Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Vintages from a Customer's View

A few days before Christmas, a young lady was taking a number of photos in Vintages' shop in Los Gatos. I was curious about what items fascinated her enough to photograph, and she sent me her images. So here is Vintages, as seen through the lens of Jessica Hsieh (Dec 2014).

Thank you Jessica.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Fashionable Gentleman's Dress Code in 1903

A man wearing a bowler hat, jacket and pin-stripe trousers, holding a box camera. c1900 Getty Images
Ever wonder what the well-dressed gentleman was wearing 110 years ago? Well here is a glimpse that is afforded by this "dress chart" from the famous McInerny Clothiers of Honolulu in November of 1903. I remember McInerny department store from when as a boy living in Hawaii back in the 1950s. It was one of the top stores for clothes at the time ... right up there with Liberty House and Andrade. If you bought something ... or were given a gift from McInerney, it was a real treasure.

Dress Chart for Men 1903 (Click on image for a larger version)
Through much of the first half of the 20th century, McInerny and Liberty House were Honolulu's big downtown department stores, the places to shop for that pair of fancy dress shoes or that one durable blue suit for trips to the Mainland. McInerny moved quickly to capture the booming tourist market after World War II and began its expansion into Waikiki by opening small shops that offered swimwear, aloha wear and casual jewelry to visitors. From the 1950s through the mid-1970s, McInerny served the two markets, local and tourist, but globalization and the collapse of the Japanese tourist business lead the store to announce its closing in 2002 after 145 years in business.

McInerny Envelope from 1878.
McInerny's Flagship Store at Fort and Merchant Streets in Honolulu c1950
McInerny Shirt Label from the 1970s
One of the McInerny Boutique Shops in Waikiki (Early 1950s)
A while back we posted an article about Victorian men's fashions. Read it here.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Federal Glass Trojan Horse Bookends

Depression glass is a popular collectible. It is simple, clear or colored glassware that was distributed free, or at low cost, in the United States and Canada around the time of the Great Depression. The Quaker Oats Company, along with a host of other food manufacturers and distributors, would put a piece of glassware in boxes of food or cereal as an incentive to purchase the product. Movie theaters gave these away simply for coming in the door and gas stations would hand out a piece for filling up.

Depression glass was a reliable, lovely "luxury" on the middle and lower class table from the 1920s into the 1960s. Early on the glassware was made to mimic cut glass designs popular at the time. As mass production of glass improved, depression glass makers created new and sometimes exciting designs. One of the most popular producers was the Federal Glass Company of Columbus, Ohio.

While most of depression glass pieces are practical kitchen or tableware, some excellent figurines were made as well. We have a gorgeous pair of horse head bookends made around 1950. Known as the Trojan Horse Bookends, these are fantastic for any horse lover.

Federal Glass Co. Trojan Horse Bookends

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Vienna Austrian Bronze Dogs

Bronze has been a favored medium of sculptors for centuries. Early methods of casting the metal into masterpieces involved the use of a sand-cast mold, which was an one-off approach. The later introduction of the lost wax process not only allowed for finer details and more exotic shapes, but also made multiple copies of these figures and sculptures a reality.

In the latter part of the 19th century the world embraced the industrial revolution. The artistic world employed changes in technology as well. By adjusting the ratio of copper to tin in the bronze alloy, and using slightly thicker wax molds, the production of multiple copies of bronze items was extended beyond the relatively few copies made in the past, to multiple copies made in a modern production-like style. These bronzes still displayed the craftsmanship and design of the artists, but now more people could enjoy their works.

The craftsmen of Vienna have a long history of producing exquisite bronzes. From the great masterpieces of the Renaissance, to industrial production of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, to the beauties of Art Nouveau, the straight forwardness of Arts & Crafts and geometric intricacies of Art Deco and Modern Art, the Austrians have remained at the top of the metalworking pyramid.

Franz Xaver Bergmann (1861 – 1936) was the owner of one of the most famous foundries in Vienna, noted for his detailed and colorful work. He produced many erotic and exotic figurines in Asian and Art Nouveau motifs. He also made large numbers of highly detailes patinated or cold-painted animal figurines. At the turn of the century, tourists would bring these art pieces home with them as souvenirs of Vienna.

We have a few wonderful examples of his work available at Vintages ... online and in the shop. Take a look ...

These marvelous hounds are real treasures.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Twelve Days of Christmas

In past years we have passed on the PNC Christmas Price Index, a tabulation from the folks over at PNC Wealth Management of how much it would cost to purchase all the gifts in the classic Holiday song The Twelve Days of Christmas. Here it is for 2014, which is the 31st time they have done this index that totals the cost of items gifted by a True Love who repeats all of the song's verses.

According to the folks at PNC Wealth Management:

With energy costs tumbling and inflation remaining calm, the 2014 PNC Christmas Price Index experienced a mild one percent boost in the 31st annual tongue-in-cheek economic analysis by PNC Wealth Management. Based on the gifts in the holiday classic, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” the price tag for the PNC CPI is $27,673.22 in 2014, just $280.05 more than last year and the smallest increase since 2002 when the index fell 7.6 percent.

Originally tabulated in 1984, the 2014 PNC CPI is 118 percent higher than when it all began, while inflation is up 127 percent over the same period. But an even more intriguing fact emerged, according to Jim Dunigan, chief investment officer, PNC Wealth Management. “While there are exceptions in given years, what’s most interesting about the index’s history is that since the beginning, year-over-year increases have averaged 2.8 percent, which is exactly the same number as the U.S. inflation index,” he said.

The 31st annual survey results were revealed this morning on an enhanced website ( with the theme of bringing the classic carol to a new generation. “The Great Carol Comeback” site features twelve innovative experiences that bring each gift in the song to life in a new and modern way. Content includes a children’s book, an animated short film, a sing-a-long and several humorous musical videos that site visitors can share to help the carol’s “comeback.” 

This year, the PNC CPI’s increase is close to the government’s Consumer Price Index, which stands at 1.7 percent for the past 12 months through October. The government’s core index, removing volatile food and energy prices, is up 1.8 percent. 

“The recurring theme seems to be that with energy prices and labor costs contained, the overall index increase has been modest despite a few large increases in individual items,” Dunigan said. Eight out of the twelve items in the index remained the same price as last year, but the Six Geese-A-Laying went up a whopping 71.4 percent. The only other increase of significance was the Partridge in a Pear Tree, which increased 33.3 percent but is at a still reasonable $20.

As part of its annual tradition, PNC Wealth Management also tabulates the “True Cost of Christmas,” which is the total cost of items gifted by a True Love who repeats all of the song’s verses. Very thoughtful True Loves must fork over $116,273.08 for all 364 gifts, a much more reasonable increase of 1.4 percent compared with last year’s 6.9 percent.

Well, the twelve days of Christmas are almost upon us. Vintages can assure you that a True Love can get by on much less in our shop ... and get much more relevant and wonderful gifts as well.
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