Friday, December 30, 2011

Brownie Drummer PFF #53

This is my last post for the year 2011. The next time I get a chance to post we'll be into the new year. I leave Monday for Seattle to visit my brother Dan. Just Because.

Every good business needs a good drummer. I think this one has always fit the bill, even if he's always marched to his own beat. He was good. Really good - at both the first and second definition of drummer as the word is defined in Merriam-Webster.  Besides that, the Baker's (Grandpa, Sonny & Pops) at the Breakfast Brownies Company really could use a good  DRUMMER, second definition. Perhaps Dan will take the job.

This one has not been mailed yet. The reason it hasn't been mailed is that I want Dan to see it when he opens his mail box, and I want to be there with him when he does. So, I will launch it on Saturday. Just Because.

Make certain to stop by The Best Hearts Are Crunchy, where Beth Niquette is the Hostess for Postcard Friendly Friday, and to see what other drummers are doing!

All the Best - To You & Yours - From Me & Mine - for the coming year. And Thanks to all of you who follow me, or who stop by for a peek via Google.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Breakfast Brownies for a Penny

My sister Penny and her spouse Chuck Pefley produce a Christmas card every year, as they have since 1992. A collaboration - His image and Her verse, and it's always a welcome bit of Christmas Candy for your eyes.
And your heart.
Thank you to the both of you for making this Christmas so special to me.
The little critter in the upper left hand corner? His name is Do-Bee. That's Chuck on his Vespa. There's Bob on his sled, and Genie just pulled a gold Penny from his bag. I don't think that the little fellow witth his nose in a book is named Mark, but perhaps.

Meet the Bakers of Breakfast Brownies

From left to right:

Pops. He's holding the spoon.     Sonny.      Over on the Right is Grandpa.

You've seen this piece before. The artist (I'm not calling him a rip-off artist just yet) hired by the Breakfast Brownies Cereal Company created two, two  column advertising "cartoons" for them. You've seen them both, actually. At least in part. Of the images that I know of for newspaper advertising of this fabulous chocolate cereal, both the boy and girl are well done. The Brownies in the originals? Not quite. I tried working with the little "Brownies" the artist developed, but I kept having to fix them. They just didn't look right.

Then I rediscovered Palmer Cox, and decided I could become an advertising illustrator and come up with characters who could better represent the company.

The paper is not old. The same family friend that cleaned up the Palmer Cox Brownies used for my Christmas mail art was also able to clean up the original piece of Breakfast Brownies Company letterhead that I hold. I then had this recreated piece of letterhead printed on new paper. I'm also going to try using fifty year old toned paper to give the viewer the illusion that they are looking at a real document.

For now, this is a first go at creating a pair of documents to be displayed together, along with the continuing story of the Baker Family.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

BROWNIES - The Breakfast Variety

This one is special. My first stamp. My first multiple using a basic greeting card envelope format, although all of my mail art has taken this form. I created a template from a piece of clear plastic which is proportioned to make a large five+ by seven inch+ envelope from a standard sheet of paper. It also accepts a five by seven inch blank greeting card, available to those who want to create their own cards - like me.

Is there more to this story? Yes, there definitely is.

Lenna, this started with YOU! We exchanged mail art months ago, and you started something with your whimsical Brownies that was simply irresistible. Two years before, I'd been given the opportunity to examine and crudely copy some newspaper print blocks for a product that was packaged (and apparently sold) right here in Helena, called Breakfast Brownies Cereal. This was long before Cocoa Puffs and Sonny, the Cuckoo Bird. I mean, what kid can resist a cartoon character on their box of Chocolated Cereal?

The advertising images for Breakfast Brownies extolled the virtues of eating this product which even a puppy could not resist. Breakfast Brownies Cereal was stirred and served up by three Brownies. They weren't Palmer Cox Brownies, and although I could work with the Breakfast Brownies characters, I started looking into Vintage Brownies, and discovered Palmer Cox. He is the Father of all things Brownie. I'll name a few companies to which he licensed the characters : Ivory Soap, Nabisco (Brownie Biscuits), Lion Coffee (stand-up paper dolls offered as premiums) and the famous Kodak Brownie camera. These businesses were all licensed to allow them to use his characters. He also marketed games, toys and dolls on his own. And he had imitators. Lots of them. Including the unknown artist who developed the Breakfast Brownies characters. This artist wasn't alone. It is surmised that there were more unlicensed uses than there were of the licensed variety.

Palmer Cox, who began creating his whimsical little characters in the 1890's, developed quite a following among kids and parents alike. The best part was, he caught the eyes and minds of everyone for almost forty years, and wrote over twenty-five books about his characters.

