Saturday, April 28, 2012

Gears, Dials, Numbers! Oh My!

Westclox Baby Ben
When I'm scavenging thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets, or junk stores the first object upon which my eyes alight is inevitably something with dials, knobs, gears, or numbers. About a month ago I spent a Saturday afternoon at the Austin Citywide Garage Sale. A true-form garage sale it was not; a fabulous array of antique vendors it was! Though I was there for hours I only took home one small item - a Westclox Baby Ben alarm clock. Westclox' Baby Ben was first made in the early 1910s, though this one was likely made in the mid to late 1970s. As long as I remember to wind it every day it still works, so I've put it to use on my own bedside table.

Vintage Electric Westclox Alarm Clock
This Westclox Dialite alarm clock was found and purchased at a local thrift store. It set me back a whole $2.00. It, too, works well and is currently being used in a guest room. Though not an antique nor of any significant value, it fits the shabby chic decor of the room and adds a hint of nostalgic comfort.

Westclox Electric Alarm Clock
This third Westclox mechanical alarm clock was also found at a local thrift store. I paid $.99 for it. Along with my attraction to the numbers and dials, I liked the bold black-on-white design. I knew it would be perfect for our second guest room.

Vintage Westclox Big Ben
I have a couple of other Westclox Big Ben clocks that don't work. I had fun taking them apart and fiddling with all the cogs and gears thinking that just maybe I'd be able to fix it. I couldn't. I put all the pieces, well most of the pieces, back where they belonged. I knew they would never literally keep time again, but they could keep A time. I have them set to the times of my sons' births.

This beautiful vintage Westclox Baby Ben was given to me by my mother as an early birthday gift.  She found it at a great antiques shop back home in North Dakota.  I think its perfectly, delightfully, perfect. 

Westclox Baby Ben - Vintage Beauty

"I Want That" List
As I look through flea market and country style design magazines I see things that I like. Those items get added to my internal "I want that" list. One such item, added years ago to my "I want that" list, was an old kitchen scale. I've been on the lookout for one since my junk obsession began.

Vintage Kitchen Scale
On a return trip from the coast my husband took me to a small Texas town called Gonzalez, located just southeast of Austin. In its town square there was a wonderful antique shop called Antiques Emporium, and it was there that I finally found my scale. It was dirty and a bit rusty, but it worked. I paid $15 for it - a little more than the $12 I'd offered, but it was exactly what I wanted. I took it home and cleaned it up. It sits on my kitchen counter right where I'd always imagined it would go.

Vintage Taylor Stormoguide Weather Station
Every once in a while I'll stumble upon something that despite having only the slightest notion of what it might be, well....I simply must take it home. That's exactly what happened when I found this thermometer/barometer while junking with my sister back home in North Dakota. I'll admit, I bought it because it just looked cool, and for $3.99 what did I care if it worked or not.

 I was really curious to know what it was and what it was supposed to do.  Like any good librarian, I began to research. The face of the instrument read Taylor Stormoguide. I typed in my query and found bits and pieces of information about the Taylor company and the weather instruments they made. Finally I came across this vintage add from the March/April, 1942, issue of Life magazine. And here's where the story behind the object got really interesting. 

Could it be that this home weather station once sat atop the mantle of a family home during the Second World War providing important, top-secret, weather information? Probably so.

Now this historical piece of American culture and history sits upon a bookshelf in my husband's office. 

Whatever your fancy, whatever your muse, if you find something that provides you with feelings of nostalgia, satisfies a wish, or takes you on a journey of discovery then perhaps it's worth saving.

All photos were taken by Paulette Rodriguez. 

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