Thursday, September 30, 2010

Okay, I admit it, I have a problem...

I guess it's more of an addiction than a problem, or possibly an addiction that results in problems. I can't resist toasters. Particularly chrome ones. I can't pass up a chrome toaster at a garage sale. Most homes only need one, but I have several. I came home with another one Saturday. One almost exactly like another I already have.

C'mon, it was only a $1! How can I pass that up. Logic goes out the window for $1.

It's a Sunbeam model T-35 manufactured around 1958. It has pressure sensitive toast slots -- put bread in and it goes down automatically. According to some research I found online, "toasting was not based on a timer, but on a thermostat that measured heat reflected (or radiated) from the surface of the bread, hence the 'Radiant Control' Moniker." Toasters were so much more high tech back then. Why don't they make automatic plunging toasters anymore?

Like I said, it's very similar to my other Sunbeam, a model T-20B which features a design said to be inspired by the Trylon and Perisphere symbols of the 1939 World's Fair in New York.

I also had a Sunbeam T-1-C from the 1930's:

Sadly, I sold this one on eBay. Later, I found that the same toaster appears in the movie A Christmas Story. Of course, then I wanted it back.

I also had a Toastmaster Super Deluxe that was also a pressure-sensitive toaster, but had clockwork gears inside it and made a fantastic sound when it went up and down. Unfortunately, one of the elements burned out on it and I had to let it go. I've been searching for one ever since.

We keep one of the toasters in our camper, a plain jane chrome GE. It's actually my wife's favorite toaster. Says it makes the best toast. Which brings me back to this latest toaster. When I took it to the garage sale host to buy, she reminisced that she had bought it because it reminded her of her grandmother's toaster and went on to say it just made better toast than newer models. Her husband found that funny, but I understood.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

C'mon Get Happy!

Today was another annual subdivision sale I like to attend. An older neighborhood near MacKenzie and Heege Road in Affton (or maybe it's Marlborough). I came away with some pretty cool items which I'll be profiling in the following days.

At one of the sales was a stack of record albums. Going through it, I noticed a Partridge Family record. I never really watched the show, I was a Brady Bunch fan. I always thought of those two shows having a Beatles/Rolling Stones rivalry. Or Munsters/Addams Family, if you wish.

Anyway, I flipped the album over just to see what was on it and found stuck inside the original plastic cover was a letter bearing a local television stations call letters, "KTVI Channel 2".

Reading the letter, I saw that it was a congratulatory letter from Johnnie Walters for the consolation prize for Dialing for Dollars.

I vaguely recall the show. It was during the afternoon movie on Channel 2. Basically, they would announce a number and the amount of the current prize, then draw a random phone number and dial it. If you knew the "count and the amount" you won the amount. Apparently, this person knew neither the count, nor the amount.

Doing some research about the show, I found that it was spoofed on SCTV with Harold Ramis playing "Moe Green", and though it was a syndicated show, apparently the parody was actually based on Johnnie Walters and the St. Louis show:

Besides this album, I came away with about 7 others along with what was holding all of the records:

Finally, a place to hold my albums. Unfortunately, this will only hold about a tenth of them...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

When It Rains, It Pours...Slide Projectors

It seems like whenever I finally buy something for which I've been looking a long time, I suddenly find it at every turn.

Walking through a local antique mall, I saw a slide projector in the box. Turns out it's a Carousel 800, just like the one I just bought a couple weeks back. It was priced at $6 ($2 less than I paid at the garage sale, I might add), but was also labeled "as is". I have found that "as is" always means "broke". It never means, "I'm not sure if this works or not." But, upon opening the box that holds the carousel, I discovered it contained slides. The box was marked "1970 Grand Canyon" and "Family". I looked at a few and most appeared to be scenery, but I also saw some vintage shots featuring the family. So I bought it, of course.

Opening it up at home and testing it, I found that it had a working bulb which was worth the $6 alone, but the carousel would not advance. Just makes that buzzing noise that says "stuck motor" and "I'm not going anywhere".

So I set the non-working projector aside and loaded up the carousel with the slides , just 7 short of filling my 80-slide carousel. As I had noted, most were of scenery in and around the Grand Canyon. Taken a full year the before the Brady's visited the Grand Canyon, there are some great shots of the family decked out in 70's attire -- a 30-ish couple and older relatives(?).

Excuse the quality of the photos, they're pictures taken of the projection -- I don't have a slide-capable scanner.

There's the obligatory shots from the road:

Note the St. Louis inspection sticker in the right lower corner of the window.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Carousel

When I was younger, I never understood slide people. By "slide", I'm referring to film slides. I recall them being the butt of jokes in tv shows where some unfortunate person(s) is/are forced to sit through a boring presentation of someone else's trip. For example, on the Simpsons when Patty and Selma show slides of their trip to the Yucatan ("And this is Selma dropping off our vacation film to be developed.")
But over the years I've grown to appreciate the vivid colors of those vintage slides through websites like Shorpy and Charles Phoenix's slide of week.
Being a vintage media collector (also known as "AV Geek"), collecting Regular and Super 8 film and cameras , 16mm film and cameras, splicers, etc, I've harbored the idea of owning a Kodak Carousel slide projector, even though I don't own a single slide.
The final episode of Season 1 of Mad Men (one of the few shows I follow), Don Draper makes an ad pitch to a couple of Kodak executives guiding them to a new name for what they call "The Wheel". Possibly the best scene of that season.  Sorry, since I originally posted this, the clip has been pulled from Youtube.  The scene can be summed up by the speech given by Don:
Nostalgia - it's delicate, but potent. Teddy told me that in Greek, "nostalgia" literally means "the pain from an old wound." It's a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn't a spaceship, it's a time machine. It goes backwards, and forwards... it takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It's not called the wheel, it's called the carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels - around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know we are loved.

***Update*** It's back on Youtube (for now)


That episode secured my mania for a Kodak Carousel slide projector. Yesterday, I found one.
Once a year, the Canterbury Estates subdivision in Affton holds it's neighborhood garage sale the weekend afer Labor Day. It used to be in conjunction with the Saxon Manor subdivision just down the street, but a couple of years ago, Saxon Manor stopped having the sale. Ten years ago, the two together created a carnival atmosphere, with residents selling hot dogs, cotton candy and ice cream along with their worldly possessions. It was among the scant 20 garage sales this year, that I found my Kodak Carousel 800.

It appeared to work well, although it was missing the bulb. The seller, an elderly woman, mentioned of how soon no one would remember how to operate these projectors and said , "Someone has to remember the past." I told her, that was my hobby, remembering the past. She lowered her price to $8. I was thinking more like $5, but she and her husband seemed nice, so I agreed. When I got home, I bid on a replacement bulb for $1.99 on eBay.

One of the attachments that comes with it is a stack loader, which seems an odd accessory for a carousel projector. You're buying the projector, but dismissing it's main feature?

Also within the case was a hand-written list: "Attendance - July 26th". Unfortunately, no year. It lists 7 couples. I wonder if this was a list of friends who had seen the slides so as not to force them to sit through them twice.

I'm reminded of the words of Don Draper, "It's not a space ship, it's a time machine -- looks backwards, forwards... Takes us to a place where we ache to go again." After all, someone has to remember the past.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Halloween Comes Early

It's Labor Day weekend and the unofficial end of Summer. Something consistent I've noticed over the years about garage sales at this time of the year; it's generally the only time I find Halloween-related items. This weekend was no exception. I picked these up at various sales on Saturday.

Empire Plastics Lighted pumpkin on hay shock - 1967. I have one of these almost identical to this one, except the pumpkin is atop a black cat. That was also a garage sale find. I'll profile it in an upcoming post. I love the vintage blown plastic Halloween displays. I bought this one from an elderly lady (exactly 75, it was her birthday.) She said she was getting too old to put out her decorations. I told her I'd put them out for her.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


And now for our first installment of garage sale "whatzit?". I picked this up last summer. I liked the look of it, but I'm not sure what it is. My first thought was a planter because of the open space in the bowling ball. Or it could be an ashtray...

...but there's no slot for the cigarette to rest.

Coin tray? Paper weight? Pencil holder? What's your guess?


I saw this identical DRESSER ORGANIZER at TFA on Chippewa a couple weeks ago.  I'm taking their word for it.
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