spoke to me, that I thought were neat, or that I knew I could use or display easily.

My non working vintage fan, my 1960s Ouija Board that I got for a quarter,
my Phrenology head I can’t seem to part with…

When I started selling, I took the same approach – and still do to this day. The only thing that is different is that now I have knowledge of what other people collect – so my buying reflects not only my own preferences, but the preferences of my potential customers. And instead of keeping what I find, I send it on to a new home where it will be valued and appreciated – which for me, is the ultimate in job satisfaction!

My glued back together pixie figurine, and the girl and boy figurine
that reminds me of me and my boyfriend… *blush*

That being said, there is still the little part of me that wants to keep things, and it works really hard at justifying those things that it has really fallen in love with. 95% of the time it goes something like this:

Vintage Geek Mitzi: “WOW This thing is awesome! I want to keep it.”

Practical Mitzi: “Ok, let’s take a look at this thing. How much could you sell it for? How much did you pay for it? What will you do with it? You realize half of your already small home is filled up with business stuff, right?

Vintage Geek Mitzi: “Yes, but it is too hard to ship, it has a chip and is missing a part, and look at that big scratch on the back… No one wants that. Besides, your grandma had one JUST LIKE it and you know you have that perfect spot to put it!

Practical Mitzi: “Rent is due on the 1st.”

Vintage Geek Mitzi: ” *sigh*… let’s get it listed.”

My cracked vintage deer figurine with my boyfriend’s collection of green glass candle holders.

Of course, 5% of the time Vintage Geek Mitzi wins. She finds just the right justification (usually valid, though sometimes it is a bit of a stretch) and keeps something, which is why I now call my house The Island of Misfit Collectibles. Most of the things I have are either too big to list, are extras from sets I’ve sold (for example, I have 7 glasses, I list a set of 6 and keep one), are flawed so they aren’t worth listing, or just aren’t valuable enough to be worth listing. And don’t forget the things that don’t sell after a year or two – which apparently weren’t worth listing to begin with, but I didn’t realize it – those I keep sometimes too.

I found a big set of Lustro Ware that came with a cake carrier,
canister set, and this bread box – I sold everything but the bread box,
because I could actually use it!

Both Mitzi’s have a lot of fun though – there is just too much great stuff out there to get excited about to let the little internal battles get you down too much! And I’m excited to be writing for Inherited Values, where I can share what I’m in love with (that month, at least), and where I can use what I know to help collectors find the things they are in love with…

My big eyed girl print that looks way too much like me…

I have two other blogs that I keep, one for my online selling business, Vintage Goodness, and one for my online vintage directory, The Vintage List, where I talk a lot about selling vintage online. I’m going to do my best to write posts that are very different from my usual posts on those blogs, and hopefully my fellow Vintage Geeks will enjoy them! 🙂

Museum of American History Poster – too hard to ship! 😉

Ceramic canister set I had up online for a long time…
It never sold so now I have it. Too heavy probably, expensive to ship!

Trash-It-To-Me? You Bet Your Sweet Bippy

I love this vintage metalware trash can because it combines two of my favorite things: practical vintage metal wastebaskets and memories of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.

Q: How much fun would it be to aim for the Sock-It-To-Me trash can?

A: It would be verrry interesting.

The seller of this specific trash can, Cashincollectibles, says the waste basket stands 14 inches tall (10 inches wide), dates from 1967, and was made by Chein Co. (J. Chein Co.).

You can look for more Laugh-In stuff on eBay too; I usually do. *wink*

Alice White, I Hardly Knew Ye (But I Want Your Furnishings & Your Little Dog Too)

One of the great things about collecting old photographs are the things in the photos — not only the objects and persons the photographer intended you to focus on, but the little extras which make the scene. Like in this vintage photo of Alice White.

Clearly designed to promote the movie star, but (as pretty as the Ms White is, as cute as her little white dog is) I’m drooling over the rather eclectic mix of furnishings in the frame.

Revel in the mix of patterns and textures, including the walls, the upholstery, the lace tablecloth, and the wicker Ms White sits on.

Check out the pretty mirror in her hand (more objects from the vanity set appear to be on the table — a table covered in a lace cloth, with suggestive legs beneath it, making me wonder just how wonderful that old round table is!). I just wish the mirror wasn’t preventing us from seeing more of that dress…

But it’s that fabulous art deco lamp which has me sitting-up pretty and panting, begging like her canine companion. Look at that final, the base, and that shade! All those spheres!

Laundry Fun — Go Figure!

