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1930s Roadhome Pullman Coach Catalog

I have always loved vintage travel trailers, and even considered searching out one in which to store my collection. Had I had more time, I might have actually pursued that option. As it turns out, I did add a trailer related object to my collection, this mid to late 1930s catalog for Roadhome Pullman Coaches.

There’ no date in the catalog, so I had to go by the dates to figure out when it was published. The models of the cars are probably the best clues, but I know little about vintage cars. So I went with the clothing the people are wearing. The lengths of the dresses and the hair styles sure look 1935 – 1936 to me. If you are a vintage car know-it-all, feel free to enlighten me.

Travel trailers had been around for a while in the 1930s. People had been using their autos for camping since the early days of the automobile. There were specially made tents that attached to the car, with the auto itself being used for sleeping. But as more people were hitting the ever-improving American highways, camping setups became more luxurious.

Why rough it and spend hours setting up camp when one could have a fully stocked cabin on wheels? There’d be more time for relaxing.

Campfires were optional when one had a fully-functioning kitchen.

That refrigerator is actually an icebox, though you could upgrade to gas or electrical. Power was limited, and so was conserved when possible.

At night the sofa became a bed. The walls were made of mahogany, a feature I’ve noticed in other trailers of that era.

These floor plans make the Roadhome look nice and spacious. If you have noticed the lack of a bathroom, the bathtub is hidden beneath a seat, and the toilet is contained in a closet.

What’s interesting is how the basic fundaments of a travel trailer have not changed much since the 1930s. They still have tiny kitchens and toilets concealed in closets. Furniture still serves double-duty when possible. But somehow the vintage ones are just more charming. Maybe I should find one for myself anyway.

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A New Home for my Collection

My collection is now safely housed in its new home, a little prefab cabin. It’s not ideal, though I’m working toward light and climate control. I’m in the process of making blackout curtains for the four windows. Next year the cabin will be insulated and paneled. But for now, I’m happy that everything fit in.

The neighbors are calling it the museum. I need to investigate the sizes of the world’s smallest museums. I might qualify for the Guinness Book.

In preparing for the move, I put as many things as possible in storage boxes. Now that I’m in the new building I see that I have more hanging space, and even room for another rack. I greatly prefer hanging storage, but not everything can be hung. Knits and delicate things will stay in the boxes.
I painted the walls to increase the brightness of the rooms and to keep the hanging clothes from coming into contact with the acidic wood. The exposed wood was varnished for the same reason.
The boxes are acid-free quilt storage boxes. There are thirty of them, neatly stacked according to decade. The contents of each box is written on a card attached to the box.
The hatboxes have all been treated with an acid neutralizer, and I also have muslin barriers inside all of them. My rubber bathing caps are not stored in the building. They are too susceptible to temperature fluctuations so until we get this space under better climate control, they remain in our house.

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Dogs and Brooke Cadwallader

I saw (and bought) a lot of great things on my recent trip to the Liberty Antiques Festival, but probably my favorite is this superb silk scarf by Brooke Cadwallader. Seriously, how can you beat a scarf with a map of the world peppered with our best friend throughout. I’ve written about Brooke Cadwallader in the past, so here’s a refresher course.

Brooke was an American who went to France in the interwar period. There he met his future wife, Mary Pearsall, an Italian/American who was working at Maison Tilly, a scarf maker. They joined forces and began their own scarf business, where they attracted the attention of designers such as Schiaparelli and Molyneux. Success led them to marriage. Unfortunately, the Nazis arrived in Paris, and the Cadwalladers were forced to flee. They ended up in New York, where they restarted their textile printing business.

They were again successful, and produced scarves and also fabrics they sold to designers like Tina Leser and Nettie Rosenstein. The New York operation was small, but in 1950 they moved to Mexico where the business expanded as Casa de los Gallos SA. The business operated until some time in the 1970s. Due to a crooked accountant and government bureaucracy, Cadwallader lost the business. Before turning over the factory, he burned all the textiles that were in stock, his silk screens, and many of the original designs. (Thanks so much to David Noyes, Cadwallader’s great nephew, for this great information.)

Brooke and Mary were fond of old prints, and you can see how they incorporated an antique look into many of their designs.
Here’s the entire scarf. My photography does not give a clue as to how wonderful this is. Click the image for a larger view.
The design makes no attempt to place each dog near the country of origin. Instead, all the dogs are citizens of the world.

And here’s the signature to look for. These scarves are always winners.

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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?

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1907 – 1908 Jaeger Catalog

Or, Dr. Jaeger’s Sanitary Woolen System. German doctor Gustav Jaeger had a theory. He believed that because humans were animals, the only proper fiber for human wear was animal in origin. Thus, he advocated the wearing of wool, especially as undergarments.

In 1880 he released a book on his theories, translated into English as Standardized Apparel For Health Protection. His concepts caught on, especially in Germany, where woolen underwear was being manufactured according to his ideas. In 1884, one of his devotees,  Lewis Tomalin, brought the clothing to Britain as Dr. Jaeger’s Sanitary Woollen System Co. Within a few years the clothing was made in England under the Jaeger brand.

