Archive for the antiques Category

Desktop Goodies 4/17

Posted in absurd, advertising, antiques, art, food, humor, kitsch, oddities, photography, vintage with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2014 by shewalkssoftly

Welcome to this edition of desktop goodies!

Would you buy Kellog’s corn flakes after seeing a child in the ad who looks like he’s be propped and posed postmortem?

Antique “eye massager,” for when your eyes need a little therapeutic squishin’!
Eye Massager.

AXOLOTL in a portrait! (See some axolotl info here, and an artistic interpretation here)

Don’t mind him…he’s really into that “sitting in a wall” thing.

The most complete system ever? Really?

I’m going to give you a great life tip here, folks. So listen up: be sure to set the iron to medium heat so as not to burn your crocodile.

The world’s most wistful butter substitute:

You can conveniently sell your sister by placing a check mark in the appropriate box.

Don’t say it, Dana…don’t say this piece of kitsch is…”corny.” D’OH!

Antique Acquaintance Cards

Posted in antiques, ephemera, humor with tags , , on April 5, 2014 by shewalkssoftly

Why did calling cards ever go out of fashion? Sure, we have hundreds of ways to bombard each other with introductions online (or in person…do people still meet that way?), but calling cards had style.


From The Art of Manliness (wow, what a great blog name!):
In the 19th century, gentlemen used calling cards to formally introduce themselves to new acquaintances and to call upon friends and relatives in a dignified way. But there was another type of card used when a gentleman wanted to get the ball rolling with a lovely lady in a more casual way: the acquaintance card.


The cards were designed as a comical way for a gentleman to break the ice, start a conversation, and flirt with the opposite sex. Sometimes the humor was overt, and sometimes it derived from the way the messages parodied the formal rules of etiquette — it wasn’t actually considered appropriate to ask for your calling card back or volunteer your escorting services so directly, as some of these cards do.


Now THIS man is willing to risk his gun, his dog and his shoes to be acquainted with a lady.


Also, check out this Acquaintance Card Flikr Set!

Creeping Baby Doll 1871

Posted in antiques, automata, dolls with tags , , on April 1, 2014 by shewalkssoftly

In 1871 came one of the first automata to appear in the toy scene, patented by Robert J. Clay. You can find more about it here.


My favorite paragraph about the piece is the following:

Despite Clay’s belief that his toy would be very amusing, it had limited appeal for its target audience of little girls. It looks scary, weighs a lot and isn’t particularly interactive. It’s more of an exhibition piece than a cuddly toy, and once the mechanism broke (which happened often with the earlier models), its heaviness and hardness made it a dead weight rather than a doll that could be integrated into regular play.


I wonder how many of these clumsily creeping wonders were mass produced. Two decades later, the world was graced with Edison’s Talking Doll.

Woolly Mammoth Antiques and Oddities

Posted in antiques, destinations, oddities with tags , , on March 9, 2014 by shewalkssoftly

I’m thrilled that little curio cabinets of merchandise have been springing up all over the country in the past decade. Shows like Oddities have helped spur an increasing widespread interest in the strange and unusual (my longstanding loves!).

Woolly Mammoth Antiques and Oddities looks like a great place to browse.



Have any of you Chicago natives/travelers been there?



Woolly Mammoth Antiques and Oddities

Antique Color Wheels

Posted in antiques, art with tags , on March 2, 2014 by shewalkssoftly

Scientific Illustration posted a gorgeous collection of antique color wheels.

Click images to slightly enlarge

I love the variety of geometric shapes in this collection; beautiful way to show color relationships.



I will definitely be using some of these in jewelry design (avert your eyes, my artist/designer friends! You may see these images turn up in gifts on your next birthday!)




The Dying Drunkard Automaton

Posted in antiques, automata, macabre with tags , , on January 2, 2014 by shewalkssoftly

This is an incredible piece located in The House on the Rock; a…shall we say, quite unique…coin operated tableau made in 1870.

Cannot type/talk due to severe illness (all words courtesy of voice software or kind typing helpers)…I read and appreciate all comments…Apologies for not being able to respond.

Mary Shelley’s Handwritten Frankenstein Manuscript

Posted in antiques, Books, monsters with tags , , on November 23, 2013 by shewalkssoftly

There is something special about seeing a classic piece of literature exactly as is came from the hand of its creator. Now you can view Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s own original manuscript.


See the story of how she came to write the novel here if you’re not familiar. She said this about her inspiration:

When I placed my head on my pillow, I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think. My imagination, unbidden, possessed and guided me, gifting the successive images that arose in my mind with a vividness far beyond the usual bounds of reverie. I saw — with shut eyes, but acute mental vision, — I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion.

She was only 19 when she wrote this classic piece. Wow…what were WE all doing at 19?…not this!

See the pages here.

Cannot type/talk due to severe illness (all words courtesy of voice software or kind typing helpers)…I read and appreciate all comments…Apologies for not being able to respond.

Halloween Countdown: Antique Coffin Patents

Posted in antiques, death, ephemera with tags , , on October 27, 2013 by shewalkssoftly

Neato Coolville posted a wonderful roundup of coffin patents, dated 1848 to 1914.

1886 Coffin Patent

1891 Coffin Patent

Device to prop up the dead for postmortem photography?
1910 Coffin Patent

1848 Coffin Patent

1879 Coffin Patent

See more here.

Cannot type/talk due to severe illness (all words courtesy of voice software or kind typing helpers)…I read and appreciate all comments…Apologies for not being able to respond.

16th Century Comets and Meteors

Posted in antiques, art, astronomy, space with tags , , , on September 6, 2013 by shewalkssoftly

Oh how I love the astronomical drawings of centuries past! I’ve amassed a large collection of these over the years, but some recent additions came from a BibliOdyssey post.

Beautiful comets and meteors…


See more here.

Cannot type/talk due to severe illness (all words courtesy of voice software or kind typing helpers)…I read and appreciate all comments…Apologies for not being able to respond.

Phrenology Diagrams: Vaught’s Practical Character Reader (1902)

Posted in absurd, anatomy, antiques, Books, science, vintage with tags , , , , , on July 9, 2013 by shewalkssoftly

I made a Phrenology Megapost with all kinds of goodies a few years ago, but I’m back to bring you Vaught’s Practical Character Reader.


The purpose of this book is to acquaint all with the elements of human nature and enable them to read these elements in all men, women and children in all countries. At least fifty thousand careful examinations have been made to prove the truthfulness of the nature and location of these elements. More than a million observations have been made to confirm the examinations. Therefore, it is given the world to be depended upon. Taken in its entirety it is absolutely reliable. Its facts can be completely demonstrated by all who will take the unprejudiced pains to do so. It is ready for use. It is practical. Use it.


Hm, I have thus far failed to “indelibly fix this shape” into my memories. Take note ladies, when looking for a husband, never consider a suitor whose head does not have this odd, malformed profile.


Far too many great images to choose from…


See more here.


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