Shopping with the Vintage Traveler, Summer 2021

Over the past few months I’ve spent much more time finding homes for vintage treasures than I have in looking for new ones. Still, I have been able to carve out some time for vintage shopping.

The sign above would have been great for my collection except that it is a reproduction. Still, it was a great example of how the promise of leisure was a big selling point in 1911.

One of the theories of how “flappers” were named comes from the huge floppy hairbows they wore as girls. Here we see a future flapper and that giant bow.

I’m not a “cat person” but this was such a great buy for some feline fan.

Remember Remco? That toy company made lots of novel products, many from molded plastic like this “spinning wheel”.

I don’t know if you can make sense of my photo, but the wheel was actually a giant knitted cord maker. It’s a gadget we used to make with an old wooden spool and a few nails. No wonder this one was like new. There was so little that could actually be made with it.

I loved this hair dryer case.

For once the WAC is out front instead of in the flyer’s shadow.

Simply put, this is one of the nicest thread spool cases I’ve ever seen.

This is a cold weather mask, probably for a pilot. The store was closed, so this was window shopping at its worst. I suspect this was a military piece.

Cypress Gardens was an attraction in Florida that showcased skilled water skiers.

Someone bought one of these toy sewing machines for me when I was about ten. It only made a chain stitch, and I hated it.

Oh, my, but these Dior counter displays were peachy.

The dealer’s tag declared this was a 1970s Betsey Johnson dress, but I had my doubts. There was no label, and it sure looks 1990s.

In one antique mall, Liza and I found three antique parasols. All were pretty, but unfortunately, they were also shredding.

So, how was your summer?


Filed under I Didn't Buy..., Road Trip, Shopping

24 responses to “Shopping with the Vintage Traveler, Summer 2021

  1. KeLLy aNN

    Your posts are always such a great read. My Summer was apparently on a full season tantrum as it has done nothing but heat, rain, and Ida. Fall is definitely on the up because we went and got the plans for my new studio; like, one I can actually work in when the weather is bad. Verra happy now…


  2. Marcia

    I had a Little Red Spinning Wheel! I recall that it just made cord, but I didn’t care – I loved that thing and thought it was so special. It was one of my very favorite childhood gifts – had to have been mid-60s. Sad that it was a just a bunch of plastic. And that hair dryer case is fantastic – the artwork! All of these are great. Fun post! My summer was spent doing deferred maintenance projects….


  3. jacqstaubssyahoocom

    I know exactly “you know who” to send the pilot mask to-it’s missing one thing – a zipper for the mouth! Enclose the “peachy” tiera for …the other ” you know who”!!Throw in the fake Betsy Johnson dress .


  4. mrsoldgeezer

    My step-dad trick skied at Cypress Gardens in the late 50’s/early 60’s. This brought back sweet memories, if only from the b/w keepsake photos we have.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks for asking, Lizzie.

    The highlight of the summer was doing something that I’ve not done since the early- to mid-1990s, when I was a thirty-something, the first time I did it being when I was probably still a teenager – going on a ‘Rail Rover’. Since I have just turned sixty I now qualify for a Senior Citizens’ Railcard, which gives one a third off regular rail tickets, so I had a trip down Memory Lane on a Heart of England Rover. This ticket lasts for seven days and gives one the run of the rail network of the English Midlands and a little over the border into North Wales, as long as one travels after 9.00 am Mondays to Fridays.

    I went all over the place, visiting places where I’ve never been this Millennium. I was especially glad to return to Coventry, where I was last in 2007, so that was relatively recent. With the wholesale destruction of its city centre on a terrible night in November 1940, as the Luftwaffe ‘Coventriert’ (‘Coventryfied’) it, it is something of a Mid-Century mecca for those, like me, heavily ‘into’ Modernist architecture and it’s so welcome that much of it is being conserved in the re-development that’s going on to mark its year as a City of Culture, when Modernist architecture usually doesn’t ‘feel the love’, like more traditional architecture does. I love the indoor Coventry Market, with its roof-top car park…erm…sorry…parking lot! As a sign of Post-War reconciliation Coventry was twinned with Dresden and there’s a mural in Coventry Market by the East German artist, Jürgen Seidel, so that’s double the reconciliation going on at the height of the Cold War, very apposite for me as the host of Blogs on the subject of the Pop music of the former Soviet Bloc.

