RSS Feed

Tag Archives: 1950’s

Rare 1943 Lumitone Radio Lamp

Rare 1943 Lumitone Radio Lamp

I stumbled across one of these while I was cruising eBay. I had never heard of these before and was fascinated by the design and the idea of it. For the next few months I searched for them on auction sites and luckily managed to secure two of them for our collection. What’s crazy is one of these lamps was produced in 1943, that’s only 2 years after the Pearl Harbor attacks (the other lamp has no info on the bottom). With World War 2 occurring, did that influence the style of these lamps? Who knows, but they are cool!

The ones I ended up purchasing had different bases. One was cream like the body color and the other was a gold color.

These are in found condition and I plan to restore the cases and make them both have the gold bottoms.

The shades I put on these units are not original. The original shades were kind of lame and to me did not compliment the lamps. I’m not sure what lamps these came off of (maybe Majestic), but I like the look they give these Lumitone lamps. They look more Atomic.

It’s crazy how expensive things become over time. It’s cool to see ads with the original price.

The all cream Lumitone unit had all its tags on the bottom. The other one seems to be missing all that info.

With us moving to Texas in the next few months, I plan to create a music/audiophile room. These are the perfect pieces to compliment that set up.

Beach Blanket Bingo! The Wonderful World Of Vintage Beach Towels!!!

Beach Blanket Bingo! The Wonderful World Of Vintage Beach Towels!!!

 

One of the hardest things to find in good condition are vintage textiles. They could be curtains, sheets, blankets, and yes, even beach towels. You have to remember when these things were made they were nothing special to folks back then. It’s only now we look back at them and admire the imagery and design. Many of these towels were actually travel souvenirs. Folks wanted something to remind themselves of where they had visited. It’s really amazing what some of these beach towels go for now! Here is a large sampling of towels I came across cruising the internet (please excuse the graininess, images are printed on Terry cloth so not a crisp image)… 

Mel and I just picked up the following two. They are NOS (New Old Stock) from Australia. No tags or artists name.

Some of the artists you might come across if you search for vintage beach towels are the following: Phillis Morgan, Landau, Anticio, Peter Max, Gilmour, Cannon, Londraville, Ralph Hulett, Vernon, Lady Galt, Vera Neumann and sooo many others. Some went by their full name, while others went by their last name.

 Some of the more common beach towel manufacterers that produced these vibrant towels were as follows: Royal Terry, Terry Treasure of CA, St.Mary, NEMS, Cannon, Dryfast and many more.

Obviously, bathing beauties were a very common theme.

These are fun looking. Who wouldn’t want to shake your tail feathers?

There were some really cool fish scenes on the beach towels.

There really is no shortage of pinup women towels.

I love the “Daddy-O” shorts guy!

As you might have guessed, this one is the one to get. There are two other beetle towel styles I have seen, but this is my favorite. It seems anything Beatles has crazy value attached to it. I like the Beatles, but I am more of a Rolling Stones Man!

All these towels are just a small sampling of what’s out there. It’s cool how expressive these towels are and how well they capture the era. These terry cloth dreams would be a great addition to anyone who collects items from this time period.

 

 

Vintage Novelty Tribal Figures (Blackmoore/Black Americana)

Vintage Novelty Tribal Figures (Blackmoore/Black Americana)

 

This is my whole set of these natives. The only marking on the bottom is “Japan”. If anyone knows who the maker is reach out!

These novelty figures were made during 40’s & 50’s. This kind of Black Americana or blackmoor collecting is sometimes uncomfortable for folks. Obviously it was a different time from now. During the last century a lot of races were depicted by stereotypes & in unfair ways that by today’s standards would be unacceptable. My goal with my blog is to share our collection and this is part of it. I don’t share it to make people feel bad or uncomfortable, I share it to show what existed during that time.
I have been collecting these figures for sometime. For all of us who really enjoy the tiki/tribal feel, we try to create microcosms in our collection. It is not enough to just have a tiki cup on a shelf, you have to layer your collection to make it more interesting. I am always looking for a new way to add layers to our collection.
As you can see these figures were painted with bright color accents and sometimes things like skirts, bows, spears and even earrings were added.

It might be a little hard to tell from this photo but this is a native fishing. It appears this native hooked an alligator! I am missing the pole and string.

Gilner, an American ceramics company who was known more for its pottery and pixie figures produce something called “Happy Cannibals”. They would adorn planters with small tribal figures and also created standalone figures. NAPCO also produced tribal figures.

I see plenty of the “Happy Cannibals” while cruising the antique shops. I have not seen the guy in the cooking pot before.

Most of these figures were mass produced from Japan and were more than likely travel trinkets tourists would pick up to remember trips to far off & exotic places. People were always bringing back trinkets from their trips, sometimes it was a souvenir tablecloth, souvenir spoon, salt and pepper shakers and even these figures.

Our collection is elaborate and diverse. Things that were once normalized in the past are looked at with different insight today. Though some may be offended by these figures and might even feel it perpetuates the stereotypes, I promise you that is not my intention. In the end my only mission is to share my collection.

