Saturday, January 12

.:: 1926 Metrodyne Super-Seven Egyptian Radio ::.

'Here is a stunning vintage Metrodyne Super-Seven tube radio manufactured in 1926 by the Metro Electric Company of Chicago, IL.  This is the highly sought after Egyptian Revival model with a decorated Bakelite front panel and 24 karat gold-plated metal escutcheons.  The radio features single-dial ganged tuning with four variable capacitors, and four green basket-weave coils.  The radio is completely original and in unrestored condition.This is a battery-operated set which requires a 5, 45, 135, and -6 volt battery Due to the need for batteries and the "bad" tubes, this radio was not able to be tested.  Overall the radio measures approximately 27" x 9" x 10". It has an original late 1926 price of $75 which would be approximately the value of a $950 component today.
The overall condition of the radio is excellent.  The cabinet is made of wood and it is original with no structural damage and the finish is original with no flaws outside of standard wear to include corner, edge, and light surface wear.    The front panel is exquisite with a mirror-like shine and the Egyptian design displays practically no wear or loss of color.  The metal components display all of their 24 karat gold plating with no loss that I see, and all of the dials and equalizers function and are original.  The chassis appears to be all original.  The four tuning capacitors appear to be in good condition with no cracks or deterioration.  One of the audio transformer ID tags has a crack in the middle, and there is light surface rust on a few of the metal components.This is by far, one of the most exquisite radios that I have ever seen up for auction, and it would make a showpiece for any radio collector !'

Tuesday, October 23

Lamb Brothers Lamps of Nappanee, Indiana & History

In Jan Lamb’s brief history of the Lamb family companies in Nappanee and transcripts of newspaper clippings from The Nappanee News comes the following history & it is compiled from this information.

'In March 1900, George L. Lamb moved his brush, easel, and novelty factory from Goshen to a former furniture factory in Nappanee, Indiana.  In September 1903, Lamb added a two-story addition and dry kiln to the former furniture factory.  Lamb constructed a new building for his novelty furniture business in late 1906.
In July 1908, Lamb displayed a selection of mission lamps at a Chicago merchandising show.  Lamb’s mission lamps sold well.  Wishing to capture a portion of the growing leaded shade lamp market, George L. Lamb, David Lamb, and H. B. Greene created a new business entity to manufacture art glass shades in April 1909.  A newly built, three-story factory building, located on Jackson Street, housed the factory.
George L. Lamb continued as sole owner of his novelty furniture business as well as serving as a partner in the new enterprise.  George’s brother David moved from Los Angeles to manage the new factory.  Harry B. Greene, George Lamb’s son-in-law, was the assistant cashier of the Farmers & Traders Bank.  J.C. Newsom of Louisville, KY, was hired to head marketing.
Forty workers were employed.  The October 5, 1910 issue of The Nappanee News reported: “The elegant styles and finish of their goods is finding a market for them in Texas and Canada, as well as in nearly all the states of the Union…They operate two dynamos, one used in the plating process room and the other for lighting the factory.  They also have their own gas plant which furnishes fire for the bench men in the soldering room….”

Lamb Bros. & Greene initially imported art glass shade designers and craftsmen from Chicago.  Charles McFall, a graduate of the Chicago Art Institute, remained in Nappanee, eventually marrying Charles Lamb’s youngest daughter Mabel Irene.   Madeline Campbell also designed Tiffany-style lamps for the company.  One of Campbell’s designs was inspired by a robin’s nest containing four eggs in a tree outside her window.  Campbell’s red and white stripe and blue shield with stars design was removed from inventory when the United States government complained about Lamb Bros. & Greene’s commercialization of the flag.
George Lamb withdrew from Lamb Bros. & Green in 1925.  As tastes shifted from art glass to silk lamp shades, business declined.  To help make ends meet, the company did plating for outside contractors.  In June 1931, a receiver sold the real estate and personal property of Lamb Bros. & Greene, a victim of changing tastes and the Great Depression.'

