antique

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Antique Bavaria, R.S. Prussia, and Austria Porcelain.

Published September 16, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

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I know, don’t make it a habit. Don’t eat off of them. Don’t drink from those gorgeous delicate Bavaria tea cups, and steer clear of those antique silver plate Demi spoons and put that antique Demitasse cup back as it was. You can appreciate it with your eyes, just not your taste buds. It was once called The Rich Man’s curse because only the rich fell ill with lead-poisoning from porcelain dishes they used everyday back in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

It was at the antique store a while back where I discovered a demi-cup (not a bra), a Demitasse cup for drinking espresso coffee that was usually served after supper. Prices vary for antique dishes. Sometimes you might get lucky and find a near complete set of beautiful antique pristine dishes for dirt cheap.

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And where did I find out about it being a ‘rich man’s curse’? I actually had to do a lot of research on this topic of antique porcelain dishes to find this out. Way back in the Victorian era and I’m going to include the Edwardians in this as well since high society tended to drink and eat from gold-painted and hand-painted porcelain dishes. Those crazed, dusty, often times, aged antique porcelain dishes that appear too fragile to even look at with an undecided glance are what I’m talking about. The kind of dishes that would have given our ancestors lead poisoning in accumulative doses over time.

However, the low income Victorians and even the Edwardians did not have disposable incomes to throw around in their time when these antique dishes were brand new, so they more than likely ate and drank from inferior table wear and/ or tin cups perhaps.

The most expensive antique porcelain I’ve come across recently was stamped R.S. Prussia, which I later discovered, is incredibly scarce to find in mint and flawless condition nowadays. Even at that, expect to pay upwards of $85 for one sugar container that has no signs of crazing under the glaze, no chips, no cracks, and no blemishes, etc. I’ve even scoured eBay for price comparisons and was shocked by the higher prices for similar near complete sets of antique R.S. Prussia porcelain. I assume the prices reflect the era in which they were made somewhere between 1847-1914. Well, when pigs fly or if I ever win the lottery, then I might upgrade to some exquisite antique R.S. Prussia China.

I’m a little wiser now than I was a year ago in terms of collecting antique porcelain dishes and what to look for. I know to avoid using those gold-rimmed tea cups, plates, saucers, bread plates, oh and tea tiles. Excuse me?

I believe they were once called ‘tea tiles’ back in the 1800’s and a pot of steeped tea would be placed on the tile like a trivet. I don’t know when the tea tile fell out of fashion. In fact, I had no idea tea tiles existed until just recently when I laid eyes on a set of Bavaria stamped antique dishes and discovered a few miscellaneous tea tiles placed in with other misc. antique dishes.

Do I plan to use these antique Bavaria dishes? No. They will be for display until I can do further research. And since they’re one of a kind I may display them in a inset book shelf. I scoured the net and came across some porcelain collectors’ blogs describing in length what to avoid when buying/collecting antique porcelain dishes and whether or not they’re safe for everyday use. The verdict on how safe they are is still very up in the air and there’s a lot of inconclusive answers floating around.

The very early makers of porcelain dishes may have maker’s stamps, or they might not have any markings. Transferware is nice. However, it didn’t call to me nor does it ‘fit’ in my Victorian-themed porcelain dishes. My heart and eyes were set on that particular ‘Bavaria’ porcelain set that included a covered butter dish with pink roses. And it was pristine white. Can’t beat that. There were no chips, no cracks, no crazing under the glaze, no stains, but one or two dark spots likely from when it was produced and trapped under the glaze.

And that wraps up my antique dishes blog post. I do apologize if I’m unable to blog as often as I used to on here, but will continue to do so as my new schedule permits. I will continue to answer all comments on here like always, but there might be a delay due to my work load. Please keep checking back for more interesting antiques I might happen across. As always thank you for commenting, re-blogging, sharing, tweeting and liking. 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
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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! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Antiquing during a stroll

Published March 24, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1
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Mirror in “as found” condition. Before gluing the joints.

There’s a lot of stuff I’ve come across quite often on my walks. I have found money anywhere between $4, $10, and $20. I have even found a full book of postage stamps another time. And I’m always grateful to find anything while on my strolls. So, it pays to look on the ground. Take the time to scour parking lots, alleys, sidewalks, curbs when you take a walk because you never know what you might find.

