Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy 2012!

Speaking of tooting my horn, I made a couple additions to my noisemaker collection this year. First up are two horns made by the U.S. Metal Toy Mfg. company.

They're made by the U.S. Metal Toy Mfg. Co., but I could find nothing on their history.  I suspect they date from the late '40's or the 50's.  They have metal noise makers inside, so they should last for New Year's Eves to come.

This rattle noisemaker is made by the same company.  I loved the graphics on it:

Happy 2012 and here's to a new year of garage saling!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy 1967!

I found this calendar at an estate sale this past fall.  It was given away by the Gravois Drug Company located at 4912 Gravois, St. Louis 16, Mo.  Phone, FLanders 2-1234.  Do businesses still hand out free calendars?:

I liked the Santa Claus image on it and the fact that it was 1967 (my birth year and first Christmas).  In fact, here's a picture of me from that December of '67.  I'll let you guess which one is me:

It begins with December of 1966 and coincidentally, the days aligned with December 2011 and will continue to align in 2012 at least until February 29th, as 2012 is a leap year.
The calendar contains information like sunrise and sunset times and even attempts to predict the weather for the entire year.  Important historical events such as "Rotary Organized, 1905" are noted along with suggestions for gentle relief of irregularity (Nujol heavy mineral oil, if you were wondering).

The building is no longer there.  It appears to have been torn down and replaced by a bank.  It was located just across the street from Bevo Mill.

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On the topic of the calendar, two professors at Johns Hopkins University are proposing a new calendar system based on a 364-day year, allowing for the days to fall on the same day of week each year.  For example, Christmas would always be on a Sunday.  The advantage, they say, is the elimination of recreating calendars and schedules each year. I think that would be boring and it would elminate December 31st as New Year's Eve, replacing December with a 30-day month.  Tooting my horn on December 30th would just seem silly.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A 1950 Hit!

I found this record among some other 78's at an estate sale last Friday.  Initially, I thought it was a musical hit from 1950, but it's actually a promotional record for the 1950 Ekco Pressure cooker.

It's a fictional award ceremony supposedly hosted at the Waldorf-Astoria Starlight roof

where excitement is running high as our host, Ben Grauer, interrupts a musical program to announce the winner of the National Home Safety contest, the newer and safer Ekco Pressure cooker, better known as the Ekconomic Lo-pressure cooker/sterilizer.

You can listen to the audio here.

Popular Science also featured this pressure cooker in their September 1950 issue as one of their "Aids to Modern Living" where they explain the main safety feature is its use of 3 3/4 lbs of pressure instead of the usual 5 to 10 and the special locking device that prevents premature opening of the lid until pressure is below 1/2 lb.  I'll bet somebody still managed to scald themselves with it.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Made in Japan

I went to an estate sale in South St. Louis City during my lunch hour on Friday and found these in a box of ornaments marked 50 cents.  They're all marked Japan and probably date from the '60's.  There were a few I wasn't particularly fond of, but I felt I couldn't leave them behind.  It would have been like banishing them to the Island of Misfit Toys.

The bases for these are made from a styrofoam bell halve

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Merry Pixiemas

I picked these 2 pixies up at an estate sale a number of years ago.  They used to sit out on a shelf year round, but now only come out at Christmas.  They're ceramic and unlabeled, but probably made by Treasure Craft in the 50's.  They're seated, appropriately enough, next to a Brownie camera (I'd like to pretend I was clever enough to do that intentionally, but it was purely coincidence.)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fröhliche Weihnachten

I came across these in a huge lot of other post cards at an estate sale this past Summer.  Evidently, the person was a collector.  I dug out my favorites.  The fact that the majority are written on and postmarked adds to the attraction for me.  I find it hard to wrap my mind around the fact that there ever was a 2 a.m. of December 24th, 1908, as one of them is stamped.  I was also impressed that presumably these arrived in time for Christmas, despite some of them being postmarked as late as 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

The postcards were all sent to the same family at 2517 N. Market St., St. Louis, MO which is just north of downtown St. Louis and is apparently sketchy enough to keep even the Google-vagen away as I couldn't find a streetview of the address.  The best I could do was a look down the street:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Up on the Housetop

In this post, I'm featuring some of the foreign-made Santa Clauses I've collected over the years.

These date from the '50's into the 70's.  I recall disliking the cheap plastic displays when I was young, but they now hold a certain charm.

First up is Santa arriving on the rooftop, reindeer slightly overshooting and clinging for dear (or is that deer... bah dah bomp!) life.

Safely inside, without a care for his reindeer, Santa sits on the mantle waving presents.  I found this one still in the package and committed the collector's unthinkable: I opened it.

I recognized this ornament from Christmas Vacation in the scene where Uncle Lewis burns down the Griswold Family tree.  This Santa drops from the tree melted and singed:

This one kind of creeped me out, but I couldn't resist:

I think this Santa pre-dates the others.  I believe it's Japanese (To me he even looks Oriental).  He's decked out in an unusual gold suit.  I thought something about the sleigh didn't look right.  It was clearly much newer.  When I got him home, I found out why: he was missing a foot and someone had salvaged him by placing him in this wicker sleigh and covering his legs in holly and tinsel.

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