I'll not reveal the images for the other Brownies Mail Art that I've done - until after Christmas. They're all personalized. And those who are getting them can simply wait until they arrive. I'm into surprises that arrive in the mail.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Brownies - The Palmer Cox Variety

The day before yesterday I received a piece of what I took to be mail art. It had a little Brownie stamp on the front, made from a 13 Cent USPS stamp with the image replaced by one depicting two Brownies. That was more than enough to pique my curiosity, since I didn't recognize the name on the return address. Actually, it looked like the envelope had been made to fit a stiffener, so I carefully opened it to discover two pages from old children's books, both with wonderful illustrations by Palmer Cox, who originally created the Brownies in the 1880's. Both of the illustrations were by Palmer, and one of them was an illustrated one-page story. Both of them were Christmas related, one of them with Kriss Kringle taking top billing, but the Brownies weren't far behind.

I was stunned. That appeared to be all that was in the envelope until I had a friend stop by for coffee and scones. Homemade. Not what I'd call a Breakfast Brownie, but I like blueberries, and I make a mean scone.

After we'd sipped for a bit, he asked me what I was working on. I told him I was working on developing a Brownie envelope to use for mail art for my siblings. You know, the kind that are hard to gift. I showed him the pages that I'd received in the mail, and the envelope they came in. To me, it was like an early Christmas present from someone I'd never met. It is truly amazing where the path leads when you're generous and appreciative of other artists interests.

The reason I was so struck by the whole package was it was totally unexpected, coming just at the right moment as I tried to develop an envelope I could use for Brownie mail art. I really haven't let the cat out of the bag with this one because I intend to do something special with the Brownies for my siblings, but this really meant a great deal to me.

My friend picked up the envelope and examined both sides, and then looked in the envelope. He proceeded to shake a card out of it that I was unaware was still in the envelope. I read the wonderful note she's included, and suddenly it all came together. The pages that Beth Bynum gave to me meant a lot, but the fact she's a Nick Bantock fan as well sort of put the icing on the Brownies. Did I mention she has a blog? The fact that she'd taken a collage class from Lenna Young Andrews put another piece in the puzzle, as Lenna is a Brownie fan as well. Beth discovered I was a Brownie fan through Lenna, but what she didn't realize was that I like my Brownies for Breakfast.

The Breakfast Brownie Cereal is the real deal. Thank You, Beth. A wonderful Breakfast Treat!

Joni James - This one is for You!

Joni James, the Calligram Queen, asked a question a couple of weeks ago. If you were able to choose an image, what would it be, and what words could be used to describe yourself. I follow her and am fascinated by her images consisting of words that tell the story of the image, so I decided to give her a couple of hints:

Once I had seen what she had done, I decided to use my artistic license. She does calligrams, I do monograms. So - I put together a little mail art of my own to let her know how much it meant to me that she would gift me some of her work - and it's a piece I'm going to hang on the wall, matted and framed, and I'm in awe of what she does with words. Thank You, Joni. You made my day.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Last Chance for the Goodkind

Last Chance for the Goodkind

Some history would be appropriate at this point.

Brothers Abraham L. and Edward I. Goodkind, and Meyer and Charles Wise operated a wholesale wine, liquor, and cigar business in Helena, Montana, from 1890 or 1891 until 1896 when the Wise brothers left the business. The Goodkind brothers continued their operation until Edward died on May 11, 1916. The preceding is directly from the Montana Historical Society Research Center.

This particular billhead is dated October 12, 1903. I have seen (and have in my possession) some Wise & Goodkind paper, but this piece was of particular interest to me because of the label.

I've had in my possession, albeit not for very long, two pieces of Goodkind Brothers billhead.  I had the good fortune of finding a local patron who willingly sold me a piece of Goodkind paper, and then loaned me a small whiskey bottle that still had the label affixed. I took it home, shot photographs of it, and then returned the bottle. A week later, I completed the art work, showed it to him, and he purchased it. It never made it into a frame.

While at a brick and mortar antique shop in Chinook, Montana, several months ago, I was shown two original Goodkind Brothers labels. The shop owner was willing to make copies of both of the labels, but I had to commit to NOT sharing the copies with anyone, especially on the web. I returned home with the copies, and contacted the fellow who had the bottle I had already used, and he provided me with a pint bottle (a flask) that had a pewter screw-on cap. He also gifted me two other bottles, one in amber and the other a beautiful fluted shoulder bottle, both of them dug locally.

The studio process involved more than one step: I had to do some touch-up work on both of the labels, and I had to size them appropriate to the bottles. I finished and published the results of the Royal Club Rye Whiskey flask which you can see here, if you haven't seen it already.

The second was a bit more complicated. The provenance for both of these labels is impeccable, although I have no idea, nor does anyone else, if these labels were ever used. Bottle collectors, or even collectors of lithographic labels would probably be able to determine if there are any other copies of these labels out there in private hands. They both came from a printer's book which had numerous labels pasted into it. From the additional markings on the label, my guess is that the label was used, or at least printed.

I've tried to stay as true to the original label as I could, because I did want to give the viewer the impression that the label indeed is a real label on a real bottle.

