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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

UPDATED 2! Auction Finds: odd little table

The first thing that came to mind when I saw this table was "What would the set of 'Star Trek' look like in Danish Modern?"

Personally, I LOVE this table.  Very architectural.  The legs remind me of what I'd imagine the metal frame of an airplane would look like:  thin, arched for stength, perforated for lighter weight.

I was lucky when I got it home (oh, yeah...I got the table after a rather heated bidding war) and found out that it was in really great condition.  It needs a bit of touch-up, but nothing major at all.

I have no idea where the table came from.  I also can't tell if the table was hand-made or a factory item.  I'm like going 60/40 that it's a handmade table. 

The entire piece is made out of 3 pieces of plywood.

The holes were not straight-through cuts, but rather graduated to add a bit of depth as well as to to show off the different levels of plywood used.  The edges were treated and stained the same way.

Pretty neat little added bit of design, especially if it is indeed a handmade piece.

What do YOU think?  Think this might be a great plant stand for Captain Kirk?

OK, this table is UP FOR AUCTION!!  Auction starts Monday night, September 5th!

What's More Retro Than...Fine Dining 60's Style!

Maybe it was the new-found post-war prosperity.  Maybe it was the new-found tastes of soldiers returning home.  Maybe it was Julia Child.  But for some reason, the "fine dining restaurant" catapulted in both number and popularity from the mid-50's right through the 60's.

I wonder if she would have liked the dish we'll soon be talking about.

"Fine dining" was basically America's first-time, shotgun-blast exposure to foods and culinary creations not typically heard of in the US.  And such establishments, well, established many dishes we take for granted today. 

But I'm not here to discuss dishes from the 50's and 60's we all know and love.

I'm here to discuss one that may not ring any culinary bells.

So many good sounding dishes.  But I'm not too sure about this one...

I love this book.  It's from 1964 and features so many "new" recipes for dishes we take for granted today.

And yes, that Bananas Foster that guy's prepping on the cover looks mighty delicious, don't it?

But before dessert, how about a nice appetizer?

Say...broiled grapefruit...with a yummy chicken liver on top!!

BTW...this is still on their menu.
From Chalet Suzanne in Lake Wales, Florida, comes this delectable little dish.

I am not a chicken liver fan, nor a fan of liver in general.  The combination of grapefruit (yummy), topped with broiled, melted cinnamon sugar (good, too) and then a cooked chicken liver just sounds like an awkward combination.  Oh, and the liver gets more cinnamon sugar on top of it, too!  But I guess it's still quite the big seller, since it's still on the restaurant's current menu.

But to be honest, the picture above of the grapefruit kind of reminds me of the little pig cross sections we had to study in high school Biology class.  So perhaps that 60's photo doesn't do the dish justice.

But if any of you are brave enough (or perhaps this just sounds like a yummy combo to you) then here's the recipe. 

Bon Appetit!!

If you DO try it, PLEASE let me know how it was.  Perhaps I can find a few more interesting recipes for you to try.

(photo of Julia child from ABC News)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Auction finds: THE DOOM PUSSY: books that make you go "hmmmm..."

This may be one of the WEIRDEST book titles I have ever seen. And it's a book about Vietnam!

You can read more about The Doom Pussy here.  Its a rather interesting bit of history.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Part 3: When bad things happen to good Danish Modern

First of all, I want to go on record as saying that I love this chair.  Low, wide, clean lines.  It's wonderful, design-wise.

I just wish it was in better condition.  It's not so much a chair you sit on, rather than in.  The seating area has lost a lot of its support, so your butt brushes uncomfortably close to the ground when you sit in it.  It felt sturdy enough to support an elephant, but it would have needed a lot of work.  No labels or markings to indicate origin of birth.  My guess is it's domestic, based on the rather beefy, needs-to-support-the-larger-US-population construction.  The condition of the upholstery was really decent!

Someone got it for a few bucks.  If they can re-do the seat (or know someone who can do it cheap) and they are willing to work a bit on the feet (which need more than a little bit of lovin') they got themselves a nice little chair!

Auction finds: old MASTERCARD metal store sign

Is this freaking cool or what!?!?

For the few of you out there who have never heard of BankAmericard, I can safely say "yes...you have".

You probably know BankAmericard more by their current name:  VISA.

Yes, good old Visa used to be BankAmericard way back in (hold on to your hats!) 1958!!!  That's when Bank of America decided to pull out all the stops and try to get the US population hooked...er...interested in a real, honest-to-goodness credit card!

