Vintage and Antique Housewares
UserX offers restoration and reconditoning of antique electric fans. Final product is electrically sound, visually crisp and of a much higher quality and value than the typical store bought fan. Restoration prices are in the range of $100-$300 and typically increase the value by the amount put in to it. Prices vary depending on condition and original value. Work would include total tear down, stripping, cleaning, and lubrication. Electric motors are reconditioned and reinsulated. Wire, plugs and rubber are replaced. Fan blades are balanced. Painted parts are polished and waxed to a near mirror finish. Non-painted parts are polished and clear coat lacquered as appropriate. In some cases parts are replated, High level of detail put into each unit.
The fan on the left was manufactured in 1935. Originally found in a corroded and delapidated condition. Now, after many hours of work, it represents the level of quality and craftsmanship that came from a time period nearly 90 years ago. Features three speed oscillator, solid brass blade, bakelite plug and twisted pair electric cord make this fan particullarly nice. It has a very strong motor that runs very well and moves a large amount of air. It is quite heavy and weighs in at 19.2 lbs. The brass blade is probably not original to the fan, but really helps the fan stand out.
More than 36 such units have been brought back to life in this manner and to this day only one has failed due to excessive wear after 7 years of daily use (more than 17,000 hours). This is probably about double the life expectancy of a modern electric fan and that is incredible considering most of the fans in the gallery were manufactured before 1950 and have already seen a full life of use.
Trunks, Furniture and Other Oddities
Antique trunk refinishing services are also available. Final product is completely refinished and includes the replating, polishing and lacquering of bare metal parts. Bottom slats are replaced and distressed to look like the originals. Bottom casters and leather carry straps are also replaced with new reproduction parts that look almost exactly like the originals. Unlike most restored/refinished items of this type, the bottom is very strong and can hold a lot of weight (200 lbs. or more). The interior is refinished to look natural along with the lithograph that most antique trunks had originally. Restoration prices are in the range of $300-$500 and may be cost prohibitive in most cases. Consultation fees; however, include instruction and resources needed to perform such a task.
The trunk on the left was manufactured in 1875 and took almost 20 hours plus $100 in materials to refinish. It does include key and each key costs about $25 a piece assuming the key can be matched to the lock and the lock does not have to be sent to a specialist. Typically, such a piece is worth about $100-$150 in original condition, assuming it is complete, undamaged, and has limited rust. Completely restored it may fetch $600-$800 on a good auction.
Vintage and Antique Kitchenware and Housewares
Cast Iron and Aluminum Cookware
With a popularized view to move away from synthetic non-stick cookware it is no wonder why cast iron has gained so much attention in the last several years. There are many benefits and only a couple of drawbacks to using a style of cookware which has been around for a few hundred years.
Initially, cast iron can be a little high maintenance, but it has a couple of attributes few may have considered. First, you learn to become a better cook by using appropriate temperatures and tending to the cooking process. Cooking at too high of a temperature is not so forgiving with cast iron cookware. Secondly, clean up with hot water and a dish brush is rather quick and probably saves about 8-12 hours a year in clean up time for someone who cooks 4 times a week. Even burned food will lift off easily when soaked in hot water for 5 to 10 minutes. Other types of cookware require more time and effort to keep looking good, particulary on the outside. That being stated, choosing a smooth surfaced piece that has been seasoned properly is of primary importance. This can be a little difficult since modern cast iron tends to either have a rough cooking surface or be very expensive.
As an alternative to buying new, used vintage pieces from second hand stores and yard sales can be quite a bargain if you know what to look for and don't mind spending an hour on a skillet to make it very nice to use.
The gallery link below showcases some cast iron pieces from various time periods and describes some of the finer points in choosing the right piece. Most were purchased second hand and have been reconditioned and seasoned to perform at its best, but they didn't start out that way. Most were in very poor condition covered with rust and burned on food and oils. In most cases it was hard to tell what exactly was below the surface. Cast iron cookware is valued almost soley on its condition and that determination be can be somewhat esoteric.
The skillet picture here was probably made around the early part of the 20th century and possibly as early as 1907. It has the markings of "ERIE" on the bottom of the skillet above the gate mark. Continue to the gallery to find out about this incredible piece of cookware made more than 100 years ago.
Housewares and Home Hardware
Housewares include almost any small item that belongs inside a home except for food. A generalized category that typically does not include artwork, but has been included here. Pictured here is a plaster reproduction Greek Parthenon Frieze East Side Block E VII figures 49-52. Part of a VCU art project that was discarded in the year 1992 and probably made the year before. Its dimensions are 44 inches wide x 42.5 inches high. It weighs in at 72-75 pounds, but it is not so heavy that it cannot be handled by a single strong person.
The gallery link below showcases mostly antique items of interest that would been seen inside the home including hardware.
Vintage and Antique Audio Equipment
Turntables, Record Players and Phonographs
Like most serious collectors of records and players, UserX not only has a large collection of music players, but also repairs, reconditions and restores them.
Pictured to the left is the 1967 Dual 1019 fully automatic 4 speed (16 2/3, 33 1/3, 45, 78 rpm) multi-player. Has controls for pitch, anti-skating, hydraulic cueing and manual play. Features interchangeable headshells, stacking spindles for LP's or 45's and accepts 7, 10 and 12 inch records. The platter weighs about 7 lbs. A fine piece of German engineering and considered top of the line in its time.view gallery
RCA 45-EY-3 multi-player. Made from 1950 to 1955, it has a bakelite case and a 3 tube mono amplifier. Can stack up to 12 to 14 records at once. Warm, smooth sound. Beautiful mechanism and a pleasure to watch in action. Epitome of the reason why so many millenials are interested in records and associated players.
Restoration of one of these typically requires a complete tear down, thorough cleaning, lubrication, deck painting, tonearm cartridge modification, case polishing, de-oxidation of electronic paths, replacement of all rubber mounts, cam/idler vulcanization and replacement of all capacitors, resistors and tubes. When complete, it plays and sounds somewhat better than new. Expect to pay in the $350 to $400 range for a completely restored unit. Some modern modification required.view gallery
Nostalgia and Memorabilia
Punk Rock Flyers
Never thought that there would be a day that punk rock would be considered nostalgic, but that day has come and old punk rock records and flyers from the late 70's and 80's have become highly collectible and rather expensive. The gallery link below leads to a collection of punk rock flyers from known and otherwise unknown acts. Each flyer is rather crude yet very creative.
Buried Deep In A Closet
Some things you just never quite seem to throw away, but store in the attic, basement, or hidden in the back of a closet for years until one day ...
The item pictured is a reconditioned and embellished vintage hookah from 1978 and represents a different social context than one today. The gallery link below leads to a collection of items of interest from another time period.