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Victrola model G: the outtakes Sept. 30, 2016

Published October 1, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

In all of my nine plus years of amassing a huge 78 collection that vary in condition from playable to excellent, there are a certain few that fly under my radar that are in extremely poor to terrible condition. There’s surface noise and that’s to be expected for a 78 that was released eighty-eight years ago. There’s no buyer’s remorse on my part. I buy 78’s if I feel they are in ‘playable’ condition at the very least. Condition-wise, I’m not too terribly picky if the 78 is near mint, very good, excellent condition, etc. And I do realize I could be doing my Victrola more harm than good opting for the undesirable 78s. So long as there’s no needle drops, huge scratches or gouges that would render the 78 unplayable, then I will buy it if the price doesn’t exceed $5 per record and even at that I find that’s a tad steep for the more common 78s.  Oh, yeah, if they’re cracked, don’t waste your money just some helpful first-hand experience. 😉

I don’t know what possessed me to stop in a used furniture store on a day I had to be somewhere. Normally, I don’t like to browse when I know I really can’t make the time. But it was the same place I acquired my Victrola model G. I was very excited that I finally got it fully repaired from the mainsprings to the sound box that required an overhaul and new rear flange gasket. That much about it was well worth it and I knew it would require some extensive work that was beyond my capabilities since I haven’t serviced any of my antique phonographs in over nine years. Yet again, none of them require any work since I had them restored professionally eons ago.

I glance at my wrist watch, counting off the minutes. I appear to be in a hurry, but I still have time to look around before I head off and start my day. I always try to make it a point to take in the beauty of various antiques at least once a day. I always use antiques in my daily life. Its what brings me happiness. Some people can’t start their mornings off right without their favorite cup of coffee or a latte, maybe even a cappuccino. And other folks probably don’t get off on the right foot without their nicotine fix before their lunch break.

 

I don’t smoke. I don’t consume caffeine. I will, however, pack some toothpicks on me and some steeped hot tea for when its cold outside. Otherwise, I keep my creature comforts to a minimal when I have to be at work. I reward myself when I do arrive home after work. And here I found myself in the small second hand store on the corner. I browse through the books and a dusty, massively thick Webster’s dictionary catches my eye. The binding has come completely loose from the spine. The pages are all there and in tact. I gingerly remove the antique dictionary. It was an “Original Webster’s Unabridged” dictionary published in 1874. The price scared me. $39.99, holy mackerel! Are they serious? :O

I scrutinize the antique dictionary for a long moment, then glance at the time. I needed to be on my way. Another day, another dollar so the saying goes. I return the dictionary to the bookshelf and get ready to leave when something small catches my eye. I’m gazing at two 5 ½” Little Wonder one-sided disc records from 1909. These were actually tiny shellac records made for a child-sized upright antique phonograph. However, I couldn’t say for certain whether or not they’d play on Victrola since I didn’t have any Little Wonder discs in my collection to say for certain. I know from past experience I had difficulties with similar 7” Parakeet shellac records manufactured sometime during the early 1900 to mid-Teens, so naturally, I wrongly assumed the same would hold true for these Little Wonder records. And there was a Cameo 78 that called out to me.

I ask the man at the counter how much for the 78’s and was told $2.99 per record. Uhm… I feel that is asking a bit much. I politely thanked him, placed the records back and waited until I could do some research. Depending on the rarity of the Little Wonder records and who the artist was that recorded the song(s), I surfed onto eBay and did some price-comparison. $2.99 was looking okay for what these tiny records are. And so I bide my time. I return to the store when another person is working. I’m quoted a steeper price for the records. Again, I kindly thanked the person and went on my way.

Yeah, they’re one of a kind. Okay, they’re “special records”, but Cameo 78s are common to run across although inferior in sound quality and material-wise. Little Wonder shellac records don’t turn up all that often, so I’ll give credit where its due on that for being extra special. But the prices for the Little Wonders online vary in price and their condition were no less than what I discovered in this store. I think about it for a long while. If they’re still there come some other time then I’ll know it was meant to be.

And they were there when I returned, so I bought them and the Cameo 78. Another Fox Trot song and who is the artist this time? Sam Lanin and His Orchestra “You’re the Cream in My Coffee” and the flipside “He Ain’t Never Been to College” by the Varsity Eight. Both songs were released in 1928. And last night I finally made the time to do more recordings, something I haven’t done in quite a while. But the recording process doesn’t always run smoothly, thus the outtakes and bloopers happen.

Oh, the Little Wonders played excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed the songs, “I Want to Go Back to Michigan” duet disc No. 60. It sounded a lot like Ernest Hare and Billy Jones from the Edison Diamond Discs I have of them. And the other song, “Beets and Turnips” – [Little Wonder] Band disc No. 30. Both songs were released sometime in 1914. The Michigan song dates somewhere between 1914-15. The flipside of the one-sided Little Wonders have patent dates of Nov. 1909. These are some incredibly old tiny disc records pushing 107 years old (if going by the patent dates, that is). The sound quality of the Little Wonders exceeded my expectations. I was satisfied and my little one-bedroom was full of cheerful music for a little bit. I tried the Cameo 78 next. The song He Ain’t Never Been to College recorded nice in one take, no problems there.

 

Then the unexpected happened and it worried me when I played the flipside of the Cameo 78. It sounds very worn out due to the surface wear and tear that’s common for a record that’s likely been played many times over. But until last night I never encountered a 78 that would make the sound box lag and the turntable slow down and eventually stop all together. Worried doesn’t cut it. I was almost heart sick thinking of all the problems that can happen to a Victrola. The mainsprings might have hardened grease, but this would have been eliminated since the machine was completely overhauled by a professional in July. Another troubleshooting idea popped into my head; maybe the mainsprings slipped out of alignment in their barrels. Yikes! That’s an invasive and costly repair. Then I decided to try playing the same 78 on a different baby upright Victrola of mine that’s been my secondary recording machine. Surely, two machines are not alike.

Well, same problem occurred on the baby Victrola. And I couldn’t figure it out.

