Category: collections

Erasers

Wednesday 06.13.12

These erasers are all hard as rocks, so of no use to me or anyone. But I love them all the same. Especially the round Mallat wheel erasers. And, if you are of a certain age, you’ll remember with fondness the ones with the little brushes at the ends.

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Hydrometers

Wednesday 06.06.12

I thought I had lost these somewhere along the way. Perhaps in our last move. With a sigh of relief, I recently unearthed them along with some beautiful French boxes of insect specimens. I was less concerned about the loss of the bugs because, while quite unusual and striking, they posed no safety threat. Not so for the hydrometers. Those big silvery bulbs at the ends contain mercury. And lots of it. I just happened to have finished reading a disturbing article about South America and how, as a result of the gold boom, mercury contamination has spread at astonishingly high levels in both air and water. So the question of what to do with these things is front of mind. Suggestions are welcome. I don’t mean to be glib, but poison aside, these are pretty amazing.

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More Family Crests

Thursday 05.24.12

The second of two placards…

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French Family Crests

Wednesday 05.23.12

One of those truly unusual finds from the Vanves flea market in Paris. These are wax seals depicting heraldic crests from some of the oldest families in France. I have my friend Nancy to thank for spotting these. We were approaching the final few hundred feet of the market and I heard a sharp intake of breath. I turned and followed Nancy’s gaze to a gentleman who had about 20 or so of these small 12″X14″ boards arrayed on the pavement at his feet. It seemed unthinkable that they were for sale and not in a museum. Who knows, as I write this it occurs to me that maybe they were stolen.

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French Bugs

Monday 04.30.12

There was a time when I did collect things such as insect specimens and medical ephemera. I still pick up the occasional syringe or hand blown glass eye, but really those days are over. And for good reason. But just recently I was overtaken with the feeling that I had somehow lost these three specimen boxes along with a weird and truly wonderful array of hydrometers (more on that later), all purchased over the years during trips to Paris. I searched a little, but mostly forgot about them, not wanting to imagine where and when I had mistakenly thrown them in the trash. Well, I should have known, the other day I looked up at my shelves and there, in a box clearly labeled Bug Specimens and Hydrometers, they were. And, it turns out that the boxes themselves were from Deyrolle. I didn’t notice until just today.

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Duck and Cover

Monday 04.23.12

It doesn’t smell, we can’t taste it and we definitely can’t see it, so it only makes sense that there would be a whole host of devices to aid in its detection. I speak, of course, of radiation. This exceptional collection of monitors and scalers is the property of Oak Ridge Associated Universities. Their Health Physics Historical Instrumentation Museum has a somewhat singular purpose: to chronicle the scientific and commercial history of radioactivity and radiation. I wonder if Dieter Rams would like these?

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More Cigarette Cards

Friday 03.23.12

More from the NYPL digital archives. I’ve successfully worked my way through 1021 pages out of 2478. Don’t think these need much commentary beyond the fact that the colored badges represent the various regional/local football clubs in the UK. If you need to see which colors correspond with which football club, go here.

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