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Golden Era Things You've Revived Or Repaired For Use

Discussion in 'Skills and Smarts' started by St. Louis, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    So all these threads about vintage things you feel have disappeared or are glad have disappeared reminded me that there are things that have been revived, too. I don't mean the obvious ones like swing dancing, big band music, or retro fashions. I mean things like hand-written letters or rotary phones -- the kinds of things people here feel are worth reviving because they are actually better quality than their modern descendants.

    I have a few: I recently started using my antique hand-cranked coffee grinder because my electric coffee mill conked out. The antique one works pretty well (doesn't grind quite as fine as I'd like, though.) But it burns off a few extra calories and looks great on my counter.

    I've asked the phone company to retrofit my land lines to the old copper wires so that I can use my 1930s dial phones. Makes me feel as though my phone calls mean something because (a) I can't stay on for ever; the receivers are just too heavy to hold up to my ears for too long and (b) I don't move around and do all kinds of other nonsense while I'm talking because I am tethered to the table that holds the phone.

    Also started wearing kid gloves and carrying fancy hankies every time I go out. Makes me feel very ladylike and smart.
    Annie B likes this.
  2. Good for you. I'm a big believer in this kind of thing -- putting good, honest devices back into service for the purpose for which they were designed. I don't "upcycle," I don't "repurpose," I *use,* and I encourage others to do the same.

    Over the past year or so I've rescued and repaired a 1948 television set, a 1935 wall telephone, a 1929 alarm clock, a 1952 film projector, and a 1941 car radio -- and use them all regularly as a television set, a telephone, an alarm clock, a film projector, and a car radio. I've also darned about a dozen pairs of stockings, re-heeled a couple pairs of shoes, and re-dyed a faded hat. I figure every such item that I put back into actual use is one less item to be cannibalized for somebody's "art" project.
    Delma likes this.
  3. this one guy

    this one guy Familiar Face

    I just finished repairing my aunt's 60 yr old toaster. I will give it to her when I visit for Christmas. :)
  4. I don't know to what extent this counts as a "revival", but I stopped shaving with a modern razor after I kept producing epidermis a'la julienne every morning. I went back to using a straight-razor and never stopped since. That was about 2 years ago. And i still shave, strop and sharpen on a regular basis.

    I used a keep a diary when i was younger, and it used to be a regular habit with me. In recent times, i started doing it again.

    To make it faster and more relaxing and fun, I type up my diary-entries on my typewriter and keep them in a manilla folder, instead of typing them on a computer or writing them in a book.

    I have a hand-crank Singer shuttle-style sewing-machine from the mid-1930s which I bought as a souvenier. I use it for light sewing-jobs. I just finished making a laundry-bag for holding dirty clothes, and every stitch was done on that machine. Not only did I feel good, but turning that crank for so long must've burnt off a good few calories!
  5. DiverAdam

    DiverAdam Familiar Face

    I recently went to using an old gold double edge safety razor I picked up at an antique store. Better shave, especially now that I use a brush and shaving soap to lather.

    Eventually want to start shaving with the straight razors too. I even have one I received tha'ts from the 1890's, but it needs some TLC first.
  6. Refurbishing a straight-razor is not hard. So long as the razor is in good shape (no cracks, bending, chips, or heavy rust, etc).

    You need a good, high-grit sharpening-stone. Some fine-grit sandpaper, and a strop. (Oh, and water).

    The sandpaper is to grind off any surface-rust and tarnishing.

    So long as the rust is light, sandpaper will handle it easily. A razor with heavy rust should be thrown out. It's probably not salvagable, and you don't want to cut yourself with a rusty razor!!

    The stone is to sharpen it.

    You can find directions on sites like YouTube about how to do it easily.

    The strop is the smooth the edge, ready for shaving.

    Again, Youtube is your friend for this.

    You could do it all easily in the space of an afternoon.

    The next challenge is actually SHAVING with it :)
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
  7. Along with all the vintage clothing, I too am a straight razor user now. After the initial fear, and the first experiments of not stropping enough (!) and getting used to the required gurning, it's quite rewarding. Which is a very strange thing to say about scraping my face every morning. Reminds me, must be off to commune with the blade.

    I have an 1886 Singer sewing machine that we found at the dump, which I'm servicing to put back in action.

    All our wooden furniture is original victorian-1940s stuff.

    I revived/replaced the coal and wood burning fireplaces in my house to reduce my reliance on the "big six" energy companies and instead support my local coal and wood merchant.

  8. The best of luck with the Singer, Baron. What model is it? A Transverse Shuttle 12? Or a Vibrating Shuttle 27/28-series?

    Mine is a Vibrating Shuttle 128k. Built in 1936, but the design goes back to the 1860s, I believe.

    Is yours a hand-crank machine or a treadle?

    Either way, they're very easy to clean and service. And quite fun, too. The only BIG issue is finding needles. If you have a Vibrating Shuttle machine, finding needles is as easy as going to your local supermarket.

    But transverse-shuttle machines use these old-fashioned, round-shank needles that NOBODY makes anymore. And they're almost impossible to buy.

    Another golden-era thing I revived: I wear a mechanical pocketwatch. Every day.
  9. Jinkies, the only time I'll touch a straight razor is if I really want to do the Ted thing... ;) I've been using a de safety razor on my face for five years or so... Love it. Once the initial cost is recouped, so mich cheaper than cartridges, and a significantly better shave. Wish I could use it over the top too.... Learned the hard way that I can't get the right angle for that...
  10. The startup costs with a straight-razor setup, if you buy everything second-hand, can be under $100. For that $100 you can buy a mug, brush, strop, soap/cream, stone and razor. And apart from the soap/cream, you'd never have to buy anything else ever again. Now that is saving real money.
  11. I shave with a DE. I write a hand written letter to my Grandmother using a fountain pen. I preder to not go out of the house wearing jeans & a T shirt. The only time I go into town wearing that is if I'm working in the yerd or twisting wrenches on a vehicle.
  12. DiverAdam

    DiverAdam Familiar Face

    I have two with no real rust, just a lot of tarnish. I want to polish the good one up to a near mirror shine again and replace the scales. The other one is still old and can be brought back, but seems to be a lower grade steel, no ring to it, propbably going to be a practice piece. Also still need to find a deal on a decent strop

    I've also be dabbling with fountain pens. I tried using them at work with limited success becuase half of the writing I do is on multilayer carbon copies and it would destroy the nibs
  13. Buy a fountain pen with a manifold nib. They're specifically designed for writing through carbon-paper.
  14. Got me dates wrong - it's 1890, Model 28 "Family VS" according to the brochure that was inside. Hand crank only, and with no table. It cranks OK, but is a bit stiff. Also some parts are quite rusted. Mechanically they're not complex so should be quite easy to restore to working order.

  15. Strip the machine down. Clean it. Wipe it down. Oil it with sewing-machine oil. Polish the metal. Put it back together. Run it at high speed for a few minutes to work in the oil.

    Sandpaper will help with the rusting, so long as it's not super-duper heavy.
  16. JonnyO

    JonnyO A-List Customer

    Nothing too special compared to the things you guys have restored so I humbly throw my addition into the ring, a Cairns & Bro's leather fire helmet that was manufactured between 1951 & 1953. It was in rough shape when I got it and had to repair holes and cracks in the leather along with repainting it. It now has new life as my back up helmet.
    TPD166 likes this.
  17. This is my Singer 28/VS, Baron. This is what it looked like before. I took this photo right after getting back from the flea-market:


    This is what it looked like after I'd got it home, (that photo was taken in London while I was on holiday there), and cleaned it up and got it running properly:


    I found the replacement slide-plate in a box of junk sewing-machine parts at my local flea-market. The whole box cost me $10.00.
  18. Vornholt

    Vornholt One of the Regulars

    For my part, not only do I use the restored vintage phones, fountain pens, and typewriters, but I now carry visiting cards for social occasions, receptions, and whatever sort of appropriate function requires one. I have cards for myself, separate cards for my lovely partner in crime in the event she needs them, and a joint couples card. All carried, of course, in one of a pair of vintage card cases. So far, it drew notice at a couple of events. I'm planning to continue.

    I know there was a long thread on the subject some time ago. Anyone else doing this?
  19. Gregg Axley

    Gregg Axley I'll Lock Up

    I use a safety razor, shave soap, and a badger brush.
    The blades are $7-8 dollars for 10, and 10 last me almost the entire year.
    The soap is $28 and it usually lasts a year and a half.
    I'm WAY past my initial investment, and I get a better shave. :)
  20. I use vintage Gillette razors and use a badger brush to whip up a lather of shave cream. (I've also introduced my godson to this type of shaving, and he's gone me one better with a straight razor plus has introduced his college roommate to it as well.)

    Fountain pens. I carry and use several every day. I rarely use a ball point pen. I've introduced my 12-year-old granddaughter to using fountain pens as well.

    Vintage hats.

    I have a rotary dial phone on my vintage oak receptionist desk (AKA my writing desk.)

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