How can two machines encounter the same exact problem? Was this particular song cursed? Is the past deceased owner of said 78 trying to send me a message from the great beyond? What about the… oh, heck. Just try a lighter weight reproducer and so that’s what I did. Now the final recording didn’t come from the Victrola G as I had planned. I had to record the 78 playing it on my Edison C-19 with the proper 78 Ken-Tone attachment and it played okay. Not good, but its late. I’m tired. I want to get this last song uploaded to my MP3 player so I can call it a night. Edison has always been my ‘go-to’ phonograph when making recordings. In the beginning I didn’t always have a Victrola to fall back on. Therefore, my Edison C-19 picked up all the slack of my recording processes. I was relieved to know that my expensive Victrola G didn’t fall to crap after all and neither had my baby Victrola. Do I care to try Cream in My Coffee Fox Trot on my other upright?… Nope. So, hopefully I haven’t bought a cursed 78 and if I did, then eh, oh well. I suppose if the darned Fox Trot is cursed it wouldn’t be the first song to go down infamy for that. Thanks for reading, commenting, blogging, sharing, tweeting. I truly appreciate it a lot! 🙂

 

 

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Antique Fountain Pens: where to buy and how to use them.

Published September 30, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

Writing is difficult enough as is nowadays. Can you imagine that somewhere during 1955 through the 60s all public school children were taught how to use a fountain pen and ink well? According to one such tutorial website I gleaned some helpful insight into the often ignored bygone use of a fountain pen.

Oh… are those the fancy quill pens with a beautiful, graceful feather, right?

 

Well, okay, maybe those can be included too…but I was more inclined to add the Calligraphy pen/ fountain pen, and one thing that had always piqued my interest was whenever my great grandmother would write me snail mail letters. She would always write in this extremely fine penmanship that was lost to my generation. How can I describe her penmanship? It was dainty-like. Her cursive always straight even in cards and pages that weren’t notebook paper. Her penmanship was always graceful and it  always garnered my interest. It was always the same ‘sepia-tone’ brown ink, sort of faded that I knew wasn’t possible from a standard ball point pen. And I knew that no writing pen no matter how cheap or crappy could produce such eye-catching legible lines. In fact, it had me so curious and I never did ask in my letters to my great grandmother what type of pen and brand of ink she used. And for the life of me, I don’t know why I never asked. I only recall one time when she wrote to me in pencil and that was something that was very out of character for my great grandmother to do when corresponding in all the years we wrote to each other. I knew then something wasn’t right and my intuition was correct, sadly.

When my great grandmother could no longer write me back, I continued to write to her (wishing, hoping and praying) for a response only to no avail. By this point I had no idea how badly her mental health had declined. I was kept in the dark about a lot of the horrendous details of what went on while she was still alive. She required the assistance of a caregiver who didn’t look after her well at all. Were my letters thrown in the trash unread? I began to think to myself. They were getting delivered to somebody since I never had one returned to me during the entire time, so who knows.

I was intrigued, and me being… well, me wanted to teach myself this lost form of fountain pen penmanship, and as luck would have it, I purchased an old antique Palmer’s fountain pen writing instruction red soft-cover book. The book had been around with black ink stains on the cover, and a partial missing corner from its cover. I was missing two more things: a fountain pen and ink. The ink I use is India ink and a very helpful antique store owner told me to always water down the ink with cold water prior to use or else the nib of the fountain pen will get gummed up and the writing won’t appear as fluent nor clean, and always allow the page to completely dry first before folding it and cramming it into an envelope. I thanked the antique store owner (her name is Carol), but she couldn’t help me track down a bottle of brown ink and didn’t know if any even existed or not. So, the curiosity regarding where my great grandmother’s mysterious ‘sepia-toned’ brown ink came from will forever remain a mystery since my great grandmother is no longer alive to tell me or even show me.

It still didn’t stop me from picking up something a new form of long lost writing. And oh yes, I LOVE to write. I love it so much that I’m known to write incredibly long snail mail letters to family and friends and always have loved doing so. I’ve been told by strangers even that my penmanship is beautiful, graceful and very legible.

“Legible?” I think to myself. “Why wouldn’t my penmanship be otherwise?”

And here again my quest for knowledge was never-ending and I wanted to know why. I don’t ask, silly me. 😛

Instead, the answers I sought was a long time in coming, but eventually I would see why. I see a younger generation’s writing and doesn’t just stun me, it makes me nervous. It makes me crook my eyebrow and scrutinize every word and line. I cool it on my inner need to ‘proofread’ what they wrote. That isn’t part of my job requirements, but making sense of their writing is important, and if I can’t understand it, then miscommunication often occurs. And not to down on anybody that was born during the 1980s and are part of the millennial crowd, but boy howdy, I never knew chicken scratch was a perquisite to learning how to read and write while in elementary school nowadays. Actually, most of it I can’t even say is chicken scratch, it’s likened to pre-school scribbling and its coming from a twenty-something youngster.

So maybe it will sound as though I’m being hard on these millennials, but their writing is atrocious. Any English teacher would cringe if they saw it turned in on a hand-written assignment and their butts would be served to them on a silverplate platter because of it.

In my line of work I have to jot down any information that would be pertinent if ever a situation arises while I’m on the clock. There are days when nothing happens, and then there’s the hectic days where anything can happen and it needs to be logged.

And then there’s the pre-school scribbles that often appears and misspelled words. I try to decipher it the best I can, but the writing is often very illegible. Now I see why I’m told my penmanship is legible and this is thanks in part to my older brother who taught me cursive writing when I was young as four or five years old. Yes, that young believe it or not because he didn’t want me to go through life not knowing how to read or write since public schools would barely cover the bare bone basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic (a bygone name for mathematics). My older brother was already in school at the time and was a few grades a head of me.

In retrospect, I sincerely believe we came from the last generation that was taught cursive writing when it was still being taught in public schools during the 1980s. I later read that anybody that attended public school post 1955-60s lost out on learning how to use a fountain pen and ink well though. And it brings me back to the antique writing instruments of yesteryear. They can range in price from a dollar on up to a few hundred. And it depends on the make of fountain pen and when it was produced.

When I attended college in 2013 (per my course requirement), I had to log into a message board to converse with the instructor and fellow students, and while on there, somebody chimed in how excited they were to receive a fancy pen with a very fluent, sensitive response. Well, they weren’t talking about a pen you write with. They referred to a stylus pen for their Kindle or some other technological touch-screen device.

I barely batted an eyelash when I figured out it was a pen for a touch screen device.