It was a strong windy day. Hold on to your hat. Well, my beloved straw cowgirl hat was battered in no time. And the gusts would blow sand and dirt. Good thing I wore my shades. But the sand and dirt stung my legs something fierce.

 

How could there be any remote chance of snow later on? I thought as I merrily enjoyed the day getting my natural dose of Vitamin D from the sunlight. I didn’t think very favorable of the cyclone-like day we were having. But I didn’t despair and kept trudging right along getting blown off course (literally) and into a grassy stretch of an empty lot. I was originally going to take the over pass sidewalk just to avoid waiting on non-stop trains that love to just slow down and stop at every intersection. Then the trains will back up, creating a long line of cars backed up for miles. There should be a law against the trains doing that. It’s not only a frustration for motorists, but also to people on foot that have to wait for an incredibly long time.

 

I believe I wasn’t even half way when the gusts decided it for me: my stroll was going to be short-lived. Sure, I’d get to where I intended to go, maybe just not right when I wanted to. Trying to walk into the wind was challenging, and painful when the sand hit my body. Then I look toward the train tracks. They were clear, and instead of me hoofing it clear out of my way, I headed several blocks (hoping there wouldn’t be another train to block the intersections). And as luck would have it, I made it across safely and there were no signs of any trains. Strange, because I kept hearing the blaring noise of the train track signals every few minutes it seemed like today.

 

But my eyes spied a green bean seed packet. Could it be? Aw, drats! Empty. Well, if you’re a serious green thumb, a newbie to gardening/ herb container grower or live on a farm, then the urge to inspect any discarded garden seed packet for potential overlooked beans or seeds is always worth a look. Never know where you might find free food. I say that because green beans are easy to grow. I don’t recall the particular brand of the green bean packet other than it caught my attention on my walk.

 

So I mosey on, keeping a firm hand on my hat or what’s left of it. Ahead of my sights are more shuttered businesses that ceased. It’s not surprising considering the area of town isn’t part of a tourist trap. In fact, it could so use some revitalization if city planners and tax payer money would go to good use to re-hab some of the most forlorn eyesore properties, but I can safely bet, nothing will ever happen. The buildings will continue to decay. The ‘for rent’ and ‘for sale’ signs will remain indefinitely. And it looks straight out of an episode of The Walking Dead. But it’s an area of town that’s for lack of a better word, ‘antique’. I mean the buildings have their roots some dating back to the early 1930s, and maybe a little before the Depression era. But that’s not particularly what drew me to stroll down this area of town. I see a junk yard of cars enclosed by a long span of chain link. Between the links are white broken plastic (think in terms of mini-blinds), and behind that is a mini-salvage yard for vehicles. It really doesn’t impress me, but junk yards, in general, are nearly all gone nowadays. I cross the street and see a business that doesn’t have any customers. It’s a very old antique-looking brick building.

 

Very old by out-ward appearances. Interior-wise, looks like a 1970s slapped together in one day look and vibe about it. I feel as though I’ve transcended into the past. I suppose it was the overcast day and everything was hazy even the sun. And right in front of me was an antique mirror with an attached Art Deco light fixture. The mirror is leaning against the old building. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mercury coated beveled glass staring back at me.

 

Lord knows I’ve been praying to happen across by chance an antique mirror. The light fixture and antique incandescent light bulb were a plus. Instead of giving it much thought, I carry on my way and then… back-track. I do a double take. The mirror is in tact, but the frame has seen better days. In fact, I surmise it was originally yanked out of a bathroom due to its added on light fixture and partial two screws holding two broken pieces of plastic in the lower corner. Could have been a tooth brush holder, maybe a soap dispenser.

 

I try to talk myself out of even inquiring about said mirror. But something about the mirror appearing discarded and forgotten latched onto me. Maybe it was that white chipped paint, weather-beaten wood underneath. Good grief, I think to myself, I’ll never get it home on foot, and definitely not in this cyclone of a day. But wait—the light shade is milk glass. The shade itself practically screams “I am Art Deco!” and so loudly that it would make the nearby resident want to chuck rocks at it. Maybe that’s how the shade got broke in the first place.

broken fixture shade before cleaning

On the ground I discover three fragments of milk glass in the parking lot. I study myself in the large mirror. The mirror I would have to guess was manufactured even before the late Twenties when Art Deco became in vogue. Oh, and the light fixture retains an antique incandescent light bulb.