Absolutely adorable family of vintage Rogers Clean-Grip clothes pins — with little heads and faces of each family member, including the family dog and cat.

The vintage plastic clothes pins were called “Clean-Grip” because the plastic did not stain, discolor, or soil the wet laundry like wooden and/or metal clothespins can. Plastic clothespins don’t splinter either. But of course the best things about these vintage clothespins are their figural heads of humans and pets.

Image Credits:

Vintage green clothespin photos (2) via shelbysfeet27.

Vintage blue plastic kitty head clothespin photo via AfterGlow-Antiques-and-Collectables.

Putting Damaged Vintage Vinyl Records To Good Use

Our whole family collects records, so when we see crates and boxes full of them at rummage sales we’ll often make an offer for a deal on the whole lot. Of course, when you do this, you often end up with records that can’t be enjoyed.

If the records are scratched, or have schmutz on them and cannot be played, we like to do the old melt the old vinyl records into bowls dealio. (Note: This is to be done with vinyl records, not varnished or shellacked records; avoid 78 RPMs. Also, the “more flimsy” the vinyl, the less time required to melt it, so keep an eye on them in the oven.) It’s a great project to do with children; as long as they are supervised and using hot pads, it’s safe.

But after you’ve made some bowls to put odds and ends in, and some planters, you might feel like you’ve exhausted the possibilities — but you’ve still got stacks of damaged records to deal with. What else can you do?

For one, you can simply change the shape.

Instead of only using round glass bowls to melt and mold the vinyl record, try using square and rectangle objects, such as bread pans and small baking dishes. (If you don’t have them, you can use smaller glass bowls and then, using hot pads or oven mitts, shape the heated vinyl into a square with your hands.)

These shapes lend themselves to other uses, such as desk top organizers. (I have several on my desk holding my pens and pencils, vintage postcards and other ephemera I haven’t organized yet, etc.) But one of the more fun things to do is to use these newly-minted from melted-records trays as holders for plastic party ware.

These recycled pieces are a fun way to hold plastic utensils, straws, napkins, etc. at parties. And, because they are vinyl, they are really resistant to breakage from clumsy party attendees, yet light-weight enough to be easily carried where needed.

Plus, you’ve got to do something with the damaged records, right?

A Fan of the Map

I do like maps, strongly, not quite enough to love them. Love being such a big word in small letters. I use a map when I explore rural ruins. I use it to find the locations when others tell me they have found an abandoned farmhouse in my area. I have a backroad map which (so far) has been very reliable, even when I’ve taken some pretty far fetched turns.

For his birthday, I gave my nephew two full poster-sized maps. One of Canada and the other of the World. We put them up in his bedroom. Is it only a co-incidence that geography is the subject he seems to be having the most trouble with this year? I hope so. I may not be ready to tell him everything he needs to know about geography but I would like to see him learn about rocks, maps and navigation. One of the most important things in life is knowing how to navigate your way.

I remember the last time I looked at a really old map. I liked seeing the terrors written on there like monsters and the edge of the world. Thanks to cartographers and world explorers and ancient navigators we know the world does not end with a sudden drop. Modern explorers and those into geocaching use a GPS to find their way around. But even then, the old fashioned map is at the root of every exploration.

Old/ Vintage Maps

Hand Drawn Maps

Crazy For Vintage Aluminum Cookie Cutters

You’re likely going to think I’m insane with the number of cookie cutter posts I’m about to make — and by that, I mean posts about vintage cookie cutters, not posts that are all the same lol.

(I’ll try to spread the posts out a bit, so it doesn’t look like “the cookie cutter site,” but having taken out so many of my old cookie cutters and photographed them, I’m too excited; like rolled-out cookie dough, I can’t just let them just sit there!)

Only another collector of cookie cutters could understand the need to make so many posts about cookie cutters!

My cookie cutter collection began with my childhood memories of making cookies with my mother and grandmother. The aluminum cookie cutters were common back when grandma purchased them brand new. And they remained relatively common enough so that they were not only readily available at rummage sales and thrift shops, but inexpensive too. So I got in the habit of snatching up baggies of them, no matter if the whole bag was a bunch of duplicates. (Which happens quite a lot, much to my husband’s amusement/annoyance lol)

I began with the vintage aluminum self-handled cookie cutters in that “tin” color, but quickly ended up with the vintage copper colored aluminum cookie cutters too.

Since I began my collecting in Wisconsin where many aluminum manufacturing companies (Mirro, Standard Aluminum Co., etc.) were located, it’s been very easy to get my cookie cutters. Most of the ones shown here are circa 1940s; though many of these cookie cutter designs have been made for decades.