I don’t get all s**** and giggles over technology. In fact, I don’t find myself running out to buy the newest updated computer setup. I don’t have any new generation Kindles on my wish list and all of my stylus touch-screen pens came straight from the Dollar Tree where everything’s a dollar. However, I do collect antique fountain pens and antique ink wells. Some are very basic heavy glass, I’d say likely used in the rural public schools way, way back when. And other ink wells I have are slightly more fancy with a pen holder and two ink wells with silver caps. And another one I turned up recently has a brass design around it. I don’t know the specific dates when these ink wells were produced, but the fancier ones I’d guess were produced in the 1800s or very early 1900s. The basic no bells or whistles ink wells could likely date anywhere in that same time frame. The antique fountain pens I have scattered in an old wooden cigar box are plastic with brass nibs, which tells me they were produced post- 1930’s probably in the 60s or 70s maybe. I have about four or five fountain pens that go way back to the early 1900s and these I didn’t acquire all at once. I would occasionally run across them in the antique stores from time to time, and if they appealed to me, I’d buy them. At least fountain pens are a light-weight antique item to collect unlike my Bavaria porcelain dishes and silverplate.

And so I’ve returned to practicing my fountain pen writing. This is something I enjoy doing in my spare time when I can make the time that is. I do it mostly for fun nowadays and I’ve read that it isn’t so much what you write but how you hold the pen which is balanced on your knuckles and not clutched between the thumb and index finger. It was awkward for me to try at first, but once I quickly got accustomed to it, my writing was less complicated and flowed onto the page a lot easier. And this is all for my blog about antique fountain pens and ink wells. If interested I’m sure places like eBay, Etsy, and Ruby Lane might have fountain pens and ink wells for sale. Thanks as always for reading, liking, blogging, commenting and sharing. I truly appreciate it.  🙂

High Heels: pretty dangerous, but oh, so gorgeous!

Published July 13, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

I’ve lost count somewhere between twenty four and twenty seven pairs of high heels that I have bought over the span of a few years. This excludes my flat sandals/ flat heels. Throughout the years there have been some nice dress shoes I bought second hand and made a painful (and blistering) realization as to why the previous shoe owner donated a great looking pair of heels/ sandals /shoes.

 

I believe women have a right to own as many pairs of high heels, sandals, tennis shoes, flip flops (in my day we used to call them ‘thongs’) that she sees fit so long as she has a closet to store all of them. And mine? They’re stored away in shoe bags.

 

What’s a ball park average for say a pair of authentic Valentino stilettos? Well, if you’re a woman who’s beyond ridiculously high maintenance, then $1,000 (USD) for a pair of those original bad boys wouldn’t be an issue.

 

Now for the more *cough*, practical and seasoned shoe shopper that just happens to find a pair of Valentino knock-offs as a lucky thrift store find or perhaps does price-comparison shopping will tell you, sometimes the real deal doesn’t look or feel so sexy after all when comfort is concerned.

 

High heels are fairly standard wardrobe accessories for most women, although not all because others prefer flats as opposed to high heels. Men, don’t feel left out. Perhaps you can glean some gift-giving ideas for that special lady. And it never hurts to ask around, either.

 

It all began with a pair of open-toed high heels I purchased in a thrift store some number of years back. They’re a small size which is likely why nobody else bought them. They fit me nearly perfect. But why did I want to add high heels to my wardrobe when I seldom ever wear them? At least I never wore them daily and don’t plan to because I want to keep my feet and arches in good shape. Secondly, I don’t want to break an ankle while wearing them. And third, I want to keep them looking nice for those special occasions.

 

As a rule when thrift store shopping; if you happen upon a great find, and you’re in a financial position to do so, buy said item(s). Many times over I would happen upon a great find, and reason with myself that said items will still be there tomorrow. Well, in most of those instances the items sold in less than an hour the very same day.

 

I’ll never forget the time I was in the dressing room and my shopping cart was full, and I found a deal on one of those high brand mops with the twist handle so I wouldn’t have to wring out a mop by hand anymore. I thought $2 was a bargain considering these mops sell brand new for about $20… Anywho—I return to my cart and my mop is missing. Some random shopper had the gallbladder stones to snatch it out of my cart. Lesson learned the hard way: when thrift store shopping take somebody along with you to watch your cart contents while in the dressing room. I can’t count how many times shoppers will just take stuff out of other shopper’s carts all the time. If you’re a regular shopper of thrift stores always watch your thrift store hauls like a hawk.

 

I found some good high heels in thrift stores anywhere from .29 cents a pair up to $3. That’s the most I’d ever spend on a pair of high heels, or so I thought before I purchased three pairs of discounted new high heels from K-Mart. Now, I know what the reader might be thinking, “K-Mart? You’re kidding, right?” Nope. I had reward points that expired soon and wanted to use those. I detest Wally world with a passion for reasons I won’t get into and K-Mart has slightly better quality items and fashions. Plus I love the outdated look of K-Mart. It’s all about creature comforts and the layout hasn’t changed much over the decades, either. Whew! 🙂

 

Do I know who Jaclyn Smith is? No, but she broke off my toe nail today as I did a hobble to my vehicle after running errands. I might have spouted off how much I disliked her (brand) of high heel at first before I had a chance to appreciate the comfort level of said high heels. It’s not Jaclyn’s fault K-Mart only stocked one size of her high heels in the discount section and had no half sizes for slender footed women out there. The size I wound up purchasing do fit with ankle cushion inserts so my feet don’t slide and I haven’t experienced any further problems. And the other brand “Attractions” was out of the sleek black shinny “Zoey” high heel on K-Mart’s discount shoe section. The toe was slightly pointy not rounded and caught my eye instantly so that says something about the overall style.

I’m not trashing Jaclyn Smith’s heels nor that of her clothing line. Now some of her clothes do appeal to me. But I can’t find anything of hers that fits me. I mean it’s all very casual and still gives off a sense of “youthfulness” and class that is tailored to just about every woman of any age and income. But her clothes are very cookie cutter ‘one size fits all’ mass-produced a lot of the time.

Since I’ve made it to my weigh loss goal I now fall into the ‘hard to buy for’ petite/ misses category almost veering into a ‘late’ teenager wardrobe section, I sorted through my old jeans and donated all but one pair I saved for when I’m working. The skinny jeans are the way to go for me nowadays because unlike regular jeans, there’s not a massive amount of leg material that needs to either be hemmed or rolled up. I also like the tapered leg of the skinny jeans and jeggings although I always told myself (negatively that is something I really must break myself of), I’d never be able to ‘rock’ a pair of those skinny jeans/jeggings in my lifetime. And as it turns out I’ve been able to find my size without any problems and they fit comfortably, but some good advice when jeggings/ skinny jean shopping; what might fit you great in your average size, may not fit well at all in another brand, so always take the time to try on a few different sizes. I discovered this helpful advice online some number of years ago.

