Sunday, January 30, 2011

Trailer Trad Collecting: Industrial Antiques

One of the hottest areas of antique collecting is 20th century industrial design. The worn tools and equipment of America's industrial past resonate powerfully while furnishings pulled from America's industrial past exhibit the practical design needed for everyday use.
Aluminum chairs like this Good Form side chair were originally designed for use on submarines where items had to be tough yet lightweight and, most important, fire-proof.
Pieces of machinery like this can be dramatic display pieces when used as a bookend or hung on the wall.
Lighting like these hung over work rooms or illuminated barn or factory doorways. The green enameled pair below were removed from a 1950s Billboard in South Carolina.
Not all industrial design was made of metal. These oak drafting tables display great functionality softened by mellow grained Oak wood.
Neither was all industrial design originally made for heavy duty, industrial use. The blue chair below was probably used in an office while the yellow chairs were probably from a 1950s barber shop or doctor's office. Industrial shop stools are perhaps most identified with the industrial look. Beaten and distressed through use, they look at home and ready for more use in a kitchen, studio or workshop.

Ugly Lamps (reshown)

The kicker is not that antique dealers bring these lamps to sell at the flea market. It's that they actually DO sell.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Blue Devil Devils: The Gargoyles of Duke

The campus of Duke University down the road twenty minutes is, to a trad like myself, like something out of a dream. It's kind of like Harry Potter's Hogwarts would be if it was filled with engineering students instead of young English witches in training and who were champions at lacrosse instead of quidditch. -In fact, most of these students probably have never even held a broom.

Visit sometime when the kids are on break. Standing amidst the stonework and quiet courtyards, it's easy to imagine J.R.R. Tolkein or C.S. Lewis immerging from its dark, gothic recesses, pen and pipe in hand. Even the aged cedar and pine trees seem to know their part, craggy and ancient-looking.

When everyone has gone home and the campus empties out, there remains a constant vigil at Duke. Silent stone sentinals look down; some happy, most less so.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Trailer Trad College Days in Watercolor

Looking back after all of these years, my alma mater and the small, historic town surrounding it were a great place to enter adulthood. Goolrick's Pharmacy downtown is just one example of ancient family businesses downtown. The weathered brick buildings on campus and Victorian storefronts downtown added a lot to my experience and influenced me to this day because, there, people with a love and respect for tradition could be found.

Hamlet House Happy Hour by Trailer Trad

This is where I hung out most of time in college when I wasn't in class or at tennis/rugby practice. It was known as Hamlet House or the 'Men's Honor House.' -I guess 'House of Ill Repute' was taken. It's hard to believe that the campus (a mild-mannered, quite campus compared to larger schools during the 80's) had the fun that it had. Friday afternoons were occupied with securing beer for the evening's festivities. -Happy hour often started early at Hamlet in those days. Loud music, obnoxious behavior. The usual. It's sad to go by the campus on Friday afternoons these days because it seems like a monestary. These kids don't know what they're missing!

One Friday afternoon, there was a fire drill just as we were cracking open some cold ones. The German House next door was filled with coeds intent on learning Deutche through immersion. There was one young German House coed who reminded me of Natasha from Bullwinkle, studious yet strangely alluring. -Anyway, a buddy decided to add impact and drama to the fire drill excercise. So he took out his Speed Stick deoderant and proceeded to rub it up and down his arm. And then he lit it. Pretty blue flames proceeded to glow on his arms as he ran out of the house screaming in front of the horrified coeds. Funny...but do not try this at home.

Aside from the opening scene from Animal House, how many of you actually had a keg thrown out of your upstairs window in college? Been there. Seems that, one night, the resident Hamlet House 'Bluto' returned to his room after a party to find a little brown gift in his bed. Out went the keg. Seriously, he threw it out the upstairs window. -Ruggers were not involved in depositing the 'present.' Were. Not. Involved.

Cases of Milwaukees Worst and Big Audio Dynamite on the Stereo. What Could be better?
Speaking of rugby, there was this guy (we'll call him 'Pob Rike') who was both a rugger AND a sailing bum who hung around the house with us. A buddy was doing laundry one day and said "Hey, I found a tooth in the dryer." Rugby/sailing bum Pob Rike then ran up and said "Hey, I lost that." He grabbed the tooth and stuck it in his yap.-That's just how we rolled.

Rugby was a big part of student life at my college. Since there was no football, anyone who wanted to witness violence on a big green field with goal posts gravitated toward our games. The watercolor below depicts our 1986 game against The University of Virginia, a very good team. I don't remember the score but I recall that it was an epic battle.

The Mothers Rugby Club vs UVA at The Battleground 1985

My club, The Mothers, begins their Spring 2011 season in Raleigh where they will go up against The Wolfpack of NC State. The following weekend, they host Wake Forest and then travel to play the University of West Virginia. This will give them good preparation for their test in March at the Mid Atlantic Rugby Football Union playoffs in Philly.

Most college students don't have two quarters to rub together and we were no different. But many of us collected the few dollars necessary and made our way over to Carl's Creme Shakes, a college institution. Tall mounds of soft serve with a unique swirl at the top, a cone at Carl's is always a treat.
'Carl's Creme Shakes' by Trailer Trad

Monday, January 10, 2011

Trailer Trad North Carolina: Raleigh's The Roast Grill

The Roast Grill by Trailer Trad

The Roast Grill in downtown Raleigh recently celebrated its 70th Anniversary. It's a true hotdog stand in that it sells basically only hotdogs. George and Mary Charles first opened the dive and the preferred cooking technique is still "burning them." Burning them means that the hot dogs are cooked on a grill until their skin gets crispy. Add to that your choice of mustard, onions, chili, or cole slaw. No fries. No burgers. -Not even any catsup. The place seats twelve and offers, other than really good dogs, 10oz. BOTTLES of Coke along with your choice of desserts. Dessert choices include baklava, pound cake or baklava and pound cake smothered in Coke.

Think about that. This joint has been selling basically four or five items for over 70 years! -I read a Raleigh food blog where some hipster commented that she loved The Roast Grill but wondered "if they could also start offering brats." -What do you think The Customer Feedback Committee thought of that suggestion? -Circular file, I'm sure.