When I was young (3-6 yrs. old) and living in the suburbs of Philadelphia, there was an abandoned house next door to ours. Actually, I think it was a garage with an apartment upstairs. But because I was little, it seemed huge. And scary. In part because Mrs. O’Brien, an ogre of a woman who lived in the main house, was meaner than mean. I believe she once hit my father with a rolled up newspaper, or an umbrella, because she was angry about our barking dog. She may have had a point. Anyway, my parents, heeding the laws and perhaps some hidden dangers, forbid us to go inside. But try squelching the curiosity of two small children eager to defy the rules. When we did finally sneak our way in, we found boxes and letters and lots of broken glass (the danger part!) scattered among three-legged chairs and the mustiest air imaginable. Sorry, I digress. I just found a few photos from a little jaunt my husband and I made over to Governors Island a year or so ago. The city decided to open up some of the buildings — the fancy officers houses and the red brick dormitories — to the public. It was truly amazing. Peeling paint, everything fallen into decrepitude, and many many closed doors. It brought back that crazy childhood impulse to trespass in a big way. The photographs don’t even begin to do it justice. So, this summer, if you have a chance, hop on one of the ferries, take the seven minute ride, and go! Read about the history of the island here.
I recognize that these boxes, or “tins” as the are more commonly referred to, are mighty familiar, and maybe a little ubiquitous. That doesn’t mean that I like them any less. Besides, who doesn’t love a little potted tongue? Transferware was a product of mid 18th century England (although popular in other parts of Europe as well), and really came into its own during the mid 1800s. All photos and tins from Ruby Lane.
This isn’t my typical post, but I saw this photograph by Max Rossi in the NYT this morning and could not get it out of my head. Something about the scale of the ship (the Costa Concordia that ran aground off the coast of Italy on January 13th, 2012 ) in relation to the sunbathers just flips me out. In part because of their actual proximity to the vessel itself. If you must see more, go here.
This is the kind of thing that makes me feel nostalgic and weak at the knees. I saw this tracing paper sample book at a wooden cutting board factory up in Vermont. They had a startling array of ephemera just lying around, and my camera died after this shot. Of course. As a matter of information, Kueffel and Esser, more commonly known as K & E, started out in the late 19th century as a company known for making drawing materials, drafting supplies and surveying equipment.