Though for all my vintage aluminum cookie cutter collecting, I do not have as many complete sets as I would like. Even with the common sets. For example, the set of four suits or “bridge set” still eludes me. Everyone saved that heart for Valentine’s Day; but few seemed to have saved the club, spade, and diamond as well.

But “not having yet” is simply the fun that keeps collectors hunting for more. So I can’t say I’m at all disappointed to keep looking!

So now, the question is, Laura, which one of these vintage gingerbread cookie cutters is like the one you remember?

Remembering Barbie’s Evening Splendor

While trolling eBay, I found this vintage Barbie ensemble and let out a, “Hey! I had that!”

Hubby probably would have ignored me (I exclaim a lot of things while sitting at the computer, and if he paid attention to every one, he’d never get to enjoy his parts of the interwebs), but then I followed it up with a, “Whoa, $474.99…” to which he responded, “Still have it?”

Every collector has a price, and if I did have this particular vintage doll outfit for Babs, I might be tempted…

But my outfit was played with — well loved — first by my aunt, then by me.

I love-loveloved this outfit. The metallic gold threads gleamed, making Barbie appear to wiggle in that wiggle dress, even when she wasn’t even moving. The coat had those elegant cuffs of fur set against that gold and then -BAM!- you opened up that coat, and there was that unexpected (or at least thrilling) gleaming aqua lining. And, believe it or not, that aqua corduroy handbag was paired with nearly as many other outfits as the pearl necklace and basic black shoes.

I played with them all, but tenderly. Even still, I’m sure they wouldn’t approach the conditions of this one. And I don’t recall the fur and pearl headband.

However, I don’t think a few hundred dollars would be worth parting with the set if I still had it — no matter the condition. A few grand? Mmmaybe. It’s hard to put a price on memories. Harder still to put a price on the hypothetical ownership retained — because right now, all I want to do it have it back and dress-up Barbie.

For collectors who are interested, the seller of this vintage Barbie ensemble (modwoman of Retro-stop) offers information on Evening Splendor, one of the few original outfits manufactured in 1959:

Although the outfit itself remained in production through 1964, only the outfits marked TM were manufactured the first year. These outfits came with the #1 shoes with the hole in the bottom to accommodate the stand!

The TM version appears to be “more gold” than the more common R version. The gold glistens and sparkles and provides a stunning contrast to the aqua satin lining!

PS I obviously can’t recall if my outfit had the original, old, TM tag; but since Babs #1 was among the items given to my by my aunt, I’m pretty certain it was.

Falling In Love With The Toy Wife (1938)

Another guest post by Jaynie Van Roe of Here’s Looking Like You, Kid.

The second film I watched as part of TCM’s celebration of actress Luise Rainer‘s 100th birthday was The Toy Wife aka Frou Frou (1938).

In the film, Rainer plays Gilberte “Frou Frou” Brigard, who gets the name Frou Frou from the sound of her swishing dresses. And that certainly does imply more than a love of fashion, but a frivolity as well.

Many compare this film to Gone With The Wind, Camille, and Jezebel for more than its location and time period; like Frank Miller at TCM, folks refer to Frou Frou as a “tempestuous Southern belle.” But I disagree. For while she’s as beautiful and charming as those other women, fundamentally Frou Frou is not the hardened and man-ipulative woman of pride seen in those other films.

If she seems spoiled, it’s a result of those who have been so charmed by her that they’ve pampered and protected her into a perpetual state of childhood. Example: When the matronly Madame Vallaire complains of a toothache and claims that the worst thing about it is that treatment requires a visit to the city of New Orleans, Frou Frou, who desperately wants to see the glamorous city, fakes a toothache herself. It’s the obvious ploy of a child who has just seconds before begged to go to the city, but the next thing you know, Frou Frou, her sister, and Madame Vallaire are all in New Orleans.

Yes, Frou Frou is spoiled. But even so, she lacks a shewish quality — or even an iron sense of will bend others to. Her strengths lay in an innocence and a resiliency born of continual enchantment and enthusiasm.

In fact, Frou Frou’s childlike sense of wonder rather leaves her sans the mission and the guile (if not the means of feminine charms) to be the iron fist in the velvet glove genre of southern belle heroines.

Frou Frou wants a husband — but like many a young woman, she is more in love with love, infatuated with the idea of a husband rather than setting her sights on any one in particular… And in fact, it is her lovelorn sister who inserts Frou Frou into her own romance, creating not only a love triangle but breaking Frou Frou’s own burgeoning romance, and setting up the tragedies which ensue.

