It is made from flax. My favorite fabric, made from the same plant, Linum usitatissimun, is linen, cool & elegant. And expensive. I’m always a fan of expensive.
Another ingredient of lino, pine resin takes me back to my six year old self, a tiny desert cowgirl, visiting Northern Arizona for the first time. After a life of looking at nothing but sand & cactus, the miles of tall pine forest I saw out of the windows of our car, were so, so green & so beautiful. The smell of the pine trees was enchanting. We pulled over at a rest stop & amidst all this towering wonder appeared a speckled fawn. Little girl heaven!
I grew up walking on linoleum, its smooth, clean coolness a welcome relief to my tender feet after running barefoot outside in the blazing sun.
Lino can be passed over because, being made of natural materials, it costs more than vinyl, but the 2 products in no way compare as far as quality. For wet, high traffic areas, it cannot be surpassed in utility, healthfullness or charm. If you should be unfamiliar with the material, you’ll enjoy learning about it from these videos. If you’re a fan of old linoleum, you’ll find them entertaining & you might even learn a little bit.
Linoleum flooring is cool, actually (6:34)
Forbo Flooring Systems – Making linoleum is like cooking with natural ingredients (4:23)
Forbo Flooring Systems
The art of making Marmoleum. A great & informative video!
Preserving 100-Year-Old Linoleum! (0:45)
Watch conservators cleaning & moving a 9’x12’ linoleum carpet.
Tip: Now read the article on Jane Powell’s book, LINOLEUM, which will encourage you to be a lino lover too.
These videos are mentioned in my post, BUNGALOW TOASTERS which I encourage you to read. It includes a video of this little gem, dubbed a “Sweetheart” toaster, being used.
At the risk of becoming very hungry, I encourage you to also watch the magic of the videos of folks as they lovingly use their old toasters. This is a variety of toasters & even a toaster collector with a sense of humor!
One of my favorites is of a full restoration of a poor toaster that looks like it was used hard by a family of 10 & then abandoned when they got an updated model. A talented man meticulously dismantles it, revives each tiny part & lovingly puts it back together again.
I also offer you my Pinterest page of old toasters. I have quite an array!
THE VIDEOS- Antique Toasters
Antique Toastmaster Toaster 1A5 Demo “Automatic Pop-Up Type Toaster” Bachelor Model 1 Single Slice (:50)
Laura’s Last Ditch Vintage Kitchenwares
Would you like your toast medium or well-done?
Toaster Collector (2:55)
Texas Country Reporter
He started with his mother’s toaster & 300 toasters later, he eats jam for breakfast every day.
I adore old appliances & the antique toaster may be at the top of my list. I come by it honestly, being the granddaughter of a West Virginia baker. My grandfather decided to enter the business because he figured that it would be economically stable. People would always eat bread. It was a correct decision that benefited our family for several generations.
When I was a child growing up in Arizona, there was bread on the table every meal, never bought off the shelf, always purchased from the family bakery that had a stand at our neighborhood grocery.
Then I went to school & discovered Wonder Bread, served in our cafeteria. I was astonished & confused. You could squish it up in a ball like Play-Doh! I was accustomed to bread with body. You had to work a little to eat it.
My mother was appalled at this version of bread. In no way did she consider it the best nor even think of it as real bread.
The specialty of my family’s bakery was salt rising bread. An Appalachian invention, I cannot but wonder if the recipe made its way from Sara Emmeline, my great-grandmother on the farm, to my grandmother, Gordie Elsie who left the farm as a young girl to become a woman of culture, to the bakery of her new husband. My cousin, whose father took over the bakery from my grandfather & who worked there for many years tells me that, “It was not a big seller unfortunately. Most of it was sold in the outlying small towns, mainly mining communities or communities with lots of old timers that come out of the West Virginia hollows on a Saturday morning to do their shopping in towns like Grant Town, or Fairview or Hundred. Fine folks with discerning tastes.”
Not to be found in Arizona, my mother dreamed of salt rising & was sent loaves of it by the family. This humble bread, born of poverty & necessity, became a luxury for my mother because of its scarcity. Yeastless, it was very dense & chewy, like the most well-known sourdough & like its San Francisco counterpart, made exquisite, crunchy toast. We argued over who would get the heels.
LET’S BEGIN AT THE BEGINNING OF THE TALE OF THE ANTIQUE TOASTER
And jump around. I try to write chronologically, but cultural history is not always chronological. Different locations & classes changed their practices at differing times. I hope that you can follow along as I move from 1950 to 2000 B.C. to 1850 to 1910, then back to 1905, in my attempt to tell the tale of the antique toaster.