1458769540467

Perhaps an original Thomas Edison light bulb? In 2016? I crook the brim of my hat to get a better look. Yeah, right. It would have to be a Chinese knock off “Edison” bulb found at Lowe’s. But no. It pre-dates the Chinese knock-offs and its about as authentic as the day it was produced eons ago.

 

The filament and connecting wires are very different than any past or current incandescent light bulb I’ve seen. I know Thomas Edison invented the light bulb and this light bulb looked like a familiar design of his. I also own Edison phonographs, and researched him extensively for my phonograph restoration and that has nothing to do whether the light bulb still works or not.

 

before cleaning of the wall mount light fixture

There’s dirt and grime and I wouldn’t trust testing out that light socket plug. In the old days bare wires were covered with a piece of inset cardboard between the prongs of the plug to prevent two bare wires from crossing. Yikes!

Despite the broken milk glass lamp shade, the porcelain wall mount bolted to the mirror is in excellent shape for its age. It screams 1920’s. I know this because all throughout my years growing up I lived in many Victorian homes split into apartments where the electricity (and the light fixtures) were never updated, replaced, or even new, and most were straight from the Twenties in those homes. They were very antique, all white porcelain, and something clicked in my brain trudging up a memory from long ago.

 

Studying that very light fixture mounted on the antique mirror took me back to a happier and much less different time in my [then] extremely young childhood. It reminded me of a special place in time, one that can never be replaced. It was a feeling I received that I hadn’t felt in many, many long years. Why this antique mirror struck me with that overwhelming emotion of familiarity I have no idea.

 

“Antiquing” has always ran in both sides of my family. It goes way, way back and I’m no different. But I still try to convince myself “This mirror will likely shatter if I inquire about it,” and “It’s not out here for looks.”

 

I must have passed by the building three times debating whether or not I should inquire about the antique mirror. And by the time I made it to the end of the third block, something was practically nagging at me not to pass it up. It might be a good deal and it was something I had in mind rather than buying a new mirror that would be straight from China and an overpriced piece of junk.

 

I had that old Victor 78 song stuck in my head, “Don’t Wait Too Long”. I forget who the artist is that sings this particular fox trot. All I know is that my late great grandma and I have similar tastes in music. Don’t Wait Too Long was one such song in our record collections. We must have been on the same wave length, or perhaps it was a nudge from her in spirit when I began my fascinating antique phonograph hobby when I was 26 years old and wound up with that new old stock song on a Victor 78.

 

After much thinking about the mirror and seeing my stroll was going to be cut short due to the gusts, I turned on one heel and started back for the abandoned-looking business. The lights were on inside but the door was locked. I was smack dab in a crime-ridden area of town, on foot, fighting against the massive strong gusts that pummeled me with dirt, grime and sand.

 

I didn’t see the Keystone cops running after the likes of Charlie Chaplin or that of the great stone face, Buster Keaton, so I figured crime had taken the day off. For some weird reason I could envision meeting up with the like of Charlie Chaplin on this particular day in this area of town (don’t ask me why). I suppose it was the almost sepia overcast sky that made me think of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton (two out of three of my favorite silent film comics along with Harold Lloyd in no particular order).

 

I was almost worried about knocking on this business’s door since you never know who might answer. I could see into the business through a large window. But for what business this was, I have no idea. And I have no idea how an antique mirror wound up leaning against their establishment.  I hesitated at the door thinking of a million excuses not to inquire. Maybe the business was remodeling. Maybe they weren’t intending to toss out this beautiful antique mirror. Maybe it was placed outside just for looks. (I was thinking in terms of tacky lawn decorations). But no, I didn’t get that impression. I swore I distinctly heard my late great grandmother (who lived in a museum, *ahem*, a house), encouraging me “…never know until you try.” It sounded so clear as a bell that I turned and looked to my right, then my left. And if it had been her instead of me coming across this mirror, she would have had no problem knocking, and in her own sweet outgoing way, could charm the pants off the person who answered with just her smile.

