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Category Archives: Exploring Antique Technologies

Exploring Antique Technologies: Acing the Autopen – Helping Collectors Feel More Confident with Mechanical Writing

This 2011 photo depicts Bob Olding of Damilic Corp, a leading present-day manufacturer of signature machines, demonstrating the vintage Autopen Model 80. The machine uses levers and your favorite pen to duplicate programmed signatures, and while this can be a lifesaver for public officials, many in the government still use it sparingly. Though President Bush received a Justice Department Ruling in 2005 to sign a bill via autopen, he opted not to, and went out of his way to sign in person. Photo: via USA Today and Damilic Corp, Associated Press, 2011

by Kary Pardy   Footage from a 1950s 9-second video shows a grey, boxy machine using mechanical levers to exactly mimic the slopes and angles of a person’s handwriting. Since […]

Exploring Antique Technologies: Leather Fire Buckets – Painted Americana at its Most Helpful 

1. Club fire buckets were decorated with their chosen logo, and few examples are as impressive as this Adroit Fire Club example from Salem, MA, ca. 1820. Emblazoned with the club’s name, the owner’s name, and the motto “Delay Not,” this striking example depicts men fighting to save a Federal-style house from burning. According to Sotheby’s, which sold the bucket for $40,000 in 2020, other examples from the Adroit Fire Club carry on the theme of the burning house surviving. photo: Sotheby’s, Triumphant Grace: Important Americana from the Collection of Barbara and Arun Singh, 2020

by Kary Pardy Imagine you lived in the 17th or 18th century. Chances are good that you would be surrounded by wooden buildings and that you would be very wary […]

Exploring Antique Technologies: Shaped in Steel – Dissecting the Technology Behind your Edged Weapons

The Roman gladius was a short (two feet), sharply-pointed, double-edged sword and its design had evolved over the centuries to be the ideal weapon for the legions of the Roman Empire. It was forged from high-grade steel and was primarily suited for the Roman fighting style, where shield usage was heavy and swords were called upon to thrust and stab through the shield wall. In their book From Sumer to Rome: the Military Capabilities of Ancient Armies, historians Richard Gabriel and Karen Metz wrote that in the hands of a highly trained legionnaire, the gladius “was the most deadly of all weapons produced by ancient armies, and it killed more soldiers than any other weapon in history until the invention of the gun.” photo: Wikipedia

by Kary Pardy There are lots of reasons to be drawn to edged weapons, and their beauty and history are chief amongst them. Each piece carries with it a complicated […]

Exploring Antique Technologies – Saving Scrimshaw: How it’s Made and How to Take Care of It

Sea captains’ wives and children sometimes accompanied them on voyages and produced a fair amount of scrimshaw. Notably, Sallie Smith, the wife of Captain Frederick Howland Smith, created pieces that are just as highly regarded, if not more so, then those of her male counterparts. Scrimshaw by an unknown artist, ca. 1830-1860 courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum

by Kary Pardy If you’re a nautical fanatic, a coast dweller, or a fan of early American arts, you probably know and appreciate scrimshaw. But what is it really, and […]

Exploring Antique Technologies: Ancient Art – Unraveling the Art of Knitting

Knitwear was the primary fabric for sporting activities in the 1920s, but with cheaper alternatives such as factory-produced sweatshirts and tracksuits gained traction, knitwear transitioned to the realm of low impact, high-end sports whose users could afford ‘fancier’ knit garments. Knitwear also transitioned to smart casual clothing, which is where we most commonly see it today. Courtesy of HoneyCombPatterns, Etsy.

by Kary Pardy Knitting is everywhere recently. Creating warm hats, scarves, wraps, sweaters, and mittens is currently a fashionable pastime for people of all ages, and skilled knitters can create […]

Looking into the Colorful Past of Stained Glass Art

Medieval window series, Troyes Cathedral, France, 14th century.

Looking into the Colorful Past of Stained Glass Art by Kary Pardy   Stirring scenes, epiphanies of light, color and symbolism, glowing recreations of nature – you may connect all […]