Tuesday, September 25, 2012

One Man's Trash...

Let me begin this post by explaining that I'm a curb watcher.  My eyes are always scanning the streets for discarded treasures.  I have been known to stop and pick up items from the street when I was by myself, with my wife, with my kids and even with my co-workers.  Not all at the same time, of course.

On my way home from work yesterday, driving my usual route through Webster Groves on Oakwood Avenue, I noticed a large pile of objects set out to the curb for the trash man.  A woman walking by paused momentarily to scan the objects, but upon seeing my car approaching kept walking.  Clearly, she was too proud to pick through someone else's garbage; I on the other hand have no qualms.  I did a quick scan as I drove by and was intrigued enough to turn at the next block and loop back around.

Pulling to a stop, I hopped out of my car and began the assessment.  The house had a for sale sign in the yard and it appeared the seller had emptied the contents that had been left behind.  The first thing I saw was a large homemade easel painted red with the words "Leigh Ann and Kris, 1962" painted in white.  It was too large and nothing I needed, so I looked further.  That's when I saw a Motorola portable radio on the ground.  I threw that in the car and then spotted a clock with a glass face.  Another smaller mantle style clock lay next to it.  Just beyond that were two vintage tennis raquets.  The last thing I noticed was a box of very old stuffed animals.  I looked through them with dreams of finding a Steiff, but most appeared to be homemade and were very worn.  Thoughts of Toy Story 3 and Woody and the gang headed for the incinerator passed through my head, but so did thoughts of what critters might live on their filthy furry bodies.  They stayed.  Sorry guys.

At home, I cleaned everything up and began some researching.  First up is a Mastercrafters Starlight No. 146 clock from 1958.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Blown Away

I went to an estate sale on Morganford near Union Saturday morning.  I had specifically gone on a quest for a replacement turntable for my 1949 Philco Console Stereo.  It's turntable was dead on arrival and I had seen a model that appeared it would fit perfectly inside.  This post is not about finding that turntable.  Alas, after rushing to the basement (always my first objective) and finding the room in which I had seen the turntable on estatesales.net, I found it was already gone.  Only a reel to reel tape recorder was left behind.  Later while looking through the rest of the basement, I saw the person who had the turntable.  He was testing it out at the only outlet in the basement.  I watched, hoping the turntable wouldn't spin so that he might put it back and I could snatch it.  I could see it was priced at a mere $3.  But it worked and he was off with it.  Like I said, this post isn't about that turntable.

I found a few other small items at the sale.  One of them was this:


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Groovy Baby or Brother, What a Stereo!

On my way home from work Friday while driving on Mueller Road in South County, I barely caught sight of a garage sale sign on a side road.  I almost dismissed it as an old sign until I saw the word "Today" on it.  Occasionally, people will have a Friday evening pre-sale, so I knew it was a possibility.  In the time it took to process all of that, I had already passed the street so I had to turn around and head back.

I found the address and saw the garage door was up, but saw no signs of life.  I walked up the driveway and into the garage, but still couldn't find anybody.  It was clearly being staged for a garage sale with items laid out on tables, but I began to wonder if I was a day early.  I saw a large white object and could see the label "Brother" on it.  Knowing Brother from the old days of dot matrix printers and word processors, I assumed that's what it was until I got a closer look.  Once I realized it was this, I wasn't leaving until I found someone.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Aloha

Aloha!

I found this Polynesian cutie at a yard sale in the Lakeshire subdivision off of Tesson Ferry last Saturday.   She was priced at 5 cents.  That's possibly a new record for the least I've paid for something at a garage sale, outside of free. She's unmarked, but probably made in Japan in the 1950's.  I like her ankle lei.




As I thought about this post, it occurred to me that "Aloha" is the perfect word for garage sale items.  Someone is saying "Goodbye" to something while someone else is saying "Hello".

Aloha!

Status: Sold on eBay for $43 to someone in Honomu, Hawaii.  She's going home.  Aloha!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Two for Tea

After spending the morning walking the dual subdivisions sales I detailed in the two previous posts, and after having lunch at Smugala's in Oakville with my family, there was time for one last garage sale on the way home.  This one was in the Tam O' Shanter subdivision off of Christopher Drive.  The house ended up being next to the home of a childhood friend, one who unfortunately made some extremely poor choices in young adulthood and has since faded into obscurity.

I found a few pulp paperbacks which may be fodder for a future post, but then this caught my eye.



The teapot definitely has some age to it, but I'm not sure how old or who the manufacturer is.  There is a hallmark on the bottom of the cups:


Identifying Chinese (?) hallmarks is about impossible, even (or maybe particularly!) in the age of the internet.  There are hundreds.  I tried Google Goggles, but even it was baffled.