 

So, I knocked and didn’t have to wait long. A young man answered. I kept my inquiry brief and pointed to the side of the building where the mirror was. He told me the mirror was free and I could have it. I thanked him, and went to the side of the building and tried to lift the mirror. The frame was rickety and I noticed a silver fish (a small insect) running for its dear life to hide under one wooden shim nailed to the frame. I replaced the mirror just as it was, resting against the brick building. This calls for the vehicle. I was hoping between the time I left and returned, the mirror wouldn’t be the unfortunate victim of the cyclone gust’s fury. And I worried to that someone else might happen upon this mirror and snatch it out from under me. Surprisingly, it was still there when I returned and in one piece. I loaded it myself, then returned to pick up every piece of broken milk glass and plucked one wood shim that had detached from the mirror and headed to town.

 

I was still debating just returning home and tilling more garden space by hand, but on this particular day, I’m sure the wind would have planted my seeds in various places in my backyard instead. I still need to make more seed tape (this is so the crops will grow in evenly spaced rows and made using toilet paper and a mix of flour/water paste to glue the tiny seeds in place. Allow it to dry over night and you’ll be ready to plant them the following day or whenever the danger of frost has passed). But instead of going home and playing farmer Brown, I decided to see what the thrift store had to offer. Not much so I then stopped by the store on my way home and bought a pineapple. They’re on sale, can’t beat that. 🙂

 

I didn’t take the mirror inside. I left it in the vehicle and worked on removing the light fixture in there. I will assume that the gaudy layer of white paint contains lead (as most paints pre-1970’s contained lead) and it was flaking so bad I didn’t want it everywhere in my house. I managed to get the light fixture removed safely including the light bulb, then disassembled it and washed the shade, porcelain wall mount and plan to get the rust off the screws. I assumed after much “Righty tighty, lefty Lucy” elbow grease using nothing more than a pair of Ford Model T pillars and a Chinese brand pair of needle nose pillars and hands like a brain surgeon, the bolt and three little rusty screws released their firm death grip on the porcelain wall mount and milk glass shade.

 

cleaned mirror glass 3-24-16

I scraped away some of the flaking old paint. Underneath the white paint was somewhat of a salmon-pink hue in areas. The paint still flakes off very easily when touched and the mirror requires a lot of TLC when handled which I do with work gloves on. The wood shims holding the glass are the consistency of match sticks and very brittle. It’s still in rough condition.

And I did it all without breaking anything or causing myself seven years of bad luck. I was suspecting at any given moment the mirror would break, but it didn’t although the wood frame was coming undone at all four corners. I’m still not even sure how I managed this feat. I’ve worked on antique phonographs, but never an antique mirror until now. I’ll worry about repairing the glass shade another time. I was more fixated on finding a solution to glue the frame back together with the glass still inset. The logical approach would be to gently remove all the wood shims holding the glass and remove the mirror, but working in cramped confines of the van would make this step impossible.

 

And when in doubt, think like MacGuyver and that’s what I did. I returned inside with each light fixture piece, disassembled the scary outdated chord and light socket, set those aside, and placed the shade and porcelain wall mount inside a dish pan of sudsy/ Clorox bleach warm water. Not too hot, and definitely not too cold. Porcelain should never be subjected to extremely hot water or else it will break and crack. I resumed my task and let that soak in the meantime and brought out the Gorilla glue, some elastic snagged from my sewing box and a stick I found in the yard.

In order to get the joints aligned to the best of what I had at my disposal, I devised a very weird  clamp/ jig method using the elastic and stick and twisted it around the stick and mirror frame until I could see the gaps in the joints of the wood getting smaller. I knew that too much tension could spell disaster. I wound it with enough tension and called it good enough. I placed the stick under a tool kit and jumper cables to hold it taut so the glue could dry in the joints overnight. I then used a bungee chord to create tension to the other end of the mirror and hope and pray that it holds, which it did. I closed the door and put the tools back in the house. It was a cloudy evening. I overheard my neighbor exclaim they wouldn’t be surprised if we got a tornado and earthquake in the same night. The neighbor was talking to somebody else, not me. I gazed at the sky. The temperature was steadily dropping. It wasn’t extremely hot out today, but it was just right for shorts and short-sleeved shirt weather. And by evening it was very cold.