And for the longest time I did my homework when it comes to these impressive, beautiful, sexy, yet somewhat dangerous high heels and what colors go well with both skinny jeans, dresses, and/ or shorts. And the result?

Well, for starters, I pounded the pavement in a pair of chunky sandals that could pass for heels. I tried this because I knew I’d likely break an ankle in stilettos my first time out. Until a woman gets her stride down wearing a pair of those, it’s strongly encouraged to start small with either chunky heels and/or wedge shoes that have more range of stability. So, I started out small and don’t plan to make a career of walking in high heels on a daily basis because I found they are very hard on the arches, ball of the feet, back, legs, etc. Also, keep in mind those thin stilettos have to bare the brunt of a woman’s full body weight, so its no wonders our feet, arches and other parts ache and break after a long day at the office or being on the go.

Well, until you’ve mastered walking in high heels without doing the banana splits or breaking an ankle, practice, practice, practice! Practice walking at home in high heels, at least this was highly advisable by some high heel wearing pros on Youtube. And try to walk on all surfaces like hardwood floors, tile, carpet, grass is quite tricky and the heels just sink into the ground. Always use the handrails when walking up and down the stairs and take it very slow. One other helpful tip: take baby steps and its heel to toe. Your heel is suppose to go down first, then the ball of your foot. Your stride will be different and slowed down considerably in high heels as opposed to tennis shoes. And carry those emergency booties, ladies. I’ve seen these compact ‘shoes’ in Dollar General and really it does sound like good advice even if a woman doesn’t wear high heels. Never know when you might need a pair of them.

I have one little black dress that *sigh* is made of that nasty 100 percent polyester. Until I can find another dress similar in style to it in cotton and a little less “swim suit” feeling against my skin, I’ll hang onto it. I highly doubt I’ll ever don that plastic skin-tight garment anytime soon, (if ever), but it’s made by a company called “Taboo”. Don’t know the exact age of said black dress or if it was expensive. I bought it used.

What other shoe hauls other than Jaclyn Smith and Attraction from K-Mart did I find?

Let’s see here… (sorts through her shoe bags)… I have some Charlotte Russe which retail for $35 new. I bought all of mine used in ‘like new’ condition for about $4 a pair and sometimes at a discount for around $2.00 per pair. And I have some by Fioni and “Fioni Nights” which are a Payless Shoe store brand from my research and retail for about $18 new. They look sexy and sophisticated for being an inexpensive high heel. I even have a pair of Apt. 9 high heels in one size up than what I normally wear. But again, it was the color and style that appealed to me the most and they were a dollar at the thrift store.

I purchased all of my Finoni high heels for about $1-3 each from thrift stores. And there’s another brand I picked up, and even though they’re one size larger than what I usually wear, but when I seen them, I couldn’t put them down! I loved everything about those Antonio Melani high heels, a Dillard’s brand of high heel that retails between $35-109. I bought my pair second hand for $3. And even though it would take a few of those ankle cushion inserts to ever wear these beautiful high heels, I doubt I will because they’re just too ‘Cinderella’-ish to be an ‘everyday’ type of heel, I feel. That, and I have no exceptionally nice outfits or dresses beautiful enough that would compliment said expensive Antonio high heels. And then I have a pair of Gianni Bini high heels that retail for $69-98 at Dillard’s. I bought my pair for $3 second-hand. I plan to reserve those for special occasions and when I gain more practice walking in high heels.

I have some lesser expensive high heels that are a no-frills kind that likely came from a department store for under $10. But its finding these high heels in the right size that won’t make my feet slip or break off a toe nail that’s a challenge. I did see a pair of Fredrick’s of Hollyweird, err, “Hollywood” pair of French Maid/ Role play shoes for $4.99 used. I didn’t buy those because they were gigantic on my slender feet and just fell off. I have heard that Fredrick’s of Hollywood is a famous lingerie store in California. I’ve only seen maybe two other Fredrick’s of Hollywood lingerie pieces ever surface in thrift stores and it’s not often those stick around. And I’ve also seen a ton of Victoria’s Secret lingerie at thrift stores. Some good advice: leave those teddies alone. Don’t know who wore them before you and if lingerie is a ‘must have’, please, buy it brand new just for personal hygiene’s sake.

I have reasonably deducted that the high heels I keep coming across used must have been donated by a hooker or a trio of ladies of the night. I say this because coming across such fancy high heels (in used “excellent” condition in their boxes with hardly any signs of wear) isn’t all that common to find in my local thrift stores. I’ve seen the all-too-familiar ‘clubbing’ high heels that strippers wear. But those are usually a size 10 and up. What woman has feet that huge? I think to myself, however, my mother let me know the depressing mother-daughter fact of life that our feet grow and flatten as we get older. Thanks a lot. Now I can expect to have unattractive basketball player-sized feet when I get older. 😦

The ‘clubbing’/ exotic dancer high heels don’t stick around very long in the thrift stores. And it’s not often I do come across expensive (and well made) high heels used in my size, but I’ve come home with quite a shoe haul for dirt cheap.

My purpose of going to rue 21 yesterday was to look at their picked over selection of standard Valentino knock-off high heels. Now those gladiator sandals really don’t have any appeal to me and feel uncomfortable to try on. But the Valentino knock-offs I’ve read are worth it because sometimes they feel and look far better than the actual Italian-made, outrageously expensive high heel. And then I found the second of the last pair of Qupids that lace up and they were deeply discounted. It was a pity rue 21 only had one size of those lacy high heels in my size. I believe the next size up would run a little too big, but if they’re still there come pay day, I may have to pop in and check those out.

I keep finding Jessica Simpson high heels all the time in thrift stores, but they’re always in a size too big for me. Some of her styles I do like but wouldn’t ever pay full price for when new. Buying used high heels has taught me a lot about fashion as well. Now used sandals are another story. I’ve had to turn around and re-donate a few pairs of sandals that would blister my toes and ankles and they’d feel so uncomfortable on my feet that it was no wonders a thrift store couldn’t practically give them away for .29 cents. As always, thanks for reading, liking, sharing, tweeting, re-blogging, etc. I always appreciate it. 🙂

 

The Edison C-19 story and how it all began.