This piece may be a keeper. I have one other piece of Wise & Goodkind paper, and I know where there is at least one other piece of Goodkind billhead that is the same size as this piece. I also know where there is a smaller piece of their paper with a vignette of their building on the corner of Sixth and Last Chance Gulch (now known as Main Street) here in Helena, and the building still stands. I have forty hours of work on this piece, and that's no joke - I kept track. Working on it was like working on one of my cacheted covers, but I also had to make it look like the real thing. The label really does tell the story of placer mining as it was done, and I wanted to make certain that it looked right. The artist that did this label knew what placer mining was about, and depicted it quite well. The background also looks like a local stream, which makes the whole thing seem to shout MONTANA.  Enjoy. It was a labor of love.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Walkin' The Walk, Talkin' the Talk

Have you ever heard of the International Shoe Company? Neither had I, until I started doing some research on a bookmark I'd seen, while looking into a piece of brilliant advertising ephemera on Inherited Values. This site is dedicated to "Antiques and Vintage Collectibles, NOT by the book". I thought that Deanna Dahlsad, (the author of the article about bookmarks) actually had her tongue in her cheek, given the aforementioned tag line I found when I hit their Home page. She didn't have a lot to say about the bookmark she'd chosen to highlight in her article (actually an interview with a bookmark collector), but it was a Parrot. A Poll Parrot to be exact. More about the Poll Parrot bookmark later in this story.

Several weeks ago, I published a post about another bookmark fan by the name of Michael Popek. He has a blog called Forgotten Bookmarks. As he works in the family's Antiquarian Bookstore, he has ample opportunity to find what others leave behind in books of every stripe. A couple of weeks ago, he published a book, and I covered that in this post.

Long before Michael had decided to publish a book, he had posted a piece of billhead, and the top line item was Baby Ruth Candy Bars. That post is a good example of what I really enjoy about the people I meet on the way to acquiring my old paper. The receipt was dated 1934. It was used. It was high time it was recycled, and I was the guy to get that done. Michael gave it to me. For the asking. He got a Thank You.

Bookmarks are good. Good for books, and good for my art! How good? This post will give you some idea about books and bookmarks and how I find a steady source, helping me put my love of history and art together.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in The Parrot Confectionery, talking to the owner, Brian Ackerman. Brian let me have some billhead - both old and new, but unused. I like the kind that have served their purpose, whether the business owner used a typewrite or wrote it out in long hand, because it's still richer in history than a pristine piece of  letterhead or billhead. Every piece of Parrot paper that I had previously received from him I'd put in new homes. I knew I wanted to do more of the Parrot that "Talks for Itself", so I asked Brian if he could let me have a few more pieces of the "old paper". He let me have some of it.

I was no sooner home and sitting at the computer looking for my old templates for the Parrot and doing a little bloghopping, when I came upon the Poll-Parrot bookmark. Which started my research journey - What do shoes that "Speak for Themselves" and Parrot Chocolate that "Talks for Itself" have in common? A lot.

In 1911, Roberts, Johnson & Rand Shoes merged with the Peters Shoe Company and became the International Shoe Company with office in St. Louis, Missouri. Apparently, St. Louis was the home for more shoes than you can shake a walking stick at. About the same time that International was taking over shoes businesses (there were others), Paul Parrot was busy making shoes - in St. Louis - as well. In 1922, International bought Mr. Parrot's business, right down to the soles. Oh yes - they took at least one cue from Paul - he had a talking Parrot in his shoe store, and it was a very popular advertising "gimmick". There's currently all kinds of Poll Parrot ephemera floating around in the vintage collectibles market - anything from whistles and buttons to Radio Programs? For real. Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention Howdy-Doody. Poll Parrot Shoes sponsored Howdy-Doody. Yup. I'm surprised International didn't convince Howdy to introduce his Poll Parrot friend. A Parrot Puppet. Someone to talk to, you know - Puppet to Puppet.

I digress.

The Parrot Confectionery began business in the same location in downtown Helena in 1922, the same year International began marketing Poll Parrot shoes. I don't know if Poll Parrots were sold in Helena, (we did have a Buster Brown), but we did have The Parrot. An old functioning soda fountain. Booths. A Wurlitzer jukebox. And Parrots. Lots of them. The also have the Avian equivalent of the Turtle - The Parrot. Oh Yes - A facebook page.

The Parrot I've placed on The Parrot billhead is slightly twice the size of the original bookmark - which I've seen and touched. The owner would not sell it. It was die cut (the curved line around the tail) so the only thing that would be sticking out of the  book would be the Parrot's head. I haven't decided what I'm going to do with it yet besides getting it matted and framed. The Parrot isn't talking.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Now & Then - Marlene & Marla Music PFF #52

This is a special piece of mail art for a couple of very special people.

When I started putting my art on old paper, whenever and wherever we went in Montana, we visited the local brick & mortar antique shops. We even visited several antique malls, but the antique malls are a special kind of antique shop, and one that I like to avoid if at all possible. Why would I say such a thing? There's someone there running the business (read that, cash register), and they often do not know what the vendors specialize in, or if they specialize at all. For the most part, everything is already priced, and there is no room for bargaining.
I also took the advice of a couple of local patrons of my work, and I personally contacted antique shop owners whom they knew. In the case of Marlene Music, she was recommended to me.