I washed up and ate a late supper of leftover Smoked Herring/ Flax seed meal and Chia seed patties combined with boiled Cactus leaves (a very good source of vitamins), some Cauliflower, and Broccoli mashed potatoes. I also had an apple and some brown bagged micro-waved plain popcorn.

 

Tomorrow I shall see what became of my improvised restoration efforts. Before I even begin to think about taking this antique mirror into my house it will require a new coat of either paint on the wood frame or I may strip it down and go over it with a clear coat varnish and call it good and let the weather beaten look shine through.

 

I detest the ‘shabby chic’ job that ruins antique furniture, dressers, and mirrors even though this mirror wasn’t given that look. The paint suffered from a severe case of weather-element damage and who knows what wall it had been bolted to for so many years.

 

And yes, I inspected mirror prior for any sign of black mold and/ or rotting damage to the wood frame. I didn’t see anything wrong and used my scrub brush to dust off the cobwebs and leaves before loading it up, so that tells me this mirror’s been sitting outside for a week or more. And perhaps this antique mirror was rescued in the nick of time since tonight it’s raining. Thanks for liking, re-blogging, commenting, tweeting and sharing. I always appreciate it. 🙂

 

 

What could possibly happen?

Published January 10, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

Vic hacked I speak in terms of the ‘talking machines’ that are less fortunate when they’re the victim of a ‘shabby chic’ craft person that totally decimates the phonograph as shown in the picture.

I gravitated to this small upright low end Victrola cabinet in a used furniture store and felt sorry for it. The mainspring and all components were gutted. The only remote thing that lent to this Victrola giving itself away was its spindly legs, carved moldings and the record storage was in tact. Whoever ruined this antique phonograph disassembled the lid (chopped it up), then nailed it to the cabinet so it couldn’t be lifted up.

This particular antique phonograph was once a gorgeous dark mahogany. By outward appearances though, its battle ship gray paint job, missing back bumpers, screws, and original sticker license (found glued to the back of these machines) was absent. What model was this phonograph? Might have ended with the suffix “J” very similar to a Victrola I had for a long time and later parted with.

So what happens to the off-brand and low end model antique phonographs that don’t get restored when they’re not being butchered for something ‘shabby chic’ and will have lost all value on the collector’s market?

As I spoke with a good acquaintance that deals strictly with antique phonographs of all makes and models they told me most are gutted and the cabinets chopped up for firewood. The reason being most of the lesser known antique phonographs don’t have much appeal (collector-wise), and some, if not all of them back in their heyday were built with plate and pillar mechanisms and very cheaply outfitted with odds and ends that are very obsolete to find nowadays. Sure, some of the more obscure phonographs might be worth looking into, especially if it’s a Brunswick model 350, for example that were so ornate and expensive to produce that not many sold in 1918 and therefore that particular model was phased out a year later in 1919.

But this little Victrola I happened across is a lost cause. Don’t ask me why people chop these up and ruin them. Thanks for liking, sharing, re-blogging and commenting. I sincerely appreciate it as always! 🙂

Something old, something new: One Victrola’s mysterious journey.

Published December 29, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

Vic VVXIV for wordpress Picture of a Victrola VV-XIV.

There’s a poor behemoth Victrola VV-XIV tightly wedged between a long metal filing cabinet and a tiny portion of bookshelf space in a used furniture store. I promised myself, “no more” in regards to restoring these beautiful wind-up antique phonographs simply because the cost to restore them can outweigh the price you pay for the machine.

And it was only twice I seen a gold-plated Victrola model. The last one I had seen at a thrift store was beat to heck and back. There was rust all over it and it reeked of stagnant mold damage like it had been dredged up from the depths of a leaky basement– or worse, perhaps. And the thirft store was charging $368! There were 78s adhered to the storage shelves. It was a pitiful mess of Tetanus waiting to happen. And that baby upright Victrola didn’t stay in the thrift store very long. Don’t know if it was ever bought or sold, or made its way to the landfill.

But this large upright gold-plated Victrola was in far better condition. The cabinet was clean (although dusty), and it requires some major and minor TLC. It’s a labor of love I’d happily accept.

And this Victrola’s provenance (history of its previous owners and what state it came from) is completely N/A (non-applicable). This Victrola didn’t come with any paperwork and that’s to be expected. There was no instruction booklet (sometimes these do surface).