Published June 10, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

It’s a long fascinating journey, and it’s very atypical of a young woman taking up as a serious hobby, but somehow things just ‘fell into place’ and took off from there.

 

It was right before my great grandmother passed away in 2003, I believe and I had been writing back home to her like clockwork about all the new antiques I was slowly, but surely, accumulating, so-to-speak. She was thrilled and wrote back one letter in particular that stated she wanted me to have some coal oil lamps for my antique dresser (at this time it wasn’t Eastlake, but it was from probably the early 1900’s). She went onto say that she wanted me to have her celluloid dresser set with hair brush and comb and corset cover. I have since acquired all those items, plus some cigar boxes that belonged to my great grandfather (her first husband) and his folding metal ruler with worn leather case. Oh, and dad got the Victrola, and in our family that was a big ‘to-do’. Rather it was more of a matter to see that it arrived safely to its new home and it did. In our family you had to help out with chores in order to earn the right to listen to the Victrola. And in 1990 during that one blazing hot summer, I received that same right to listen to the Victrola for the first time after I helped great grandmother wash dishes. At the time I was thirteen and likely had seen the Victrola  before at my great grandparent’s, but never took any fascination to it.

 

In fact, the fascination that surrounded that particular Victrola machine wouldn’t come back to haunt me (pun intended), until I was in my late Twenties. By this time my great grandmother’s health was failing and just how serious it really was was alarming since she’d always had the mind sharp as a tack and at the last we’d became very close pen-pals since I was living in the state over. Most of all she became my biggest ally during a time in my young teenage years when I had none, especially when it came to the topic of old music. She sided with me which I found astonishing when I was thirteen and she naturally shared a lot of my views as well. I later find out that the Flapper era (she was a part of at fifteen and married to her first husband, by the way) centered around pushing the envelope much like every coming up generation did or tried to do after hers. However, a flapper would smoke and drink (when prohibition was enforced and the country was dry), and powder her nose in public which was once considered taboo in my great grandmother’s time. And nowadays we just whip out the powder compacts like its nothing. She told me to wear my makeup because we earned the right and to treat it like gold. And she was right. Makeup is still expensive to this very day, but I found myself weeding out a lot of my old makeup like used mascaras and old eye shadows that wound up in the trash due to potential bacteria concerns. That, and I hardly wear makeup anymore because it irritates my skin.

 

Shortly before she passed away I wrote letters to her constantly not ever receiving a reply. My suspicion that something wasn’t right didn’t go unfounded for very long. At first I was kept in the dark about how she was being terribly abused by her caregiver. I often wondered after the fact if that’s why she never wrote me back. Perhaps her caregiver tossed my letters in the trash. And I also heard that my great grandmother would have her good days, and bad. Her mind was going and she wouldn’t be able to recognize family members at the very last. I had told my dad’s mother about not getting any replies and how odd I found it, and then told my dad’s mother that she must have been mad at me for buying an Edison phonograph instead of a Victrola (like we have in the family). Shocked over hearing my wrong assumption, my dad’s mother flew out of the house and told me that wasn’t the case at all, and then proceeded to explain to me that great grandmother’s mental health had been in decline since the death of her husband a year or so before and then she eventually suffered heart failure at the very last. And there was a lot of elder abuse by her caregiver as well which was frankly, horrible, shocking and inexcusable.

But for many years after great grandmother’s death I began to have nightmares about that Victrola. And in all these nightmares I see myself glancing at the turntable and not seeing a 78 on it. I must add to that at this point in time I hadn’t received a record list of music in great grandmother’s collection. There were two records I distinctly remember hearing when I was thirteen, “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No Mo” and it was on a black bat wing Victor 78, however, the artist escaped my mind. But Carl Fenton’s Orchestra had did a rendition of that song on a Brunswick 78 that matches the artist I heard that day so long ago.

And that same day in the summer of 1990 we also listened to rural comic, Cal Stewart “Uncle Josh in a Chinese Laundry” and “Uncle Josh on a bicycle”. I remember it fondly because great grandmother asked me what I liked to do for a past time, flashing me a wise all-too-knowing smirk, then happily flipped through those old leather bound record books before selecting a 78. I rattled off, “Skateboarding,” since at this time it was still very much a male-dominated sport and there weren’t too many girl skateboarders that were die-hard serious about skateboarding. When I say die-hard, they had the expensive top-of-the-line skateboards and high end ball-bearing wheels like I had on my beloved Mark Gonzales Vision ‘mini’-skateboard. Due to my pint size I couldn’t ride a regular adult skateboard so for a brief while they made mini-versions of the original sizes. Very cute and highly collectable and I’m kicking myself now for not hanging onto said skateboard and keeping it put up. 😮

 

Well, Uncle Josh lived long before the invention of skateboards and he passed away in 1919. I had to try another and I said, “Bicycle”. And great grandmother placed a 78 on the turn table, cranked up the machine and released the brake. The record spun around faster than anything I’d seen and she placed the steel needle on the 78. The sound just filled the room. The comic laughed with a now familiar laugh that will forever resonate in my ears and draw me close to a Victrola and/ or Edison. I have some of this same comic’s rural sketches on the Edison Diamond Disc too. And it will always take me back to that first moment I laid eyes and ears on that particular machine. And in my nightmares about that Victrola, no 78 existed. In my waking hours I couldn’t make sense of it. I mean, why now so many years later and after her death was I beginning to have nightmares about the family-owned Victrola?

My ex-boyfriend summed it up: it could actually be a sign that these 78’s no longer existed in her collection since I kept having the nightmare repeatedly for a year and half after her death. When the day came that my dad’s mother mailed me the record list, I held out a glimmer of hope, but wasn’t too disappointed to discover that neither copy of “Uncle Josh on Bicycle” or that of the song “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No Mo’” didn’t make the list. I mean, unless we had a Mandela effect happen back in 1990 that summer, those were the 78s we listened to. I also found out before my dad’s mother passed away that it wasn’t uncommon for great grandmother to throw away broken 78s simply because the sentimental attachment to them wasn’t there. Sure, they may be hard to find 78’s nowadays and eventually I found descent copies from eBay years later and it was well worth the wait. A very eerie twist to this Edison phonograph story is that I have almost duplicated all the copies of all of my great grandmother’s 78s long before I received the record list in hand, minus my collection doesn’t contain any of the Decca 78’s though.

