Category Archives: Vintage

A history of vintage products I sell in my EstatesInTime store on Etsy

Touring America, From the Backseat of a Nova

Road Trip


 

It was 1964, I was 5 and I was going to met a real cowboy. At least that’s how I remember it. Mom and Dad had just bought a new 1965 Chevy II Nova Super Sport and we were driving to California.

My parents had been talking about this trip for a little over a year, Mom had a sister that lived in San Francisco she wanted to visit, and Dad’s brother lived in Phoenix, Arizona. All I cared about was meeting a cowboy like John Wayne, or the Lone Ranger.

It was one of the last years before interstate highways. Route 66 was still America’s Main Street, but the writing was on the wall for many of the roadside attractions and small businesses, which are now memories.

Some of the details are foggy now, 40 some years later. I don’t remember much about the first part of the trip at all. Nothing is really that exciting about restaurants or motels to a 5 year old kid. But when it came to the sights of the wild west and my chance to meet that cowboy, that’s the part of the trip I remember.

Riding through the Petrified Forest was the first thing that put me to awe. Seeing what looked like giant trees laying on their sides, but they weren’t trees. No, instead they were rocks. Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina I knew what a big tree looked like, but here was rocks that looked like some of the fallen trees from back home.
Petrified forest

And it was right in the middle of a place called the Painted Desert. I couldn’t believe all the colors I was seeing, it really did look like someone had taken a big paint brush and painted everything as far as you could see.

Painted Desert

Every where I looked there was something that amazed me. I could just imagine Indians over each hill and wagon trains around every turn. I just knew it wouldn’t be long before I met my cowboy.

Yep, to me Arizona was the wild west back then, the giant Saguaro Cactus, passing through small towns claiming populations of 7 with buildings built only on one side of the road. I remember riding through ghost towns, sitting in the back seat of that Nova trying to get a glimpse of a ghost peering out of the old run down buildings. It was like watching one of my favorite westerns and I was expected to see a shootout at the OK Corral at any moment.

When we got to my Uncles house in Phoenix we had been on the road for what seemed like ages. The grownups were talking about the places to visit and things to see, but I was just glad to be out of that car. It had been a week since we left home and I was ready to play.

It wasn’t long though before my Uncle had us back in the car. First we headed to northern Arizona to visit a place I’ll never forget, Montezuma Castle. The sight of those adobe buildings built into the side of a cliff has stuck with me my whole life. Sometimes I believe that seeing that place and hearing the mysteries behind it at such a young age is why I enjoy history so much even today.

Montezuma Castle

Then we traveled on northward to probably the most famous tourist site in Arizona, The Grand Canyon. I remember begging my parents to go on the mule ride into the canyon, but my Mom wasn’t having any part of that.

Grand Canyon

Finally after almost another week riding around northern Arizona we were back in Phoenix at my Uncles house, and I was ready for a few days out of the car. Not only that, but I still had not met my cowboy. I had worn my black cowboy hat and my 6 shooter cap pistols every where we went, but I was starting to think I was the only cowboy in Arizona and I wasn’t a real cowboy!

But that was soon to change. the next adventure my Uncle had planned for us was to head south to a small town named Tombstone.  We were going to visit the Boothill Graveyard.

Boothill Graveyard

Now I was tired of riding in that car, and I had no idea what could be so much fun about going to see a graveyard.

It wasn’t until we pulled into Tombstone I started to understand. There it was the OK Corral I had finally made it to a wild west town and I was going to meet my cowboy!

Everywhere I looked was cowboys and reminders of the old west, even the buildings were right out of my favorite westerns. Walking through the graveyard I made my Mom read me each one of the grave markers, I was so excited to be there and to see everything.

Boothill

Then it happened, we were having lunch at a restaurant in Tombstone, I was wearing my black cowboy hat along with my six-shooter cap pistols, when our waitress asked a local to come over to our table. Wearing his black cowboy hat, I’ll never forget that man looking down at me and saying “There’s not enough room in this town for two black hats!”

I had finally met my cowboy, and he was calling me out!

My parents had taken many road trips during my young life. We had taken weekend trips through the mountains into Tennessee, rode the Blue Ridge Parkway, and traveled down to Florida, but this was the adventure of a lifetime for me. After all, I got to meet a cowboy!

And lived to tell about it!

From Knockoff to a Symbol of Wealth.

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I doubt there is a person out there who hasn’t plucked a piece of candy from a dish, smelled a rose in a vase, or admired a Cameo made from a creamy white glass known as Milk Glass. As I was growing up every relative I remember had a few pieces displayed in their kitchen or living room. A favorite collectible in the 50’s and 60’s, not many homes were decorated without it.

First produced in Italy during the 1500’s it was know as Opal Glass and was considered to be a knockoff off during that era. First made as a poor man’s porcelain, the white color was produced by adding tin or bone ash to the molten glass.  Cheap, inexpensive beginnings which grew into a status symbol for the wealth by the later parts of the 19th century. The intricate designs, often hand painted or trimmed in lavish colors during these gilded years.

Yet as the Depression of 1930’s hit the quality of glass began to wain, and the delicate expensive designs gave way to a more affordable hobnail decoration, which is still popular into the present,

It was also during this period, the early years of the 20th century that this creamy white glass started to be known as Milk glass.

As the troubling years began to ease and the 40’s started, companies such as Fenton began introducing colors to milk glass.

fen1                 fen2

And once again the quality and popularity of the glass rose, becoming one of the most sought after collectibles by ladies of the mid 1900’s. Even today this centuries old design can be found decorating homes with its simple elegant charm.

Today’s collectors of this style of glass can find many Vintage Shops around Etsy with wide varieties of plates, bowls, figurines and jewelry made from Milk Glass.

fen3                milk j

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Where’s the Toilet Paper

 

Empty Toilet Roll


If you have been following my blogs, I’m sure you have noticed how I like to lead into the next one from something I talked about before. Well do you remember the one about me sitting in the out house looking at the Sears & Roebucks wish book trying to figure out what I wanted Santa to bring me?

I just wonder, do you know why that catalog was in the out house? In the early 60’s and before it wasn’t there for reading material, lol no there was another very important reason for it being there.

Through the ages everything you could imagine had been used to clean up after using the bathroom. Pretty much what ever was close at hand, Coconuts, snow, leaves, even sea shells or pieces of clay.

During the early years of the American west a corncob or torn pages from a magazine was the common practice. The Sears & Roebuck catalog became so famous for this endeavor, they jokingly produced a spinoff of their catalog “Rears & Sorebutt Catalog” during the 1950’s. Another famous publication “The Farmer’s Almanac” still today has a single hole in the upper corner so that the magazine can be hung on a hook and allow pages to be torn out.

The first packaged toilet paper was produced in the US around 1857, packaged in a box similar to tissue paper and medicated with aloe. Finally during the late 1870s toilet paper began to look as we know it today, on a roll with perforated sheets.

Still it was looked upon as a luxury, in most homes, after all why travel to pay for something that came in the mail and was delivered free.

Paper production during those early years often left wood splinters embedded in the paper, hence the name Rears & Sorebutt, then in 1935 the first splinter free tissue was introduced by Northern Tissue.

In 1942, St. Andrew’s Paper Mill started to produce a 2 ply toilet paper and slowly America began to embrace the comfort of toilet paper as we know it today.

Today it’s normal to find stashes of extra rolls in any restroom, stacked in cabinets, on toilet paper racks, or hidden in decorative ways such as some of the products shown below which are for sell at various online Etsy stores.

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Bathroom Toilet Paper Cover // Bathroom Decor // Southern Living Crochet Bathroom Decoration // Southern Belle Bathroom Decor

Memories of the Mountains in Western North Carolina

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Growing up in Western North Carolina during the 60’s was adventure. It was a time of cultural change, traditional Appalachian folk culture meet the Flower Power Movement. And coming from a rural community, just outside of the third largest city in North Carolina, I got to see it all.

My family had been one of the first settlers back in 1778, moving into the Asheville area from Pennsylvania. A long line of hard working, proud country folks which prided themselves in being able to survive.

I never really thought about it much as I was growing up, but as I look back now the diversities in lifestyles around that mountain city was truly amazing. Even within the households which I grew up in. Slopping the hogs, and milking the cow before breakfast. Hot home made biscuits, mixing home churned butter with the molasses my Uncle ran off, and on special occasions having fried eggs we gathered from the chicken coop. I remember cold mornings sitting in the outhouse, doing my business, while looking through the Sears & Roebuck’s wish book trying to decide what I was going to ask Santa to bring me.

These are things I remember vividly from my childhood at my aunts house who looked after me while my parents worked. At home, I grew up in a modest three bedroom home with running water, and a bathroom which the whole family shared. I can faintly remember my mom and dad picking out the first RCA television in the community and I remember listening to stories being told on my aunts console radio.

Growing up in the early 60’s on the outskirts of Asheville was full of contradictive lifestyles for me. I remember news clips of Oswald getting shot on the 6 o’clock News, and black n white images of Walter Cronkite reporting the early stages of Vietnam. My parents both worked hard, together to support our family.