Kooky Ukes, Artistry in Woods

Kooky Ukes, Artistry in Woods

I remember the first time we saw one of these strange, but cool instruments. Mel and I were visiting our friend Christina and she asked if we were interested in this ukulele. She explained to me that these were pretty popular in the 60s. She said surfers would play them and when a righteous wave would come up, they’d turn them upside down, stick their heads in the sand, grab their board, and hit the waves! This explains the long neck of most of the ukuleles.

These ukuleles were considered novelty ukuleles and usually just ended up hanging on peoples walls as wood art. They definitely have a style to them.

They were created by Ancil Swagerty (1911-1991). These were produced by the Swagerty Specialties Company in San Clemente California in the 1960s. The firm ceased trading in the early 1970’s. These pieces of wall hanging art eventually became to be known as pretty good sounding ukuleles. With their exaggerated shape and bright colors they were real eye catchers.

The ukuleles that were produced by Swaggerty were the following 3 models…

The Tripartite-soundhole Treholipee (originally sold for $ 19.95)

Treholipee – The Treholipee is 47″ long and they can be in yellow, orange or green.  You might wonder where the name came from for this instrument?  It appears the “Tre” is for three.  The “Holi” is for holes.  I’m not sure what the “pee” stands for.

The Kook-a-la-lee (Originally sold for $12.95)

The Kook-a-La-Lee seems to have been a close relation to the Treholipee.  The main differences are that it was two inches shorter (at 45″) and the headstock was straight and not curved.  Another difference is that the Kook-a-La-Lee has a heart-shaped sound hole and not the three music note holes sported by the Treholipee.

And finally the Surf-a-lele (originally sold for $13.95)

The Surf-a-Lele was like a compact version of the Kook-a-La-Lee.  The idea was that there was a need for a smaller version so that you could play it in tighter areas.

These unique ukuleles were endorsed by musician, comedian & writer Steve Allen. These were proclaimed to be “a new sound for a new generation”. These Kooky-ukes were sold In department stores and west coast music stores. They were promoted as part of the California surfing lifestyle.

Some of the Swaggerty ukuleles have a “Murf The Surf” character decal on them designed by famous artist Rick Griffin! Only some of the ukuleles have this decal making those ukuleles more desirable.

Out of the four we own, only the Surf-A-Lele had this decal by artist Rick Griffin.

These instruments are made of beech ply. They are quite thin in the body like a Travel Ukulele and apparently, people are surprised with how good they sound. It appears that there was also a 3 string strumstick kind of Kooky Uke and a double neck version, (that was supposedly never sold commercially but just given to Swagerty’s friends?)

Double-neck Kook-a-La-Lee – Apparently, there was a variation of the Kook-a-La-Lee that had two necks!!  These were made specially for friends and were never marketed to the general public. Besides having two necks, they are also different from the standard Kook-a-La-Lee in that the sound holes are round and not heart-shaped.  The decal on the body also just says Kook-a-La-Lee. For me this is the holy grail ukulele, maybe one day we will find one!

The Polk-a-Lay-Lee was not part of this series. They are knock offs made by the Petersen Co. of Ohio in the early 60’s. It was given away as part of an advertising campaign for the Polk Bros. furniture and electrical goods company. It has a plastic fretboard, tuners and saddle, and comes in different colours (both the Ukulele and the plastic work). On the box they came in they are called Wander-a-lay-lee though the headstock says Polk-a-lay-lee.

Polk-a-lay-lee

The “Little Guitar” is also not part of the “Kooky Ukes” series but it was made by Swagerty as kind of the follow up. It wasn’t as popular and I don’t think Swagerty designed anymore Ukuleles after this.

Little Guitar – This instrument is the rarest in the Kooky-Ukes line.  These made their appearance somewhere between 1964 and 1968.

Ancil was granted a patent for the Treholipee in 1966. There was believed to be roughly 60,000 of these manufactured. The Treholipee flagship for Swagerty’s Kooky Ukes line of instruments. Both the Treholipee and the Kook-a-Lele had long headstocks and the idea was the surfers could stick the instruments upside-down in the sand when it was time for surfin’.

Here is the companion book to these Kooky Ukes. This is pretty hard to find as well. If anyone out there has one reach out cuz I am on the hunt!

Here is an original tag that would have been hanging from one of these fantastic ukuleles. I don’t imagine many of these are laying around.

Here is Frank Sinatra’s daughter, Nancy, posing with a Kook-a-la-lee! I am just guessing it was tied to “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'”.

These pieces are great pieces of beach culture and I am sure many have not seen one of these in the flesh. Since I have started collecting them I plan to try and learn how to play a little. Off to the next thing!

