Monday, July 30, 2012

P. O. Palustris Sends His Regards from Northern Maine

Daytime temperatures averaged in the high 70s this past week in Northern Maine. -Curse you, Palustris!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

June and July Junk

A picker at the flea market brought out some old junk that he pulled from a really old country store and textile mill about an hour outside of Raleigh. This sign was pulled off of the wall in this incredible old store/post office out in the NC countryside. -I was amazed that raw, 19th century storefronts still existed in their original, untouched condition. If you look really close, you can see my old sign hanging under the arch and to the left of the doorway inside the large window.Supposedly, there's an equally amazing old textile mill across the road from these store fronts. Fun stuff.
In its own way, this 1930's country store display is nearly as rare and I grabbed FOUR of them at the flea market last weekend. They came out of an elderly homeowner's garage whose family must have been in the restaurant/ food business many, many years ago. They are store displays for (rather well made)little juice extractors. One would punch a hole in the top of an orange/grapefruit and stick it in, tip it up and drink the juice! These would be perfect for 'Florida' collectors.
The graphics on these displays are really nice. You don't always find advertising in this pristine condition and with all of the merchandise still attached.
This is another estate sale that I went to. It was right down the street from that killer sale that I chronicled in this post. -What a cool neighborhood! Unfortunately a lot of people also thought that so, although there was a lot of old great junk at one point, it was cleaned out with great precision by the time I got to it. -I was shut out, pretty much. Oh well, can't win' em all.

Once in a great while, good 1950s advertising will come available for a bargain price. This 'Green Spot' soda tray has the streamlined design, great colors (orange is my favorite) and super clean condition that I couldn't pass up.I'm always socking away the odd kitchen accessory and this was just really cool. German (from the 1930s?), this manual slicer probably beautifully prepared a lot of Braunschweiger in its day. A very nice gadget that could prove useful one day when I'm busy with the task of building the greatest sandwich known to man.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Domestic Medical Practice

I picked up a rather large old volume from some guys that were liquidating the contents of a book hoarders house. Supposedly, this guy bought up tons of old books to the point that books totally filled the rooms and hallways, allowing only a two foot wide passageway to get through the house. I heard a guy comment to these guys "His house was filled floor to ceiling with books? -He must have been REALLY smart!" To which the good ol' boy estate liquidator, who looked like a Lynrd Skynrd roadie, just shrugged and replied something like "I reckon."
Those two words succinctly conveyed two opinions. Opinion 1: Anyone who would fill his home with old books* to the point that they could crush someone under their weight is not really THAT smart. Opinion 2: The book hoarder was probably smarter than someone who thought that hoarding books made someone smart.
*As I wrote this sentence, BBC6 played Belle & Sabastian's 'Wrapped Up In Books.'- Nice coincidence, I thought.

I don't know books at all but I thought that this one was pretty cool. Although it's copyrighted 1920, most of the contents date from WWI. Most of the illustrations are WWI era with fine quality stone lithography color prints. Most of the physical fitness photos look turn-of-the-century too.
I love these. Notice the sporty gear but the most interesting thing, I think, is how TINY these athletes are. They really resemble hobbits! Look at their tiny feet!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

WahooWa Wayback

Photo credit: Library of Congress
Farm Security Administration/ Office of War Information Collection 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

WPA Baltimore Cityscape?

I picked up this original framed artwork from a yard sale recently and it's got me stumped. The owner purchased it from some women's charity sale and paid a pretty good amount for it (more than I like to pay, anyway). It is a detailed panoramic view of an industrial city scape and it looks like it was done using pastels.
Here's where the mystery begins. Who did it? The artist's signature is pretty indecipherable but I think it says 'Sutton' or 'Sulton.' -Haven't been able to find out anything about that name. The second question is the age. The style is that of WPA or Mid century itinerant artists and the subject matter definitely looks like 1930s or 1940s. Could it have been done much more recently by some art student in the style of the WPA period?

I don't think so because the foreground looks so authentically 1940s, it would be difficult to fake in my opinion. And look at the mid foreground. That mist seems like the sinking, heavy mist from smoke stacks. That looks authentic to me. Would an artist from our time think to put that in? I don't think so. -Not unless that person's quite good.
And the background waterfront is permeated with old, industrial images. The simmering, languid haze of the harbor almost looks impressionist in execution. Monet-like, even.
And that leaves the final question. What city does this scene depict? It seems clear from the number of smoke stacks, the early 20th Century building types and the activity on the streets, the time period is from a long-ago Northeastern city. But which one? My guess is Baltimore. The brick tower on the left of the picture bears an uncanny resemblance to The Bromoseltzer Tower in downtown Baltimore. The positioning of the brick tower and commercial district as it relates to the harbor also point to the picture depicting Baltimore. It's very plausible that the distant harbor structures represent beloved symbols of Baltimore's past like the Pratt Street Power Station and the Dominoe Sugar plant.
One more thing. The frame looks old to me. It seems to have 'old wear' and the style of the frame and paper backing look like what was popular in the 1950s and 1960s, not something framed in the 1990s or today. So, I think that it's likely a very nicely executed 1940s Baltimore city scape. What do you think?

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Long Ago Independence Day. Happy Fourth of July!

 Photo Credit: Library of Congress. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection