Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Treasures and Trash

Remember this? It was first produced in 1934 as a three-pc. set of a pitcher, bowl and a mug. With a small amount of money—10¢ or 15¢ and the required number of box tops, hundreds of little girls  ate a lot of cereal trying to save enough boxtops or coupons to get this Shirley Temple pitcher. Today, they appear in antique stores priced at $25 to $75. But beware of reproductions.

Another boxtops offer was this little microscope. It was well made and did a fair job of magnifying. In my adult years a local nurse gave me a couple of slides to go with it. Today it sits on one of my nurse daughter's shelves.

A small telescope was another boxtops offer, but after forty years and several moves, it went away, somewhere, somehow. I wish I remembered. 

In the Depression Years, nothing was wasted or thrown away, because it might be useful at another time. That has formed the habits of a lifetime—saving things like this tiny oil can. Never used for seventy years, it has found its niche in a display of old things.

Unexpected things appear when cleaning a garage—like this bottle of bluing. 

 A bottle of 'bluing' was part of each washday in most households back in good old days of lye soap and wash pots. Enough of the concentrated blue liquid was added to the last tub of rinse water to tint it light blue. This light blue water was supposed to counteract the gradual yellowing of white cottons. At least that was what I was told. As a child, I was in charge of rinsing the laundry through the two tubs of rinse water. For those not familiar with the system, each piece was swished around in the water and all the water wrung out before repeating the process in the next tub. Tiresome and boring—but enlivened by swarms of biting flies that were attracted to wet skin.

Mrs. Stewart's bluing has been around since 1883  and can still be purchased either online or in several other locations, including Ace hardware stores. Besides brightening white fabrics, it was used in various other ways such as brightening a pet's hair( and the ladies, also), and dyeing Easter eggs. I remember adding bluing to the salt crystal 'gardens' we made as school projects.

Another oldie found in our garage clutter was this reminder of days gone by.

Remember ink bottles and learning to write with a fountain pen and ink? Remember those ink-stained fingers?  Fountain pens were filled with ink by opening a little lever which compressed a rubber bladder inside the pen. Releasing the lever caused ink to be drawn into the bladder. I vaguely remember the first words written after filling, always had an excess of ink. Pressing down too hard on the writing point also caused an ink blot and also often bent the fine writing point (which was replaceable).

Oh, we kids of the '30s had it hard. Not only did we have to walk to school (uphill and in the snow), we had to learn to write cursive with a fountain pin that sometimes had a bent tip.

More garage clutter another time. There's things out there that I can't identify. Maybe you can.