Posts from the ‘1940s’ Category

The Ideal Modern Kitchen [1945]

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While now it may look like the backup kitchen at a big city church built in the 1930s, this Ideal Modern Kitchen from The Lily Wallace New American Cook Book would have been the bee’s knees in its day.  Check out the mural; do you have a mural along the ceiling in your kitchen? How about the big hanging lights which are designed to take 200-watt bulbs that sweat blistering heat from 10 feet up? Rounded corners on the cabinets? I want those now. 

Truthfully I’d cook here; a perfect upgrade – aside from the electrical system – would be stainless steel appliances.  And I’d keep the mural 🙂

Vintage Cameras

Falcon Minette

Picked up some vintage cameras last weekend at a photography swap meet in Kent WA.  Well, actually I picked up two and BelRedRoad Jr. got the other pair!  He’s 10-years old and part of a generation that was “born digital” but now discovering analog everything – from film cameras and muscle cars to record players and metal Tonka trucks. While he does carry a 4MP digital camera when he goes on field trips etc, he knows how much film I shoot and that analog cameras offer a lot of variety and visual candy.  And on Saturday there was plenty of candy to be had.  Aside from cameras, we also picked up about 20 rolls of film, lenses cases, and a couple issues of 1930s photography magazines.  Lots of great stuff came home in my backpack.

Check out what we found on our rounds (more about the awesome wood table at the bottom of this post):

The Falcon Minette above is tiny!  I originally bought the thing because it was cute and seemed like it might make a good display piece; then I discovered it was still usable.  The Minette is made of Bakelite and is just big enough to fit a roll of 127 film – a smaller version of medium-format film which is still available in color and black & white at good quantities.  The lens has a 50mm length.  There are no adjustable aperture settings, and it has one shutter speed: Slow.  This one is very clean inside, almost like it has never been used.  Bakelite has a ‘feel’ like nothing else, like plastic and glass mixed together.  The original Falcon Miniature was manufactured starting in 1939; this one is probably from the 1940s.  Price for this little piece of plastic history: One Dollar!

I’m going to run some black & white film through it to see what will happen 🙂

Petri 7S Rangefinder

Petri 7S Rangefinder

The Petri 7S is a Japanese 35mm rangefinder camera made by Kuribayashi in 1963.  It has a 45mm lens rated at f1.8;  that last number indicates that the lens is very sensitive to light, compared to its f2.8 sister that was also available at the time.  The clear tiles around the lens cover the camera’s light meter; it does not require batteries. Focusing is done with a dial on the side of the lens; when the adjustment is done, a small ghost image appears in the viewfinder.  Line up the image with the subject matter, and the camera is in focus.  Pretty slick.  Leica still makes cameras with digital image sensors that focus in the same way.

Price for the Petri?  Five bucks.  The threads on the lens end are bent, so it no longer can take screw-on filters.  But other than that it’s completely functional!

Reflekta II Twin Lens Reflex Camera

Reflekta II Twin Lens Reflex

The Reflekta II was made in East Germany between 1950 and 1954.  It is a medium-format camera, which uses readily-available 120 film.  Lens is a 75mm focal length.  The Twin Lens Reflex design allows the viewer to look down into the camera’s viewer on the top, and through the top lens.  The lower lens is the one that actually takes the picture.  While the outside condition shows wear, the inside is very clean.  Fully functional.  Fifteen dollars brought it home!

Spartus Folding Camera

Spartus No. 4 Folding Camera

The final surprise of our day at the swap meet was this “No. 4” folding camera made in 1949 by Spartus – which also made the Falcon Minette at the beginning of this post. The No. 4 takes 120 medium-format film, and takes eight shots per roll.  The camera looks more complicated than it actually is; user peers down into the viewer above and to the right of the lens in this picture.  There are only three aperture settings, and the camera has a “fixed focus” that is not adjustable (I told Jr. to shoot subjects from six feet away or more).  There is one shutter speed setting – about 1/100 of a second – but supposedly also has a timer setting.  On Saturday we shot a roll of 100-speed black & white, which will get developed this week.

Price: Fifteen dollars.

What I found most interesting was that the older TLRs and folding cameras were the cameras catching my son’s eye.  While I was looking for 1960s and 1970s rangefinder and SLR cameras and lenses, he was going totally old school.  I don’t mind, and I’ve already shown him how to shoot each one.  He’s having a blast!