I have no clue who owned this antique talking machine, but it likely dates around Aug. 1, 1913 (checked the sticker on the back at the lower left hand corner). And I did some cross-reference from this fantastic site: The Victor Victrola page before I decided to return to the store.

This talking machine has been around a day or two. Sure the cabinet has a few nicks, a minuscule white paint speck here and there. Overall the ornate carved moldings are present and appear to be in good condition for their age. And nope, it’s not even close to being museum quality or even pristine condition. Most antique phonograph collectors with disposable incomes won’t even consider these less glossy talking machines or rather, let me say, cosmetically-challenged Victrolas that have veneer loss and/ or alligator-like cabinets due to separation of the original gloss. The stain appears to be red mahogany or something similar. And my Christmas present finally arrived yesterday morning.

I had the sales person give me an in-store demonstration long before I ever decided to get this particular Victrola. I cringed when I heard “At the Pawn Shop” by Guy Mitchell. I have nothing against this artist. For the love of Nipper, (Victrola’s mascot Fox Terrier), don’t ever play a 1950s 78 on a Victrola—ever. I stress this because the record grooves are different and can’t handle the heavy weight of a talking machine’s reproducer nor that of the steel needle that will act like a pumice stone thus causing groove walls of the 78 terrible wear and tear. Plus its very damaging to the mica diaphragm and creates an unpleasant shrill to the ears. Also, 78s recorded on or after 1935 is the cut-off point due to differences in the recording/cutting processes.

And I will always have Guy Mitchell’s song stuck in my head from now on whenever I lay eyes on this once proud, stunning glorious talking machine that was one of two flagship models in the Victor-Victrola line. It was $200 brand new back in 1913 or thereabouts. It is well over $4,000 in today’s money according to the Federal Reserve inflation calculator.

And it’s going to need critical TLC. As I suspected (and scrunched my shoulders when listening to it play in the store), the mainspring(s) were broke, possibly. They weren’t thumping per se, one—perhaps all three mainsprings are possibly weak which is very common on nearly all un-restored Victrolas nowadays if not well cared for by its former owner(s). I suspected such and figured up additional costs it’s going to take to get this beautiful talking machine to perform as it once did.

Three red flags went up in my mind aside from the common potential mainspring breakage, the internal horn shifted inside the cabinet. Also, there was scoring to the main board bolts likely due to someone using the wrong type of screw driver. And its missing four tiny gold-plated screws from its lid, which indicates to me the lid had been removed at some point.

Regardless, I’m happy with the new Victrola. It came with its own record duster (not often found with these machines), three packs of old original needles, and the cabinet key that’s original to the machine as well. The folks in the furniture store told me that a man tried to walk off with the cabinet key. This is because they are extremely hard to come by, very pricey when found, and seldom if ever, are retained with the phonograph.
I don’t plan to get into a massive rush to get the mainsprings repaired nor do will I have the Exhibition reproducer overhauled anytime soon. I decided to take the leisurely (or lazy approach) with this machine. The talking machine plays, but the mainsprings violently protest while it plays a 78 and sounds like one of the springs is uncoiling inside the barrel. And no, it’s not the ever common “thump,” “thump”, “thump” from dried grease in the mainspring barrels, its more than likely broken. I know since I own and serviced my own talking machines in my younger days and can detect by listening if its going to be something major that will require professional assistance or something minor like dried grease in the mainsprings.

I froze outside yesterday without a coat on so I could clean the caked on grease from the governor and worm drive shaft. And I remembered to put a few generous drops of Hoppie’s oil in the bushing and tips before I re-assembled it. That’s the extent of my main board adventure. There’s a few things I didn’t mess with simply because the majority of it calls for a professional, something of which, I’m not.

The cabinet was cleaned using Murphy’s Oil Soap and a clean cloth and cotton balls for the more intricate wood carvings. I then vacuumed inside the machine after I extracted ten or so needles, both steel and Fibre (bamboo kind). I didn’t stumble upon any hidden treasures. There was no Prohibition alcohol stuffed inside, no money either. But, hey, one can always dream. I heard various stories of people finding peculiar things inside these antique phonographs when they go to restore them that is.
And something tells me my new Victrola spent its life either near the Ocean in a beach front home, or elsewhere in a similar corrosive environment near salt water. The gold-plated hardware shows corrosion and has seen a lot of use as evident by the worn mark on the goose-neck tone arm. It came with a few record books that contained several 12” 78s. There were some nice one-sided red and also black bat wing label records, two dark purple Victor 78’s by Harry Lauder (a favorite of mine) and some modern 33 1/3” shoved in the books. And the other books contain…nothing. Oh, well.