Monday, October 8

1923 Complete Western Electric Receiving Wireless Radio Set & Antenna

'Here is a complete, working Western Electric No. 6004-B radio receiving outfit, manufactured in 1923 and leased to radio stations and other commercial institutions for broadcast radio reception.  The outfit comprises a Western Electric No. 4-B Radio Receiver; a Western Electric No. 1-B Loop Antenna; a Western Electric No. 10-A Battery Box; a pair of Western Electric CW-834 Headphones; and six Western Electric 215-A peanut tubes.

The outfit is possibly the only one of its kind still intact.  A virtually identical outfit was allegedly once used in the White House (infuriating David Sarnoff, who wanted to know why AT&T and not RCA was behind the best superhetrodyne radios in the world), and this example probably belongs in the National Museum of American History, but for now it's just set up in my living room, waiting to find a new home (it doesn't have to be white).

All components in the outfit are in excellent, original, working condition, and none of them have been repaired, restored or otherwise embellished.  The cabinet finish on both the radio and the battery box is original and in excellent condition.  The wiring harness that connects the battery box to the radio is original and in excellent condition.  The wiring diagram inside the battery box is original and in excellent condition.  The wires inside the battery box are original and in excellent condition.  The paint on the loop antenna is original and in excellent condition.  The paint on the radio's panel is original and in excellent condition.  The interior of the radio is of course entirely original and in excellent condition (actually, it's almost like new, with a nearly perfect schematic affixed to the back).  The loop wire is original and in excellent condition.  The flat cloth wiring harness on the loop is original and in excellent condition.  The headphone band exhibits moderate wear consistent with age and use, but the headpieces themselves are in excellent condition.

The radio and loop have been tested as recently as this past weekend, and they still work great.  You don't need an outdoor aerial for this outfit, just the Western Electric No. 1 loop, but if you'd like to use an outdoor aerial, you can couple the radio with the Stanrad 1-tube antenna amplifier/tuner that I'm listing in a separate auction.  The Stanrad unit was found with this outfit, and it was obviously used with it at some point, but I'm listing it separately because it's not technically a part of the outfit and because it (the Stanrad unit) can be used with many different models of Western Electric radios.

If you'd like to operate the set, you'll need a good regulated power supply (I'd recommend an ARBEIII).  You can also, optionally, connect the radio to a 1920's horn loudspeaker, preferably one made by Western Electric.  No loudspeaker was sold with the outfit, but just about any sensitive 1920's horn will work with it.'

Friday, August 24

"This is Your Brain on Music"

"One of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in a long time is Daniel J. Levitin’s This is Your Brain on Music (2007). It covers a wide range of disciplines (neuroscience, psychology, musical theory) to explain the various processes that go on in our brain when we listen to music. Why do we really like certain types of music and completely dislike other types? Why does certain music touch us at an emotional level even more than language or poetry? ”If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?  Simply, no. Sound is a mental image created by the brain in response to vibrating molecules. Similarly, there can be no pitch without a human or animal present.” Levitin provides eloquent, well-researched, and inspiring answers to these and similar questions, helping us to understand music, and ultimately ourselves, better. Here are some of his most interesting observations:

Creativity vs. theory: “For the artist, the goal of the painting or musical composition is not to convey literal truth, but an aspect of a universal truth that will continue to move and to touch people even as contexts, societies, and cultures change. … For the scientist the goal of a theory is to replace an old truth, while accepting that someday this theory too will be replaced by new truth because that is the way science advances.”
Why we like certain music: “The appreciation we have for music is intimately related to our ability to learn the underlying structure of the music we like and to make predictions about what will come next. Composers imbue music with emotion by knowing what our expectations are, and then very deliberately controlling when those expectations will be met, and they won’t. The thrills, chills, and tears we experience from music are the result of having our expectations artfully manipulated by a skilled composer and the musicians who interpret that music. … Songs that we keep coming back to for years play around with expectations just enough that they are always at least a little bit surprising.”
On success and failure: “On average, successful people have had many more failures than unsuccessful people. This seems counter-intuitive. How could successful people have failed more often than everyone else? Failure is unavoidable and sometimes happens randomly. It’s what you do after the failure that is important. Successful people have a stick-to-itiveness, they don’t quit.”
How our brains organize and remember information: ”The reason that chunking is important is because our brains have limits on how much information they can actively keep track of. There is no practical limit to long-term memory that we know of, but working memory, the contents of our present awareness, is severely limited. Generally to nine pieces of information.”