My first visit to her shop, Now & Then in Great Falls, Montana, I was greeted not by Marlene, but a young fellow watching the shop for her. Since I was looking to meet Marlene and talk to her for a bit before looking for paper, I made my departure. My next visit was fruitful, although I didn't purchase any paper from her on that visit.

As a matter of fact, I've been back to see Marlene three times, and I have yet to look at any paper. My last visit, I was introduced to Marla, her daughter. I spent over an hour talking and sharing stories with them. History. The best part of what I'm doing, actually. Both Marlene and her daughter know what I'm looking for, and sooner or later I'll pay them a visit and I'll end up walking out the door with some paper I can enhance, and a story to go with it.

The reason why I sent them the card "under cover"? Just because.
And to see more Eye Candy, make sure you visit Beth Niquette at The Best Hearts Are Crunchy, as she hosts Postcard Friendly Friday.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Not to be forgotten

Yes, that's correct. This place will not be forgotten, at least by me. I'm not certain how the other artists fared during the exhibit, but I really can't say enough about the Custer County Art & Heritage Center.

A big thank you to Kevin Layton and his entire staff (including the volunteers) that make this venue such an attraction for artists like myself. Miles City is not exactly the center of Western Civilization, but it certainly does have one site that caters to a vibrant art community. And a wonderful collection of L. A. Huffman photographs that are to die for. I'd go back in a heartbeat, and I hope I get an invite.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thank You For being Patrons

First off, I want to thank the entire staff at the Custer County Art & Heritage Center in Miles City, Montana, for asking me to participate in their recent exhibition. There were five artists in the portion of the show entitled Inside Out: A landscape exhibit, and myself with Old Paper New Art. The opening was held on Sunday, October 9th in the afternoon, with demonstrations and gallery talks. It was fabulous. I really couldn't have wished for a more splendid venue.
I didn't have a chance to do much demonstrating, although I did try to finish a Thank You for a piece of art I'd finished the week before, but I spent most of my time on the gallery talk, and answering questions as they were asked.

Kevin and Marie purchased "Have Duster, Will Travel", which I posted way back in November of 2010. It was a fun piece to do, but now I have to come up with an even better eye-catcher to hang on the wall.

Kathy purchased "Startup With a Coke", which I completed in June of 2009. A back story that was simply too good to be true, and both my wife and I will find it hard to replace it on our wall.

Bess purchased "Ming Trout Flies", which I completed in 2010. I did not post this piece when I completed it, primarily because I needed to get it to the framers before the Western Heritage Show. I've now sold every piece of (trout) fly paper I could put my hands on.

Dustin & Erin purchased "Five Feet In the Air", which I completed earlier this year. Here again, I don't know how long it will be before I see another piece of Brown Shoe Company paper, but I sure wish I could find some. Buster & Tige are still popular after all these years.

As is my rule, I will not put addresses on any of the mail art I put up here without prior approval. These four pieces will go in the mail in the AM.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Four Tops and 11/11/11

I had meant to make this a Veterans Day post - for a very good reason. During my research for Veterans Day information a year ago, I found out that Montana led the nation in Selective Service draftees for military service during The Great War. An error in census data accounted for a disproportionate number of young men being drafted from Montana. For those who don't know, The Great War was the First World War, or WWI.

Montana is rural state with a population density of wildlife per square mile that exceeds the number of human inhabitants. I don't know what it is now, but you can bet than even back in 1917, the critters outnumbered us.
Because this piece of paper listed TOPS as the top line item, I got to thinking about who these tops would have been purchased for - probably as Christmas presents, since this is indeed THE holiday order (at least from Zernitz) for C. W. Rank & Company in Virginia City, Montana. If a young boy born in Virginia City in the early 1890's would have received a top, could he have gone on to serve in WWI? Perhaps. I haven't gotten skilled enough at searching the military records available through the Montana Historical Society, but I will - sooner or later.

I'd also like to point out that Teresa N. Fischer, whose work I truly admire, was kind enough to supply me with the most excellent photographs of three antique tops that she holds in her collection of old toys. Although the red one at the top is the only example in the color of the ones she has, the lighting was such that I could use whatever color I wanted to use for my tops. So, thank you, Teresa.

I also want to say a little something about the title - The Four Tops were at the heart of what came to be called the Motown Sound. I listened to them - on Armed Forces Radio while parked in the jungle of South Vietnam. I'm still here to talk about it, too. So Veterans Day is to honor all those who are veterans of our military, all branches. I greet all Marine Veterans that I meet with this: Semper Fi. For those who know, the greeting means everything. For those who don't, it is short for ALWAYS Faithful.