    Other places I visited were as follows:

    Stratford-upon-Avon, where the vintage Sona coffee percolator that I use was made, visiting the location of the former factory and also taking some photos of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, part-designed by one of the pioneering female team of Betty Scott and Norah Aiton (the former thereof) who were behind the first industrial building of the Modernist movement to be built in Britain in my home city of Derby, the offices of the Aiton Pipe Works, now Grade II-listed despite its unassuming location in an industrial estate in Derby.

    Royal Leamington Spa, discovering that a new complex has gone up in Jephson Gardens by the River Leam since I was last there in the early 1990s.

    Wrexham and Shrewsbury, experiencing that strangeness of the bilingual signs one gets in Wales and making the circuit of the banks of the River Severn as it twists through Shrewsbury.

    Northampton, returning to the former stadium of Northampton Town Football Club/Northants County Cricket Club that is now just a cricket ground.

    Crewe – well it is a RAIL rover and Crewe is the archetype of a railway town!

    Nuneaton, being devastated that a great part of the Art Deco former Co-Operative Department Store has now disappeared.

    Tamworth, being delighted that the River Tame, that has its source in the heart of the industrial West Midlands, had anglers beside its banks.

    Rugby, for the first time discovering a beautiful park in its town centre.(Caldecott Park) after only ever skirting round the town’s centre.

    …and the other highlight at the end, earlier this month, going to the first post-advent-of-COVID gig of the band for whom I am ‘The Fifth Beatle’, as they say, Godfrey’s Grit ‘n’ Soul Band, Derby’s very own The Commitments and ‘Commitment-ettes’. It was an outdoor gig in Derby’s Darley Park, by the park’s café which was fortunate, since I am in a vulnerable group, (congenital heart murmur), so, big a fan as I am, I still don’t think I’d go to one of their indoor gigs. I even got congratulated on the dancing by the Mayor of Derby! (“Fine entertainment!”)

    It got even better, in a way, that Sunday afternoon, since I made my way across the city to one of my favourite shops, Super Sam, that sells Central/Eastern European food in Derby’s immigrant quarter of Normanton/Rose Hill/Peartree after the gig and a car with a Slovak plate with ‘MI’ on it stopped for me to cross the road, ‘MI’ being Michalovce, the home town in the far east of Slovakia of my beloved Valérie Čižmárová, for whom I run the ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ Fan Blog.

    She’d have been a superb singer for Godfrey’s Grit ‘n’ Soul Band, being an ‘Aretha Franklinová’ fan!

    I hope all ‘The Vintage Traveler’ Blog readers have enjoyed these summer highlights from over the Water in ‘Blighty’!


    • What a fantastic rail rover. I’m jealous. The closest place for me to go to catch the train is about a 90 minute drive. I live a five minute’s walk from the site of the old depot and I often think how nice it would be to just be able to catch the train to nearby cities for the day.


      • It was! It’s also the ultimate ‘staycation’, staying literally at home and going off in a different direction every day, after the requisite initial journey into Derby from Belper on the Matlock branch line, so the closest station to my house is all of circa twenty minutes’ walk away, if that! I’m trying to think what a 90 minute car journey would be from Belper not being a driver myself – maybe going via the highways that’d be beyond Birmingham, some fifty to sixty miles away!

        I look forward to that depot near you being an actual passenger station on your behalf!


  6. I fondly remember my mom making me a magical little “knitting machine” from a wooden spool and nails. But what a strange little shock, seeing oneself, unexpectedly in your post! The funniest part was how I was immediately and freshly re-disappointed in the condition of that splendid parasol, darnit. When’s our next jaunt?


    • I think I’d have made something like that, Liza, with a bobbin and nails, the other thing one could do with it being a ‘tank’ with a matchstick and elastic band.

      On the matter of railways/railroads, I’ve just been reading something of the meeting between Joe Biden and Boris Johnson and their travelling by rail from NYC to DC, remarking on a shared love of rail.

      That’s the greatest thing about President Biden to me – the fact that he is probably the most rail-minded U.S. President in recent history. I’m hoping that the U.S. is on its way towards ‘building back’ – as Biden would say – as dense a rail network as exists here in Europe, so that these ‘jaunts’ can take place by rail in future.

      Who knows, Americans could enjoy these weekly regional Rovers one day, if the network density makes that worth the while!


      • What’s interesting is that for the most part, the rails are still in place and still being used for freight or tourist excursions, It’s not like we would have to start from scratch.