Thursday, August 23

Tiffany: A Short History

'Louis Comfort Tiffany (February 18, 1848 – January 17, 1933) was an American artist and designer who worked in the decorative arts and is best known for his work in stained glass. He is the American artist most associated with the Art Nouveau and Aesthetic movements. Tiffany was affiliated with a prestigious collaborative of designers known as the Associated Artists, which included Lockwood de Forest, Candace Wheeler, and Samuel Colman. Tiffany designed stained glass windows and lamps, glass mosaics, blown glass, ceramics, jewelry, enamels and metalwork.

Tiffany glass refers to the many and varied types of glass developed and produced from 1878 to 1933 at the Tiffany Studios, by Louis Comfort Tiffany. In 1865, Tiffany traveled to Europe and in London he visited the Victoria and Albert Museum, whose extensive collection of Roman and Syrian glass made a deep impression on him. He admired the coloration of medieval glass and was convinced that the quality of contemporary glass could be improved upon.

In his own words, the "Rich tones are due in part to the use of pot metal full of impurities, and in part to the uneven thickness of the glass, but still more because the glass maker of that day abstained from the use of paint". Tiffany was an interior designer, and in 1878 his interest turned towards the creation of stained glass, when he opened his own studio and glass foundry because he was unable to find the types of glass that he desired in interior decoration. His inventiveness both as a designer of windows and as a producer of the material with which to create them was to become renowned. Tiffany wanted the glass itself to transmit texture and rich colors and he developed a type of glass he called Favrile. Some of the most significant products of Tiffany's glass manufacture are described here. It is now understood that the glass was produced by a team led by Tiffany, but including other designers such as Clara Driscoll.
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, Florida houses the world's most comprehensive collection of the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany, including Tiffany jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass, leaded-glass windows, lamps, and the Tiffany Chapel he designed for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
A major exhibit at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art on Laurelton Hall opened in November 2006. An exhibit at the New-York Historical Society in 2007 featured new information about the women who worked for Tiffany and their contribution to designs credited to Tiffany. In addition, since 1995 the Queens Museum of Art has featured a permanent collection of Tiffany objects, which continues Tiffany’s presence in Corona, Queens where the company's studios were once located.  Significant collections of Tiffany windows outside the United States are the 17 windows in the former Urskine and American United Church, now part of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, Canada, and the two windows in the American Church in Paris, on the Quai d'Orsay, which have been classified as National Monuments by the French government; these were commissioned by Rodman Wanamaker in 1901 for the original American Church building on the right bank of the Seine.'

Monday, August 6

This telephone attachment slips under the mouthpiece of a candlestick or wooden wall phone.  The hole on this one has been worn through, but it stays on the phone if the edge is screwed down under the mouthpiece and then appears correctly. A well-worn piece of quite rare 1910's-'20s ephemera. These were popular when toll calls had an initial period of 3 minutes only, and were not inexpensive.  The attachment advertises the Community Oil Company in Boone, Iowa.'