I will not be able to post on Veterans Day this coming Friday, so I'm posting today. God Bless. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Forgotten Bookmarks - Thank You PFF #51

A couple of weeks ago, I won a number of books in Michael Popek's Friday Book Giveaway. You see, Michael works in the family Antiquarian bookstore, and comes across unusual items used as bookmarks. He has been posting them on his blog, but the blog is now so popular, he has decided to expand his (and our) horizons. He just recently published a book that contains images of the bookmarks that he's found, and includes an image of the books they were discovered in. If you're interested in stories, these bookmarks are story-tellers.

I couldn't resist using an Author stamp (Hemingway), and a Bread Wagon stamp, since I hope this book is his land-locked version of his ship coming in. Thank You, Michael. For the second time you've given me a gift, and I'm all for re-gifting.

Don't forget to visit Beth Niquette's blog The Best Hearts Are Crunchy for more delectable candy that's been through the mail.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

TOPS - The Spinning Wooden Kind 4

This is the fourth and last of the series of tops for the billhead.

Is there more to the story? Yes, there is, but I now have to go find a scanner that's large enough to scan the complete document. I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

TOPS - The Spinning Wooden Kind 3

This is the third in my series of tops on a turn of the century billhead.

When I first started doing the research for the John D. Zernitz & Company, I had no idea where the trail would lead. There is scant information to be gleaned from public records available on the web. I do know however that a Mr. Charles M. Henn was in the employee of the Zernitz Company as a cashier in 1884.  Mr. Henn filed a patent for a mechanical bank on September 29, 1882 and it was issued January 23, 1883.

The name of the bank was "Eagle Feeding Her Young". I find it extremely interesting that Mr. Henn would work at a place that sold toys, but so he did.

There's always more to the story.   

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

TOPS - The Spinning Wooden Kind 2

The story continues. This is the second of four tops that I'm putting on this billhead.

This was a Holiday Season order back when you weren't shopping for Christmas until you should be shopping for Christmas. Among the items ordered were Watches, Sad Irons, Dishes, Paints, Candles (by the box), Kitchen Sets and other items I'll cover in subsequent posts. I found it interesting that Tops were at the top of the list. These are the kind that you wrapped a cord around, and "threw" at the ground. There was a knack to launching them so that they would properly spin. Mine are suspended in motion.

Monday, October 31, 2011

TOPS - The Spinning Wooden Kind 1

I've been busy making art that involves a story. This is the first of four tops that I've placed on a billhead from the John D. Zernitz & Company, dealer in Toys Fancy Goods and Druggists' Sundries,  210 & 212 East Madison Street, Chicago, Illinois..  It's addressed to C. W. Rank & Co., Virginia City, Montana, and dated November 3, 1900. The Turn of the Century had just occurred eleven months earlier.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Pulse - Seth Apter

Some time ago, Seth Apter host of The Altered Page Blog invited me to participate in a survey (which he entitled The Pulse) of over 140 artists. It was an honor for me to be included among them because it gave me the opportunity to not only be recognized in a larger art blog community, but it also offered all of us the chance to see (and visit) art blogs which wouldn't be available if we just rested on our own artistic benches on Art Street.

When I first began my new artistic journey in early 2009, I began looking for other artists on the web who were doing something 'different'. Because I have always used colored pencils as a tool, I was comfortable creating two dimensional art - and making it look three dimensional. There are so many artists using textures and layers of color in their work, and Seth's survey gave me a new outlook on mixed media. I found myself spending more and more time looking at what I call "Eye Candy", created by artists who were willing to explore their approach to art, and they were way outside my comfort zone.

I've also continued to search out artists who were telling short stories, and I've found more than a few. Make certain that you stop by Seth's blog, for he's a large voice willing to go the extra mile for all of us. I also wanted to include here another artist that I didn't find through Seth, but I found while exploring other art sites.

The above is a mail art Thank You to a lady who inspired my Marble piece which I posted back in June. Her name is Teresa N. Fischer  She has a web site HERE,  and also hosts a blog HERE, which oftentimes I find as interesting as her web site. The reason? She often includes a little narrative about the subject of the painting as part of her post. I asked her about a month ago if she'd ever done any antique wooden tops, only to discover that she hadn't. She did have some tops however, and volunteered to take photographs of them for me, which I thought was really neat. So - she got a Thank You. She'll get another when I finally put the Four Tops to the old paper I have. Got any tops?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Goodkind Brothers Whiskey Bottle

In November of 2009, I posted an image of a piece of Goodkind paper upon which I had depicted a small bottle with a Goodkind Brothers label still affixed. Usually with bottles this old which had paper labels on them, the labels don't survive.

I have in my possession scanned images of two different Goodkind Brothers labels. The provenance for these labels is unquestionable, but to say that they were ever used on whiskey bottles is an entirely different story. They came from a sample book of a lithographer who not only produced labels of this type, but also labels for various other products as well.

