Garage Sailing and Victorian Treasure!

1898 Hershey's Chocolate Tin (replica)

When I first decided to actively pursue the creation of Steampunk paraphernalia I wasn’t sure where to begin. It’s not like they have corner stores that go by names like “Professor Arturo’s Amazing Things Steam and Electric!” Though, if they did, I’d just have to start signing my meager paychecks over to it because I’d buy all the inventory as quickly as it came in. And it is not as if we have many machinists in the area whom still make clockwork, brass boiler canisters, and so forth. And so I figured the logical place to start was by shopping at garage sales, or “Garage Sailing” as I like to call it (makes me think I’m on an adventure). This was a couple of weeks ago and it was my first attempt to find anything “old looking,” brass, broken clockwork, or just generally steampunkish items. With no idea what I might find, and a very meager budget of about $10 to buy materials with, I set out.

Half the haul...

Imagine my delight when the very first garage sale I went to featured a pressure gauge, various brass and copper items, a broken clock, a Victorian Hershey’s Chocolate tin, and a plate from a Bed & Breakfast that looks to have been a mansion from the late 1700’s to early 1800’s.

...and the other half.

At additional garage sales we found a brass firewood/magazine holder, which is a great supply of scrap brass for my projects, as well as some solid brass hook thingies, and brass ornamental leaves. An old fashioned camera flash mounting and reflector will definitely feature in a future work, and in fact, I’ve actually got an idea for a Steampunk ray-gun involving a camera flash, though there are definitely additional materials I will need.

However, the two biggest treasures of the lot, the pressure gauge aside, were the tin and the plate, featured thusly:

The inscription reads “Vintage Edition #4 – The man and woman featured on the canister lid appeared on the cover of  a pack of novelty chocolate candy cigarettes produced by the Hershey Chocolate Company around 1898. Additional Victorian style illustrations and graphics representing this period adorn the sides of the canister. The nostalgic wrapper packed inside is representative of the style used in the early 1900’s when the Hershey’s bar cost 5 cents. Althose this product is made using the most current manufacturing methods, the delicious taste of a Hershey’s bar has remained virtually unchanged from Mr. Hershey’s original recipe. THE GENUINE BEARS THIS SIGNATURE M S Hershey So, if you should happen upon a similar tin and find the signature on it, you’ve got the real deal. Mine is, alas, a replica, but considering I found it at the very first garage sale I went to went starting out this new venture, I have taken it as a sign that I’m on the right path.

The plate is a bit more of an oddity.

A collectable plate.

Unfortunately, I neglected to clean it before the photo. But the front features a carriage with an electric lamp in front, and a convertible top, typical of the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. The label says “Thanks for Three Delectable Decades” from “Willis ‘Mac’ MacIntosh.” The back says “This piece of china is a piece of Fort Worth History. It is a part of a unique sterling china set designed for the Carriage House three decades ago. To celebrate our 30th Anniversary, the entire set is being officially retired. And we want good friends like you to have what will soon be a collector’s item. That’s for three delectable decades.”

After running a search on “The Carriage House Forth Worth Texas” I could find no such institution. From the labels, I assume the place was at least a restaurant, but the closest thing the search turned up was The Texas White House Bed and Breakfast which has a converted carriage house, and the architecture of it looks quite old.

The same place, perhaps?

I will have to do some more looking into this plate when I have time, to see if I can find the true origins of The Carriage House. I rather like the plate, and if I can find more of the set, I think it would be a grand addition to any Victorian home.

Well, that’s all for today, folks. The family and I will be headed to Scarborough Faire in Waxahachie, TX. I’ll be on the lookout for any Steampunk scenes and finds, and post them here if I do. It is not the most Steampunk of places to be, but often-times one can find the occasional costume or shop that sells related merchandise, or simply folks decide to extend the Renaissance timeframe to those of the Victorian Era, much to the consternation of the Faire Folk, but the delight of myself.


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