Thursday, August 2

Talk-o-Phone Phonograph of 1904

'Here's a big, beautiful Talk-O-Phone Sousa front mount disc phonograph manufactured in Toledo, Ohio more than a century ago.  The phonograph is complete and working, and it shouts Victorian design from pretty much every angle.  In addition to the most ornate cabinet trim to be found on any front-mount American disc phonograph, the machine features factory gold-plated hardware and Talk-O-Phone's deluxe 28" all-brass horn.  
Embroiled in litigation of one sort or another throughout its short history, Talk-O-Phone -- aka The Ohio Talk-O-Phone Co. -- made few phonographs relative to the talking machine giants Victor, Columbia and Zon-O-Phone.  The Sousa was Talk-O-Phone's flagship phonograph, and it was intended to be the last word in talking machine design.  This particular version features gold-plating on the reproducer, the support arm, the arm bolts, the turntable, the turntable spindle, the speed control and the horn cradle.  It's the most desirable version of the Sousa, and it's the one that's least often seen. When launched in 1904, it was priced at $75 -- more than any other machine being offered at the time, and almost twice the price of a Zon-O-Phone Grand Opera, which was considered by many at the time to be the standard bearer for high end phonograph design.
As you can see in the photographs, the machine may be ancient, but it's still a showstopper.  It came from an estate in northwest Ohio, not far from where it was manufactured, and with the passage of time in the hands of a conscientious steward, it's possibly even more beautiful now than it was when it was new.  Oak cabinet is complete and in excellent condition, with undamaged carvings on all sides.  The cabinet corners are likewise in excellent condition (both lower and upper corners), and the motorboard's surface is solid, with no cracks or splits in the grain.  I was told when I purchased it that the cabinet had been refinished at some point, but to look at this beautiful machine -- including the fine checking in the finish along the top edges of the motorboard -- you would never know any part of it had ever been touched. 

The gold-plated parts exhibit wear to their plated surfaces consistent with their age and authenticity, but all parts on this machine are original, including the reproducer, the crank, the support arm, the arm bolts, the horn cradle, the horn, the two-piece horn elbow, the traveling arm, the turntable, the motor, and the speed control lever, which doubles as an on/off switch.  The triple spring motor is also original, and it's good working order, with some normal but not excessive gear noise as it winds down (probably not much more than could be heard when the machine was new). The all brass horn is the largest and most expensive horn that Talk-O-Phone offered.  In promotional literature from the period, it was advertised as being 30" in length, but in fact it measures just shy of 29", and that includes the proprietary two-part horn elbow, which was created by Talk-O-Phone to circumvent existing Victor and Columbia patents.  The condition of the horn is excellent.  There are a few minor dings and some tarnish in spots, but overall you will be very hard-pressed to find a brass horn this large that's in such good shape.'

Sunday, July 15

1908 Ford Model S Roadster

'This 1908 Ford Model “S” Roadster is in beautiful condition & is a lovely example of Ford’s pre-model T era.  This car is not only in excellent condition, it is a fascinating window into the technical aspects of Ford’s designs in the approach to model “T” production. 

This particular car , # 2040, was shipped on June 30, 1908, to the Gibson Auto Co. of Indianapolis, Indiana.  Gibson Ordered 12 cars from Ford in that batch, and this is one of them.  The Model “S” was the last of the so called “Alphabet Fords”  of the pre-1909 era, which included model A,B,C,E,F,K,N,R and S. 

The model "S" has  many interesting features, like the crank going right through a bezel in the radiator, the acetylene headlamps, and transverse mounted leaf spring. The Model S was the only Ford of that year to have a curved steel cowl.  ( the “R” and “N”  had flat wood firewall / cowls ).   the Top was optional!  It should also be noted that Red and Green were the factory colors for the “S”, apparently pre-dating Henry’s legendary “any color you want as long as it’s black” rant.
This seat made this car a Roadster, which cost an extra fifty bucks, for a total FOB Detroit price of $750.  The base version of the model “S” was called the Runabout, which only had the 2 front seats, and cost $700.

The engine is the original 4 cylinder, flathead, dual ignition power-plant, #2040, with chain driven magneto, cable driven oiler, and forward mounted fly-weel / fan combination.  If you look carefully,  you’ll see the cleverly mounted electric starter!  Note the ring gear on the flywheel, also.  There is a battery hidden underneath the rear seat to energize the starter!  Yes, it’s not original, but it beats the heck out of breaking your arm or your thumb while cranking, as many of the original owners did!  The car runs and drives very nicely, as you will see if you click through to the website and the video of the car in operation.

This car is in excellent condition, but it's not a show car anymore. We estimate it was restored in the 1970's. It's been beautifully maintained, note the clean undercarriage! It has  Excellent tufted leather seats, with a bit of patina showing. The paint is very nice, but it’s older, and shows a little bit of age.  Look at that polished brass encased steering column! This car was made before Henry cost-engineered everything to death, so there are lots of lovely brass accents on the car!  It has Polished brass steering wheel spokes, lovely wood steering wheel rim, the acetylene generator,  note a shallow dent in the top of the acetyline generator.  The Brass is in excellent shape, with  “E&J MFG Co” on the headlamps and sidelamps.  The radiator is in good condition, it doesn't leak and it keeps the car cool, although the radiator brass could be a little sharper.'

