The Right Touch for a Winter’s Light. I meant Night.

December 25th, 2008

streetlamp.gifThis time of year, I usually read passages in the Bible regarding the birth of our Lord. Concurrently, through the month of December I am also usually reading a novel that puts me in the holiday spirit. Often, it is something nostalgic like the Sherlock Holmes tales I took with me under the covers with a flashlight as a kid, or it may be something that has to do with the winter season in general. This time I am deviating and reading a book I picked up at a used book store on a recent trip. I picked up an old hardcover of the late 40s pulp “The Screaming MiMi” about a Chicago reporter unravelling a mystery about a slash killer. Some of the turns of phrase can be very quotable, and I am writing them down, or slightly cheesey, which befits the genre.

Recently, I had to retire a torchiere lamp that I had that always served as great mood lighting for winter reads, and spied one that was made by Elk Lighting that rather reminded me of a street lamp of sorts.  Maybe it would be more likely found in the Big Easy than in Chicago, perhaps. It also reminded me of the exhibit at the museum in Milwaukee that had an indoor section made to look up like old neighborhoods, complete with streetlights, stars, and a creepy lifelike lady sitting on a rocker on her porch. It was made by the same folks who made the “dioramas” behind glass of explorers that were a much more realistic than mannequins that were just accessories to dramatize the museum’s artifact collections.

Of course, it is a bit more delicate than an actual decorative streetlamp for a little downtown or touristy area, but if you are recreating the look inside a house, you would want to merely evoke it. The “real thing” may be too heavy handed or just plain too heavy!   I converted the photo to black and white just because it put me in more of a film noir mood.   This is something that might just fit the shoes of my torchiere.  I will keep you posted on what I decide!

Auction Pick: Vintage Tails

December 25th, 2008

tails.gifMerry Christmas! By now perhaps the kids are all collapsed from their sugar high, you are sitting by the fire unwinding after an eventful day and your thoughts have not quite turned to New Year’s Eve, although it is approaching fast. I, for one, always think of formal wear, even if New Years celebrations have become less and less formal. For those of you who will be spiffing it up to ring in the New Year, or if not, you are going to mix in vintage items with casual, a vintage tux jacket dressed down with a banded shirt for the men, or a vintage beaded top or satin brocade jacket with jeans might just be the answer at casual mixers.

I spied some tails on Ebay. The labels reads Stein Bloch, Inc., exclusively for Henry C. Lyttons & Sons. Around 1870, Nathan Stein founded the wholesale tailoring business that would become Stein-Bloch, a staple of the Rochester, New York clothing trade. Up until this point, retailers typically would self label garments that had been made for them. The teputation of Stein Bloch became so prestigious that stores found a great boon in double labelling garments with the maker’s name. Arounf 1929, Stein-Bloch merged with one of its retaikers, Weber & Heilbroner, and Fashion Park, Inc., another similar quality tailor. The conglomerate than was known as Fashion Park Associates.

The store that sold this suit, Henry C. Lyttons $ Sons, opened up shops starting in 1887 with “The Hub” in Chicago, which eventually was eight stories. It expanded by leaps and bounds. A second store opened in Gary, Indiana, and over the years several other locations including Joliet, Illinois. In honor of Mr. Lytton’s 100th birthday in 1946, the name of the store was changed from “The Hub, Henry C. Lyttons & Sons” to Lytton’s. This, by using the label alone, dates the suit to before 1946 without a doubt. It is true that sometimes you cannot pinpoint an item to an exact year sometimes by a label because a maker might have decided to use some extras up, but since the name change was such a big milestone, the labels listing the longer name was probably better orchestrated. Mr. Lytton died at the ripe old age od 103 in 1949. In 1961, Lytton’s was purchased by a conglomerate.

The auction will end on Ebay December 26th in the morning (EST), so please hop to it if you are interested. There are no chest measurements given by the seller, but there are shoulder and other measurements. May be good to buy even as a display piece.  Check it out HERE.

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