Sunday, August 23, 2015

"You need to let the little things

 that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.” 
                                                                           ~Andy Warhol

I have been sorting through a variety of merchandise that has been bagged, boxed, and bundled.  In a bag of odds and ends, I found this little make-up container.
I think it is a blush container...I could not find any information on the company though.  I love the little applicator.  When you look at small things like this, you realize how much attention to detail existed in the past.

 When I flipped the little box over, I saw this.
I had never seen one of these stamps before, and so off to research.  It seems the Civil War expenses sent the Federal government to issue the Revenue Act of 1862.  It created ways raise revenue as well as forming the Department of Internal Revenue. (I guess now we just let war debt grow hoping it will suddenly vanish into thin air.)

Anyway, every document was taxed...deeds, insurance policies, telegrams, stock certificates.  Some luxuries were also taxed including playing cards, liquor, matches, and perfume.  Revenue stamps were put on these items to prove the tax was paid, but the cash coming in was not enough so Congress passed a new tax in 1864 (see...there was a time when Congress actually did something!).
This tax was on "photographs, ambrotypes (photo on glass), daguerreotypes or any other sun-pictures."   Photographers were required to affix a properly denominated revenue stamp on the back of the image and cancel it by initialing and dating it in pen. There was not a special stamp created for photography, thus you will see stamps on images for Bank Checks, Playing Cards, Certificates, Bill of Lading, etc. These were accepted by the Federal Government as long as the denomination was appropriate.

The photography companies organized against the stamps since it appeared they were being overtaxed, and in 1866 Congress repealed their tax but kept cotton, tobacco, and alcohol under the proprietary tax laws.   It took until 1922 for the perfume and cosmetic taxes to be repealed, so this little blush container has to be pre-1922.  But those little stamps caused Congress to respond.  Maybe we need to bring back tax stamps!
                         Even the largest avalanche is triggered by small things.
                                                          ~Vernor Vinge

Sunday, August 16, 2015

"Isn't it amazing

how much stuff we get done the day before vacation?
~Zig Ziglar
The final weeks of my "summer vacation" are in sight.  Those of us who live in resort areas have the advantage to have the "staycation." Every evening when I head to the beach for my nightly walk, I look at the visitors, and think, you have to go home at the end of the your vacation...I live here.

Summer vacation is American.  It is not as common in Europe, South America, and Asia to take 3 months off.  Ireland, Italy, Greece, Lithuania, and Russia do take the 3 months, but Australia, Britain, The Netherlands, Canada, and Germany take six to eight weeks.  American schools are in session for 180 days, but the Japanese schools are open 250 days.

Many think our summers off were to allow the children to help on farms, but crops were planted in the spring and harvested in the fall.  So, why have June, July, and August become the 
"hit the road" months?
Thank the rich people who lived in the 19th century!  Summer has always been a travel time, and they wanted their children to be able to go without having to worry about school.  Also, during this time and into the early 20th century, people believed the brain was a muscle, and it was important not to strain it (you know I could comment here, but I will restrain myself).

In my research, a Mr. Henry Curtis is mentioned as someone in the early 1900s who advocated for more play time for children as well as having them spend summer with their families.  He also supported Boy and Girl Scouts for summer entertainment.

There was sympathy for students in those schools where air conditioning did not exist; just like today, you will hear of school closings in the early June heat waves.  The summer was also a time for teachers to get more training.  One funny item I found was a little sexist.   In rural areas, summer classes were taught by young women and teenaged girls.  The male teachers taught in the fall and winter.

So, whatever your summer brought, I hope it brought you some relief from the daily routine, remember:
It's all emotion. But there's nothing wrong with emotion. When we are in love, we are not rational; we are emotional. When we are on vacation, we are not rational; we are emotional.
                                      ~Frank Luntz

Sunday, August 9, 2015

"All life is an experiment.

