The Morris Chair Mystery

Discussion in 'Your Vintage Home' started by scotrace, Jun 2, 2013.

  1. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    Recently, due to an extremely fortuitous set of circumstances, I got my hands on something long-coveted: A Morris chair. It is in great condition, except for the upholstery and stuffing, which were still as from the factory. Patent numbers place it anywhere from 1918-1925 or so. It had to be stripped to the frame, which revealed a fragment of a newspaper from the 1930's - classifieds. Ads for late 20's-early 30's cars. There was also a mouse nst, made up of shredded Corning pink insulation.
    But the cool thing was on the fabric covering the outside back. It looked like leather, but was an offering called "Imitation spanish leather." Basically a rubberized and colored heavy muslin. It has survived well. But still, there were holes and stink.

    Written on the inside of the fanbric was this:

    [​IMG]

    It appears to say "Jazz Baby for a time [? kicker? killer?]."

    Again, this is a mass-produced, factory chair, in its original covering. Who wrote this? What does it say? And why?
     
  2. W4ASZ

    W4ASZ Practically Family


    How about "Jazz Baby for a(ll) time. Kilroy." ? :cool:
     
  3. Bruce Wayne

    Bruce Wayne My Mail is Forwarded Here

    I think Kilroy has been there. I see time kilier.
     
  4. W4ASZ

    W4ASZ Practically Family

    I don't know. The ending letter "r" on the word "for" is very different from the ending "r" of "killer."

    I think the last word or name ends in "l," on second thought. "Baby" has a looped y.

    Your results may vary.

    But I want to know if this fabric inspired Naugahyde. :behindsofa:
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
  5. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

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    Despite the 1936 date Wikipedia gives, Naugahyde started being produced (under that name) in April of 1916.
     
  6. W4ASZ

    W4ASZ Practically Family

    "Hunted relentlessly since 1916, the docile nauga is rarely seen in the wild ..." ;)



    Is the message related to the composition "Jazz Baby" ? There is a number sign (#).

    The ghost of Noble Sissle stopped by earlier to suggest "relief" as the last word, and that this is a woman's handwriting.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
  7. vitanola

    vitanola I'll Lock Up

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    Another excellent imitation leather cloth, "Pantasote", had been heavily marketed since the early 'nineties.
    Previous attempts at such leather imitations were many, but tended to have a short service life.
     
  8. Atticus Finch

    Atticus Finch Call Me a Cab

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    My guess is that the author was spelling and punctuation challenged. He or she was saying "Jazz, Baby, for a time killer." In other words, "Listen to Jazz when you're relaxing". Perhaps akin to someone today saying, "Rock on!"

    Regardless...being the first to read an unopened communication from the past is always cool. Its a little like finding a message in an old bottle or finding the carpenter’s scribbles in the rafters of a two-hundred year old house.

    AF
     
  9. Atticus Finch

    Atticus Finch Call Me a Cab

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    Sorry. Deleted double post.

    AF
     
  10. Stanley Doble

    Stanley Doble Call Me a Cab

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    "Jazz baby" was an expression of the time, like "flapper" or "sheik". Similar to what would later be called a jitterbug or bobby soxer.

    I also see a"#8". This looks like a typical shop notation. Either the upholsterer marked the different sections of the covering, or that chair was job #8 on his schedule. Are there numbers or witness marks on the back of the other pieces? Like a cross, circle, wavy line? Or pencil marks to line up 2 pieces? Usually this was done in chalk.

    It could be that the upholsterer noted down something he wanted to remember on the nearest handy surface. Or, he thought he would leave a little joke or comment for the next upholsterer to recover that chair. I have seen both types of notations.
     
  11. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    I thought maybe it was a model designation and a name. "Jazz Baby" for a Tim Rilker or something. But can't find any models listings for Royal Easy Chair.

    Probably, the guy wrote it, held it up to show a coworker, and they laughed and sealed it up for 90 years.
     
  12. Stanley Doble

    Stanley Doble Call Me a Cab

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    The more I look at this the odder it gets. The #8 and the first stroke of the B in Baby appears to be a different, thicker pencil. The start of the B is strangely formed. It appears someone took an existing notation and turned it into Jazz Baby. But what? The B stroke looks line an upside down 5 with the top stroke missing. the 8 looks half drawn in one hand, half in another.

    Another question. What are we missing to the right of the picture? The message is cut off. Could the word "good" be over there? As in " Jazz Baby for a good time killer"? Or maybe "Jazz Baby for a good time - Kilroy"
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013
  13. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    There's a # over the second Z in "jazz." And the number looks like a nine where the B in "baby" begins. There's no 8; that's the loop of the bottom of the cursive Z. And there are no other words or markings front or back, or on the other pieces of cloth that covered the seat and inside back.
     
  14. Stanley Doble

    Stanley Doble Call Me a Cab

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    Could the last word be Relief? Jazz Baby for a time Relief? Doesn't make any sense to me either.

    How about the newspaper? Was it built into the chair or did it slip down a crack ? Chances are the clipping dates to the year of the newest car advertised or maybe a year later.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  15. W4ASZ

    W4ASZ Practically Family

    The "B" in Baby reminds me of the old German beta s. Was the worker of German or Austrian descent, and maybe not fluent in English ?


    Jazz Baby Channing.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013

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