We want to take a moment to talk about our other project – we’re restoring our 1972 Shasta 1400 this summer, and blogging about it here. We’re really enjoying it, and are looking forward to a long summer on the farm full of nuts and bolts and butyl tape. If you’re into that sort of thing, check it out! Meanwhile, we’ll keep posting items to the shop. Coming up – an assortment of barware and summer clothing.
Newly Listed – Typewriters and Kitchenware
We’ve been busy listing things in the shop this past week – check out these beautiful typewriters! We also posted a lot of lovely pink and aqua kitchenware. We are taking a vacation from the shop for the next week – we’ll be out working on our 1972 Shasta 1400 travel trailer. You can still check out in our Etsy shop but our next shipping date will be June 3. If you’re interested in the Shasta restoration, check out our other blog!
Flea Market Season is Here!
We had a great time at the Flea-Tique yesterday – we met lots of friendly people, sold some furniture, and hardly got sunburned at all! We’ll be back to posting some great in our shop soon – we’re still unpacking and repacking our goodies from the flea. Coming up in the Etsy shop we’ll have typewriters, aqua and pink kitchen items, curtains, bathing suits, sunglasses, and eyeglass frames – everything you need for summer and more!
Find Us at the Flea-tique!
Find us tomorrow at the Allegheny Kiski Valley Historical Society Flea-Tique, space 129! Just look for the melamine rainbow. It should be a beautiful day, and we’re looking forward to meeting some new people and enjoying our Sunday!
1955 Drexel Dining Room Set
While most of our buying, selling, and collecting is either clothing or smaller home décor items, we also love furniture of all shapes and sizes. Our home was built in 1946 and we lean towards the 1960s as far as décor goes, although Arlo is truly the mid-mod lover – I have a soft spot for the late 1800s, so we do have some earlier pieces. Our bedroom set is a 1963 Heywood Wakefield set – the Fascination group, in Topaz – and we have a Heywake dining room table and chairs as well.
We live in a part of the country that, for whatever reason, hasn’t quite caught on to the midcentury modern trend, so occasionally we find ourselves in the position of being the only folks who recognize the beauty of certain pieces. We see a lot of fantastic furniture, and we simply don’t have room for all of it. This happened to us recently when we had to leave a Heywood Wakefield Kohinoor bedroom set behind. And we sadly passed on some great Lane tables the other weekend, too.
But sometimes, we see things we just can’t pass up. I mentioned previously how much we love stories – and sometimes the story is so good, we wind up with some extra items in the back of the truck. That’s what happened recently with this fantastic Drexel dining room set. We visited a house that was being gutted and remodeled for sale. It was a shame, because it was a classic 1950s suburban home, and we shudder to think how it was going to be modernized. The kitchen was sublime! Some of the original furniture was left, and we struck up a conversation with the past owner’s children about the house and furniture. We were told this Drexel set had been purchased new when their parents married in 1955, and had never been moved. Their daughter remembered sitting under the table as a small child, playing.
This set is the New Today’s Living line, which we have seen attributed to Milo Baughman. This line was produced in 1955, which, as far as we can tell, is when Baughman was working for the company. We managed to find some original ad copy, and in Drexel’s original publicity for the line they describe it as having “light, smart beauty” and being “elm with spice finishes”. We just know we saw it, we liked it, and we had to take it home.
This set includes an extension dining room table with two leaves, 6 chairs (4 mates and 2 captain’s chairs), a sideboard, and a china cabinet. All pieces are in wonderful condition for their age, and are really good examples of midcentury style. However, once we got it home it quickly became clear that we just weren’t going to have room to display it or store it – so we’re going to have to find it a new owner. We live in Pittsburgh, and this would be pickup only, but if you’re interested in this beautiful set please contact us and make us an offer. We want to see it find a good home, it’s such a lovely set with such a great story. See the set here on eBay!
Let’s Play Dress Up!
Let’s talk about personal style. I mainly wear vintage dresses and accessories, but I tend to incorporate multiple eras into my look. I have no problem wearing 2014 hair with a 1960s dress and my everyday 1950s eyeglasses. My style is much more about color and pattern matching, and I tend to wear what makes me feel good as opposed to being into the period authenticity of the look. I admire and respect people who put the time and energy into perfecting that VLV pin-up perfect vintage style. Learning how to style the hair and makeup is not easy – when ladies would say they couldn’t go out because they had to wash their hair, they meant it. Washing and setting a classic 1940s or 1950s hairstyle is something that can take quite a bit of time and attention, even if you’re in the habit of doing it. The next time you look at an old yearbook, think about all the hours those young ladies spent setting their hair! So in my day to day life, I am much more casual. I don’t usually wear makeup, and you’ll always find me in flats.
Yesterday, I tried to clean out my closet. I’m still working on it. Do you know those faux nut containers that are full of spring snakes? I dislodged a wide brim hat and the whole top shelf jumped out at me. There are so many goodies in the world, but never enough space! Many of the items I own I really do tend to view as collectables, and I don’t usually wear them. But standing there looking at all the hats, shoes, scarves, stockings, and petticoats that had fallen down around me I decided that instead of putting them away, I should just put them on.
So following a quick wash and set and some hasty makeup, here’s my best vintage look made up of favorites from my collection. The green velvet hat with feathers I got from my friend Becky – it was her mother-in-law’s. Perfect. The glasses are my regular pair – aluminum Art Craft frames. The dress is a handmade cotton with a great novelty pattern featuring Buddhas. I love wild patterns and extravagant necklines – this one has a big sassy bow. I have another dress in a different cut made of the same fabric in a different shade, also handmade, though by someone else. Amazing. The shoes are a pair of 1940s Arthur Murray dancing shoes – size 10! I bought these from a woman who had lost her mother, the original owner of the shoes. She sent me a handwritten letter telling me of the fun her mother had wearing them dancing, and asking me to take care of them. They’re very special to me, I love hearing about people’s personal connections to particular items. They’re beautiful shoes!
I rarely dress up, but when I do it is always a pleasure to take off the heels, wash off the makeup, and become myself again. I’m much more comfortable. But it was an important reminder to appreciate the things we do have in our collections – I really have to wear more of these hats! I’m going to go finish cleaning my closet, and rotate my wardrobe while I’m at it. Here’s to enjoying what we have, wearing what we love, and occasionally taking the time to set our hair.
Abandoned Albums: Lucky Teter and His Hell Drivers
At my day job, I am a librarian and archivist who is lucky enough to handle my library’s photo collection. It has been a great experience for me, and I’ve learned so much about photographs over the years. I’ve always loved photos, and have picked up quite a personal collection. Once you start collecting photos, though, you have to quickly narrow your focus, since there are so many abandoned images of other people’s lives floating around out there. I have two main types of photos that I collect – pretty ladies, and people having fun. Obviously, then, my favorite types of photos are pretty ladies having fun! You can imagine my pleasure when I was at a sale the other weekend and found an entire album containing roughly 100 photos from the 1930s and 40s – many of them of young, pretty ladies having fun! I love their hair, my goodness. And it makes sense this group of girls has excellent hair because they’re posed outside of a beauty school – they are all students, including the woman in the front center of this photo. Her name was Thelma Evey, and I brought all of her photos home.
After beauty school Thelma seems to have had a close relationship with the same group of ladies that appear several times throughout the album. They may be sisters, or just BFFs – but they had a great time together. There’s photos of them sunbathing, having porch parties, and standing in the California sun, 1945, with some handsome sailor boys. Eventually you see Thelma appearing with, we’ll assume, her husband and children. There are a few photos from the 1950s in the album, and then it’s over and we’re left to wonder what may have happened since then. However, we know she was pretty, and she sure appears to have had fun!
There was one photo in particular that caught my attention when I was going through the album. It’s a photo of Thelma and her friends standing in front of a car with the words “Lucky Teter World’s Champion and his Hell Drivers”. Woah. Hell Drivers? Now that sounds pretty cool.
So I dug into solving the mystery of who Lucky Teter might have been, and what the heck is a Hell Driver, exactly? In this day and age I was able to give it a Google – and I quickly lost a lot of time reading about a fellow who seems to have been a pretty big influence in American car culture – and doesn’t even have his own Wikipedia page! Here, briefly, is the story of Lucky Teter. Born Earl Teter in Indiana, he began doing automobile stunts at county fairs in the early 1930s, traveling throughout the United States and even to Cuba with his group of stunt drivers. Lucky drove both cars and motorcycles, and shocked audiences with his stunts that included intentional crashes, jumps using ramps, jumps over buses, and jumps through fire. Lucky was very successful and earned quite a bit of money as a touring daredevil.
He married in 1934, to a woman described by a Wilmington, Delaware newspaper in 1940 as a ‘charming Southern beauty’. The writeup in the Wilmington paper mentions that “Mrs. Teter won’t see the stunts. She’s never yet seen the show, for she turns her head before Lucky goes into the dangerous leaps and spins. She frankly admits she doesn’t want the horror of the memory of the day when Teter’s luck might not hold out.”
Sadly, two years after this was written, Teter’s luck did run out and he lost his life on July 4, 1942 while attempting a world record jump of 150 feet. He was 41 years old. Ruth Teter passed away in 1981. (*A commenter let us know that Ruth was his sister, and his wife Edna is still living!)
It was a pleasure to learn about Lucky. He seems like a very American sort of fellow – he did what he wanted, lived how he pleased, and had a smile on his face while he did it. I bet Thelma Evey and her buddies really enjoyed the show.
Along for the Ride – A great blog entry about Lucky by John Straub
Trial By Torture – Watch Lucky do stunts in a Chrysler promotional video!
Lucky and Ruth Teter on Find A Grave
We often get asked what we like so much about vintage living. There are several answers to this question, but I am going to start with one of the most important.
Vintage living is all about sustainability! Buying, using, and reselling vintage items is giving pieces another chance that may otherwise end up in the trash. It is reusing what are often quality items and materials instead of purchasing new, often disposable and poorly made, furniture and home decor. So we think it is important to do our part to create a sustainable lifestyle that revolves around the repair, reuse, and restoration of previously used items.
Why else do we love vintage living? We love the community! We love the people we have met during our years of collecting vintage and antiques. We love hearing the stories that accompany certain pieces, and we love being invited into people’s homes to hear their family stories and share their memories of earlier times. We may be dealing in “stuff”, but what matters to us are the human connections we make in the process.
Of course, we also have to state the obvious – vintage living is FUN! We enjoy the thrill of the hunt, and the exhilarating rush that comes when we find a really good piece. We love seeing styles we’ve never seen before, or strange items we can’t identify.
We’re not into vintage living to glamorize the past, because we’ll be the first to tell you that living in 2014 certainly has its advantages. If it weren’t for modernity, I couldn’t share these thoughts with you! But we love dealing with pieces from all eras, and we’re glad to play a small part in preserving and sharing our American material culture.
Welcome to the Polyverse.
Hello friends! We’re very excited to have this space set up as a place to share our love of vintage with you. We are Ten and Arlo from Pittsburgh PA. We’re lovers of the past, of material history, of quality antiques and inexpensive plastics. When we’re not doing vintage, we’re librarians with a host of other web projects. We hope you’ll follow us!