This bottle should probably be called a flask. It does not stand on it's own all that well. It's a 'dug' bottle which was recovered locally. The owner graciously allowed me to borrow this bottle and the pewter cap, and he also gifted me two other larger bottles upon which I'm going to place the second of the Goodkind Brothers labels. Just like this one, I'll fill it with Ancient Age whiskey, take photographs of it to use for models, and then I'll post the image of the finished product.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Oscar Holden - Seattle Jazz Legend - PFF#50

In March of this year while I was frantically preparing for the Western Heritage Artists show, I had to obtain the American Jazz stamps and get them canceled. I knew what I wanted to do for the art work, and it was pretty much settled by the time I had arrived back home. However - other art projects got in the way.

Three weeks ago I started putting it together. Since every one of my covers is hand-drawn and "painted", I had to do a template I could slip into the twenty-three blank envelopes that already had stamps and cancels. I use that template on my light table, using a pencil to produce the design on the envelope. I then move to my drawing board and using colored pencils and a Rapidiograph pen, I produce the cover.

I began that exercise with a design for a cover I'd done some years ago, and it is the same basic as the one I posted in February of 2009. That cover was an Event cover which I'd franked with a pair of Duke Ellington stamps. I did not use gold leaf on these covers, as I wanted to stick with the color scheme of the Jazz Forever stamps. The black piano keys were a what I wanted to highlight on this one.

Although I knew nothing of Oscar Holden until late January of this year, after reading the fabulous book Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, I was pretty much looking for anything I could find about him. It didn't take me long to find out he played the piano. I included his name and the title of Jazz Legend, although he is known as the Patriarch of the Seattle Jazz scene.

Make certain that you stop by The Best Hearts Are Crunchy for Postcard Friendly Friday, hosted by Beth Niquette for more colorful Mail Art from around the world.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ball Blue Fruit Jar paper

You may recall that I posted an image of a Ball Jar I called The Odd Ball several weeks ago. My art on the old piece of Ball Brothers letterhead was not just an accident. Larry Munson, who lives South & East of where I grew up in Northern Montana, gifted me that piece of paper. I have been waiting for the proper stamps to arrive, after purchasing a sheet of the American Glass stamp issue, Scott #3325-3328 from a seller on eBay. The stamps arrived today, although I had finished this cover several days ago. I will add the address to this cover and get it into the mail to him today.

The other fellow in this equation, Bruce Schank, who has a fabulous web site and collection of Ball Fruit jars (including the Odd Ball) will be getting a similar Thank You from me with a slight delay in it being posted. I have a show opening at the Custer County Art & Heritage Center in Miles City, Montana this coming Sunday. I have been asked to do a live demonstration of my art, and I intend to complete Bruce's cover during the opening reception.

Did I mention that I owe a debt of gratitude to both of these gentlemen? They've been very gracious in sharing with me not only their time, but gifting me the paper and taking numerous photographs for me. I'd like to thank them properly, and perhaps one of these days I will - in person.

The other person I'd like to thank is Marianne Dow. She put us all together in one way or the other.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Star Play - PFF #49


This is a commissioned First Day Cover for Scott #855, Baseball Centennial issued in Cooperstown, New York, home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The owner asked me to put art work on the cover from a Cigar box label, and I had several images to choose from. I thought it particularly pertinent as we leave September and enter October, leading up to the World Series. We just may see a few star plays, although since we don't watch television, I'll have to see highlights on the web.

My love of baseball goes back to a sand lot on which we played as youngsters, but I'm also a fan of old ball parks. In particular, Fenway Park in Boston. I had the pleasure of seeing a game more than several years ago between the Sox and the Athletics. It wasn't really much of a game, but I brought home a Sox cap that I break out about this time of the season. You never know!

Make sure you visit Beth Niquette's wonderful blog The Best Hearts Are Crunchy as she hosts another edition of Postcard Friendly Friday!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Indian Motocycle - Contact Point

I paid a visit to my sister Judy several weeks ago. She lives in Shelby, Montana, which is where we grew up. My younger brother Dan was visiting from Puyallap, Washington, and I spent the day with them. Judy started the day off right with homemade Caramel Rolls, always a treat for breakfast. My brother-in-law, Tom, restores old Indian Motocycles and recently came upon a virtual horde of Indian Motocycle paper and related ephemera. We had a few minutes to look at some of it, and he gifted me several pieces that immediately caught my eye.

The piece that you see here is one that I gifted back to him. It was sent to Indian dealers by the factory in Springfield, Massachusetts, on what looks to be a weekly basis. This piece is dated October 6th, 1947. I also have several more just like it, although Tom is holding on to a number of them that are stapled together, as many of them were more than one page. THANK YOU, Indian TOM!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ball Blue Fruit Jars - The Odd Ball

In February of this year I put up a post for a Ball Brothers fruit jar that was amber in color. That piece became the highlight of my room during the Western Heritage Artists show in Great Falls, Montana in March. I sent Thank You notes to Larry Munson who gifted me the paper, and Bruce Schank, who allowed me to use his photograph as a model for the Amber Quart.

A week after sending the Thank You to Larry, I received a manila envelope in the mail that contained several pieces of paper, one of them being the piece that you see here. There's more to the story.

