Wednesday, 21 November 2012


Do you have things which were used by older members of your family in days gone by which you still use on a regular basis? I got to thinking about this and found more than I thought.
The photo below, from about 1931, shows my Dad (twice!) using a bookrest which appears to have a paperback book on it. It would have been taken on the Kodak Box Brownie by my mum and somehow appears twice. I don't have the knowledge to be able to disappear the 'ghost' image, even if it can be done.
 I still use this bookrest quite frequently, especially if I'm knitting, though I have to place it at the correct distance or I can't read the print. The thick base is because there are two 'arms' folded underneath which, when extended can be put across your chair arms and there's even a circular hole cut for somewhere to put your glass of lemonade. Unfortunately modern chairs don't have the depth of seat to enable me to use this. I know I did during the war when I knitted as much as I could, with wool rationed as it was.
 My Mum bought herself all kinds of what she'd regarded as nice things to own before she got married. This long mirror hanging in my lounge is one of them.
And here's the original bill for £1.4s.0d... dated 1928.
 I can't remember my Granny ever wearing glasses - perhaps older people in the 1940s didn't; after all, she was in her 70s! She always used a magnifying glass which had a wooden handle, then for some reason it was decided by - my Mum? - that she could do with a new one. That's the one in this photo. Unfortunately she found it rather heavy so I don't know how much use she got out of it. However, it's been used by me for decades, not because my eyesight's always been grotty, but because I used to paint from photos which I'd taken and needed it to see details of eg reveals of windows or chimney pot details. It still has little splashes of oil paint on the glass. These days I use it for reading labels on cough mixture bottles and the like!
 My daughter has her eyes on this glass but she'll have to wait until I'm not around to use it! It's quite thick glass and the bottom part is decorated with vine leaves and grapes. It's quite odd as it's clearly not a glass for wine so why does it have this kind of decoration? I've always regarded it as an ?Edwardian pub glass, for no logical reason. But it's used all the time. I wonder if it was bought in a second-hand market somewhere?
 My Dad was in hospital in the 1960s (when no one spoke about cancer) and I think he had this key fob with him. I've used it off and on since the 1960s and it's in use at the present. It seems to be made from blobs of coloured acrylic and is quite pretty.
The poor old monocular below has been around as long as I can remember. The original leather covering has been worn away where fingers have rested until it's like a soft suede covering. There's no name so I can't find any information about it.  It lives on a chest of drawers in my bedroom where I can snatch it up if I want to check on what birds have just arrived in the garden before I go downstairs and transfer to the binoculars which live on the coffee table. When I was at Grammar School we were taken to whichever theatre in London was showing an Opera at the time, probably just postwar. The only thing I remember was ?Dance of the Tumblers' and this monocular was passed from hand to hand around the group...
I have all kinds of small bits and pieces still tucked away but not in regular use as these items are.
What do you have???


marigold jam said...

Interesting post Sylve. Can't say I have anything old still in use as I am so good at chucking out what I don't need and as a child we moved about so much that not much came with us!

JOHNSON, Cotswold Hills, England. said...

Fascinating Sylve. That's what I like about blogging and bloggers - someone writes about things that you haven't really considered before so thanks for that!

I've a number of things: the one I use every day is a letter opener that must be sixty years old. For some reason I can't bear tearing open an envelope even though they go straight into the recycle bin.

Another is a jug that belonged to my grandmother which she brought with her from Poland when she emigrated her in 1913. The grandfather clock that has been in the family for generations has recently gone on to a niece to be treasured by the next generation.

And then there are no end of gardening tools. Somehow, the thought of my ancestors using these very ordinary, everyday items is rather comforting, isn't it?

I rather covet your bookstand, 'though!


Bernard said...

What a coincidence Sylvie.
I have here on my computer desk a wee list of items which I need to photograph for my next blog on 'Blast from the Past'. One item on the list is my Great Grandma's magnifying glass and loads of glassware that is even older than I!
(or should that be...older than me?)
I too have my Fathers key fob. It came from the hospital in a sad brown envelope with his glasses, wedding ring and £2.64 in coins.
I throw nothing away.
ps email on the 'drawing-board'.

Sylve said...

Thank you for your interesting comments, I'm pleased I sparked some interest! How sad, Jane, that you don't have any old items still in use, sometimes you just have to curb the impulse to throw something away tho' it's a bit late now!
Hallo Johnson, a long time no 'see'! I use a letter opener, too - I hope you save the postage stamps on your envelopes and pass them on to a charity... Lucky Grandma to come here in 1913 and nice that the jug has survived. A grandfather clock, well, we never aspired to one of those. Gardening tools, well, I haven't kept those, mine are all ladies tools, smaller and lighter. There's a snobbing foot somewhere in the garden, too.
Bernard, Great Minds Think Alike. I have Dad's 'hospital purse' with seven half-crowns in it, pale grey metal that hasn't been touched in 59 years. I've read the email, thanks.

Jonathan Apeldoorn said...

This is me!!!!.. not Jonathan as I cant log in as me for some reason....Yes I would like that glass, but not too soon, Thankyou for giving me Grandmas cake stand, you also had in yout cupboard her "Custard Jug"and a what I think was a cream jug, (which I'd love too, but that I guess is up to you)..Oh and my photo of the coconut cream cake is standing on grandmas cake stand :0) Talking of passing things on When Bob died I passed on his cufflinks to Russell and he wore them on his wedding day.