BoA created two enduring American traditions when it did a mass credit card mailing in the late 50's (and by "mailings" I mean mailing an actual uncolicited credit card to homes across America, not just an application for one!).  Those two traditions were:
  • the US population started buying on credit using a single source for financing, rather than using multiple credit cards for individual stores
  • credit card fraud.

Yep, we can thank BoA for ushering in the dawn of unauthorized charges to your card (I don't blame them personally, it was bound to happen no matter who wound up issuing these cards first).

But it wasn't until 1976 that BankAmericard officially became Visa.

Oh, and MasterCard?  They used to be known as...

Auction finds: Panasonic bicycles: Betcha didn't know...

...Panasonic made 10 speed bikes!

Panasonic actually had a serious reputation for decent bikes long before these cycles hit our shores, with the company making it first bike frames in the early 50's.

But it wasn't until 1971 that Panasonic bicycles were available here in the states.  They weren't exactly high-end, but they had good construction, very reliable components, and in general were seen as "high quality for the money" bikes.  Hmmm...sounds like a lot of other Japanese companies I know of.

The yen-to-greenback ratio, though, spelled doom for the line, and by the late 80's they were no longer being imported.

If you really need to get more info on these bikes, you really should take a few moments to visit the Panasonic Bicycle Virtual Museum, from which I was able to get some of this info.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Part 2: When bad things happen to good Danish Modern

Oh...the horror.

I knew that these beautiful Lane Danish Modern tables were up for auction.  Took a long, boring, horrible, boring (oh, and long!) drive down south, hoping I could get them (and get them cheap).

Well, there was no doubt that I would be able to get them for a song.  Look at 'em.  So sad..

Let's run down it all, shall we?

The coffee table:  Structurally, in excellent condition.  The top, though, looked like someone used it as a dish rack.  Water stains all over the place.  The guy I was with knows wood and assured me that it would have taken a complete restrip/refinishing to get the table back.  What's worse is that a serious piece of the veneer was missing.

The end table (square):  Sound structurally as well.  Water damage, but not as bad.  This table I grabbed, and it's currently sitting in the back of my truck until I can find room somewhere in this mess warehouse apartment of mine.

The end table (triangle):  This is the one I really wanted.  Beautiful table...or at least it was at one point.  Water damage beyond basic repair.  The top also looked like someone used it for a bit of knife-throwing practice.

In the end, nobody got them except for the middle table I have.  I hate to think what's going to happen to these beautiful DM pieces.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

For Sale: Mondrian Style Folding Footrest Ottoman Bench - SOLD

What a great mid-century modern era ottoman!

This ottoman/footstool is done in wonderful corduroy material. The edges are done in a chocolate brown cloth, with the top done in a Mondrian-inspired patchwork of white, sky blue, orange, red, green and lime.

Auction ends August 29th.

For Sale: Antique Cast Iron Book Press - SOLD

Here is a beautiful old antique book press!

This press is done in battleship grey and is in great working condition. I really love the black ironwork caps on either side.

Auction ends August 29th.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

UPDATE 2! Dig this auction find! Encircled nudes

I know I should know the difference between deco and nouveau but I don't.  But check out this beautiful circling nudes piece.


Well, I did a bit of research on this piece, and it's indeed a Haeger piece.  I managed to find several of them on the web.  But...this one seems to be rather unique.  I've found pink ones, red ones, aqua ones, even black ones.  But this black one is different.

The black ones I've found have been done in a regular, plain black.  This one, though, has some kind of applied iridescent finish, with bits of gold-colored flecks throughout the glaze.  It's quite stunning, and makes the plain black glazed ones look...well...plain.


The statue has been cleaned up and looks gorgeous!!!  I was able to get a look at the glaze...WOW.  No plain black glaze on this piece...just beautiful swirls and ebbs of blacks and coppery golds.  Outstanding.

It will be available for auction the night of August 24th!!

gotta LOVE driving on the turnpike

Blogger Tips: Creating a page of all your posts with multiple Labels attached to them

First of all, I LOVE the fact that Blogger gives me a total of 10 pages that I can use for customized needs.  When I saw this, I thought it would be a great idea to have a page that shows all the stuff I have for sale. All the post entries have "For Sale" as a Label, so creating this page would be a snap, right?

Wrong.  Very, very wrong.

Nelson Ball Clock: A classic design, but did Nelson really design it?

Courtesy of Herman Miller...

