Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I picked up this companion piece to my Fisher Price Schoolhouse at an estate sale this past weekend.  It's the Fisher Price Family Play Farm (or Play Family Farm, depending on how you read the roof).  It dates from 1967.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot?

I went to an estate sale off of Yaeger Road , west of Milburn, yesterday.  After gathering a few items and while approching the checkout, I saw this on a table:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Reach for the sky...Or At Least My Back

I found back-scratching Mickey at a garage sale a few weekend's ago. It was marked a quarter.

Monday, August 20, 2012

TV News for 1955

A couple weekends ago, I was doing some "free styling", to swipe a phrase from American Pickers.  This is when I drive around on a Saturday morning with no destination in mind and just stop at any garage sales I come across.  Perhaps a very primitive approach given there's even an app these days to locate garage sales, but I seem to have success with it, so I don't mess with the formula.

One sale I stopped at off of Christopher Drive in Oakville had quite the collection of vintage salt and pepper shakers, but all priced retail at $8 or higher.  About to give up on the sale, I looked through a box of books marked at $1 each.  This one caught my eye:

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Just my Type

At the same yard sale where I bought the shaving mug from my previous post, I found this early '60's Smith Corona Corsair manual typewriter in fabulous turquoise blue.

Shave and a Mug -- Two Bits

Actually it cost 4 bits, or 50 cents.  I found this shaving mug at a yard sale on Becker Road this morning at one of the more run-down houses directly on Becker near Fine Road. 

This is known as an Occupational Shaving mug.  Occupational shaving mugs were popular from the 1870's to the early 1900's and were known as such because they bore images of the owner's trade.  John Karttman's (I believe that's a "K") mug seen above  has images of tin snips, a square and an engineer's hammer so I would guess he was some type of machinist or metal worker.

White blank mugs would typically be shipped from Europe (this one is stamped Austria) to be hand-painted by local artists.  Often the mug was kept at the barber shop.  Customers kept separate mugs because they believed rashes were caused by using communal mugs.  As it turned out, it was actually poor or complete lack of sterilization of the barber's razors.  Shaving mugs were status symbols for barbers and as well as their customers. The amount of mugs a barber had boasted the size of his clientele.

I believe the mug above was painted by a local St. Louis artist as it bears a striking resemblance to my great grandfather's mug in both the imagery and the gold filigree.  My grandfather's shows images of a claw hammer, trowel and some unidentified tool.  Any guesses?:

As I was looking at the mug at the yard sale, a man in his 50's sitting on the front stoop asked me if I knew how he used his shaving mug.  Sizing up his bushy, biker's beard I replied, "You don't?"  He insisted he did use one and that he always turned it upside down to allow it to drain.  He claimed leaving water sitting in the mug promoted bacterial growth, which sounds logical.

As for John Karttman, I couldn't find him anywhere on the internet.  Only his mug remembers him now.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What a Dish!

I bought this mosaic tiled mid-century dish at a garage sale this weekend for $1.  It measures 7" by 12". 

Somebody, presumably a child, had colored in some of the grout lines with a blue, ball-point pen.  I used some Goof Off and a 3M scrubbing pad and it came off nicely.  The dish reminds me of a clock I picked up at a thrift store a few months ago:

This same clock hung in our kitchen growing up.

The dish has found a home on one of our side tables, but I have yet to find a home for the clock.  The problem with vintage electric clocks, particularly wall clocks, is you need to find an outlet to plug them in.  Unless I run another outlet higher on the wall, this clock will remain homeless.

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

When I would visit my grandparents when I was little, eventually the thrill of the visit and the conversations of the adults would begin to bore me and I would head to my Great Aunt's room upstairs.  My Great Aunt Susan, whom everyone called "Tudy" had passed several months before I was born, so I never knew her, but I had a connection with her through the buttons she kept stored in the drawers of her old treadle sewing machine.  I would sort the buttons by color, shape, and size.  I'd count them, string them with a needle and thread or use them in games I'd make up.  The entertainment was endless.  Button saving seems to have died along with saving butter tubs.

When I saw these at a garage sale marked at $4, those memories came back and I bought them.

Some of the buttons are still on their original cards from the store, marked as low as 25 cents.  Many were made in Japan:

One oddity I found was this little face.  Not a button, but still ended up in the pile:

My youngest son and daughter played with them for about an hour, but then lost their interest.  I guess buttons have a hard time competing with television, video games and computers.

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