Through further emails with Bruce, I learned that he had a Ball jar that he had obtained from Larry, and consequently he took several photographs of what he called the ODD BALL. I don't know how well I portrayed its oddness, but there are several visual clues that there is something not quite right about this jar, and I think they're worthy of mention.

Quality Control must have been sleeping when this jar was produced. There is a seam line running down the jar, and a huge glob of glass at the base of the seam on the inside of the jar. I tried as best I could to make a Cinderella of a Cinder Girl, and I think I succeeded at least in some small measure.

So a big THANK YOU to both Larry Munson for gifting me the Ball Brothers paper, and to Bruce Schank for sharing Odd Ball photographs with me, allowing me to put a Larry Munson jar on a Larry Munson piece of paper.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Owney - Postal Mascot PFF #48

Owney gets his dog tags

The United States Postal Service issued a Forever stamp on July 27th honoring a dog who 'adopted' Railway Mail Service mail bags - as his home - beginning in Albany, New York, in 1888. If you are interested in learning more about Owney, and how he came to acquiring so many tags that he had to have a special vest constructed by order of the Postmaster General, you can visit the official USPS Beyond The Perf  site for the entire story.

The short version is he rode in Railroad Post Office cars all over the country and became the Railway Mail Service clerks unofficial mascot, and now has a home in the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum.

Several months ago I received an invitation to submit a First Day Cover of the Owney stamp to be included in their permanent collection centered around Owney. I have been to Washington, D.C., but I didn't have a chance to visit the museum, so I can't tell you much about it.

In 1995 I created a First Day Cover for the POW/MIA issue. A pair of dog tags were pictured on the stamp and I chose a Montana man named Lee Nordahl as my theme, and I pictured his dog tags on a bamboo cross over a map of North and South Vietnam.

The use of dog tags to serve as identification of soldiers predates Owney, and the use of metal tags as we know them today dates back to the Second World War. You can read a short history of dog tags at this official site.

The POW/MIA issue dog tags immediately came to mind when I received the invitation from the National Postal Museum to submit a First Day cover honoring Owney. I know he didn't have a set of dog tags like the pair I wore, so I decided to create a pair just for him. Rather than include the city name of Albany, I substituted the serial number which would ordinarily be included on the tags with the Zip Code for Albany, NY, Owney's "home".

Make sure you stop by Beth Niquette's "home" The Best Hearts Are Crunchy to view more more wonderful pieces of mail art on Postcard Friendly Friday.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Breakfast Brownie Doughgirl

Breakfast Brownie Doughgirl

Original newsprint advertisement
Luckily, the newsprint advertisement print block that I used as a model for this piece didn't go to the dogs!

There is little known about the Breakfast Brownies Company, and not a whole lot more about the Brownie Baking Company, except that they were not one and the same. The Breakfast Brownies Company was incorporated in 1919 in Montana, and although the officers were not all in or from Helena, the cereal was milled in Minneapolis and packaged here in Helena. Just exactly where in Helena I cannot determine, although I do know where their office was located.

I have seen a cardboard case for the cereal, a stock certificate, as well as one sample box and a dozen metal plates for newspaper print advertising. One of the plate images is the source for my Brownie Doughgirl.

I acquired several pieces of letterhead for the Brownie Baking Company, whose bakery was in Spokane, Washington. I do know that the Brownie Baking Company was once the Tru-Blu Biscuit Company, because I have seen five real photo postcards of the factory, and the message side of the card has the Tru Blu logo printed on it. Research on the web reveals very little about the company, other than the fact the factory bakery building is still in use – not as a bakery, but it's now artist studio space.

If you are interested in seeing my earlier version depicting the Brownie Doughboy which I completed in September of 2010, you can see it HERE. The Doughboy image was also taken from a newsprint print block.

I decided to put the Breakfast Brownies Doughgirl on this piece of Brownie Baking Company letterhead because the companies had one thing in common – they both used the images of Brownies to sell their products. Note the Brownie in the lower left corner of their letterhead. I've never done this sort of thing before, but my chances of ever finding a piece of Breakfast Brownies paper are slim and next to none.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The name is Hyatt - I'm Single.

In 1869, John Wesley Hyatt patented the process to turn nitrocellulose and camphor into billiard balls. The process was dangerous and the end product was just as dangerous as the balls were purported to explode on heavy impact.

I can find no information about the company whose letterhead this happens to be, but the most important information is contained at the top - They sold Hyatt composition billiard balls. They also imported IVORY GOODS, which up to the turn of the century would have included pool and billiard balls made of Ivory.
Since acquiring this piece of old paper in March of this year, I've spent countless hours on the web searching for images of a single stripe and double striped number 9 Hyatt composition pool ball with little success. Photographs tend to be too small of the balls in their box, and I simply couldn't locate anybody that had a set of double stripe Hyatts. Those I could locate were pricey - nobody but nobody wanted to sell a single number 9, and I could not afford an entire set. Way out of my league.

