Tag Archives: Kary Pardy

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 the invention and popularized use of the power autopen in the mid-1900s, it’s been making the lives of celebrities and politicians easier while at the […]

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 of fire. Firefighting technology at that time involved crews of people banding together to help their town or their neighbors, and while they did have some creative […]

Secret Storage: Exploring the Hidden Side of Antique Furniture

Example of one of many ways to create and access secret storage. photo: woodsmith.com

by Kary Pardy   Consider the humble blanket chest: a piece of furniture that might travel with its owners across an ocean or a country. Such a solid, practical item seems like the last place for surprising features, but without fancy safe deposit boxes or other high-end precautions, the average person needed a place to […]

The Power of Pitkins: An American Classic Uncorked

Rare Pitkin reverse swirl inkwell and flask

by Kary Pardy If patterned antique glass has ever caught your eye, you’ve likely appreciated the flowing lines and swirling, ribbed decoration of a “Pitkin” flask. The term “Pitkin” is a more recent collector’s designation that references Connecticut’s Pitkin Glass Works and their famous production of ribbed, pattern glass in the late 18th and early […]

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 art with their complex stitches and colors. When you ask people in 2020 what knitting is to them, you’re likely to get answers like “it’s […]

Taxidermy: Exploring one of the Most Complicated Collectibles

Carl Akeley, considered the father of modern taxidermy, was also a talented sculptor, naturalist, and an inventor. He worked on these elephants at the Field Museum but also has a history of working with another famous elephant. While an apprentice at Ward’s Natural Science Establishment, he preserved P. T. Barnum’s beloved elephant Jumbo after a train accident. The project took five months. Fighting African Elephants, photo: Field Museum

by Kary Pardy Someone mentions taxidermy and a few main themes come to mind: trophies in hunting lodges, decor in rustic cabins, or the old stuffed fox at your grandparent’s house or neighborhood antique store. The practice of preserving dead animals was once an art form, and in several ways still is, but taxidermy’s relationship […]

Coasting into Childhood on Vintage Wooden Sleds

Coasting into Childhood on Vintage Wooden Sleds

Exploring Antique Technologies by Kary Pardy Most of us in snowy climates have fond memories of racing downhill on sleds, and these memories are not unique to our generation. Americans have been searching for worthy hills since before the American Revolution. Apart from a few notable fashion differences, children racing down the hills of Boston […]

The Maritime World Through Miniatures and Beyond

The Maritime World Through Miniatures and Beyond

Exploring Antique Technologies by Kary Pardy Peabody Essex Museum Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History, Daniel Finamore, appears on the museums’ webpage to discuss the appeal of the sea. He argues, “the concept of voyaging is, I think, pretty universally understood and desirable today. It is dangerous, but it is also alluring, […]

From Rags to Riches, not Ruin: Papermaking, Preservation, and Conservation

From Rags to Riches, not Ruin: Papermaking, Preservation, and Conservation

Exploring Antique Technologies by Kary Pardy It’s no accident that when we think of ephemera, we think of printed materials. Paper, though powerful as a vessel for art and the written word, is not prized for its durability. The very makeup of paper involves breaking other substances down to reshape them into something thin and […]

The Hudson Highway

The Hudson Highway

Exploring Antique Technologies by Kary Pardy The river that flows two ways, the river of tides, the Great River of the Mountains – The Hudson has inspired countless artists and dreamers but is more than just a muse. From the early 17th century to the present day, the Hudson River served as a passageway into […]