About the Table – This magnificent table is smack dab in the middle of Cafe Cesura, a coffee shop in downtown Bellevue WA.  It appears to be one giant piece of wood, heavy and smooth.  This is where I sit to enjoy my Americano and Bacon muffin (Jr. has a bottle of Mexican Coca-Cola with real sugar).  Cafe Cesura also has salads and seasonal sandwiches.

So very tasty!

Timeless Style – 30 Reasons to love the Photography of Willem van de Poll

This pensive pose by a Paris model comes to you courtesy of a photographer I had never heard of.

In fact, it was like an act of Congress to find anything good – in English – about Willem van de Poll (1895 – 1970).  He studied photography in Vienna, and worked as a freelance press photographer throughout Europe, the Middle East, Indonesia and the Caribbean during his long career. His photographs depict life and products of the mid 20th century, with most shots being done in black and white.  Thankfully I did find a Wiki page about him in Dutch.

His style was sleak and timeless, while the lighting was often impeccable.

Evidenced above, van de Poll was able to portray a softer positive side of life in an unobtrusive way.  I would almost call him a street photographer, because many of his photos – part of a veritable truckload – seem to have that “on-the-fly” feel of his contemporaries Henri Cartier-Bresson and Vivian Maier; what set him apart from others of his time was a street photo style with polish, a dedication that discounted the notion that he simply leveled a camera and shot.  While Cartier-Bresson and Maier are better known, and seemed to catch people at their most vulnerable moments, van de Poll seemed to catch them often at their most beautiful.  His unplanned photos are as uplifting and have as much detail as the shots he set up.

I am confused on why I’ve never heard of him until now.

Below you’ll find 30 reasons to love the photography of Willem van de Poll, representing the thousands of photos he took during his lifetime.  By looking through them, I think you’ll discover – like I did – a great photographer and treasure from the era that should have more notoriety.

Fotograaf Van Haren aan boord van de ms. Nestor op weg naar Suriname

Strandganger

Egmund Jozef Treu, hoofdkapitein van Ganzee, 73 jaar

vrouwen, paardebloemen, Paardebloemen

Kussend bruidspaar

Model met bal / model with ball

Generaal Kruls en een vrouwelijke militair

Seinwachter bij de Lorelei aan de telefoon met andere seinposten langs de Rijn

Voorbijgangers kijken geïnteresseerd in de etalage van een boekwinkel

kerstmis, pakjes, bloemen, grummes

Duiker Fischer met een andere duiker op een boot in de Fuikbaai

vrouwen, koffiedrinken

Een geschenk voor de koningin: een doos met servetten met de namen van het konin…

carnaval, kostuums, matrozen

flessen, slaolie, slabestek, Saladine

Eerste stuurman Hans en zijn verloofde Annie gearmd op het dek van de Damco 9

Publieke schrijvers zitten met een typemachine achter een tafel op het trottoir …

glas, glazen, sinaasappels, citroenen, persen

Reiziger met bagage en een levensgrote speelgoedpop op de kade voor een schip

herenkleding, overhemden, dassen, kostuums, polo bagatelle

De kinderen van gouverneur Struycken met hun moeder in een auto bij de ontvangst…

modellen, hoeden, eliane richer

Arbeider op de kade in de haven

Vaticaanstad, basiliek St. Pieter. Hoogaltaar naar het ontwerp van Bernini met b…

bevolking, schippers, boten, Bokma, P.

Prinses Beatrix, prinses Irene en prins Bernhard kijken naar voorbij varende sch…

modellen, hoeden, De Decker, Toque, P.

Vader met kind op de arm  op de plek waar het gezin hun huis zal gaan bouwen. De…

De Franse generaal de Lattre de Tassigny

De prinsessen Irene en Margriet kijken uit een openstaand raam van het zomerhuis…

——————

About Willem van de Poll (in Dutch) – http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willem_van_de_Poll
Photos in Dutch National Archive – At Gahetna.nl

The Steel Penny [1943]

Steel Penny [1943]

I first heard of the Steel Cent from my mother.

She grew up during World War II, and knew them as “Steelies.”  Usually made from copper, the 1943 penny was crafted in steel instead – because of the need for the other metal in war-time projects like munitions and wiring.  But a problem cropped up quickly after the coin was released; the steelie is the only US coin that can be picked up with a magnet.  It was also mistaken for a 10-cent coin because of its color.

The US Mint was able to figure out how to stamp pennies in the original color for 1944.

Over the years, steelies were retrieved and destroyed by the Mint to get them out of circulation.  Despite that, many of these pennies have remained in pockets around America to this day, an anomaly to those who have never seen one.  We have three or four in our household; the one in the picture came in a sandwich bag full of unsorted pennies that I bought at a coin shop yesterday.  Not only did the bag hold a steelie, but it also had a number of “Wheatback” pennies – which were made from 1909 to 1958.

