Thursday, August 18, 2011

on collecting IV: metal bits

collections - counters

some of the collections we have are something that husband and i began to collect after we met. mechanical counters are one collection - the one on the far right being the first one we acquired at a little antique place on gilbert street in iowa city. it began as a fascination husband has with things mechanical.  others followed as we ran across them in various antique places, mostly in the US, but also a couple here in denmark. once you have spotted a certain object, others have a way of popping up. they also somehow begin to tell you their stories...i imagined that original counter on the gate of a fairgrounds or baseball field somewhere in iowa, counting attendees in its day.

random thoughts on a tuesday or the day i started blogging on flickr

children can be found winding them forward, synchronizing them. i can see that the one shows 7272, which means that my sister must have spent some time on it, combinations of 7s and 2s are her thing. i once, in a devilish fit, made them all show rows of 6s when my parents were going to be visiting - since i'm pretty sure they have moments of worrying about my soul.  i guess i wanted to silently confirm them in their worries. but i don't think anyone even noticed.

collections - mediterannean arabic padlocks

from mechanical counters, it wasn't a big leap to heavy, ornate padlocks from the mediterranean region. the one on the lower left was the first one we found in morocco and has a rather ingenious key that opens it lying in front of it. all of them work and can actually be used. i suppose that if he'd thought about it (they're currently packed away - these photos are from the old house), husband would have incorporated one into the chicken coop. perhaps he still will.

with these collections, i think the pleasure is in the looking for the next item. you never know where you'll spot one...in a quiet little shop in bergama, turkey or a dusty roadside market in afghanistan (we have locks from both places). such objects come laden somehow with the stories of the doors and perhaps chests they've held safe from intruders. it feels a bit, in handling them, like it might be possible to unlock their stories with a twist of the key.

i suppose what they have in common is brass and a similar heaviness - so tho' locks and counting mechanisms are different, they complement one another somehow. these adorned either end of a long shelf in our old dining room and they will again, even tho' they are tucked away in boxes at the moment.  and we'll undoubtedly run onto more of both and keep adding to our collection over the years - the pleasure being most definitely in the finding.

3 comments:

Bill said...

When collecting old items, especially those once common but are now somewhat curiosities ... i think there's a bit of holding to a past ... a distant past which conjures up memories of a possibly better time.

Old counters and locks ... and tools are not the ordinary stuff we now see mass produced in China or Mexico.

ingeoToday the things from the "Age of Industrialization" are like tickets back to that time. A time often used as a yardstick for simplicity and pride in workmanship.

Magpie said...

i so love these, you've no idea. beautiful.

Serena said...

never been a collector, though you've almost got me on it....i've always wondered how it starts...what's the first one and why....then why does it keep going...i had family full of antique collectors, one even ran her own store until a tornado hit it when i was in high school....they collected because they thought one day it would be of value...so it'd be all of a certain variation of pyrex, then all the tomato juice glasses...all of a certain salt shaker...