So here goes….
We have been eating grains since we were hunter/gathers. We learned to cook them, making gruel, which was easier to digest than the raw seeds, but rather messy. Then we discovered that baking grains into bread was a great deal handier. It grew mold more slowly. You could tote it around & it was tidy. You could eat it with your hands.
Bread is mostly sugars & starches making it the perfect candidate for caramelizing. Our affinity for crunch is hardwired into our species, as is our love of fat, so it’s not surprising that avocado toast is the food darling of the decade.
So, the obvious next next step was toasting the bread which made it even easier to digest. You could melt stuff on it. It was warm & comforting & it packed a nice caramelized crunch.
THE TOASTER AS PART OF OUR CHANGING CULTURE
When we’re talking about bungalow toasters (That’s kinda what we do here, you know. We talk about bungalows.) we’re talking about pre-electricity for most of the original homeowners.
The earliest toasters, from the 1800’s, were forks made of iron with long handles so that you could stand back from the flames of the open fire. By the 1850’s, they began making the holders in a lighter metal & featured a mesh grill so that you could see the bread browning as it toasted.
With the decline of domestic help, as woman left working as maids to labor in the factories, appliances designed to ease the workload of the lady of the house became a necessity. Fortunately, the domestic technology was developing that could support this cultural change. For a more in-depth understanding of this glimpse into LIFE & TIMES, read this article.
In 1905, the first filament, Nichrome, a non-magnetic alloy of nickel & chromium was discovered that could repeatedly generate heat to toast bread.
G.E. patented the first electric toaster, the D-12, for use in the home in 1909. It has four heating elements with the wire wrapped around forms made of heat-resistant mica. It sat on a porcelain base to insulate the table under it. As an option, you could get the base with a floral design. The toast was held in place by an exposed wire frame. Of course, it toasted only one side of the bread, giving you ample opportunity to burn your fingers!
However, electricity was not common in homes until the 1920’s. By 1925, only half the homes in America had electrical power & these were in larger metropolitan communities. It wasn’t until 1936, with FDR’s Rural Electrification Act, that millions of Americans, living outside of cities had access to electricity.
(Let’s do the Time Warp Again!) However, the Hare House, which was built in 1910, was lit by gas & most likely had a wood burning stove so Grace did not use the D-12 to make Alfred’s toast. One option was to use a cast iron skillet. She might have also used a tin contraption that sat on her wood burning stove. This flimsy piece of vented metal held the pieces of bread that you cut from the loaf & offered your fingers no protection against its heat. Tin rusts very easily when exposed to moisture so I can’t imagine that these lasted very long. I had one in my collection for my dreamed of restoration of the Hare House kitchen. I considered trying it out but it was too awful!
In 1913, the Coleman Electric Stove Company made a toaster that automatically turned the bread, saving fingers.
In 1914, Lloyd & Hazel Copeman, of the Copeman Electric Stove Company, were issued five patents for ways to “turn the toast” in their “automatic” toasters.
In 1919, the year that my mother was born, Charles Strite, a Minnesota mechanic invented the pop-up toaster, the Toastmaster, with both springs & a timer, for restaurant use. He later improved his design & sold it to the general public. You could even twist a little peg to set the toaster for the degree of toasting! Check out my toast videos to hear the timer loudly clicking away at differing speeds, depending on how dark you wanted your toast to be.
Around this time, manufacturers began adding a case to the units as a safety feature. With this newfangled toaster, Mom no longer had to be asphyxiated in the kitchen by smoke from burning toast, when she was preparing supper for the family.
A commonly voiced cliché in our baker family was, “The best thing since sliced bread!” In 1928, a bread slicing machine was invented & by 1930, The Continental Baking Company, which made that bread that fascinated me so as a child, Wonder Bread, began selling sliced bread which greatly increased the popularity of toasters. At the same time, assembly line production & easy credit made it possible for ordinary Americans to purchase many of these new consumer goods. A toaster on every table!
WON’T YOU BE MY SWEETHEART OF AN ANTIQUE TOASTER
A favorite toaster has been dubbed the “Sweetheart” because of its heart shape face, pendant “earrings” & its delicate, ornate casing. This Landers Frary & Clark toaster (Universal Model E9410, patented in 1929) was designed to attract the American housewife & was promoted as being an appealing addition to her kitchen decor. One of my readers remembers it fondly from his grandmother’s house, where, no, the children were allowed to watch, but not allowed to touch it.