Steel Penny [1943]

Snazzy Threads from The Forties!

[Portrait of Frank Sinatra, Liederkrantz Hall, New York, N.Y., ca. 1947] (LOC)

Frank Sinatra, Liederkrantz Hall, NYC - Circa 1947

Style: Some have it, and others are like me – complete void of any trace.  It’s a blend of taste and smarts that brings it out.  For the lucky few, style is effortless – natural like breathing air.  But for many, it’s a sure bet that the clothes combo picked out in the morning would made a stylist laugh.

But in the 1940s it seemed as if everyone had style, especially musicians.

The United States’ Library Of Congress has an entire collection of photographs taken by William Gottlieb in the 1940s, highlighting the stars of Jazz.  By looking through the 1600 photos in the collection, it’s pretty clear that part of being a jazz musician in that era meant dressing sharp.  The suits were cut with flair, and the dresses also hugged a curve or two.  Ties had character.  Everything was shiny, pin striped, or accessorized to the stratosphere.   It was definitely a time when people cared about how they looked, instead of an era for some that my mother-in-law describes as “Looking like you’re doing yard work.”

In the 21st Century many of us – well mostly me anyway – could learn a lot about what to wear, simply by going through these photos.

Enjoy!

[Portrait of Doris Day and Kitty Kallen, Central Park, New York, N.Y., ca. Apr. 1947] (LOC)

Doris Day and Kitty Kallen, Central Park, NYC, ca. Apr. 1947

[Portrait of Chico Alvarez and June Christy, 1947 or 1948] (LOC)

Chico Alvarez and June Christy, ca. 1947

[Portrait of Irving Kolodin, New York, N.Y., between 1946 and 1948] (LOC)

Irving Kolodin, NYC, between 1946 and 1948

[Portrait of Dottie Reid, New York, N.Y., between 1946 and 1948] (LOC)

Dottie Reid, NYC, between 1946 and 1948

[Portrait of George Wettling, New York, N.Y., between 1946 and 1948] (LOC)

George Wettling, NYC, between 1946 and 1948

[Portrait of Imogene Coca, Mary Lou Williams, and Ann Hathaway, between 1938 and 1948] (LOC)

Imogene Coca, Mary Lou Williams, and Ann Hathaway

[Portrait of Fran Warren and Gene Williams, Hotel Pennsylvania(?), New York, N.Y., ca. Oct. 1947] (LOC)

Fran Warren and Gene Williams, NYC, ca. Oct. 1947

[Portrait of Eddie Condon, Eddie Condon's, New York, N.Y., ca. Oct. 1946] (LOC)

Eddie Condon, NYC, ca. Oct. 1946

[Portrait of Joan Brooks and Duke Niles, New York, N.Y., ca. Apr. 1947] (LOC)

Joan Brooks and Duke Niles, ca. Apr. 1947

[Portrait of Thelonious Monk, Minton's Playhouse, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947] (LOC)

Thelonious Monk, Minton's Playhouse, NYC, ca. Sept. 1947

 

[Portrait of Sarah Vaughan, Café Society (Downtown), New York, N.Y., ca. Aug. 1946] (LOC)

Sarah Vaughan, Café Society, NYC, ca. Aug. 1946

[Portrait of Stan Kenton and Eddie Safranski, 1947 or 1948] (LOC)

Stan Kenton and Eddie Safranski, 1947 or 1948

[Portrait of June Christy and Red Rodney, Club Troubadour, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947] (LOC)

June Christy and Red Rodney, Club Troubadour, NYC, ca. Sept. 1947

[Portrait of Earl Hines, New York, N.Y., ca. Mar. 1947] (LOC)

Earl Hines, NYC, ca. Mar. 1947

[Portrait of Ann Hathaway, Washington Square, New York, N.Y., ca. May 1947] (LOC)

Ann Hathaway, Washington Square, NYC, ca. May 1947

[Portrait of Joe Marsala, William P. Gottlieb's home or office, New York, N.Y., ca. June 1947] (LOC)

Joe Marsala, ca. June 1947

[Portrait of Louis Prima, New York, N.Y., ca. June 1947] (LOC)

Louis Prima, NYC, ca. June 1947

[Portrait of Sylvia Syms, Little Casino(?), New York, N.Y., ca. June 1947] (LOC)

Sylvia Syms, ca. June 1947

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