 

Sources:

http://database.ukulelecorner.co.uk/rst/swaggerty?tmpl=%2Fsystem%2Fapp%2Ftemplates%2Fprint%2F&showPrintDialog=1

https://sites.google.com/site/ukulelemakers/rst/swaggerty

https://trademark.trademarkia.com/kookalalee-72200507.html

https://reverb.com/item/4272819-swaggerty-gaggle-of-kook-a-lele-s-three-of-em-1960s-free-shipping

https://reverb.com/item/1757572-1960-s-vintage-swagerty-novelty-tenor-uke-ukulele-singing-treholipee-orange-all-original-rare-10

https://www.gbase.com/gear/swagerty-and-petersen-novelty-ukes-singing-tr

 

All New for 1959, The Willys Maverick Wagon

All New for 1959, The Willys Maverick Wagon


So we got rid of our radical 70’ Camaro with a 427 racing motor. It was too much car. My wife has gotten used to me being around and that car was a widow maker. We wanted to pick up something with power but could shuttle the family around.

I was surfing Craigslist when I saw this yellow dream 1959 Willys Maverick Wagon 4X2. I had the great pleasure of meeting the owners of the Willys, Kelly and Janice. They took such great care of this Willys. This car was actually restored top to bottom in the early 2000’s. Kelly said the previous owners spent around $40K to restore it! It was restored as a promotional vehicle for a coffee shop in L.A.. That business went under and the Willys was sold to Kelly & Janice. They used it mainly as a grocery getter and to shuttle grandkids around for ice cream.

This Willys was built right. It sports a Chevy 350 motor that really moves this wagon because of the lightness of the vehicle. Wagon comes equipped with A/C, power windows, power seats all new gauges, newer seats and interior. This is one of the cleanest Willys classics I have ever seen. These vehicles were work horses and usually did not survive the hard life they were subjected to.

Things Mel and I want to do is add whitewalls, alarm, maybe a cool vintage roof rack and  a new aluminum radiator (better cooling). I also want to add wood grain vinyl decals to the recessed rectangular areas on the body to give it more of a “woodie” feel. That is about it because everything is done.

I think this is the original radiator. It does the job and has an electric fan installed. If you have ever owned a classic, traffic can be a real headache because of lack of air flow. These fans run off a thermostat and kick on to keep the engine cool. Someone at some point also added an under the dash switch to manually turn on the electric fan. I drove this wagon home from Stockton about 80+ miles and she did alright.

The seller Kelly told me usually the roof on these wagons are smooth. He said while researching this wagon he could only find one other one that had the linear recesses on top. He mentioned at one point, Willys was in talks with a refrigerator manufacturer to produce body panels and he wonders if maybe this is a prototype???

Another thing we need to look into is maybe raising the Willys a couple of inches. This is due to the fact that the exhaust manifold hangs down and on rare occasions it may drag/rub.

The interior is still very fresh and in overall good condition. Having a power option on this wagon is a trip, because when they were built they were very basic.

All the panels inside have this cool Willys logo design. I actually think there might be speakers under each logo. This thing has a good sound system, but I don’t see any speakers.

Because Willys basically have no dash top, I had to create a small shelf for our Aloha dancer to perform on. I can’t make this a beach wagon without one of these!

Another quark about these wagons is that they don’t have access to the back seat. This means passengers have to enter through the back hatch to sit on the back bench. I guess they didn’t see any issues with that design! Thank god I am the driver because I am too big to crawl around in the back!

This is in no way a Concourse level restoration, but it is one of the cleanest drivers I have ever seen. It has little areas that might need attention, but once it is dialed in that’s it! Here are some other photos, enjoy!

I came across an original waterslide Beach Boys decal and I just had to add it.

 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (minus Sneezy)

As I blogged in an earlier post, I have been in the process of restoring these vintage Disney concrete garden statues. We have all the pieces except Sneezy who was too busted up to restore. Fortunately, we found a replacement that is shipping from the east coast.

One thing I noticed when trying to stay faithful to the color scheme of each character is that there seems to be a lot of conflicting info online. I did my best to match any images I found online from the original movie. Also, I wasn’t digging just a white beard. I tried to add more detail by adding gray and white to capture a more realistic look. Here are before and after photos of some of the characters.

These pieces have started to be reproduced. They come in three different sizes: small, medium & large. Our set is original and would be considered the large set. We will be happy to complete the set once Sneezy arrives. Onto the next project!

Excuse the landscaping, we still need to work on the backyard.

Mid Century Tiered Fountain

Mel and I are trying to get our backyard in shape for the summer. One thing we have been looking for is a vintage outdoor water feature. As usual, I was cruising Craigslist when I stumbled across this!

I reached out to the folks who had it, and fortunately I was one of the first to inquire about it. They said the response was overwhelming!

This is in vintage condition and will require sandblasting and powder coating to bring it back to life. I will also have to replumb the whole fountain. Unfortunately, there’s no pump or tubing so I’m going to have to MacGyver it! If any of you out there have done it before please let me know. I would love some suggestions.

This fountain will be a nice addition to the Fibrella patio furniture and the Brunswick bowling benches that we’ve added to the backyard.

It seems to me that these fountains were more prevalent in Eichler and Streng homes. They were a great addition to the atrium in those style homes.

I searched online for any information about the manufacturer of these fountains, but was unsuccessful. The bowls of this fountain are metal, but I have seen fountains where the bowls were made of fiberglass. I don’t imagine there are too many of the fiberglass ones left.

I can’t wait until this thing is up and running. I love the sound of trickling water that fountains emit, it’s so relaxing!

%d bloggers like this: