Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Late Summer Picking

At first blush, this lamp looks like an ordinary study lamp, doesn't it? I found it in the basement of an estate sale and it is considered to be an important piece of Bauhaus design. Designed by Christian Dell for the German manufacturer Kaiser Idell in the Forties, its streamlined design and great manufacturer's stamp on the top will look great on my desk.

More shop stools. I've come to favor the steel ones with weathered oak seats. I acquired the short one on the left this past weekend. It may have been used by porters and ticket takers on America's railroads during the Thirties and Forties.

North Carolina is a very beautiful state and I'm blessed to be here. Which is the State more noted for; its mountains, its Piedmont, its Sandhills or its miles of beautiful coast? Sometimes, I think that its wonderful western, mountain region is given short shrift. That's why I was so glad to find this wonderful poster from the U.S. Forest Service.

It is a nice, large size poster in it's original oak frame. How old is it? It could be from the Fifties but I'd guess that it is considerably older. Notice that the road is referred to as a 'Turnpike' or a fairly major road. -But it's a dirt road! And it's also hand-colored, which also places it in the Early Fifties, at latest.
I found this 1940s Indian blanket hanging in a closet of an estate sale. The colors are great and look great on my Mission Oak rocker.
This piece of folk art is a 1930s era water tower from an 'O-Gauge' train set-up. I sold the other pieces, like the ticket station and the lighted bridge, but kept this statuesque tower for myself.
What can I say about this leatherette and steel lounge chair? Makes me want to open up my collar and listen to it's wisdom. "Listen," it would say. "I went through times like this in the Seventies. -Go to the bar and order something with bourbon in it and make it Jim Beam-no small batch rubbish. Then, come back here and recline. No argument."

It must have been hard to sell refridgerators to homeowners one hundred years ago. "We will sell you this thing that will sit in the corner and keep things from rotting." "-Really?" This Turn of the Century salesman's sample was meant to help people invision what an 'Alaska' brand ice box would look like. Alot easier than lugging around an actual example!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Land Grant Trad: The NC State University Campus

NC State is misunderstood. The largest university in North Carolina with 33,000 students and over one hundred Bachelors degrees, it is abundantly productive and surprisingly exclusive. It's just that, for many years, it has been the third wheel among The Old North State's marquee institutions. Why is that?

The school's like that guy fresh off of the farm or maybe the oldest son of the factory foreman. Kind of low key. Doesn't have a lot of swagger. But everyone respects his common sense. He seems at ease with big wigs but is most home when talking gardening or tinkering in his shop. Knows what FFA stands for and wears the t-shirt to engineering class. Seemingly always marries his high school sweetheart (who usually ended up at State too).

The NC State Campus is the same way. Chapel Hill and Duke have been renowned for their beautiful campuses for many years; especially the Gothic Revival tour-de-force that is the Duke University East Campus.

The North Carolina State University campus has even been called ugly by people that are paid to judge such things. -I guess they're paid. Granted, if you judge the campus by what you see when driving down Hillsborough Street (the commercial drag), you'd guess that students had gone to get PBR kegs in 1977 and, after having been carded and turned down, rioted NE DC style and the store fronts have sat largely unchanged since. I think that the real truth is that 'Old Rawlah' owners have been sitting on derelict properties, awaiting gentrification. They won't be waiting long.
Anyway, if you get off of the main drag and take a look at the campus, you'll see beauty aplenty. There is great neoclassical architecture like you'd expect to see at UNC Chapel Hill or UVA but what's perhaps more endearing is the great Mid-Century Modern architecture that seems to look less back to Ancient Greece than forward to the boundless wonders of science.

Neoclassical, even Georgian, buildings are interspersed among 1930's WPA and 1950s Atomic Age buildings. Really an enjoyable mix!

I suppose the guy in charge of chiseling building names thought that the Latin-style 'V' made visitors forget that this was the building where people studied pigs and cows.

I can see how, when walking into class in the morning, a young student might look upward and see this great WPA frieze and begin calculating with his slide rule!

I would say that a third major style of architecture (and not at all unattractive) is 'Early Tobacco Warehouse'. Some of the major buildings on campus remind me of the tobacco-driven, brick architecture found in Durham. Looks really handsome to me!

I've really come to enjoy peddling around the campus and adjacent Pullen Park. Pullen Park is home to some really nice courts and I've been hitting quite well on them lately.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Of Course I Can Start the Fire! I'm A Scientist." -Vintage NOAA Camping Photos

Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Trailer Trad Collecting: Seaside Collecting (reshown)

These aren’t your father’s nautical antiques like old ship’s lanterns, fishing nets or ships-in-a-bottle. I call these ‘seaside’ collectibles because they recall long ago times at the beach or that great old seafood dive, not tall ships and scrimshaw (although those things are great too).
Even though my home in Raleigh is just an hour and a half from the beach, I like reminders. Even if it’s of that cedar shake cottage that I never actually lived in or that mahogany Chris Craft run-about that I’ve never actually owned (but will one day!). Some examples include; weathered oars, outboard boating collectibles like oil cans, old yachting trophies or just things with nautical motifs like old drinking glasses with sailboats on them. Such items are scarce and highly coveted these days.

This beautiful stone lithograph poster was produced in the 1930s for Kinney’s Shoes. I bought it from a lady who sold shoes there for many decades and had it kept rolled up in the attic.
This Duplex outboard motor oil can from the 1930s is one of my favorite finds because I pulled it straight out of an ancient gas station in Washington DC. The gas station was legendary in the Glen Echo area and the owner was a big power boater on the Potomac for decades. –Oh, the cool stuff that was in that gas station!

I love this enameled steel thermometer from the 1940s. I found it in an antique store but it was completed coated in white house paint. I bought it, took it home and applied paint stripper to it. The paint came completely off revealing this awesome yachting finish advertising. –Only pull this trick on enameled steel (‘porcelain’) signs and try it on a small area first!

One of our most prized possessions is a watercolor of the New Hampshire coast painted by one of my Wife’s relatives in the 1940s. His name is Richard Epply and he was a lesser-known commercial artist in New England. Check out the great details like the woodie wagon and the weathered boathouse.