Here’s how to decipher the types of music commonly found on a Victor 78 (I didn’t get around to covering the Orthophoics or the “VE” (Victor Electric) series because its been a lazy, cold, blustery day:

Red bat-wing label one-sided (included double-sided) 78’s will have classical, instrumental, sentimental, operatic ballads for example Enrico Caruso, Erinestine-Shumann-Heink, Fritz Kriesler, John McCormack, etc.

Black bat wing one-sided (including double-sided) 78’s will generally include Vaudeville, Fox Trots (jazz and waltzes), country, etc.

Purple bat wing one-sided 12” 78s will contain Opera in most cases, unless the singer happens to be Harry Lauder, then the song(s) would fall into a Scottish sentimental song category. Harry Lauder was a vaudeville comedian and music hall Scottish singer.
Now I believe the record binders themselves were manufactured during the 1940s since they have “RCA Victor Victrola” and the legendary Nipper trademark image in gold. But they appear later produced, not earlier like that of my embossed record binders from eons ago (same company). When the Victrola Talking Machine company was bought out by The Radio Corp. of America (RCA) in 1929 after the stock market crashed, they then changed the company’s name to include “RCA Victor” and the like. Thanks for liking, sharing, re-blogging, commenting, I truly appreciate it. 🙂

The Ladies Tunic 1890s-1900s.

Published December 3, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

ladies tunic front cranb

This is a special blog post dedicated to antique clothes. And believe me at one time I found myself swimming in antique bloomers, corset covers, chemises, Victorian era nightgowns (nursing gowns), and various mismatched lawn cotton articles. Their conditions varied. Some even wearable with extreme care. Others just for study. Since I’m not much of a seamstress I never copied these antique clothes. Why not? They’re incredibly easy to duplicate with brand new materials that could closely match.

Simply because I didn’t have the work space or a sewing machine. Therefore, rather than hang on to the fragile antique clothing, I made the decision to sell it on eBay some years ago. I had way too many antique clothes. I don’t regret ever selling off the tattered clothing. It freed me up tremendously, but with all things, sometimes you find a true article of clothing that you can’t pass up. A ladies tunic I bought recently is the nicest (and most pristine) article I ever laid eyes on.

I don’t intend to sell this tunic. What I do plan to do is have somebody help me make a duplicate of it though. Judging by the picture the tunic appears to be for a very extremely petite woman. Maybe even a teenage girl in her late teens. Perhaps there was a long bell-shaped skirt that went to this lovely tunic, but I didn’t find anything else. I think it dates between the late 1890’s- 1900’s. So, I bought the tunic.

I got it home and studied it’s design and how it was sewn together. I believe it was constructed from cranberry/ almost dark grape cotton-twill with tan-colored lining. I could search from now on and never find exact buttons to match it. Not that its missing any. But if I’m going to make another like it, finding similar buttons is like finding a needle in a haystack. They’re the special kind of tiny brass buttons that are sometimes seen on the old Victorian button-up boots. I have a pair of new-old-stock black wool spats (for a woman) that has similar buttons.

What is it with this particular antique clothing that I’m so in love with? Maybe its the lost style—perhaps even the cut of the garment is what appeals to me. It screams; “I’m not mass-produced!” I already have one corset cover that was graciously given to me. Although there’s some paint stains on it I still love it. It was the better of the two corset covers I that I kept for myself. Then I have one very long heavy eyelet-laced and pleated petticoat. The waist on it is large and I believe it was likely made to fit over a bird cage—eh, sorry— I mean to wear over a crinoline hoop skirt. A crinoline is a metal ‘cage’ skirt women of the 1850-1860s used to wear under their dresses. Sometimes they were strapped into the cumbersome contraption. And I can’t image wearing a crinoline nowadays in combination with a whale-boned corset as well. It would probably feel like wearing an over-sized metal wire whisk strapped around the waist. And forget trying to sit down wearing a crinoline skirt. I don’t think women could have reclined all that well on the fainting couch much less sit upright without that metal skirt jabbing them. I think I can gather in the petticoat with some Velcro strips or ties so it’ll fit. It won’t be period authentic, but I’m not out to win best altered petticoat awards. I’m more about getting in and out of it with ease.