As they say great minds think alike and perhaps there was this certain compulsion that drove me to spend hours in the freezing cold out in a shed of one antique store in particular during the winter of 2004 and in the heat of summer searching and sorting for foxtrots and early jazz with some instrumental and sentimental ballad 78s thrown in as well. I never did get around to itemizing a full list of my own 78s but really should do it sometime soon and then back them up to a jump drive or as like to call a ‘Tom thumb’ drive.

It wasn’t until 2008 amidst another family crisis when I finally did find a sense of closure and the nightmares about the Victrola ended when I visited my great grandmother’s grave for the first time. And on her grave I placed a personally inscribed Edison Diamond Disc that was too worn out to be played, plus I had said song on backup copy.

I didn’t go to great grandma’s funeral which shocked many in my family because we had been close in the beginning and also in the end, and she had been the only grandma with no fear that stepped in and helped my parents care for me when I was a sickly premature baby. I only found out years later I was her favorite out of the fifteen great grandchildren.

After the Edison C-19 came a few more upright antique phonographs and table tops too, but that’s the one that started all and still remains. The Edison C-19 took a major hit when I thought I wanted to ship it off and have it completely and thoroughly cleaned, then had a sudden change of heart. Something just didn’t feel right and I quick as I could made the place where I shipped it to send it back after much back and forth email exchanges where they tried convincing me they’d be more than happy to keep it for as long as needed. Mind you, at this point, there had been no work done on this machine, but boy howdy, did I learn a valuable lesson to never, ever ship off an entire mainboard assembly with the horn attached in a box several states away. Not only did the horn arrive broke from it’s lift rod, but the turntable platter appeared to have been met with a cheese grater and it the green felt was in almost near mint condition before I shipped it off. I did insure the machine for what I paid for it, but never filed a claim with an insurance adjuster because it would have been my word against the place I shipped it to, and it would have been difficult to pin point if it was a simple case of human shipping error on my behalf, or if the damage had been deliberately caused. Either way, I’m sure the place I shipped it too is laughing their butts off, figuring there wouldn’t be a snowball chance in heck that I’d be capable of repairing the whole phonograph to working order, and as luck would have, I did with my ex-boyfriend’s help. We worked hours soldering the horn back onto the lift rod, then spray-painted over the repaired spots with black paint, let it dry and still the biggest test was yet to come…

We’re our efforts all in vain? Or did we just fix the impossible? It wound up okay, and the horn lift knob had a burr in it. The wooden lever was broke and I had to buy a replacement for that plus another screw and believe me, you can’t find either at Ace Hardware. So those had to be special-ordered from an entirely different outfit with much better prices. And the horn still ‘hangs-up’ and won’t set down on the record which is due to the damage the phonograph incurred, that and I never did get around to fixing the lift knob yet.

It wound up alright and by 1: 45 am we heard it play again. At this time I was emailing another repairman who offered to sell me an entire mainboard assembly since trying to solder those old horns back in place were impossible to do. We did it using lead solder and fluxing compound (the old kind that plumber’s used to use) that my ex-boyfriend had lying around. And we also used a hand-held blow torch. So that Edison C-19 oak cabinet had been put through heck and back and I’m now more the wiser since my early days. It still plays and it still gives off that slight haunted vibe from time to time, although it’s faded through the years since I’ve owned it. But in the beginning owning this Edison C-19 was brand new to me. I didn’t always understand the mechanics behind them other than they don’t use electricity to operate. They use a hand crank that winds up the mainsprings, that in turn, play an Edison Diamond Disc.

Some other machines were sold here and there because I either needed the money for some other project or simply ran out of space. Mind you, all nine of these machines stayed in one bedroom along with the cylinder phonographs and table tops. And when I moved, I traded off a few to upgrade to a slightly higher end model of an Edison Amberola 75 and gave away one table top model and one suitcase model Victrola to my friend.

It’s the collecting part that’s half the fun, but its when these antiques are restored to their fullest potential that makes all those searches, all that time and money spent, all that hard, extensive hands-on work truly pay off. And I have the habit of preserving these 78’s on cd and upload them to my MP3 player as well.

And just some slice of wisdom; should you ever turn around and sell these antique phonographs you probably won’t get out of them what you put into getting them fully restored. People will try to price-gouge you as well. So be leery of the ‘want something for nothing’ types that will try to beat you up and walk all over you if the day should ever come you need to part with one of those beautiful wind-ups. I know as a seller of these antique phonographs it’s very much like working in retail. You deal with all sorts of online customers sight unseen, and if they want museum “mint” antique phonographs, why do they buy mine knowing well in advance nothing will be showroom perfect? I clearly state if the phonographs has had any repair work done to it and not to expect factory new results. These machines are very simple and they are what they are. There is no bass boost on a Victrola. If you use a Tungs-tone stylus or a Loud tone needle then you might break the sound barrier when you play John Phillip Sousa. And once the cabinets are refinished, they’ll lose whatever value they had to begin with.

 

So, my best advice to you: leave the cabinet alone, please and don’t attempt to varnish them. You will get more money out of it if it’s left un-restored.  Now rarity and price, I would be more than happy to share at The Victor Victrola page. Note: I don’t own nor operate this website. It is a database reference for makes and models of Victrola only. They do not cover Edison phonographs. There are books (in print) that are collector’s guides, but I’ve noticed nearly all of those are very expensive and don’t contain enough information (specs) about the machines other than showcasing some expensive (out of my attainable reach) museum quality phonographs. Now the best book for restoring these antique phonographs is The Compleat Talking Machine.

 

Thanks for reading, liking, re-blogging, sharing, commenting, tweeting. I truly appreciate it. There’s more to come but it’ll take me time to add to this blog and will as I can find the time to do so. 🙂

Collecting silverplate: The saga continues…

Published April 3, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1
silverplate brushes 4-1-16

Three antique silverplate brushes.

 

Everywhere I look there’s something else that catches my eye. How much silverplate is too much? To a collector that would be hard to define. I have come across (and paid high prices for), a few pieces of early tarnished (almost black), dented, dinged, and cracked silverplate and that was when I was a newbie to collecting and didn’t know any better. We all live and learn along the way. In fact, a few pieces were so bad off, they’d likely do better extracting whatever trace amounts of silver was left in them rather than hide them in some closet out of sight.

 

And during my time collecting silverplate I’ve also come across some mis-matched pieces, forlorn, and almost every piece silently begged to be re-purposed (as in using it for something else other than what it was meant for in some cases). Other times it just required a very good thorough soak in hot water, baking soda and placed in an aluminum roasting pan.