Rather than march all the various styles of toasters across the page, I think I’d rather invite you to my Pinterest page where you can just gorge on pictures of them & also other small appliances. As one of my readers commented, “This is where the good stuff is!”
To see a variety of antique toasters in action, visit my YouTube playlist, ANTIQUE TOASTERS.
In this internet age, there is very little that you can’t find on YouTube so I have put together a list of old house restoration videos, arranged by skill/trade/interest for you to view. Whether you plan to do a project yourself, or hire a professional tradesperson, it is wise to know about bungalow, their history, their features. It’s also a good way to educate the people that you hire who might be looking to improve their knowledge & would be willing to watch these old house restoration videos to expand their skills.
The people who have made these videos are at the tops of their fields. They are experienced & skilled not only in their areas but also are good communicators & have stellar reputations for their abilities to teach others. They are also very nice people so their videos are pleasant & easy to watch. In fact, I watch them when I’ve had a bad day just to chill!
I’m not going to describe the videos individually because most of the titles explain the content. Just click & find out!
ARCHITECTURAL SALVAGE VIDEOS
The terrible tragedy is that old buildings will be demolished, by the short-sighted, by the greedy & the ignorant. We are fortunate that there are people who come in & save the beautiful bits & pieces & offer them to us. Even if you are not involved in a project for which you might need their wares, a visit makes an interesting field, or even a road trip!
Architectural Salvage tour- TREASURE HUNT! Finding clues from the past. (10:20)
Southern Accents and the Journey of Architectural Salvage (2:48)
This is Alabama
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
I have curated a wonderful playlist of helpful & entertaining videos for your viewing pleasure. Bring out the popcorn & learn about everything from wood window repair to the history of the bungalow to how to take care of yourself when you dealing with the physical & mental challenges of restoring an old house.
I put a call out to my Facebook followers for their favorite bungalow architectural salvage resources. I have long been a fan of the idea of salvage, as well the the practicalities of the practice. In my previous article, I write about the cultural, economic & ecological benefits of salvage & in this article, I write about the ones that they recommend & ones at which I have shopped over the years.
I tend to get a bit mesmerized in a salvage shop. While you see a plethora of objects, of all ages & types, the story is incomplete. Riveted by these bits of story. I get unpopular pretty fast because I ask so many questions but I’m a woman who loves a story, mine or someone else’s, & I feel untethered when I don’t know the details.
Occasionally, it is difficult is even understand an object’s purpose! The object to the left, provided by Doc’s Architectural Salvation, is clearly a product of The Aesthetic Movement, an art movement in the late 1800’s which valued the beauty of the the applied & fine arts over any social ramifications. You have heard the expression, “art for art’s sake?” This philosophy was manifested in the work of the Aesthetic Movement.
(I’m rather partial to this design style myself, & my dishware at my home in Eagle Rock, the Hare House, was of an Aesthetic pattern. I displayed it on my plate rail in my dining room & heck if it didn’t look wonderful with my Craftsman built-ins & my Restoration Hardware, Stickley knock-off dining table.) But more importantly, what is this thing?
Now you know how I feel in a salvage store!
BUNGALOW ARCHITECTURAL SALVAGE RESOURCES ALL OVER THE COUNTRY
I’m going to split up the country into sections. As I hear from you (hint, hint-see the comment form below?) I will break it up by state. So let’s get salvage shopping!
Established in 1999, Aurora Mills is a multi-facted store offering antique & vintage architectural items, lighting, reclaimed lumber, iron gates, doors, fireplace mantles- pretty the much the full array. They have an extensive website with a large online inventory as well as a tour of the warehouse which I opened on my big screen. Wow!!!
For the bungalow crowd, they carry Arts & Crafts tiles & other Craftsman pieces.
My Instagram pal, hosshouse1879 tells me, “They do an excellent job of organizing the materials that they have salvaged. If you go in looking for a house part, they know what area to go to & make the search pretty easy.”
Norm, the proprietor has a great affinity for Arts & Crafts & is always on the look-out for items appropriate to the bungalow. He has a good stock of lighting, doors & hardware for us & often has some furniture & even colonade sets that would we would love.
“We partner with communities to transform the home building and design industry into a circular economy.”
Referrer Amy K. says, ”It’s a fantastic place to just wander & look at all the treasures they’ve saved.”
So, I wandered through their website & found many items in their 50,000 sq. ft. jam-packed warehouse, in various categories that would be appropriate for bungalows, such as doors, windows, flooring, hardware, cabinets & cabinet doors, lighting, mantels, even kitchen sinks with drainboards (they come & go.)
