Tag Archives: Donald-Brian Johnson

Smoke Rings: Collecting Vintage Ashtrays

Smoke Rings: Collecting Vintage Ashtrays

By Donald-Brian Johnson Ever watch Mad Men? If you were one of the many fans of that series, which meticulously recreated American life in the early 1960s, after awhile you started to notice something: nearly everyone on Mad Men smoked. A lot. It’s something you don’t see much anymore, in the movies, or on TV, […]

What A Wonderful World: The 1964-65 New York World’s Fair

What A Wonderful World: The 1964-65 New York World’s Fair

By Donald-Brian Johnson Abe Lincoln was there. So were the “Flintstones.” Michelangelo’s Pieta paid an exclusive visit. The enormous inhabitants of Sinclair’s “Dinoland” bid folks a toothy welcome. And, it’s where The Riddler executed a dastardly burglary during the pilot episode of TV’s Batman. During the summers of 1964 and ’65, a gee-whillikers wonderland welcomed […]

In Living Color

In Living Color

Vintage Seed Catalogs Story & Photos by Donald-Brian Johnson From the mid-1800s onward, many a wintry day passed faster as mailboxes welcomed colorful seed catalogs, chock-full of the latest seasonal offerings from Gurney’s, Earl May, Burpee’s, and other gardening industry “names.” Seed companies were in the business of selling attainable dreams, and America was buying. […]

Glistening Glory: Collectible Cased Glass

Glistening Glory: Collectible Cased Glass

Article and photos by Donald-Brian Johnson “Bend me, shape me, any way you want me …” Glass. You can bend it and you can shape it. You can also mold, slump, fuse, or crackle it. Pressed glass? Check. Blown glass? That’s on the list, too. Plus, there’s sculpted glass, engraved glass, woven glass, and, of […]

Chase: Lighting the 1930s

Chase: Lighting the 1930s

By Donald-Brian Johnson Photos by Leslie Piña “We have tried not to make novelty knick-knacks, but sturdy honest designs of good materials that will last from generation to generation, because taste is not a matter of fashion, but rather the choice of the best of every generation.” – F.S. Chase, President, Chase Brass & Copper […]

Moss: The Lamps That Spin

Moss: The Lamps That Spin

Story by Donald-Brian Johnson – Photos by Leslie Piña Once seen, never forgotten – that’s a Moss lamp! These Plexiglas marvels first cast their unique glow on households of the 1950s, and have delighted collectors ever since. Perhaps that’s because there’s such a variety to choose from. Many Moss lamps come equipped with spinning figurines […]

Deal Me In

Deal Me In

Collectible Playing Card Art Story & Photos by Donald-Brian Johnson Mary Nastase has over five thousand playing cards. That’s right, five thousand. And for the most part, they’re all different. Well, the illustrated backs are, anyway. As for the “faces” (the sides where the numbers appear), only so many numerical configurations are possible in a […]

Up to Snuff

Up to Snuff

Collecting Antique Snuff Boxes Story and Photos by Donald-Brian Johnson Hmmmm… Just what are those elaborate little boxes intended for, anyway? Trinkets? Change? Cufflinks and earrings? Breath mints? The answer: none of the above. These exquisite examples of design artistry are actually snuff boxes, the must-have fashion accessory which took the world by storm, during […]

Time to Start Livin': Kitsch Clocks of the Mid-20th Century

Time to Start Livin': Kitsch Clocks of the Mid-20th Century

By Donald-Brian Johnson Clocks. We rely on them to bring just a bit of order into our hectic modern lives. They keep things running like . . . well . . . like clockwork! For centuries, clocks had been reserved solely for the wealthy. Intricately designed and fashioned of the rarest and finest materials, clocks […]

Come Fill The Cup: Christmas Bone China

Come Fill The Cup: Christmas Bone China

Christmas bone china Story & Photos by Donald-Brian Johnson Most of the year, it’s kept safely tucked away in drawers, or on display behind the locked glass doors of a dining room cabinet. And then the holiday season is upon us. Those fragile china cups and saucers blink their way into the spotlight, emerging from […]