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Category Archives: Furniture & Home

Cleveland Aztec Neon Clock

Cleveland Neon Clock

I purchased an old Cleveland Aztec Neon clock several years ago. When I purchased the clock it had a working clock mechanism, but the neon was not functioning. One ring of neon was there and the other was long broken. I purchased it from a junk store for $45.00, as the proprietor told me the clock mech had recently stopped working and the clock was only good for parts. The case was faded and chipped and the hands were long faded, but the clock face was good and it seemed all the parts were there. I opened it up and got the clock running again, and then restored the case with fresh paint. The intention was always to get the neon replaced and get it back in form. I hung it on the garage wall and let it run. There was no time adjustment bar connected to the clock mech, so every daylight savings I had to unplug the clock and let it sit until the time caught up with the clock. Four years passed and I never did anything with the clock.

I recently celebrated my 50th birthday and went on a trip. When I came home I walked into my house to see a funny glow coming from the kitchen. When I entered the kitchen I found the Aztec clock sitting on the counter with brand new neon glowing like it originally was meant to. My neighbor, who works in the sign industry, had snatched the clock while I was gone and replaced the old neon with new as a birthday gift! It was the best gift I could have ever imagined.

During the neon replacement process the old original clock mech had stopped working. I removed it and did my best to get it un-seized, but to no avail. Over the years I had done research on Cleveland Clocks and found that there was a company called Petrorelics that was reproducing replacement parts and had replacement motors. I ordered a motor and a time adjustment stick and anxiously waited for them to arrive. Once the arrived I found that the old hands did not fit the new hub, so back to Petrorelics.com it was. I ordered new hands that fit the new clock movement and ordered a hanging bracket as well. I had to fabricate a bracket to install the new clock mech, and once this was all done it went together without difficulty. It looks great, and now should last another 100 years.

 

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Vintage Industrial Goodness

I am constantly searching for vintage industrial pieces. I have been buying and selling them for years. The problem now is that shows like American Pickers have made them groovy. I have a hard time finding anything i can afford anymore. That said, I still get inspired when I come across someone that “gets it” and has a collection that makes me want to overspend. The following is a perfect example. Way too expensive, but cool nonetheless…


Michelin Porcelain Sign

Wow, probably the single-most amazing porcelain sign I have ever seen! Too bad the seller wants $28,000 for it…

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Vintage Coke Jar From Ecuador

Recently on our trip to Ecuador we got lucky and found some vintage treasures. One of the most unusual was a pair of embossed glass Coca Cola jars from a drugstore. My wife, who is originally from Guayaquil, Ecuador, said she remembers seeing this kind of jar in the small drug stores when she was a little kid in the mid 60’s. They were used to distribute candy.

Coke 1 Coke 2 Coke 3 Coke 4 Coke 5 Coke 6 Coke 7


Road Trip Finds

I just spent 5 days and 800 miles in the car with both my wife and my parents… and we survived. Along the way we hit every antique store we could find and came up miserably thin in great finds. The future of antique stores is grim, I am afraid. It seems that the internet has finally put a wooden stake in the antiques market, with anything great either super highly priced or not in stores at all. They all seemed to have nothing but the leftovers and LOTS of glass and dishware. Even great furniture was rare to find. I did come away with these 3 gems:

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An Amazing Portland Raceway Motorcycle Races Poster from the 1950’s. I paid alot, but I was so happy that the guy dragged it out of the basement, and his personal collection, and then was willing to part with it after owning it for more than 30 years.

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A fantastic 1940’s Pontiac Service back-patch for a servicemen’s jacket. It is 13 inches in diameter and all loop-stitched. I will have to find the perfect vintage jacket for this one.

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An 18″ Heineken Bar Back in chalkware.

Finding these gems broke the depressing cloud we had hanging over our heads from striking out so many times. There were still some inspiring objects out there, it just seems I am going to have to find a way to make bucketloads of money to afford the good stuff. And to think that I can’t sell great items in Casarama at half the price…


A Time Out

I have been slacking on the Honda CB350 Cafe Racer Project because, as often happens, I got sidetracked and obsessed (Imagine That!) about another project. The Missus and I collect vintage metal medical cabinets, and I happened to pick up a nice one for our front entrance. The problem is that I like them in their raw metal state, which means I had to get out the paint stripper and some elbow grease and get to stripping. This particular cabinet is a very heavy welded construction piece and you never know what you are going to find under the paint. It is a good thing I don’t mind flaws on these old bastards because there are always rust feathers and weld and grind marks. I happen to think they make the cabinets look even more industrial and beautiful. So here it is after the strip:

 

Antique Metal Medical Cabinet


Antique Ranch Auction

This past weekend I attended a 3 day auction at a historical ranch in Prineville, Oregon. While there were plenty of amazing items to buy, the prices were so high I wasn’t able to walk away with much. I found a few gems that I could afford, but mostly enjoyed the experience. While everyone else was paying higher-than-retail prices I was able to bust out my camera and take photos of some great rusty relics. Enjoy…


Antique Trouble Lights

I have been obsessed with antique trouble lights for some time. This weekend I attended an auction and came away with quite a box of trouble light heaven. It was a score.