 

On the other hand do keep in mind the more delicate silverplate pieces like combs, brushes, and certain types of footed creamer and sugar pots mustn’t get too hot in a water/ baking soda bath. Why? Because some of the feet, pour spouts and handles were fused with lead back in the day. Lead, when subjected to high heat can melt, thus ruining that once stunning tea pot or water pitcher. Thankfully, I haven’t had any issues when soaking my silverplate to remove the years of tarnish, but just the same, I do keep a constant eye on it from start to finish when I clean it.

 

How to date silverplate:

 

If it is dark (almost black) this doesn’t mean the piece is tarnished, rather it has been oxidized over the years. Depending on how and when a particular piece of silverplate was designed (and what year), can be traced either by a maker’s mark, or by the age of the silverplate and the darkening of the silverplate (or absence thereof). And it doesn’t really mean that the silverplate lost all of its ‘silver plated’ finish. I found out if a piece of silverplate is dark and kind of heavy to the feel, it is an older piece (pre-1900s), for example. If it resembles tarnish and feels light weight, the particular piece might have been produced after the late 1800’s. It appears that some folks nowadays are extracting what silver they can from these precious antiques thus ruining them entirely.

 

Oh, and the issue of potential lead is another concern. However, if the silverplate is in tact and doesn’t have any scoring, gouges, scratches, chips or cracks, then it might be safe to use if it’s a sugar or creamer set, a salt and pepper shaker. Some collectors advise to promptly toss out the salt and pepper when done with a meal, and make sure the salt and pepper shakers are clean and allowed to dry completely after washing them out by hand. I wouldn’t recommend placing any silverplate item in a dishwasher. In fact, it amazes me that so many people don’t do dishes the old-fashioned way anymore: at the sink with some dish soap, a sparingly amount of bleach, and hot water.

 

I see folks commenting all the time when it comes to buying up old porcelain dishes, Transfer ware, antique Ball, Kerr, Quick-Seal, and Mason canning jars that have wire dome glass lids and the zinc porcelain-lined screw cap lids. Some canners still use the antique canning jars and just fit them with new lids and bands. I’ve also found that antique canning jars come in very handy for storing dry foods like beans, pasta, rice, flour, etc. I can’t vouch for the silverplate items as I’ve downsized yet again, only to buy some silverplate brushes likely from the 19th century or a little earlier. They might be hair brushes, or clothing brushes. I have one right now I’m in the process of shaking out some sediment. The celluloid overlay has come slightly detached from the silverplate handle, and thus it sounds like a maraca when shook and loose bits of black dust fall out. I suspect this might be coal dust, or something very similar. So it leads me to believe this brush had collected soot most possibly when homes were once heated by coal and wood as a primary heating source which in turn might date this particular brush back to the early 1900s or earlier.

 

The designs on the brushes are what catch my eye, and you just don’t see beauty like that anymore. When have I ever walked into a store, plucked a package of plastic brushes (or combs) and saw a breath-taking embossed image of a woman’s face, hair free-flowing and every nook, crevasse and cranny filled with a flower motifs? Nowhere in today’s times, and since I’m making great strides to downsize all the plastics out of my life (although I do realize plastics can’t be entirely avoided), I figured silverplate brushes, combs and other antiques will likely survive another 100 years.

 

I love silverplate, and since using a real bristle silverplate hair brush and versus the inferior plastic counterparts, my hair is thanking me for it. When I used plastic brushes (didn’t matter if was cheap or pricy), my hair would never fail to snap and tangles were painful to brush out, creating more frustration, painful tangles. There’s a different sensation to using a real bristled antique hair brush as opposed to using a plastic one. I even discovered that some of the celluloid hair brushes worked better than what’s mass-marketed today, and with a growing trend among health-conscious consumers, you’d think there’d be more choices than just plastic hair brushes and combs. I seen a real bamboo toothbrush made of wood. But the bristles were made by the DuPont company and sounded very much like a synthetic plastic just marketed under a new name. Oh, and the toothbrush was made in China from American parts and cost $6.

 

Well, looks like its plastic toothbrushes for the time being, and no, I would never, ever use an antique celluloid toothbrush. I only saw one surface many years ago in a matching set that had belonged to a family going back generations. The real boar bristles were very dirty, tanned, and the celluloid itself appeared very unclean, yellowed, and stained. Sometimes celluloid attracts stains like magnets. And here again, why brush with an antique that’s comprised of camphor and nitrate? That’s asking for it if you want my opinion and icky. Now I don’t mind sanitizing the celluloid hair brushes or even the combs, but the celluloid combs never worked great for me.

 

Now the silverplate brushes make good dry skin brushes since the bristles are already broken in in some cases, soft, and likely made out of real boar hair, or similar bristles and not plastic since that wasn’t invented until the 1930s.

 

A dry skin brush routine also helps the skin breathe, helps blood circulation and the body release a build up of toxins. When I read about the dry skin brush and it’s advantages in a recent 2015 freebie vitamin magazine, I remembered late natural path Bernarr McFadden promoted doing the same along with friction ‘baths’ as he termed them. A friction bath is taking a dry towel and rubbing it all over your body. It is similar to a dry skin brush which he does recommend as well. And I decided to put my antique silverplate hair brushes to good use. After all I had neglected them for the past two years or so, and found some more recently to add to my collection.

 

The dry skin brush works best with a shower/bath brush. But the advice given in the vitamin magazine urged to avoid plastic bristle brushes because not only are they rough on the skin, but also plastics might contain harmful BPA’s as well. At any rate, I’m sticking with my silverplate brushes. Hope you enjoyed my blog. As always thanks for reading, commenting, sharing, liking, tweeting, re-blogging. I truly appreciate it! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

The forlorn antique pewter cruet set…

Published November 21, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

Copy of table parlor1 Indeed, it called to me silently: four empty glass condiment containers that likely hadn’t seen table service since when? Probably since the late 1880’s. Curious as I was about it, I flipped the price tag over. $22 that’s more in my price range, and no, that doesn’t make me impractical, but I think in terms of what I feel an item should reflect price-wise.

I returned home to think about it. That roughly translates: “Don’t think about it too long.” Because it goes without saying if you see an item for a good price, then chances are someone else will swoop in and buy it out from under you. It’s happened a lot to me.