There was a Jaeger store in London, and one was opened in New York as well, located at 306 Fifth Avenue. Most of the garments sold by Jaeger in these early years were items that were worn next to the skin. My little catalog is full of long johns, socks, undershirts and nightclothes.

Dr. Jaeger believed that dyes were harmful because the chemicals could be absorbed through the pores. Thus, most of the products sold at Jaeger were either the natural color of the wool, or were white.

Among the claims Dr. Jaeger made, was that woolen clothing protected one from disease. He had proof that the wearer was protected from cholera, small pox, measles, and the plague.

One of the few black garments offered were these equestrian tights. Women riders had been wearing trousers under their riding skirts for some time. I suppose it was just too immodest for a woman to wear the natural color because it might look like bare skin on a light-skinned woman.

In 1907, a motor scarf was necessary for those lucky enough to own an automobile. These were also offered in black and in gray.
What got me to thinking about Jaeger was the currently traveling exhibition from the FIDM Museum in Los Angeles, Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960. In the catalog, also called Sporting Fashion, the FIDM curators have paired a Jaeger corset with bloomers, both to be worn under a bicycling suit.
Here’s a photo from the book showing FIDM’s corset, which is quite similar to the one in my catalog.

And here’s the label from the corset. I love how the photo shows not only the label, but also the texture of the wool knit. It’s little things like this that elevate what could have been just a lot of pretty pictures (and there are plenty of those to be sure) into a very useful and appreciated resource. I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in women’s sportswear and the social history of the advance of women into the public sphere.

Sporting Fashion the exhibition, will not be back in Los Angeles until May, 2024. If you hurry, you can catch it at The Frick in Pittsburg (until September 26, 2021) or catch it in Memphis, TN (July 24–October 16, 2022), Davenport, IA (February 11–May 7, 2023), Utica, NY (June 17–September 17, 2023), Cincinnati, OH (October 14, 2023–January 14, 2024), or Jacksonville, FL (February 24–May 19, 2024). I plan to see it in Memphis, or possibly Cincinnati.

Sporting Fashion the book was written by FIDM curators  Kevin L. Jones and Christina M. Johnson with Kirstin Purtich. It can be ordered from the FIDM website.

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The Call of the Wild from the Hettrick Mfg, Company

Working non-stop to clean out two houses left me with only enough energy in the evenings to search eBay for treasures. Good sporting sources are getting harder to find, but I am good at spotting them. Take this 1920s catalog, for instance. At first its little eBay thumbnail photo didn’t look too promising, and then I noticed the auto tent.

I’m not at all interested in truck covers and tarps, but auto tents always attract my attention.

The catalog is just full of mid 1920s camping supplies. The Hettrick Company started out as a maker of canvas goods, making items for the late 19th century farmers such as horse and wagon covers. They were evidently willing to change with the times, as the 1920s brought cars and more leisure hours. Hettrick turned to canvas car covers and tents.

Today we might look on Instagram to see the ideal camping setup. In the pre-internet days, catalogs sold the perfect camping experience.

In the 1940s and 50s Hettrick turned from canvas items to metal outdoor furniture. Those metal gliders and chairs we all enjoyed as kids could have been made by Hettrick.

The caption for this great drawing could have been written in 2021 as millions of Americans flooded our national parks looking for some soothing nature.

Hettrick also made striped canvas awnings, tents, yard swings, umbrellas, and other accessories for the modern backyard. In the 20s they also began making clothing for outdoorsmen.

I have two of these wonderful old reclining chairs. It’s time to replace the canvas.

This catalog still has a small selection of wagon covers and horse coats, but as America moved from farms to the cities and suburbs, Hettrick was able to transition to a leisure hours supplier. Funny how the cover focused on their past as a maker of farm supplies instead of what the catalog actually was focused on.

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Side Tracked

“Honeymoon Catch, Sept 1912” The bride is not identified but it looks as though she was a successful angler. It’s hard to see, but she’s standing in mud, a situation with which I, unfortunately, can relate.
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You might not associate hurricanes and tropical storms with the Appalachian Mountains as we are 300 miles from the Atlantic, but when the perfect storm forms over the Gulf Coast we can get heavy rains that funnel through the narrow river valleys. This happened last week when Fred came through. It was sudden and devastating to communities on the rivers. Lives were lost. Two hundred homes were destroyed. Many small, local businesses, including our fabulous little brewery were damaged.
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I was lucky. My husband’s childhood home which we own but do not live in, is on the Pigeon River in Clyde, NC. Unlike 2004 when Hurricanes Frances and nine days later Hurricane Ivan both brought 4 feet of water into the house, we had only about 5 to 8 inches. There was a thick layer of mud on the floors, but thanks to the best friends in the world and the kindness of strangers, the house is now clean and dry.
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One thing that helped was that money was spent to develop a flood runoff park just upstream from my little town. It’s an example of town planning that worked to lessen the impact of this flood. Upstream the situation was much more devastating.

The 2004 floods were referred to as 100 year events, but here we are seventeen years later with another one. Only fools think climate change is not real. We need to look at the attitudes toward climate change of candidates at all levels of government. We simply cannot continue on this path.

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