Saturday, June 25, 2011

Favilla Teardrop Ukulele?

This is my travel uke, and it is a bit of a mystery. It sure looks like a Favilla Teardrop, but it is not branded anywhere that I can see. When I first got it, I thought it was just a knock-off or something, but it certainly has a nice loud bark like a a real Favilla. This uke has apparently had a busy life-- the color on the fingerboard has worn away in the usual spots on the first four frets, it has chips and scratches all over it (but no cracks in the body, amazingly), and apparently someone knocked a piece off of the bridge at some point in its life. To make it tune-able, unfortunately I had to remove the cool old red, bell-shaped tuners and replace them with generic ones, and to make the bridge work, I added the round metal piece from the end of a guitar string-- it just holds in the nook of where the bridge broke off. It definitely has character, and it is pretty fun to play. Anybody out there know if Favilla made any un-branded instruments?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Gypsy Coeds

In 1937, six girls from Bradford, Illinois began a series of road trips in a 1926 Model T Ford that they dubbed the "Silver Streak."  They traveled all over the country, visiting first the home of the Dionne Quints and then the World's Fair, Niagra Falls, and many interesting other places.  They even got to meet Henry Ford himself.  By the end of their journeys, they had driven over 71,000 miles in the Silver Streak.  Must have been some great adventures...

With Henry Ford

Golden Gate Exposition

Yes, that is Don Ameche

Ford Plant

Silver Streak in 2005, still owned by one of the girls and driven periodically

For more information, check out his webpage:

And this photostream:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

FSA Color Photos

I love early color photography.  It can really change how you think about a particular era.  Most of these were taken by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration.  For the workwear enthusiasts out there, check out the Lee bucklebacks in the first pic and the detailing on the shirt in the second.  The two-tone jacket in the third pic is pretty awesome as well and should be reproduced by somebody.

Better than new? Frye Brando Engineer Resole

I got these Frye Brando boots about a year ago. They had served me pretty well so far, but the thin over-soles and heels were wearing through to the leather, so it was time for a re-sole.

The local shop called the Wooden Shoe is the only shoe repair place within an hour's drive, so I decided to take them there. It took about a week for them to do the work and I am pretty happy with the results. Here's what $60 got me:

--New Biltrite composite soles, stitched down
--New rubber heels
--Shoe shine
--Brown edge dressing
--Speech from the owner about how I should polish my boots more often.

I could have done without the last three items, but it's okay-- natural wear and tear will do its job. (And I do condition the leather with Pecard's and Kiwi neutral on the toes and heels when I feel like it.) Overall, I am very pleased with the work, and these Biltrites should last considerably longer than the stock soles. I kind of like the look, too...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

1930's Bicycles

These were for sale at the local antique market the other day. I wish I could remember the make of the blue women's bike-- I do recall that the tag said 1937. Everything on it looked original. They were only asking $150 for it. The men's bike looked like it had been restored-- decently, but not greatly. It is a Murray Aeroline. $300-something for it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The story of my vintage Bulova military watch

So, this is my watch. Cosmetically, it's condition isn't immaculate, but it has character and I wear it everyday.  It is very special to me for reasons that I'll explain later.  It is unmarked on the face, but it is a Bulova A17A Navigator's model. I have yet to confirm absolutely a date for its manufacture, as some websites state that these were made already at the end of WWII, while others say that they didn't start making this particular style until the 1950's. I regulated it myself through trial and error, and the 17J 10BNCH movement usually runs about +/- 3 seconds a day, which if you ask me is pretty remarkable considering it is at least 60 years old. What is really interesting though, is how this watch came to be mine...

A few months before my grandmother passed away, she moved into an assisted living home and my Mom, my sister and I went to go visit her in her small town in Minnesota. While there, we decided to visit the local antique shop downtown. My usual watch, a cheap automatic Seiko had quit working on me, so I was perusing the smalls cases looking for a replacement, and there it was-- this amazing old military watch looking up at me from amongst the costume jewelry and whatnot. I got the owner to unlock the box and I checked it out. To my amazement it still wound, set, and ran smoothly. Since my birthday was just a few days away, my sister said she would buy for me. I said "thank you" and took it with me to look at the town museum they have set up on the second story. When I came back down, the shop owner was talking to my sister. "Who are you in town visiting?" she asked. I told her my grandmother's name and she said, "That's interesting-- because that is your grandfather's watch you are holding in your hand..." She told me to keep it and that she couldn't charge me for it. Apparently when my grandmother moved, she held a rummage sale to get rid of a lot of the stuff she didn't want to put in storage. This watch was in a shoebox from that sale, mixed in with a bunch of what the shopkeeper called "plastic junk." It was the only thing that she didn't throw out.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Eyvind Earle

Eyvind Earle was a landscape painter who also worked for Disney. His dreamy pictures are highly stylized and gorgeous.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Vintage Cool...

If you haven't heard already, Google no longer limits the LIFE image search to 200 results.  Just add source:life to the end of your search and see what you can find.

Let's try this again...

It has been about a year since I've updated anything.  So I going to give it another go...