In speaking with them I discovered that all items are on consignment, which encourages homeowners to recycle instead of contributing to the landfill. They even have several elderly pickers who bring things in to them to supplement their incomes.
In my world, there is simply not enough wacky so I’m a big fan of Schiller’s. My wood flooring company purchased reclaimed flooring from them & I was occasionally allowed to accompany my husband when he was there for a pick-up. It’s the sort of place that invites a long, quiet browse & husband wanted to get the flooring & scram.
Click on the PRODUCTS to see their array of items & don’t miss the Oddities page!
First of all, when you are on their site, you have to hit the OUR STORY link. The tale of this family business will both touch & amuse you. Dad started it out of love for salvage & over the decades, the business & the family just grew!
Martha L., my follower on Facebook says, “They have a huge selection & it is very organized. Their inventory is updated continually. Prices are reasonable.”
Speaking of huge selection, when you click the INVENTORY link, a full page menu drops down & each category displays another page plus.
Over 20 years ago, when I was restoring my 1910 Craftsman, the Hare House, I frequently visited Architectural Details in Pasadena, home of the Gamble House, the Blacker House, Bungalow Heaven & an glorious abundance of historic homes & commercial buildings. I was astounded that the huge space could not only be so full of old salvage, but so tidy & organized. The inventory was meticulously kept in an index of 3’X5″ note cards & there was nothing that was untracked or out of place.We drooled over the Batchelder tiles kept behind the counter wishing our fireplace was in need of mending.
A quarter of a century later, after the owner’s retirement, Architectural Details has morphed into Pasadena Architectural Salvage with just as many wonderful, orderly items (tracked electronically, I’m sure!). The folks here are very friendly & I’m sorry I’m so far away! However, looking at their website is quite the treat & even includes a couple Batchelder fireplace surrounds.
MORE! I WANT MORE!
I know that there are other great salvage outlets scattered about the U.S. & I want to know about them & why they are special. So plunk your magic twanger, Froggies & zip on down to the COMMENT section. Become visible. (For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, click here to see a link for a very strange children’s show in the 50’s. I shudder to think what the exposure of this to my 5 year old self had on my development.)
If you should be fortunate enough to have a bungalow, architectural salvage can be your BFF. Merriam Webster defines salvage as “property saved from destruction in a calamity (such as a wreck or fire).”
Cambridge adds, “to try to make a bad situation better.”
Not surprisingly, the derivation is from the French, “to save.”
Personally, I consider the destruction of a historic building, by Mother Nature, Father Time, or the hand of Man to be a crushing calamity & I have spent my adult life trying to get people to understand their value.You can read my story here.
There are so many arguments against it financially, culturally & aesthetically that it both puzzles & pains me that our built heritage is destroyed so casually. Whether by neglect, natural disaster or ignorance & short-sighted greed, the stories of our communities are turned to rubble & to dust.
Making lemonade, making “a bad situation better,” out of this sour mess, are those who are involved in architectural salvation. Architectural salvage involves carefully removing materials from a historic (or even a newer) structure that is going to be remuddled or completely destroyed. Instead of ruining these materials, & sending them to the landfill, salvagers give them a new life. Here’s a page of recommended by my Facebook followers outlets all over the U.S.
ARCHITECTURAL SALVAGE IS GREEN
The footprint of architectural salvage materials is generally only that of transportation, from the original site, to the warehouse, to the new home. (hm-m-m.) I don’t think transportation is figured into the numbers for the turbine or for the panels.) This of course varies considerably so I’m not going to give you any figures on this but I think you get it!
My buddy, Doc, of Doc’s Architectural Salvage and Reclamation Service, outside of Nashville, who provided me with all these gorgeous images, (including the PG one, is a master of the art. His well-ordered, abundantly stocked shop, Architectural Salvation is 38,000 sq. ft. of fine salvaged materials from homes, churches & commercial buildings & even ships. He & his crew have meticulously extracted these items from doomed structures, hauled them to his shop, cleaned & repaired them & offer them for sale to those who understand & appreciate their value.
I’m not going to try to ‘splain about Doc or Doc’s Architectural Salvation to you here when his website & social media do a good job of it. However, in the interest of full disclosure, Doc allows me to use his images for my blog & social media & buys me tacos when I visit him for the mention. I love tacos.
Please visit the BUNGALOW ARCHITECTURAL SALVAGE RESOURCES page to see outlets from all over the U.S. that were recommended by my Facebook followers. I encourage you to add the ones that you like the best too. Just scroll on down to the comments section.