The more experiments you make the better."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I think retail is a giant experiment these days.  Do we point and click or go brick and mortar?  Every shop is an experiment.  Will the inventory sell?  It is like putting chemicals in a test tube, shaking, and hoping they do not explode but create a pleasant odor or color.  The younger generations do shop differently though because they have been raised with their i-phones and Amazon prime.  Shopping may look like an experiment in buying to them!
And speaking of experiments, I ended up with a box of test tubes art auction.  A simple little glass container, but who designed it?  
The creator was a French nobleman, Antoine Lavoisier.  Lavoisier was a powerful member of a number of aristocratic councils and an administrator of the Ferme Générale. The Ferme générale was one of the most hated components of the Ancien Régime because of the profits it took at the expense of the state, the secrecy of the terms of its contracts, and the violence of its armed agents.  All of these political and economic activities enabled him to fund his scientific research.  I cannot imagine politicians using their campaign funds to work on scientific research.
Lavoisier also recognized and named oxygen in 1778 having discovered its role in combustion, and he added hydrogen in 1783.  He helped design the metric system and wrote the first extensive list of elements.  Something else that has impacted many women in the 21st century, he predicted the existence of silicon in 1787.  
In our 3 R mentality: reuse, recycle, repurpose, I offer some ideas...
Single serve cocoa...
 test tube hot cocoa
or Hot Cocoa wands...
test tube hot cocoa
Party favors...Halloween ones here...
test tube halloween party favors
I have bed springs!
I am sure you could search Pinterest also.  From toilet paper rolls to soda bottles, you can overload on the 3 Rs!  But, in case you want to be a little creative with a test tube, I have a stash.  

Oh, a little trivia about using test tubes...the first successful birth of a "test tube baby", Louise Brown, occurred in 1978.  Robert Edwards, the physiologist who developed the treatment, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2010. With egg donation and IVF, women who are past their reproductive years or menopause can still become pregnant. Adriana Iliescu held the record as the oldest woman to give birth using IVF and donated egg, when she gave birth in 2004 at the age of 66, a record passed in 2006.  So, just in case you are thinking about it...
"Experimentation is the least arrogant method of gaining knowledge. The experimenter humbly asks a question of nature." ~  Isaac Asimov 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

"History is not the past,

but a map of the past drawn from a particular point of view to be useful to the modern traveler.
                                        ~Henry Glassie

I am always fascinated by the history behind the items that show up in the vintage/antique world and how they blend or echo the modern world.
Frankoma Pottery has an interesting story.   It was originally known as The Frank Potteries when John Frank opened shop in 1933. (and you thought only Trump named everything after himself!) Frank was a ceramics professor at the University of Oklahoma. The factory opened in Ada, Oklahoma, then moved to Sapulpa, Oklahoma in 1938.  Shortly after the move, the factory burned down (it is amazing how many factories go up in smoke!).  When Frank rebuilt, he renamed the company Frankoma using the last three letters from Oklahoma.
The clay in Ada was a light cream color, and it was used until 1953 when the company switched to a red burning clay from Sapulpa. The firm made dinnerware, utilitarian and decorative kitchenwares, figurines, flowerpots, and limited edition and commemorative pieces. Important dinnerware lines include Lazybones, Mayan-Aztec, Oklahoma Plainsman, Wagon Wheel, and Westwind.
The dinnerware made prior to 2000 contained lead, but after 2000 the US government banned leaded glazes in dinnerware (just USA made not imports).  The current Frankoma website states that the dinnerware is safe "as long as it is in good condition with no chips or crazing."
Frank operated the pottery with his wife until his death in 1973.  Their daughter inherited the business, but a fire in 1983 once again destroyed the factory.  It was rebuilt and operating by 1984. She attempted to maintain the pottery, but she was forced to sell it off in 1991 after declaring bankruptcy in 1990.  I am sure Chinese imports impacted that, and various owners actually tried to make it work for several years, but in 2011 a thousand pieces of pottery, showroom fixtures, and equipment were sold.

The 1800 original molds, the Frankoma name, and the real estate were not included in the sale.  In 2012 the factory was sold to a non-pottery manufacturer, and then the molds and trademark went to an LLC called FPC.  There is limited production of these mugs...
Their website indicates they will be internet based, and they are in the Tulsa area, but they are shipping out of Houston, Texas.  Former Frankoma employees are involved, and they are trying to expand, but for now they are offering mainly political mugs online or at selected antique malls in Oklahoma and Texas.

At least we have to give the owners credit for trying to stay in the USA!  But, when companies go out of business or change style, prices do change, and this anonymous quote fits well in the antique/vintage world:
          "Each time history repeats itself, the price goes up."