My Mom worked a 40 hour work week in a local factory, sewed and made her own dresses, always kept the house clean, and supper was on the table for Daddy every night when he got home at 6. My Dad’s work scheduled started a little later than Mom’s so he was the one who got me up and going. I always saw him three time a day, When he got me up, while we ate supper, and when he came in from repairing other people’s cars around 8:30 or 9 o’clock at night.

Yeah they both worked long hard hours chasing that American dream, and in a way, I guess they did have it. The refrigerator and freezer was always full, shelves in the basement were stacked with home caned vegetables from our garden, everyone had one back then. Mom went to the beauty shop every weekend to get her hair done, and Dad had  his monthly fishing trip throughout the summer months. They worked hard and saved, but still found time and a way to enjoy life. While I was growing up we made two cross country journeys by car to see places like the Grand Canyon’s, the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, Redwood’s, Yellowstone, and Mount Rushmore. Along with many more short trips to the coast of North Carolina and Florida.

When I think back to those day’s and remember all that we did when I was younger it just amazes me. A simpler time, a time when a trip to Asheville on one of Mom’s shopping trips meant a hot fudge sundae in Woolworth’s Malt Shop or visiting the toy department in Sears & Roebucks. A time before strip malls when a shopping trip meant finding a parking spot and spending the day walking around town.

Back then a trip to town was exciting, now 5 & dimes are a thing of the past, along with Woolworth, Sears is no longer Sears & Roebucks, now it belongs to Kmart. Seem’s like most of my nostalgic memories are fading fast, I visited the Wall in Washington DC a couple years ago and was appalled at how run down and dirty the Lincoln Memorial was.

Every day, grabbing onto and holding memories of the past becomes more and more important. It’s been said that a history which doesn’t remember will repeat itself, sometimes I wonder if that’s such a bad thing, I guess if the good history equals out with the bad it might not be, but you never know.

Anyway I hope you have enjoyed my little story, and get out there look around at Vintage shops like mine at Estates In Time, fine your little bits of history, you can tell stories about, and enjoy a few moments of nostalgia.

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A History of Clay Works in America

Vintage Florist Planter


The use of clay and earthenware products in America has been dated back to somewhere between 3500 to 2000 BC. And while other civilizations such as Greece, Egypt and China are better known for their mastery of fine earthen ceramics, the abundance of raw materials of every type can be found in America.

Shut off from Europe and Asia, the Olmec civilization of Mexico is known to have used kilns capable of firing pottery in the range of 900 degrees Celsius as far back as 1000 BC. A feat matched only by Egyptians in prehistoric times. Yet, although pottery was widely made and used in native American cultures, the development of stoneware, fine porcelains or glazes, such as those found across Europe and into the Far East, never came to pass.

With the arrival of European settlers, Old World Craftsman began to apply their trades. By 1650 Brick making was wide spread through out the colonies. Still the Potter’s wheel did not see much use for anything other than for basic useful wears. Fashion and society preferred imported porcelain and china even though everything needed to produce these items were at hand.

During 1700’s manufacturing began to take hold. While fashion still preferred imports, this along with Britain’s desire to suppress the growth on independence, the Potter was often forced imitated such imports and it wasn’t until the opening of the 19th century before the Potter’s mark became a standard practice. Still slowly American pottery was beginning to gain a foothold. At the battle of Lexington, in 1775 seventy-five Potters stood on the battlefield and towns had sprung up with names such as Jugtown or Clay City.

The onset of the American Revolution also brought an explosion of American stoneware production. Both as a form of boycott as well as the blockade of import traffic, American stoneware increased and improved to the point of approaching fine grades of porcelain.

As the 1800’s approached American porcelain makers began to close in on the quality of fine white China. The first truly successful china works was Tucker Porcelain. Born in 1800, William Ellis Tucker started production in 1826. By 1827 his porcelains had won a silver medal at the 4th Franklin Institute exhibition, then again in 1828 for porcelain wares which compared to “the best specimens of French China”. Yet William’s rise to fame was cut short with his death in 1832.

The 1800’s also gave way to the industrial revolution. The introduction of mechanical pressed and molds along with invention of liquid clay which could be poured into casting molds increased production while lowering cost.

By the end of the 19th century new names begin to appear. Names such as Haeger, McCoy, and Hull. Artisans who’s designs in pottery molds were used to decorate the home of America into the 20th century.

Below are a few examples of mid 20th century clay artworks which could be found in middle class homes during the 1950’s and beyond.