As you can see it's crazed like...well crazy.  If you're not a collector of pottery, crazing is the appearance of multiple lines of fine cracks on the surface of pottery.  It's normally not structurally damaging, but rather aesthetically.  It was only $3 and I liked the look of it, crazing and all, so I bought it. 

As I was checking out, my youngest son ran up to me with another tea cup, this one featuring a dragon.  He said he wanted to buy it, but when I looked, I saw it was actually part of a set.  Again, I'm not sure of the age, but I suspect this one to be newer than the other. 



Another hallmark to ponder.


It was also marked $3, so I put up for that one as well.  I'd like to use these for tea, but not knowing the age, I'm not sure these are safe to drink from.  Any Asian pottery experts out there?

Milling About

Another find at the Saxon Manor subdivision sale yesterday was this box of Missouri Sales Tax Mills.

 
With the current discussion of eliminating the penny from U.S. currency, it's hard to believe there was once a time when a 1/10 of a penny was needed for daily transactions.  The mill met the need of paying fraction of a cent sales taxes.  For example, if you bought a candy bar or a Coke for 10 cents, you would need to supply 1/10 of a cent in sales tax.  If you didn't have the mill, you would pay 11 cents and get 9 1/10 mills back (or 1 5/10 mill and 4 1/10 mills.  You get the idea.)

The Missouri mills came in various materials over the years.  Mine contained mostly plastic mills and a couple aluminum mills.  Unfortunately, it appears the plastic mills were left in the St. Louis heat one too many summers and have warped.  These probably date from the 1940's and '50s.
 

 
They came in what appears to be a metal eyeglasses case.  The paint is missing from the top and I can barely make out S&B NY.  A little internet sleuthing reveals it could be from the S&B Eyeglass factory in Lynbrook, New York which is still in business today.
 

Also in the container was a notary dog tag.  I'm not sure how this was used, but appears to identify the notary by name and license number.
 

 
The mills aren't worth much more than their original value, particularly in their bent condition.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Five If By Land

Today was the annual Canterbury Place subdivision sale.  I started attending this and the Saxon Manor (just down the street) subdivision sale about 10 years ago.  Back when I started going, Saxon Manor officially declared a subdivision sale as well and both subdivisions had much higher participation.  This year the number of sales dwindled to maybe 20.  But being older subdivisions, they do tend to yield some nice finds, like this Polaroid 100 Land Camera I found today for $5.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Odd Man Out

Happy Labor Day, and who works harder than the humble toaster.  Since 1919 it's been popping up our daily bread.  Simple electric toasters were on the scene 10 years prior before someone decided to put a timer on one. 

I've admitted in the past that I've never met a toaster I didn't like. Especially one decked out in chrome and with some unusual feature.  When I saw this toaster at an estate sale marked at $3, I probably would have bought it if it even if it met only one of those criteria.  The chrome was evident from a distance, but when I got a closer look, I was surprised to find that it was a 3-slotted toaster.



The sides boast the ever-present Toastermaster swirl:

I pondered on the number of slots.  I've always eaten two pieces of toast for breakfast.  But was that because there was always 2 slots on my toasters?  It's a chicken or the egg question.  Did manufacturers make 2-slot toasters because that's what people ate for breakfast or did we become accustomed to eating 2 slices because it was the toaster-dictated quantity?

There isn't much information on this model, the Toastmaster 1-C-5, on the internet (you wouldn't believe the number Toastmasters public speaking groups you have to wade through!), but if I didn't know by the design already, I did confirm it's from the '50's. 

Finally, I came across a site that identified the intent of this particular toaster -- Club Sandwiches.  Apparently, Toastermaster felt they could capitalize on a restaurant craze and bring Club Sandwiches into the home.  Apparently, they were not very successful and this model had a short-lived run.

My particular toaster had the accumulation of decades of toasting, the insides coated with that crumb grease combination so commonly found in old toasters.  It required complete disassembly.   A word of warning to any toaster do-it-yourselfers out there.  See those wavy rods that form the toast cage seen in the second photo?  They are only hanging by a hook.  Disassembled and turned upside down, they spill out like so many pick-up sticks.  After cleaning and reinserting all 30 rods (several times), and working out a problem with my reassembly (the plunger catch was stuck in an upright position preventing the plunger from catching when pushed down), I finally had the toaster in tip-toast shape.  It was ready for it's inaugral run. 


Normally, I would make a simple toast and jelly to test, but given this toasters intended design, there could be but one dish worthy of its use.
 

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