Friday, October 15, 2010

Marianne's Putnam Lightning

This billhead was purchased on eBay at auction on September 26th. Someone else besides me wanted it, so although they attempted to Snipe it once I had put in a bid, I went back and bumped my maximum bid up to what I thought would be adequate to cover any snipes. Although I have all kinds of paper waiting in my binder to be worked on, I knew I was going to put a fruit jar on it as soon as I saw this piece of paper come up for auction.

From the Pick Your Own website, "In 1882, Henry William Putnam of Bennington, Vermont, invented a fruit jar that used a glass lid and a metal clamp to hold the lid in place. These "Lightning jars" became popular because no metal (which could rust, breaking the seal or contaminating the food) contacted the food and the metal clamps made the lids themselves easier to seal and remove (hence the "Lightning" name) . There were many similar glass lid and wire-clamp jars produced for home canning all the way into the 1960s. Many can still be seen in garage sales, flea markets and on specialty food jars today."

Marianne Dow, a wonderful cyberfriend, has posted at least one article about my glass images, and fruit jars in particular, as the webmaster for the Findlay Antique Bottle Club, in Findlay, Ohio. When I visited Larry Munson of Devon, Montana, over a year ago I took no photographs of Putnam jars. Consequently when it came time to come up with photographs that I could use for reference and as a model, I asked Marianne if she would help me out. And she did - in a very big way.

I think this Lightning fruit jar is my best glass image yet. I would have liked to have portrayed one of the oddly colored Lightning jars as they can be found in a wonderful array of colors, but trying to put yellow or amber glass on a piece of blue paper would have required a lot of preparation work on a piece of paper that I felt needed to be kept the way it came to me. Marianne had a large Putnam Lightning jar in Cornflower Blue, so I chose to use that color as the base color for my jar.

So Marianne, I gave you a Ball jar in July of last year, so this time Lightning strikes for the first time. I hope it strikes again in the future! It's headed to the framers to be matted and framed and put behind archival glass as soon as I'm through posting this article.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Parrot - Talks for Itself

When I went searching for old paper over a year ago this past January, The Parrot Confectionery was one of the first places I stopped. Brian and Kelly Ackerman had purchased the business from the Duensing family, and were in the process of learning what they needed to know about the chocolate business. I inquired about old letterhead or billhead, but was discouraged to hear that the Duensings had no letterhead, and the billhead was destroyed to eliminate information such as credit card numbers to protect the privacy of their customers. The business itself is one of only two businesses on Last Chance Gulch here in downtown Helena that are still in operation in the same location since 1922.

Walking into this candy store is like walking back in time. There is a Wurlitzer juke box, booths and a real soda fountain. They make all of their own chocolate and it is all displayed in five foot high glass cases.

During my first brief visit with Brian I offered to design a piece of vintage letterhead that they could use for special occasions in exchange for several of them that I could put my art work on.
Brian agreed to look at whatever I came up with, and he finally settled on the lettering that you see on their web site. I did not do the parrot, but the design outfit that created their logo did, since the one that I had done was not in color.

In going through the old papers in the office, Brian discovered several pieces of old billhead from the fountain, and he gave them to me. This is the last piece that I have, as the other two have since gone to new homes.