Monday, July 2

Ward's Lemon Counter-Top Syrup Dispenser of about the year 1920

'Rare and wonderful, ca1920, Figural Ceramic Soda Fountain Counter-top Syrup Dispenser for “Ward's Lemon Crush” Soda / Flavoring. This outstanding, ceramic dispenser measures approx. 13 1/2” tall (to the top of its original, porcelain handled pump) and 9” by 6" at the base. This figural Syrup Dispenser is made of white, ceramic material in the form of a large Lemon sitting atop a bed of flowers. Raised text on both the front and the back of the "Lemon" reads simply “Ward's Lemon Crush”. The Dispenser retains its original, fully functional, nickel plated pump / spigot which features a round, porcelain handle. The “Ward’s Orange Crush” Company was founded in 1916 when Clayton Howell and Neil Ward formed their partnership. Howell had previously founded another soft drink called “Howell’s Orange Julep”. When he sold his company he also sold his ability to use his name in connection with any other soft drinks. So the new Orange Crush brand was named after Ward. Other soda’s followed like "Ward’s Lemon Crush" in 1919 and "Ward’s Lime Crush" in 1920.

    This very rare and wonderful, Lemon form Soda Fountain Counter-top Syrup Dispenser is in very good condition. The body of the Dispenser are verywell preserved with no chips, cracks, damage or repairs of any kind. The colors are bright and vibrant and the Dispenser displays beautifully. There are a few tiny spots of paint loss confined to the floral area of the base and a single chip on the bottom of the foot of the dispenser that very slightly affects the very bottom of the base line of the Dispenser (there is no chip on the outer surface of the base but just a bit of loss where the bottom of the dispenser touches the counter-top). The original pump is sound and displays beautifully with no damage or wear to the nickel plating or the external elements. We believe that there is a piece on the lower portion of the pump (the part that sits inside the Dispenser) that is missing but we are not entirely sure of this. A very rare and wonderful, ca1920, Figural Ceramic Soda Fountain Counter-top Syrup Dispenser for “Ward's Lemon Crush” Soda / Flavoring.'

Saturday, June 30

1928 Cadillac LaSalle Five-Passenger Sedan

'Here is a wonderful LaSalle Sedan with a rich history in Nevada.  Ownership and use of this car is fully documented from the time it was sold new and that documentation is available for inspection by any serious prospective owner.  The cars is nicely restored in nearly, but not entirely, correct trim and has no mechanical or other modifications.  The V8 engine was recently rebuilt to factory specifications and has less than one hour of running time since.  This automobile has never been damaged, has never had any rust or decay, and remains in far better condition than most cars seen in museums.  It is suitable for use as a weekend driver or, for the true aficionado, as a daily driver.  With little investment or effort, it could be restored to concours d’ elegance standards.  The car was repainted in the 1980s in the original tri-color hues.  As many Cadillac and LaSalle enthusiasts know, there was an amazing array of colors available for these cars – each one virtually custom painted in more than 500 combinations.  This one, in a dove gray, black and cream combination is elegant and grand.
The 1928 LaSalle is powered by a 303 cubic inch, 75 horsepower, quiet running, reliable flathead V8 engine. The Fisher body is mounted on a long 125" wheelbase for a great, smooth ride.  This car has been upholstered in period correct fabric, and the dashboard, door panels, headliner and trim is in very good condition.  Some trim pieces such as bud vases, ashtrays are missing – stolen at a car show years ago.  The bumpers and most plated trim is above average.  Outside door handles show some decay, peeling and pitting.  This car has original type tires of unknown age, but the tread wear is negligible.  The wheels are in excellent condition and brakes, suspension, and drive line components are all in good operable condition.  The fuel system and gas tank have been recently flushed and refurbished.
  This LaSalle is too nice to be tucked away in a museum, though.  It should be driven and enjoyed.'