Yellow Bird Figurine with Nest Planter // Glazed Mid-century Yellow Bird Figurine // Vintage Bird Figurine    Yellow Boxer Bulldog Figurine with Small Planter // Glazed Mid-century Yellow Boxer Dog Figurine // Vintage Bulldog Figurine

Scottie Scottish Terrier Figurine / 1940's era Ceramic Black Scottie Figurine       Bunny Figurine, Vintage Bisque Mother and Baby // Collectible Bunny Figurine in Victorian Style

 

 

 

Seashell Art, a view into the past!

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Every summer millions travel to the beaches around the world. Some to relax in the sun, others for the adventure of battling a large game fish swimming just off shore. Still the one, almost universal activity which each and every beachcomber does while walking alone the shoreline is hunt seashells.

Each morning, just at sun rise, no matter which beach your on, or in what part of the world, your sure to meet another Treasure Hunter meandering along searching for their trip’s souvenir.

It has been said that life itself came from the oceans, that mankind is a child from the very shorelines so many flock to each year. Whether this is true or not is a debate which will be carried on into eternity, yet there is one truth that can never be debated, Man has had a fascination with the sea and it’s seashell’s throughout time.

Due to the use of seashells for religious ceremonies and personal decoration, the Seashell’s use as currency has been discovered on every continent dating back into prehistoric times. Some so popularly used that even today their name hints to their past.

The Money Cowry  thXZQONMC9.

And the wide use of seashells does not lend itself only to currency. Spiritually, the use of seashells in religion spans the globe. The Scallop Shell, also known as the Pilgrim Shell, came to symbolize Saint James in Christianity for the custom of Medieval Christians wearing the shell on pilgrimages the apostle’s shrine at Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. While the Shankha shell, also known as a Conch Shell is important to both Hinduism and Buddhism. Similar to the Greek God Triton, these religions use the Shankha as a trumpet bellowing out during their religious ceremonies, especially blessed is the person of Hindu faith which finds a Conch shell with a left handed twist.

When it comes to personal decorations, we know that this has been carried on for at least 2600 years. There are documented cases of whole shell necklaces made by Tasmanian Aboriginal women during this time, along with Shell necklaces found in Stone Age graves as far inland as the Dordogne Valley of France. The use of seashells in custom jewelry continues on into the present day. Craftsmen around the world adorn fine jewelry with seashells and inlays of fine Abalone. Below is just a few examples of the craftsmanship you can find on Etsy.

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Moving on into the late 19th century, Seashell Art entered into a new era. Traveling Sea Merchants and Sailors needed gifts to return home with. In a play on the shellwork artifacts made by the Aboriginal women of Sydney, New South Wales, the Sailor’s Valentine was born. A small jewelry box, normally octagon shaped and adorned with small seashells. Often these boxes featured heart-shaped designs, or included a sentimental expression of love spelled out in shells.

These sentiments of love, along with other forms of Seashell Art have been carried on ever since. Below is a few examples of Seashell Art which my family picked up on our trips to the coast during the 1960s and 1970’s.

Shell Art    shl4

sp1

 


 

 

 

 

Vintage 1950’s Royal Haeger Potteries Panther Figurine

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Located just northwest of Chicago, the producer of this sleek cat, Royal Haeger Potteries was originally founded as Dundee Brickyard in 1871, the same year as the great Chicago fire.

Over the course of two days, October 8th through the 10th, the fire raged across the city, destroying close to 4 square miles and leaving somewhere around 90 thousand dead or homeless. Over the next seven years, between 1872 and 1879, more than ten thousand construction permits were issued and David Haeger’s Dundee Brickyard supplied millions of bricks used to rebuild Chicago.

Nearing the close of the 19th century David Haeger, along with the help of his son Edmund Haeger, began transitioning his company from brick manufacturers into clay artisans. By the time of David Haeger’s death in 1900 the company was already producing red clay flower pots to be used by the florist trade, and through artistic vision of Edmund Haeger, Haeger Potteries was producing a fine Greek style Artware collection known as Adam and Eve by 1914.

Royal Hickman joined Haeger Potteries in 1938, a design master, Hickman and Haeger introduced an extraordinary line of artware, called Royal Haeger. The collaboration of these two artist produced a clay image featuring intricate yet smooth, flowing lines and highly original glazes.

The production of Royal Haeger’s world-acclaimed Black Panther, such as the one feature in my Etsy store front, began in 1941, and continued through 1964. This sleek elongated cat was immediately popular and in such strong public demand three sizes were produced.

Below you will find a few images of the rare pale green glazed Royal Haeger Panther offered in my shop.

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