Here is a Youtube video of an audio-only interview with George Nelson, talking about how the Ball Clock was designed.

The name-dropping is fantastic, with Nelson talking about "Bucky" and "Noguchi".

But...who really designed the ball clock?

Listen.  And find out (maybe)...

For Sale: Vintage Red White Ceiling Light Shade For Child's Room - $36.99

Questions about this item?
Want to make an offer?
E-mail us at parkersiesel@gmail.com.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Auction Finds: Not much vintage stuff, but perhaps cool nonetheless

We hit an auction early this morning. The day started out a bit nippy and rainy, so I was thinking I'd be soaked before the auction even started. Thankfully, it cleared up a bit.

Unfortunately, the retro/vintage/mid-century modern/Danish modern pickings were rather lean. But, being the generalist that I am, I still managed to pluck up a few choice findings. Some I'll probably keep, others I'll probably offer for sale.  So even if the pickings were light, I'm still willing to share them with you (yeah, I'm a nice guy...).

Auction find: mmmmm mmmmm good

Saturday, August 20, 2011

RSS College - RSS-101: What the heck is "RSS"?

It's everywhere.

That cute little orange button (usually orange anyway), with the little dot and curves.

Typically, it's located right next to the site's Facebook and Twitter buttons.

The "Holy Trinity" of social networking

You know the standard Facebook button, and you know what will happen when you click it.  Same for the "T" Twitter button.

But, for some reason, that little orange one?  Still, for a lot of people, it's a mystery.  I know at least 5 people who know of the button, but not what the button does.

Friday, August 19, 2011

What's More Retro Than...The Christmas Tree Color Wheel

As part of a new series I'm starting today (and likely won't continue due to neglect on my part) I'd like to offer an occasional focus on some of the cultural icons many of us associate with the mid-century.

Today's topic:  the Christmas tree color wheel.

Yes, I know.  If I wanted to cover this, I should have started with the aluminum Christmas tree first.  But I've already given this topic great thought (about 4 minutes) and I'm on a roll.

It was during the 50's when America first harvested the aluminum Christmas tree.  This renewable resource (heavy on the Al...light on the C) meant most families could easily, quickly and needle-less-ly put up their Christmas tree in minutes.  By the end of dad's first Manhattan, the tree would be up and ready to decorate.

Oh...but wait.  What do you decorate an aluminum tree with?  Traditional Christmas lights are, well, electric.  Perhaps it's not a good idea to string a tall metal structure with electrified wire.

"Electric lights?  On this?  Maybe I should stand in a bucket of water, too."

So, American ingenuity comes around to save the day with:  the color wheel.  Lots of colored lights?  Just 4...so...I guess...check!  Will it make our tree all pretty and colorful?  Check.  But NOT dangerously close to contacting large metal objects?  Check check.

And from that day forward, the color wheel became almost de rigueur (fancy talk for "you better have one") for the aluminum tree family.

As a result, plenty of companies made these wonderful color wheels: Renown, Penetray, Holly Time, Imperial, Peerless, Spartus...well, you get the idea.  Lots of companies, making roughly the same color wheel design: small motor, axle, wheel, colored plastic.  But that wasn't a problem, since just about everyone wanted one.  As long as it rotated and had different colors, it was all good.

"I don't care who made it, as long as it doesn't burn the house down."

But there was one color wheel that stood out from the crowd.  And by stood out, I mean it was completely different, it broke the mold, it was...revolutionary (in more ways than one).

The Holy Grail of Christmas color wheels

Why, you ask, was this one so dang special?  Well, not only was it a color wheel for your tree, it also:
  • was the tree stand
  • played music!
Yes, the rotating, musical Christmas tree color wheel by Evergleam.

Perfect!  It not only saved valuable near-the-tree real estate for even more precious Xmas booty, it also did double-duty by playing Christmas songs when you turned it on!

Today,  these very hard-to-find color wheels can command rather high prices.  They used to go into the 7- to 8-bill range pretty easily, but one can be had (if you can find one) for about $150-$300, depending on condition and condition of the box (if there still is one), but truly "mint"-y ones can still command high prices.  So, thankfully, you don't need to run a meth lab to afford a decent one.

Typical shopping list of anyone finding a mint wheel with box on eBay

Today, you can find the more traditional color wheels on eBay and other sites, usually for under a hundred bucks, plus the traditional design is still being made, and more-or-less to the original design.

Then again, you could take the route of getting a newer color wheel: the LED color wheel.