Luise Rainer’s portrayal of Frou Frou is as charming as can be. Not only is she a beauty (those cheekbones are to die for!), but she manages to encapsulate both an enthusiasm as frothy, delicate, and gay as those swishing skirts — as well as an appreciation and delight for what she has (which, as any parent will tell you, is rarely a virtue of children). When Frou Frou says, “I want to look at this room, it’s such a pretty room,” there’s a breathless wistfulness usually reserved for moments of longing… Yet this is about what she already has. And the scenes with her film screen son, Georgie, are so beautiful to watch.

In the end, film critics and movie-goers alike didn’t like this film. Frankly, they just didn’t get it. When they say Rainer is “too feminine,” it’s clear they are as ignorant to the delights of Frou Frou as they are the storyline and the plight of The Toy Wife.

But I get Frou Frou and The Toy Wife.

It’s a film like this which drives a person to collecting. I simply must collect all things Toy Wife!

I must have movie stills, magazine articles (like the one shown above, from Picture Show magazine, a London weekly, dated October 15th 1938), and (dare to dream!) something from that film that Luise Rainer as Frou Frou touched…

And please, TCM, I beg of you to get this released on DVD!

I won’t be collecting for me, for commercial reasons — I’ll be collecting for Frou Frou. She needs to know that someone, even all these years later, loved her as she was.

I know collecting yet another film means I risk collecting all things Luise Rainer, but I simply cannot, will not, abandon Frou Frou. So it’s a risk this collector is very willing to take.

Image credits, in order they appear in this post:

Color film poster for Frou Frou (aka The Toy Wife), via Benito International.

The Toy Wife film still featuring Melvyn Douglas, Luise Rainer, and Robert Young, from Movies & Things.

Reprint photo of Robert Young & Luise Rainer in The Toy Wife, from Hemetsphere-Auction-Services.

Two scans from feature article inside Picture Show magazine, October 15, 1938, Frou Frou and Georgie, and MGM Frou Frou article page), via LuiseRainer.Net

Color photo of Robert Young and Luise Rainer from ThePhotoArchive.

Vintage Gay Fad Florals

A pretty pair of vintage glassware spotted at the thrift store. I believe the sweet pink flowers with unusual black leaves and stems was hand-painted onto clear glass creamer and handled sugar bowl at Fran Taylor’s Gay Fad Studios (located first in Detroit, Michigan, later in Lancaster, Ohio). Neither glass piece was marked, so I don’t know where the glass ‘blanks’ were from.

Had I deeper pockets, I would have bought them and really started a Gay Fad collection. (I have three pieces now; I do love the floral pieces and fruit designs — but there’s a lot to choose from!) Or maybe a pink and black glassware collection. (I have a few random single glasses with pink and black designs.) But you need to be more in the black to really start new collections, even at thrift store prices. *sigh*

Of Rusty Tools & Auction Fools

One of the things I find most interesting about collecting as a hobby in general is the vast differences in object availability and appeal by geographical area.

Having moved from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area to Fargo, North Dakota, you might not think (as I did) that there’d be so many differences. But there’s roughly a 100 year age difference as well as cultural differences — and the evidence of this is found in every rummage sale, antique shop, estate sale, flea market, and thrift store.

On Saturday, I found the sort of thing one typically does not find at thrift stores in Milwaukee: a rather large display of what I ignorantly yet affectionately call “rusty junk” at a Fargo city thrift shop.

Hubby, being both male and a former farm kid, can identify this sort of stuff. Not me.

But I am drawn to the sense of mystery of each piece and the artistic appeal of tools Vs. natural consequences (wear from use, nature, etc.). And I know from years of collecting just how popular such pieces are.

At farm auctions here, I’m never really sure if the (mostly) male bidders who gather around the old rusty tools and parts are buying solely for the sake of collecting (either for their own collections or as dealers who serve as middlemen to collectors or interior designers of T.G.I . Friday’s), if they intend to use the tools and parts to repair other collectibles, or if they simply want to use these old rusty tools “because they don’t make ’em like that anymore…” But I do know people want these old used and rusty tools.

And I know how they found their way to the thrift shop to — or at least I have a pretty good guess.

One old farmer moved to the city, and when he passed away (may he rest in peace), these things either didn’t sell at the estate sale or, because it’s too cold here to have a garage sale, were directly taken in for donation at the thrift shop. Because if these things had been available at a farm auction, they would have sold. And it’s rarely ever too cold for a farm auction here in Faro, North Dakota.

I know, because I’ve been to plenty of them. Even if I can’t identify half the things being sold in front of me.