But it’s also within writing this that alas the pewter cruet set I purchased does contain lead. Does that shock me after the fact? Nope. I suspected such was the case.

Now before I go off on a ‘back in the day’… they didn’t know what we now understand about lead contamination and what nasty effects lead poisoning can do to the body.

From the pewter cleaning article I skimmed through it suggested mixing half a cup of flour, a teaspoon of salt and some vinegar, baking soda into a paste. Coat this paste on the pewter piece and gently polish it. Pewter won’t shine like silver or that of silverplate either. The end result is okay, but nothing fantastic. I think I’ll let the pewter age again and don’t plan to re-polish it. I have a habit of cleaning everything that first comes into my home since I don’t know where, how, or who cared for it before I purchased it.

So, the forlorn pewter cruet set sat there day after day in the antique store. The weeks rolled by and still no takers. I was looking for an antique cruet set within my budget (Good luck finding one of those for under $20 that isn’t “As-Is” with missing, cracked or taped together shattered glass bottles). I looked at several the shop had to offer and the more expensive silverplate cruets really didn’t appeal to me, surprisingly.

The antique store owner is exceptionally helpful and always willing to go out of their way to show me more antique cruet sets they have. I sincerely appreciate all their help.

And there’s ruby glass antique cruet sets. No, thanks. It’s not that I have anything against ruby glass, I just want something that’s not going to be one of those high dollar antiques that might be accident prone.

And what about those original glass condiment containers? What’s a person to do if one of those accidentally breaks? Hopefully, that won’t happen. But with all antiques anything can happen no matter how well cared for and loved. Replacements from other mismatched sets can be obtained.

And what about the glass containers? They might have lead or some other kind of heavy metal. Nowadays people tend to collect antique cruet sets for display purposes (I’m sure there are those that do use them). I don’t plan to use the cruet set simply due to its age, for one. And secondly, the fragility of the glass containers. Sure, the salt and pepper shakers are nice—actually the best condition I’ve seen thus far in all antique cruet sets I’ve run across.

So… I cleaned and polished. And now knowing that antique pewter does contain lead, I tossed all used dust rags into the trash. I don’t re-wash or re-use the dust rags that comes in contact with pewter or even silverplate.

How does a person know if an antique cruet set contains lead? Wash and polish it with a homemade flour paste with a little vinegar, salt, and baking soda. And when you dry it off and there’s more black residue on the rags and your hands, you’ll know there’s lead in the pewter.

The older the pewter the more black residue there will be. Also, this might help in dating a particular piece of pewter if you can’t find a maker’s mark. Mine has some of the mark missing. The words I made out K and CO, which might mean it is a Knickerbocker Silver company cruet set likely made sometime in the early/ late 1890’s. My first guess was early 1900’s, so perhaps I wasn’t too far off the mark.

Older pewter will darken with age and this is due to handling without white cotton gloves on, oxidization, and oils from our hands can be very unforgiving on pewter and other lead-created metals from the past. The lead was added into the pewter to give it some substance, but lead is also a soft metal and shouldn’t be exposed to extreme heat as it does melt. I once bought what I thought to be at the time, a copper tea kettle. I’m sure you’ve seen these turn up from time to time in antique stores. The ones I used to love [at the time] were the kind with the porcelain handles. However, ninety percent of the copper tea kettles I was finding where made in Portugal, Korea, etc. And most of them, if not all, were in poor to extremely unusable condition. I waited for quite some time to find one that appeared in fairly okay condition.

I also heard more cons about the old copper tea kettles than pros. Well, the one I wound up buying was made in Portugal. The inside looked clean, but I still sanitized it, and before I ever used it, I boiled some water in it and noticed small itty bitty shiny beads on the burner falling from the spout. As it turned out, the spout had been fused to the tea kettle with lead. Thankfully, I never drank from it and never bought another since then.

I never would trust anybody that tells me those copper tea kettles are safe to drink from. And I would steer clear of the true antique copper tea kettles since the metals used to make them would probably contain a mix of alloy, zinc, lead, copper, tin and a bunch of other nasties that would be a toxicity brew nowadays.

And what about that antique cruet set that I just bought? It’ll be a display piece only.

As always, thanks for liking, re-blogging, sharing, tweeting, commenting. I do appreciate it. 🙂

Silverplate: More tonsil stabbers and spoons.

Published November 10, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

Why do I keep calling the forks tonsil stabbers? Because they can be and the tines are very sharp! The spoons are vintage– I’m uncertain how ‘antique’ they are. But here’s the info I’ve gathered on the recent addition to this mismatched silverplate hodgepodge I keep adding to from time to time.

The spoons likely date anywhere between the 1930’s-40s (give or take). The forks might be a bit later, I wouldn’t say earlier because they don’t feel as durable as the 1880’s forks which have longer tines and are much sharper. However, simply because a silverplate spoon, fork, soup ladle or chowder spoon will have a date stamped on it like this, for example: Wm. and Rogers silverplate 1880 might not mean that it was produced in the late Eighteen-hundreds. It could refer to a particular pattern or style the silverware was made to look like. Now, I’ve seen a lot of tarnished silverplate and just about every spoon, fork, and knife I’ve stumbled upon will either be badly scored to gouged and therefore practically unusable… or if you like playing antique hostess, then the poor(er) quality of silverplate you may not want to display.

Yet, there’s so much silverplate that it literally can be mind boggling. And what price reflects a good piece of silverplate? It’s whatever the customer’s willing to pay for it. If you think $5 per spoon, fork or knife is worth it, then that’s how much you’ll pay. If you think $1 is a much better deal, then go for it. Personally, I have a saying: “It’s only worth as much as a person is willing to pay for it.”

Also, silverplate is being snapped up by silver/ metal collectors and then the silverplate is either altered into jewelry, sold for scrap metal or sold off by how many grams of silver a piece of silverplate contains. At least I’ve seen a few sellers state in their actions “xxx amount of grams in this silverplate.”

It’s my prediction that in the next few years or so silverplate won’t be as plentiful as it is today. However, my assumption of this could be way off. I’m just taking a guess. Here’s the “before” photo of the silverplate. This is before I soaked it in a scalding water bath with a sheet of foil underneath and a lot assistance from Arm n’ Hammer baking soda… (yep, I know) this could potentially ruin and/ or tarnish it further, but I’m not out to win any best displayed silverplate awards anytime soon.

silverplate forks spoons_before cleaning 11_9_15silverplate spoons and forks after cleaning