Friday, July 18, 2014

Caturday Free Digital Download

I'm up to the "C"s in the Encyclopedia American. I had fun today getting two pages of cat pictures touched up. The paper was damaged so I removed the background and filled it in with a soft buff colour. You can get the full size version of this one for free here - just right click on the image and select "Save Image As..".

If you'd like both pages without the watermark, check out the listing on my new Etsy store, Seagull Island Digital:

Cats - Antique Illustrations Digital Download

Use coupon CATURDAY10 for a %10 discount on this or anything else in the store.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Encyclopedia Overload!

I received the most wonderful Valentine's present this year. On that Friday a work friend dropped off two boxes of old, tattered, mouse eaten encyclopedias! She was clearing out her mother's house and couldn't figure out what to do with them. She asked around the office and I couldn't say yes fast enough - she even told me that I was doing her a favour. Better than chocolate if you ask me and much better than this treasure ending up in the landfill!

A box of mouse nibbled, water damaged, mouse nibbled treasure.
Look at all this vintage goodness!

As far as I can tell, there are two full sets. One is The Americana, published by Scientific American in 1913. It is full of great plates of animals, machines, art, architecture and so much more. The second one is a children's set titled The Book of Knowledge which has fewer plates but plenty of interesting stories, lessons and crafts to share. My plan is to go through each volume and post some of my favourite images.

Title page of Volume 1 - A-ARE
The Americana, A Universal Reference Library

Lets begin with The Americana, Volume 1 - A-ARE. We are starting off with a bang because one of the first double page plates is this wonderful collection of flying machines.

A two page spread of marvelous flying machines!
A two page spread of marvelous flying machines!

This the largest of several plates from the sections on Aerial Locomotion and Aeroplanes. These books were published just 10 years after the Wright Brothers' famous flight at Kitty Hawk so heavier than air powered flight was still a pretty new concept. There are also many beautifully detailed illustrations of the various types of aeroplanes being flown at that time; unfortunately the text paper is very thin and I'm not sure if I can get a good scan of them (but I'll try!)

This volume contains many interesting black and white and colour plates that cover such diverse subjects as African Art, Alaskan Animals, American Agriculture, Amphibia, Architecture. There are also many two-page colour maps including Africa, the Arctic and the Antarctic.

The next volume is ARE-BEH which includes Armour, Asiatic Art, Automobiles, Baboons, Bears and Bees (oh my!). 

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Mother Lode of Public Domain Images!

The British Library has uploaded a million scans of images from 17th-19th century books to their Flickr account. There are some stunning colour ones like these wild turkeys:

Most are colour scans of black and white images. Since they're old that means they are actually more black and cream. I downloaded one that caught my eye and had some fun with it in Photoshop. It needed a bit of cleaning up because there was text around it as well as some showing through from the page on the back. Then I turned it into a duo-tone. I think it turned out pretty well for just a few minutes of work.

From what I've seen so far, all these images are 72dpi. That makes them great for the web but not so great for printing. If you have the software you can download the largest versions and change the resolution. I tried this with the turkey picture, making the resolution 300dpi. That changed the size from 19.6" x 28.4" to 4.7" x 6.8, which would be perfect for making cards. Feel free to contact me if you'd like a jpg of the 300dpi turkey image.

Thanks to BoingBoing for pointing out this great resource!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday, June 29, 2012

Thrift Score of the Month: Arctic Candle Lamps

I work half days on Tuesdays and, since I don't get vacation time, my hubby uses some of his to take half days in the summer. He meets me after work, we have lunch and then hit a couple of thrift stores on the way home.

A couple of weeks ago I dragged him to three of them. There was nothing at the first, not much at the second and the third wasn't looking so great until I came across these:

To tell the truth, it was the box that caught my attention - that bright tartan and the Scotsman with a cheeky expression is everything I look for in ephemera. I had a bit of a hard time making sense of the objects in the box - they looked like plastic candles with brass lamp shade holders. I looked a bit closer and there was some writing on the shade part.

