Monday, May 30, 2011

Dear Old Golden Rule Days

With the last day of school upon us, I'm reaching back into Charlotte's scrapbook for a look at elementary school of the 1920's and '30's.  Specifically, that day dreaded by all children: report card day.  Although, it looks like Charlotte did okay, earning A's and B's and even receiving a "Notification of Meritorious Work".  Charlotte attended the old Oakville School located in Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.  All cards are signed by her father, Charles Krejci, at least I'm assuming they are.  With those grades, she had no reason to forge her parents' signatures like I used to.

3rd Grade

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Singerphone Sings Again

While the subject of this post stretches the boundaries of a garage sale, I thought it worthy of writing about considering it came free, and I owe a friend big time for it.  About a week ago, a friend of mine, who belongs to the St. Louis Freecycle Yahoo! Group, received the following Freecycle post:

"Wind-up 78 rpm phonograph console. 50" tall. "Singerphone" model made by Singer Talking Machine Co. of Milwaukee."

My friend, John, shot a message to me asking if I wanted it.  "GET IT!" was my reply as fast as I could type.  He replied back, but then heard nothing.  We'd given up on it, although he had never seen a "taken" message.  Then last Wednesday evening, he heard back from the person offering it.  It seems the person who was going to take it was a no show and it was mine to get.  My friend John arranged for it to be picked up today at noon in Kirkwood, MO.

The post didn't say whether it worked nor what condition it was in.  I've become accustomed to being disappointed with freecycled items, after all, they are free.  When we showed up, it appeared no one was home (the person offering it had been out of town leading up to today), so I thought it was going to be a wash.   But suddenly, the owner came speeding up in his car, just in time.  He opened the garage and we found the phonograph to be in very nice condition, and much larger than I initially expected.  I was concerned it wasn't going to fit in my van even with the seats out, but laying it on it's back, it did barely fit. John and  I thanked the gentleman and after dropping my friend back off at his house, I brought it home.

After a little cleaning up

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Welcome to Manned Space Exploration! Exploration! Exploration! Exploration!

I bought this 45 along with the previously posted "You Belong in a Dodge" record.  It appeared to just be a standard children's record on space, but I liked the label so I bought it.  As it turns out, it was a promotional item that came with the original G. I. Joe Mercury space capsule toy released in 1966.  The record is pretty scratched up, but I was able to rip the tracks to mp3. 

You can listen to side 1 here and side 2 here.
At first I thought the skip on side 1 at 0:58 was for dramatic purposes...until it wouldn't stop, so I had to bump the needle a little.

I paid a dime for the record and sold it on eBay for $16.  The person who bought it was giving it to a friend for his birthday along with an original G. I.  Joe Mercury space capsule.  Record and toy reunited once again.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I went to a garage sale this morning in Webster Groves.  It was in Webster Park, home to $1,000,000 residences, so I was expecting high prices and newer items.  When I first walked up, there was only a boy of about 15 working the sale.  He told me he was having the sale to raise money for his Eagle Scout project.  Right away I saw some vintage appliances, but nothing terribly interesting.  The first thing I noticed was a military flight suit.  I looked it over.  It was priced at $5.  I put it back down and moved on.  Then I saw this:

It wasn't priced and I figured they'd be asking at least $75 for it.  The boys parents had come outside by this time, so I approached the father and asked him how much it was.  He threw out the old, "What will you offer?"  Hate when they do that.  Then he threw out "Well, the brass ones sell for several hundred dollars..."  Oh boy, I thought, here we go.  So I did my dumb act and just said, "Well, I don't know much about them, I wouldn't know what to offer."  He replied, "Well, people have offered me $20."  I asked him if it worked, and he said it did with some coaxing.  "So is that what you're asking, twenty dollars?" I inquired.  "Tell you what," he began, "you can have that and the flight suit for $20."  Sold.

It weighs a *ton*.  Okay, not a ton, but about 80 pounds (I just weighed it!).

As the owner was helping me load it into our van, he told me it had been in his family's store in University City during the 40's and 50's.

I looked like it had been sitting in some water for some time, probably in a basement, and had some serious rust on the base.  It was clearly repainted, so I decided I would do a little restoration on it.

