Friday, May 22, 2015

Brownie Number 1 - I Shutter


A very significant piece of old paper from the ledger of C. W. Rank & Company in Virginia City, Montana. Water stained on the edges, chipped on the upper edge, and toning all around. Am I happy I found it? Yes, yes I am.

As can be seen in the lower section, the invoice is dated April 15, 1901. This date is significant not because it's the date our income taxes come due (income tax would not be a burden for another twelve years), but because by October of 1901, the Brownie Number 1 camera would be discontinued. George Eastman, the founder of the Eastman Kodak Company, began selling the Brownie Number 1 in 1900 for the princely (not really) sum of ONE DOLLAR. Of course C. W. Rank got a discount of 33%, which brought his cost to only fifty cents, since his was a retail establishment. Probably a good move on C. W. Rank's part to turn around and sell this one camera, and order a few more.

For those of you interested in the history of the Brownie Camera, I urge you to visit a page devoted to all things Brownie Camera related, called The Brownie Camera Page. I decided a long time ago that if I ever found any Kodak paper that was of the right period for a Palmer Cox Brownie, I knew what was going to end up on it.

George Eastman was a marketing genius, and because this camera is considered to be the most significant camera in the history of cameras, he chose to team up with Palmer Cox. It was a good move. Children (and adults) at the turn of the century were well aware of the Brownies, and there was never a better way to encourage the sale of cameras to the common folk than Brownies.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Irish Jig on a Pig


Hams. This Irish Brownie is hamming it up. A little history is in order, and for the record, I have several more pieces of this Swift & Company paper that will hopefully keep me high on the hog for awhile.

Simeon R. Buford drove an ox team to Virginia City, Montana Territory, in 1865 at the ripe old age of nineteen. He started a freight business on a route from Fort Benton to Virginia City. When the Union Pacific Railroad reached Corrine, Utah Territory, he began hauling freight from Corrine to Virginia City, as the railroad was a more reliable source of transportation that the steamboat.

In 1878 he opened a mercantile business in partnership with Henry Elling, and built the largest mercantile business in Montana in 1900. This billhead is for hams - $20.00 worth. Swift & Company had a Butte processing plant, and I'm assuming that the ham was transported to Virginia City by freight wagon.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Footprints Success


I had eleven Thank You cards to send after the Western Heritage Artists Footprints on the Trail Art Show and Sale this year. This first one was not a sale, but a gift. These folks bought the very first piece of old paper that I framed up and sold off the wall at an antique show here in Helena. They've been patrons ever since. They came to my room this year and gave me a color proof sheet from the second printing of "Good Medicine", which was a compilation of illustrated letters and envelopes by Charlie Russell. The proof sheet is old and brittle and stained in a couple of places, but it is like gold to me.


The second is to the patron who purchased My Brownie Baking Company piece which I did for the Quick Finish on Thursday evening, and a fun piece it was! He wanted the Chocolate as much as Uncle Sam did.


The third is to the patron who purchased My Breakfast Brownie piece on Saturday evening at the Art for Causes Quick Finish and Auction. And a lively auction it was! Our primary cause this year was Breast Cancer Awareness and we raised over $11,000.

To call this year's show a success is an understatement. And to top it all off, we welcomed a new grandchild to the family at 11:00 AM on Sunday, the last day of the show. Her name is Celine.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Cannon Crax for Virginia City


C. W. Rank & Company prepared for the 1904 4th of July celebration in Virginia City by ordering some 'crax' from the Passmore Paper Company in Butte, Montana. Don't you always go to your stationery store to buy your fireworks? Just another piece that I'll have in my room for the Western Heritage Art Show and Sale in Great Falls, Montana, from March 18th through the 22nd.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I Want Your Chocolate!


For this year's Western Heritage Art Show & Sale, I will be participating in two events: The Quick Finish and Auction on Thursday evening, and the Quick Finish and Live Auction on Saturday evening. I have not yet decided which one of these I will be doing for which event, so I could use some assistance from the audience.


I realize that  these images are not really 'finished', but that's the idea behind the Quick Finish events. Potential patrons get to watch more than twenty of us put forty-five minutes to good use.

The Thursday evening event supports the Western Heritage Artists by raising funds to defray the cost of putting on the five day show. The Saturday evening event is called Art Competing for Causes, and this year we are supporting Breast Cancer Awareness along with other worthy causes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Coaled Feet Too


This is the second of two letterheads that I acquired from the Waterworks Art & Heritage Center in Miles City, Montana, in the Spring of 2012. The Custer County Historical Society was forced to close their office, and the folks at the Art & Heritage Center allowed me to purchase any paper that I found that was of interest to me.

The letter itself is a bid submitted to the City for coal, delivered by rail from the mines mostly West and a bit North of Miles City by approximately 225 miles.

I completed the first of the two letterheads in July of 2012, and I posted it in early August. That piece sold in September of 2012 at auction to support the Waterworks Art & Heritage Center. This one will be going to the Footprints on the Trail art show and sale in Great Falls, Montana, opening the 18th of this month for four days.