It's a bit hard to read in picture but it says:
The top of the 'candle' part says:
Green's Patent
Candle Lamp
Patd USA Sept 1 96
I bought them, of course. They were ridiculously cheap - about what I would have been willing to pay just for the box! The first thing I did when I got them home was take them apart:

This is the broken one - the little snuffer part has broken off - but it was the only one I could get apart completely. The main part of it is a tube with a whitish sleeve over the outside and a spring mechanism inside that pushes the candle up as it burns. There is a tapered, rounded cap on the top that has an opening just slightly smaller than the candle and the shade holder just slips on over the top of this. The bottom is textured red rubber over a brass cap that screws on. All in all, very interesting, but what was it exactly?

I tracked down a pair on Ebay - they were not identical but it was a starting point. The ones online were white metal with a sort of tripod on the bottom instead of the rubber bit. Curiouser and curiouser! It took a while but I finally tracked down some old ads for this odd object; it turns out that the company that made them was not "Green's" but "The Arctic Light Company" (I have yet to figure out how Green comes into it!)

This comes from The Geffrye Museum of the Home and there are a few other images there related to Arctic Candle Lamps. This is one of the things I love about vintage - the research and finding new resources. I will be spending a few hours looking through their collections sometime soon!

So, now I know. The rubber end is made to fit into a standard candle holder and the whole contraption is designed to look like a candle and burn like a candle but not to drip wax like a candle! According to the back of this advertisement, the ones I have are the less expensive, unplated version. After reading a couple of ads, I'm still not sure what the white sleeve is made of. I can only assume that it is an early plastic like celluloid - which is a bit alarming because celluloid is highly flammable!

I still need to clean these up before they can go into my Lived In Vintage Etsy store. I'm sad that one of them is broken, but all the parts are still there, held on with very old tape, so it might be fixable. Either way, they are both usable and even come with bits of vintage candles!

I'm always amazed at how a few dollars at a thrift store can provide so much research fun. Here are a couple of other bits I dug up on the Arctic Light Company:

An 1899 photo of the premises of the Arctic Light Company
Another advertisement from the Geffrye Museum
A newspaper ad from the Westminster Budget, January 14, 1898

Monday, September 26, 2011

New Age Thrift Store

A new stop for Wild Vintage hunting on Quadra!

One of the long streets running through Victoria, Quadra has three thrift stores that I hit at least once a month. On the way back from one of my expeditions, I caught a glimpse of this place as the bus went by. This weekend I dragged my ever patient husband out for a first look. It's close to our flat so we enjoyed a great walk through one of the more interesting neighborhoods in our area. I had to grab a picture of this:

The store is divided into two sections, each with its own entrance. The first one was mostly clothing but it also included some household stuff and jewelry. I took a poke through the clothes and they seemed to have pretty good quality stuff at reasonable prices. There was a good size section of children's clothes as well. I saw some vintage but the only thing that caught my eye was an 80s jumpsuit (and I'm not ready to face the 80s again yet). Not much in the way of jewelry or purses, although there was a red leather bag with Prada stamped on it - I would have bought it for $4 but the inside was filthy. Sigh...

On to the next section. Mostly new stuff - electronics, movies and games. There was a cute display of frogs near the entrance:

The interesting part was at the back - a warehouse like area with wooden shelves to the ceiling. Unfortunately, there wasn't much that I would consider vintage but it was a lot of fun to poke through things nonetheless. My husband pointed out these two alligators:

They look like they could be from the 70s but they didn't have any marks and they were a bit large for me to take a chance on. There were a few other interesting things, including an ornate antique table, chairs and buffet set that looked like it had seen better days. In the end the only thing I bought was a set of vintage invitations in the shape of hamburgers (no picture yet but they'll be in my Seagull Island Etsy shop soon).

All in all, not a terribly successful hunt. It's a great place for newer stuff and I'm sure the husband and I will be returning so he can look through all the DVDs and games while I do a proper search through the clothes. I might add it to my monthly Quadra expedition as well - who knows what kind of treasures might show up?

Like a unicorn with its very own rainbow chaser!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Public Domain Images from Yale

Yale is offering free access to online images of objects from it's museums, archives and libraries. Of particular interest to us Wild Vintage lovers is the collection of public domain images that this will give us access to.

Check it out here:

Yale Digital Commons

According to the Yale Office of Public Affairs and Communications:

"The goal of the new policy is to make high quality digital images of Yale's vast cultural heritage collections in the public domain openly and freely available."

Full article here