I started by removing the cash drawer.  Turning it over, I discovered a service tag dated 9/7/50:

I'm not sure if that was just for the clean & oil, or if that's when it was repainted as well.  With the drawer out, the extent of rust was visible:

I removed the black metal faceplate from the cash drawer and found this underneath:

I'm not sure what the numbers mean, but it says, St. Louis MO above them.  I love revealing something someone hasn't seen in probably 60 years or more.

I was a little intimidated by the complexity of the levers, springs and gears as I began to dig into the register.  I would have to remove the outer cover in order to repaint it and get at the mechanism inside in order to clean and oil it.  There are a lot of screws on this thing.  I began by taking a lot of pictures and taping screws with the pieces they belonged to.  All small items went in a ziplock bag.  The glass covering the amount has some chips in it and the top piece has a fairly sizable chunk missing, but it's covered by the bracket that holds it in place.

While I was taking it apart, I played around with it and finally got it operating properly.  All keys work, the numbers all rise, the bell dings, and the cash drawer pops out.  There's a tape roll that keeps a running total, but the ink in the ribbon has long since dried out.  I'm not sure if you can find a replacement for it, but I might be able to resoak the ribbon in fresh ink.  It seems complete with the exeption of a piece of white marble  which I believe is supposed to be on top of the till box.

After a couple hours and 1 drilled out screw, I finally got to this:

I used a wire brush to knock off the biggest chunks of rust in the base.  An improvement already.  I'll take a a wire wheel to it next and get the rest of it off.  I'm not sure where to begin on the cleaning.

Since the key to the register says National, and knowing the biggest manufacturer of registers was National Cash Register (NCR since the '50's when it began producing digital computers) and since the service ticket was printed by NCR, I assumed I had a National Cash Register.  There was a plate on the front that read SHA-132 and 8-10263.  I assumed this was a model and serial number.  I began searching the internet, but nothing I found looked like this one nor could I find a serial number or model number that closely resembled those on mine.  Reading through a history of NCR, I came across a small blurb that said they purchased the Remington Cash Register division of Remington Firearms around 1931 or '32 and were known for refurbishing and rebranding the old Remingtons.  Searching on Remington Cash Register, I found a model A-132 and  listing of serial numbers that helped date the register to 1923.  I read that when NCR would refurbish other brands, they would alter the model name to reflect this.  I guess that's where the additional SH in the model number comes from.

I'd like to restore it to original.  The best I could find was this picture from a sale of another:

I may go with straight black.  I'm not sure about the red pinstriping.  I wonder if you can find a Remington decal, I'd hate to have to handpaint that.

I'll post more pictures as I progress through the restoration.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Nobody Does It Like Yoooooouuuuuu!

As I've written in the past, I like to use vintage appliances.  I generally find them built to last and with more style.   I'm drawn to chrome toasters and percolators in particular.  I found a percolator for $1 at an estate sale in North County about a month ago. 

It's made by a manufacturer long associated with vacuums -- Hoover. I had no idea they had a line of other appliances in the '60's.

Mine dates from 1967 and I only know that because I came across an ad in Google's library of Life magazines.  The June 9th, 1967 issue has the following ad:

Sorry for the dual image -- I need to find some image stitching software.

Design-wise, it's actually pretty plain.  I do like the shape and I love that the red Hoover emblem lights up when the coffee is done.  The ad boasts that it brews a cup per minute and I can vouch for that. 

Now if I could only find that 4-slot Hoover toaster...

You Belong in a Dodge!

I picked this up at an estate sale in the Tam O' Shanter subdivision a couple Saturday's ago.  The same house where I bought the Dawn doll (no sale, by the way):

Monday, May 9, 2011

Touch Down!

I've mentioned before in a previous post my fascination with gumball machines and their contents when I was little.  I found these at an estate sale about a month ago.

I remember seeing these a lot, but not being a sports fan, my quarters never went toward them.  And I was hesitant to let $4 go toward them at the sale, but I took a gamble.  I usually lose when I gamble.  Checking eBay once I was home confirmed my fears.  There were larger lots going for $10 and less.  I went ahead and listed them anyway with a starting bid of $4.99. The sale finished today after heated bidding with a winning bid of $32.63.  I have no idea what the particular attraction for this lot was.  I can only guess one of these is not common.  Maybe the older style Cardinals helmet or the Redskins helmet (the design being an older one).  At any rate (or at a quarter a piece), that's a lot of gumballs.
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