Tag: nostalgia

Just when did instruction manuals become so stuffy? Specifications, quick setups, safety warnings, troubleshooting tables. What ever happened to the simple enjoyment of a new purchase? The fun, the novelty?

That's why I was so pleased when I dug up the owner's manual on the antique Manley Aristocrat I recently found and came across the company's thoughtful inclusion of their helpful "7 Rules for Popcorn Profits," complete with illustrations sketched in that wonderfully campy '50s style.

I'm so tempted to turn Step 4 into a T-shirt. ... Continued

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As I was researching my newly acquired 1950s popcorn machine, I came across this classic and unforgettable snipe.

Just try and get it out of your head.

By the way, is it just me or does the popcorn machine shown at 0:13 have the same red-and-white light cabinet as my Manley Aristocrat?

"Hey, that's a pretty neat old popcorn machine."

"Yeah, we've been trying to get rid of it. Nobody will take it."

"Really? I wouldn't mind having it."


And that's how I inherited a vintage 1950s movie-theater popcorn machine.

I was on one of my research trips for the upcoming book Weird Oklahoma and was visiting the Shortgrass Playhouse in Hobart, a community theater that's reportedly haunted by the spirit of a man whose 1918 headstone was mysteriously discovered upstairs during renovations.

While I was being given a tour, I spotted the art-deco-style machine collecting dust in the corner. I was joking when I said I'd take it off their hands, but the owners were genuinely excited that someone was actually interested in hauling it off. So, last weekend I returned with a friend of mine to roll it out and lug it down the fire escape.

After I unloaded it at my father's workshop here in Texas, I scoured the Internet for any information I could find on the machine. I shouldn't have been surprised to discover there are quite a few people out there interested in restoring old popcorn makers, all of whom are eager to share what knowledge they have. ... Continued

Whether you're looking for some design inspiration, pining for a little workshop nostalgia or just want to kill a few minutes admiring the beautiful simplicity of bygone manufacturing logos, you should check out Old Wood-Working Machines' collection of vintage machinery decals.

I just love this photo by Flickr contributor David Gallagher that captures the subtle shine reflected by a row of midcentury, commercial fiberglass chairs. Chairs like these are often overlooked, but I personally love their simple aesthetic. Plus, they're often surprisingly comfortable.

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like we're surrounded by these slick little guys, yet when I try to think of the last time I actually sat in one, I can't remember exactly where it was. Stephen Coles over at the Mid-Century Modernist, however, seems to have figured out where the majority have gone to herd: the laundromat!

Coles has even determined the source of most of these wonderful old chairs as being furniture manufacturer Krueger Metal Products, who in 1967 became the world’s largest folding chair and table manufacturer. Plus, he points to a fantastic Flickr pool dedicated exclusively to laundromat chairs. You should certainly check it out.

The whole reason I hit junk shops every chance I get, other than to pick up great orphaned photos, is the opportunity to discover something like this just sitting on a shelf waiting for me to barter for its ownership.

This gorgeous Erres table fan, from what I've been able to surmise, was manufactured by the Dutch trading company R.S. Stokvis & Sons. I can't seem to find a date for the fan, but its color, its clean lines and its minimalist design tell me it comes from the era of awesome.

Unfortunately, I wasn't the one who found it. Flickr user kaylovesvintage discovered it in a Dutch charity shop and posted a picture of it to elicit my jealousy.

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I was never a frequent shopper at Trader Joe's during that short time I lived in California, but I did like to pop out of work on occasion to have one of their caesar salads in a plastic box and to roam the aisles perusing all the unusual foods.

Still, I thoroughly enjoyed this amateur commercial produced by Carl Willat of Carl's Fine Films, who used his cell phone to break the establishment's no-camera policy and exemplify the Trader Joe's experience in video and song. It's just as I remember it.

These days, I'd probably take more advantage of Trader Joe's, but sadly there are none here in Texas.

What do you get when you combine entertainment technology and German engineering in an age of outlandish Googie design? You get what is possibly the most awesome entertainment center ever conceived.

The Kuba Komet was manufactured between 1957 and 1961, and included a 21-inch television, record player, radio and eight speakers in a high-gloss, palm- and maple-wood cabinet. A remote control and integrated tape recorder could be had for an additional charge.

Plus, as long as the owner had the clearance, the Gumby-shaped portion could swivel to allow viewing from anywhere in the room.

Though surely none can compete with the singular style of the Komet, you can explore dozens more midcentury television sets at Television History - The First 75 Years.

After posting about the great retro valentines available at Fred Flare, I did a little searching to see what else I could come up with.

I was pleased to find a great collection of vintage valentine images over at 7 Deadly Sinners, some of which, like the Freudian banana card pictured here, can be just a little bizarre.

Plus, Perpetual Kid offers another set of retro valentines for purchase, comprising 10 really awesome space-themed cards.

Though it may be a distant memory, there was a time prior to junior high school when every Valentine's Day was something to look forward to, a time before the holiday's purpose became simply to highlight one's singleness.

Every year, you'd decorate a lunch bag, tape it to the front of your school desk and watch it fill with dozens of tiny, yet clever missives sealed in envelopes as thin as Bible pages.

Those days are now easily relived by going to fredflare.com and picking up a pack of their reproduction 1950s valentines, featuring octopuses confessing their "arms long for you" and hot dogs proclaiming "FRANKLY, I like you!" No Spongebobs or Pokemons in the bunch.