        • Thanks for that insight into the current state of the rail network on the U.S., Lizzie. I see a few re-opening campaigns coming on the part of whatever organisation in the U.S. is the equivalent of the Railway Development Society (now known as Railfuture) to which I used to belong, if one does exist.

          Go for it, America!

          Make it a new ‘Age Of The Train’!


    • Our next jaunt? Find us a good exhibition and I’m ready!


  7. Love these posts! What great finds to gaze upon!

    Ugh, and it’s that always the luck with those parasols!? So sad!


  8. I’m always so jealous of all the great finds that are available in your neck of the woods, Lizzie. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area the rents are so high there are almost no antique shops/malls still in existence. The bonus to this post was all the delightful comments. And thanks especially, Christopher Bentley, for giving us a fabulous vicarious journey around Britain!


    • You’re welcome, Maria!

      I hope it’s inspired you to take a trip to the UK sometime to enjoy our more Modernist architecture as well as the more Traditionalist architecture that Americans mostly come here to see. Another campaigning organisation to which I once belonged was the Bus Station Action Group set up to save Charles Herbert Aslin’s pioneering Art Deco Bus and Coach Station in Derby, which was also part of a pioneering town centre re-development called the Central Improvement Scheme, from demolition (unfortunately unsuccessful!)

      It was brilliant getting an American in on our campaign in the shape of Lara Goeke, the host of the ‘Art Deco Architecture’ site that existed around the turn of the Millennium, especially as she already knew of the building from her year studying at the nearby Leicester De Montfort University during which she visited Derby. She was shocked that anyone would consider allowing for the demolition of such a ‘cool’ building, where, furthermore, apparently The Beatles dropped in at the Upper Deck Café on tour in the British Invasion Era.

      Sadly, from the point of view of the buildings I featured in a now-defunct virtual tour called ‘Derby Does Curved Corners, Delightful Deco and Magic Modernism’, the sumptuously curvaceous former Ranby’s/Debenhams Department Store, designed by Evans, Cartwright and Woollatt, is now no more, together with the neighbouring Central United Reformed Church (originally known as the Victoria Street Congregational Church) of similar Mid-Century vintage, designed by Llewellyn, Smith and Waters, itself with a famous connection as being where Derby’s weightlifting legend, Louis Martin married Ann Robinson in one of the British celebrity weddings of 1964, when the building was less than a year old – a mixed-race marriage, too!

      Fortunately, the former Ranby’s/Debenhams’ curved-cornered partner, the former Co-Operative Department Store (now Lee Longlands), designed by the Derby Co-Operative Society Building Department’s in-house architect, Sid Bailey, is very much still with us to show off its three glorious bands of Streamline Moderne glazing – probably the best example thereof anywhere in the UK, with many places in the U.S. itself being left firmly in the shade!

      It’s a very good thing the Luftwaffe went for Coventry that night in November 1940 and not the originally-intended target of Derby. Otherwise, like the former Owen Owen Department Store in Coventry ‘lived’ for just three years, having been opened in 1937, Derby’s Co-Operative Department Store could have been wrecked only just after it had been built!

      Thank you, Coventry, for ‘taking that bullet’ for Derby!


    • …and subsequent to that I’m very glad I’ve been thinking thoughts of the Pre-WWII Owen Owen Department Store in Coventry (not to be confused with its Post-WWII replacement, opened in 1954) since there is a remarkable connection with my mother.

      If you drop by the ‘Valérie Čižmárová: A Life In Pictures’ page of my Fan Blog for Valérie Čižmárová, ‘Bananas For Breakfast’ you will note that there is a reference there to my mother having been a local star on the amateur operatic scene in Derby.

      As a girl she participated in one of the ‘Carroll Levis and his Discoveries’ talent road-shows where she earned the ire of the great man himself by turning down the offer of a microphone, since proper operatic singers don’t need that!

      I note that ‘Carroll Levis and his Discoveries’ dropped by at the Owen Owen Department Store in Coventry sometime in June 1938, causing mass hysteria for such a well-known radio celebrity. I wonder if any local amateur operatic singer there had a similar contretemps with Carroll Levis!


  9. Spinsjal

    Where is the spool case? I’ll drive up.
    My Grandmother had a small hand crank chain stitch singer for me. I loved it. After I left home, my Mom gave it to my brother “because he liked mechanical things” and he promptly sold it. I still haven’t really forgiven either of them. I would buy that little one. I have a few vintage Singers including a Featherweight and a hand crank full size for when the zombie apocalypse comes and there is no power, but it’s always tempting to buy more…


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