Perfect for sucking out all the Christmas spirit from your aluminum tree

But personally, if you're going to go through all the trouble of putting up an aluminum Christmas tree, you might as well go all the way and get the real thing.  These new, high-tech lights really can't do your tree justice as well as a great 50's-designed color wheel.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

For Sale: Vintage McCobb Inspired Mid Century Modern Desk Lamp - SOLD

When you love a designer from the mid-century, but you just don't have the funds to get the real thing, items that are "influenced" or "in the manor of" that designer can sometimes become rather attractive.

Case in point: this eye-catching not-McCobb desk lamp.  It looks rather similar to McCobb's model 2010 lamp, but I doubt very much that this is a McCobb...just done "in the manor" of McCobb.

It also doesn't cost $3600...the going price for the 2010!

Auction starts Thursday night, August 18th.

Monday, August 15, 2011

For Sale: my 2nd Western Electric 300B

Sadly, this may be my last listing of a 300B for a while.  The listing started the night of August 13th.  I have an impressive 38 people watching it, but the price is only up to $11.50.  I am pretty sure, though, that it will get a bit higher before the listing closes.

Check it out.

Nice "O" getter, too!!!

I'll try to keep this post updated on the status of this listing.


It's Tuesday night, and with just about 48 hours left:
  • 49 watchers
  • 32 bids
  • price: $162.50


It's Wednesday night, and with just about 24 hours left...well...not much of a change:
  • 50 watchers
  • 32 bids
  • price: $162.50
Oh, well....we'll see what the next 24 hours brings.


My Lucky Find: Old pack of Polaroid film

As a lot of you probably already know, I do a lot of auctions.  The actual act of going to an auction itself probably deserve a serious post, and perhaps I'll do that at a future date.

But I do go to a lot of them, and sometimes it can take me weeks to finally dig through all the junk I get and start to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Well, I found this nice piece of "wheat" recently at the bottom of a box.

This is a still-sealed pack of Polaroid 108 film.  It has an expiration date of 11/86...obviously way too unstable to use.  But it did start to bring back memories.

I think a lot of us used to have a Polaroid camera somewhere in the house.  Who didn't love using them?  It was instant photographic gratification.

Oh...and who didn't wave the developing pic in the air, trying to get it to develop faster? 

"Shake it like a Polaroid picture..."

(That "waving" trick, by the way, made no difference.  The picture "developing" before your eyes was really an illusion.  The developing photo is hidden under a coating to protect it from further exposure to the light.  What you thought was a photo developing before your very eyes was really just this protective coating fading...thereby exposing the already developed pic.  Sorry to burst your bubble.)

For Sale: Mirrored 6-Sided Hexagon Wood Trimmed Plant Stand - $42.00

Shipping Option:

Questions about this item?
Want to make an offer? E-mail us at parkersiesel@gmail.com.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

For Sale: Vintage Southern Comfort Thermometers Cocktail Stirrers - SOLD

Questions about this item?
Want to make an offer? E-mail us at parkersiesel@gmail.com.

"The Perfect Host Serves Perfect Drinks"

Straight from the 40's comes this incredible set of vintage beverage thermometers!

For Sale: Vintage 60's Redwing Red Wing Belle Line Large Planter Pot 610 - $34.00

Delivery options:

Questions about this item?
Want to make an offer? E-mail us at parkersiesel@gmail.com.

Mid-Century Modern Haiku

To my 670

Like a catchers mitt
comfort, leather, inviting
A fifties home run

Kudos to anyone who knows what I'm talking about.

So...do YOU have any MCM haiku to contribute?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Findings: mystery Danish Modern pottery piece. Can you identify it?

Quite some time ago, I acquired this rather interesting piece of pottery.

I had the piece in storage for some time, and finally decided to break it out and display it again.

First of all, I LOVE this piece, and would never think of parting with it.

I love the colors in the glaze, the look it has of three flasks merging and melting together into a single piece, the tiny openings at the top for some newly-budding flowers.

Heck, there's nothing that I don't love about it.

OK, there is one thing.  I have ZERO idea of where it came from.  I am assuming its a Danish Modern piece, but for all I know it was a K-Mart blue light special.

There are the remnants of a foil paper label on the bottom, but all that's left is some paper backing, and a bit of the corner, which seems to indicate that the label had a silver border and a black background.

So...here it is.  Anyone have any idea where it came from?  Who made it?  Not interested in value...just lineage.

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