I believe I might still have one outer black tunic jacket with puffy sleeves, black tassels, circa 1909-10. And for its age it’s falling apart. I believe the black tunic was made of real silk (no synthetic materials there) and the sleeves were lined in quilt batting material for winter. It was another gift that was graciously given to me. I also have a black shoulder half cape in excellent condition stored with my long coats. I haven’t ever tried to wear the shoulder cape because I would need to first see how it was worn and with what attire. I believe the cape dates to the Pioneer days, and if not, then maybe falls somewhere in the first half of the Twentieth century.

I also have four pair of black Victorian era boots (conditions vary for their age) and they’re still wearable with care. I reserve those for special occasions and never use them for everyday boots. I also have two pairs of black lace up “granny” shoes from the 1930s. And those I do wear on occasion. I receive a lot of compliments on them because they are so unique and kept in nice condition. I also have a ton of antique/ vintage dress gloves (colors vary). My oldest pair date around 1910 or a little earlier. They’re white, but have a few rust stains and some fraying of the material due to their age. I often wore them out and about with my everyday hat and coat. I received a ton of compliments and one antique vendors told me “Might as well enjoy those gloves because given another hundred years, they’ll turn to dust.” And they’re probably right so I lovingly don them during the winter. I also have extra pairs of everyday newer gloves that I keep tucked in the vehicle, in my extra coat pockets, etc. Never want to go somewhere in the dead middle of winter without a pair of gloves. When I was in my Twenties I had a bad habit leaving the house without so much a coat on nor did I own any pairs of gloves. And when you get older then you realize you want warmth and comfort. And if you’re me, you’ll long for your favorite pair of fuzzy house slippers, nightgown, and steeped mint melody tea at the end of a long day.

I have yet to turn up anymore Edwardian and/ or Victorian era hats. I had one that I just adored. It was very Titanic in style and swore I’d never part with it. I wanted it so badly and it was the first antique ‘clothing accessory’ I gravitated to when a small antique shop had their grand opening in a town where I used to live many years ago. Two ladies ran the shop and the older lady scowled at me and didn’t want to sell me the Edwardian hat. She made a huge fuss she was going to take it home earlier that same day before they opened shop. The lady standing beside her told her in a firm tone to sell it to me.

In a huff the older lady sold me the hat, but not before smashing it into the shopping bag. It was worse for wear and suffered splits in the velvet material. It still retained bits of its ostrich feathers that were sewn inside the wide brim and would have graced the hat all the way around.

That particular Edwardian hat traveled with me. It moved back home with me and I kept it stored away. I removed it from the storage container one day and saw that it was in worse shape. Well, the move likely damaged it. The shape of the hat was flattened and couldn’t be re-shaped. It was also shedding black dust from its lining. I made the decision to sell it. I’ve only seen one other hat similar to it on eBay selling for a lot and was in much nicer shape. I keep holding out for a better condition Edwardian hat to turn up that I could wear. And if asked, no, I don’t wear the hat pins. I believe those would set off metal detectors one-hundred miles away, get stolen or broke. And since none of my grandmothers are alive anymore, I have nobody to show me how to wear the hat pins. I do know they went through the back of the hat and through the bun of the hair to hold the hat on the head. But some of those wide brim hats were meant to sit on top of head that was piled high with hair extensions to round out that Edwardian style.

My best advice for lovers of antique clothing: make copies of the clothes if you know how to sew. Or wear them “as-is” with care. I have a shirtwaist that’s bright white lawn cotton in good condition for its age, but the material is so see through (most all shirtwaists were back then) that a chemise would be worn underneath it along with a corset cover and corset. And I have a few detachable lace arrow collars made for women that I have incorporated with modern blouses. You just have to add buttons and do some slight alteration of the modern blouse if you can’t find any collar buttons. I have no shortage of those collar buttons lying around. Thanks again for liking, sharing, commenting, re-posting, tweeting, I truly appreciate it. 🙂