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Time to get to work restoring them…


Bexar Goods Co.

I came across another great hand-made American bag company called Bexar Goods Co. They use leather, waxed canvas, and wool to fabricate bags, belts, and carry goods. They are running an Earth Day sale on their waxed canvas line so I encourage you to get over to their sale page on their website and pick up a bag or two while the sale lasts.

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E Pluribus Unum

E pluribus unum (pronounced /ˈiː ˈplʊərɨbəs ˈuːnəm/; Latin [ˈeː ˈpluːrɪbʊs ˈuːnũː]) — Latin for “Out of many, one[1][2] (alternatively translated as “One from many“)[3] — is a phrase on the Seal of the United States, along with Annuit cœptis and Novus ordo seclorum, and adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782.[2] Never codified by law, E pluribus unum was considered a de facto motto of the United States until 1956 when the United States Congress passed an act (H.J. Resolution 396), adopting “In God We Trust” as the official motto.[4]

Last weekend I received a call from a good friend that was out on the garage sale circuit. He told me to get down to a particular sale because the young man had a stack of Barnum & Bailey Circus Posters that his grandfather had printed in his printing company back in 1945. My friend is good enough to call me, even in the competitive world of collecting, after he has picked a carcass clean, if he thinks I might throw him back a bone in the future. In this case he knows my obsession with paper goods, especially posters, and thought I might like to head down and pick up a few tidbits AFTER I call him back to let him know if the posters he set aside before calling me are actually real and valuable (the underlying reason he called me in the first place).

I grabbed the Missus and headed off to check it out, not holding much hope that the posters were real Barnum & Bailey from 1945, in some kid’s garage in my little city in the mountains, but, hey, you never know. When we pulled up I could see the stack of posters in the driveway and a single piece the seller had put in a plastic sleeve and leaned against the table for public viewing. I began to get a little excited, seeing that the sizes were correct and that the images were unusual. Not your typical reproduction fare. I sauntered up to the pile, masking my excitement, and asked the gentleman what he was asking for the posters. “$200 for the top one, $50 for some of the ones with animals, and $20 for the plain lettering.” he said. “They are original and I have sold alot on eBay for good money. They are worth more than I am asking. Some guy took quite a few this morning with hippos, elephants, and clowns. These are the only ones I have left.” he continued.

I quickly put together a stack and gave my wife the out-of-the-corner-of-my-eye sign of approval and asked him how much if I took the whole stack. We came to an agreement and I packed the posters down to the car before he had time to think.

When I headed back up the driveway I saw a large framed picture of an eagle in front of American flags with a banner above its head reading E Pluribus Unum. I hadn’t even noticed it before in my obsession with the circus posters but i quickly strolled over to give a closer look. Upon inspection I found that it was actually not a picture, but instead was a sort of needlepoint, and was actually very old. It had some fading issues but for the age it was beautiful. “What’s the story on this?” I asked the seller. He told me it also came from his grandfather and that it had been in his family for as long as he knew. He had it appraised a few years back and was told it was worth $500. That was all he knew. I don’t know why, but I had to have it. I negotiated a great price and took it home. I have been looking at it for a week and am looking for the perfect place to give it its worth, out of direct sunlight, of course.

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Any information about what this might be would be greatly appreciated.

I haven’t forgotten about the Barnum & Bailey Circus Posters. I will get some photos taken and get them posted soon, now that my obsession with the Eagle is dying down.

May 4th, 2012 Update:

After researching this piece I finally came across some information that I believe identifies what this piece is. In the late 1800’s, when tourism to the Orient by ship became all the rage, merchants in China, then later in the Philippines, began manufacturing souvenirs for the visiting wealthy tourists. One class of souvenir was patriotic needlepoint on silk. I found an auction listing for a similar piece that I think was done later than the piece I acquired. It states that this piece was from 1899. One of the sources of information showed a later example from the early 1900’s where the fabricator left out the “R” in the sentence “In God We Trust” causing it to read “In God We Tust”. It is for this reason I believe the eagle in mine is surrounded by only 12 stars in stead of 13. The example of the 1899 piece is: