The truly wonderful part of being a salvage buyer is that when you come to work in the morning, you really have no idea what might turn up that day. Usually it’s the same old ‘old stuff’ you see all the time: a crusty clawfoot tub, a bucket of grimy door hardware with 100 coats of lead paint on it, a gorgeous slipper shade chandelier sadly missing all of its shades. However, once in a while somebody brings in something that not only have you never seen before, but you would never have even imagined existed. That is the case with this remarkable item, a monumental globe for the blind.
This globe was used in a grade school to assist in teaching geography to blind children. It stands about 4 ½ feet high, and the globe itself is around 2 ½ feet in diameter. The topography of the continents is textured, and the meridian lines are raised, to assist in learning by touch. It stands on a lovely (and heavy) cast-iron base. Fortunately for us, it has a manufacturer’s label that tells us it’s from about 1954, so dating it is easy. A little internet research tells us more about American Printing House for the Blind (APH). They are a non-profit company, founded in 1854. They are the oldest such company in the US, and the largest in the world. APH first started making globes like this one after WWII. Among other impressive accomplishments, they undertook to publish the entire World Book Encyclopedia in Braille! They say that the 145-volume set was the largest Braille project ever undertaken.
Made by American Printing House for the Blind, circa 1954
Even if you knew nothing about the history or origins of this wonderful globe, you would love it. It’s a special piece, both lovely and gigantic. It would look really great in the center of a 14-foot-long black lacquered conference table in your Headquarters for World Domination.™
Our Plumbing Lead, Foley, stands beside the giant globe to demonstrate scale. Clearly she's in awe, wouldn't you be?
Portland’s blue-collar history is a boon to those of us in the salvage business, now that the ‘Industrial’ aesthetic has grown in popularity. Portland grew up with the industries of shipping, logging, and manufacturing, and the artifacts of industry are plentiful.
Here we have a cast-bronze trouble lamp from a ship. The greenish patina and deep blue glass give it an atmospheric glow, and its clever design allows it to hang from a hook, as we see it here, or be carried around and set on a flat surface.
In a move that combines two Oregon industries — logging and shoe-making — we’ve combined the heavy cast-iron base of a cobbler’s polishing bench with a thick live-edge English walnut slab top to create this gorgeous sofa table. In this blending of opposites, you can see that straight industrial lines and sinuous natural curves complement one another perfectly. We’ve preserved the historic character of the base as well – note the iron cups mounted on the lower rail, used to hold the polishing compound. The one on the left is stained black, and the one on the right is stained brown.
We selected the top for its lovely edge and spalted grain, and hand-finished it with Danish oil.
This extraordinary fixture is an early articulated task lamp, by the Faries Mfg. Co. It’s very similar to this fixture but this one we’ve outfitted with a rare green-cased clamshell shade by Emeralite. We’ve preserved the natural patina on this all-brass fixture because it speaks of its many years of service. These fixtures may once have been fairly common, but are now particularly rare – I’m sure many precious brass fixtures were melted down in the zealous scrap-metal drives of the two World Wars since they originally appeared in factories and workshops.
Last but not least we have the lovely pairing of a claw-foot adjustable hospital table and a Toledo Mfg. chair. The table base retains much of its original oxidized-copper finish, and the late-Victorian curves of the feet lend it a certain grace. The darkly-aged steel of the machine-age chair base is softened by the luster of the molded wood seat and back, and these sought-after chairs are remarkably comfortable.