I visited the source for the paper (actually, in search of MORE paper), and I mentioned to him that I would like to find someone willing to take a photograph of a number 9 Hyatt, and he drew his breath in and went to the basement of his shop. What he came back with was a box of Hyatt pool balls, including a set of Snooker balls. He entrusted the number 9 to me, so I brought it home with me. Two days ago I visited the local billiard supply store, Paper and Felt Billiard Supply, with the ball and camera in hand, and took photographs of the ball on an antique pool table with green felt. One of the owners, Becky Zapata, turned the lights over the table on, and let me take some photographs.

Armed with the photographs, I came home and proceeded to try various sizes of the ball on my light table to come up with an image that would not only stand on its own, but also reveal enough of the text of the letter to make some sense of what this piece of old paper is all about. I will probably never find another piece of paper quite like this, and I simply couldn't wait to "rack it up."
The contents of the letter itself are interesting. Hubbell & Grote have sent a note to Bateman-Switzer Company of Great Falls, Montana, requesting clarification of their order. --- "...You have neglected to state whether you want the number 9 ball to fill in a set of single or double stripe balls." Could the number 9 ball have exploded? After all, he was single.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

BURIED TREASURE '11 - Jamie Ford, Oscar Holden & The Alley Cat Strut

Henry and Keiko's record
Mail Art Thank You to Jamie Ford

Seth Apter of The Altered Page has once again invited blog artists to post a bit of Buried Treasure from their archives. In the previous two editions, I posted MY favorites. This time, I'm posting one that has has been a favorite of readers - music lovers, and Jazz buffs in particular. Well... First of all, Oscar Holden is the only 'real' character in a book which I'll call a love story and historical fiction. The traffic to my blog for this particular post has more than tripled the overall page views, but strangely enough - visitors are here looking for MUSIC, and one song in particular - "The Alley Cat Strut".

The title for the post I've chosen to spotlight was the following:

                  Jamie Ford, Oscar Holden and The Alley Cat Strut

Google rapidly moved my post up into the top two places for any combination of author, musician and song title. Combining them together was an even bigger boost.  If you don't believe me, try putting any combination of the words from my post title into Google search. There's not much art involved in this endeavor, but it did take my art to a different level. How many more records (or rather record labels) can I actually create that people will enjoy?
Back on January 24th of this year, my brother-in-law Chuck Pefley put up a post about the Panama Hotel. Chuck generally posts a neat photograph that he's taken in and around Seattle on an almost daily basis. I follow him not only because he's my brother-in-law, but because he's an excellent photographer and a source for models for a number of my pieces of art.  I don't know whether he discovered the book Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet first and the hotel later or the other way around. It really doesn't matter to me whether the chicken or the egg came first. There's a fascinating story to be told about the real Panama, and Chuck discovered it long before I did. I was initially taken in by the gold leaf sign on the doors in his photograph, so I followed up on it. I was hooked.

In late January of this year, my wife and daughter and I were planning on being in Seattle.  I managed to follow the link Chuck had given to the Author Jamie Ford's blog, quickly skimmed it and discovered a small but very meaningful connection which I planned on exploring - after returning home from Seattle. We arrived in Seattle to an empty house - Chuck was at work, and my sister was in Tacoma with my brother Dan, doing what she does best. After unloading the car, I was ready to sit down and take a nap (at my age, it's almost a necessity). I can nap anywhere and in my short trek to the couch, I spotted Jamie's book on my sister's desk, picked it up, and quickly fell in love. No nap. I had discovered a BOOK. A GOOD book. Over the next twenty-four hours I read it. It came very near to being a Sleepless in Seattle moment. I'm a history nut. This book should be read by everyone who wants an understanding of the social upheaval caused by the Second World War in these United States, and the West Coast in particular.

Chuck took us to the Tea Room of the Panama Hotel that evening for a cup of  Rooibos tea, and I was able to experience first hand the basement of the Panama Hotel. The story had taken me right in. After returning to Chuck and Penny's that evening, I read the Author's notes at the back of the book. They're there for a reason: *** Jamie lives in Montana *** As a matter of fact, he lives ninety miles up the road from me.

To tell you why the book was so interesting I have to revisit my childhood, or rather that of my father. As a teenager, my father had spent time at Fort Lincoln, south of Bismarck, North Dakota. My grandfather was an Immigration officer charged with guarding German, Italian and Japanese 'prisoners' at Fort Lincoln during WWII. My father also met my mother while attending St. Mary's Catholic High School in Bismarck, so I knew some of the story of the internments.

The love story Jamie has written is about a young Chinese boy of 12 (Henry) and a Japanese girl (Keiko) of the same age, who both attend an almost exclusively white school in Seattle, and the story begins shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  A key element in the love story is a 78 recording of a Seattle Jazz legend by the name of Oscar Holden. I will not reveal the significance of the recording. If you haven't read the book, get a copy. Suffice it to say it is a key element in Henry and Keiko's life, and in the belongings of thirty-seven Japanese families in the basement of the Panama Hotel - and the belongs are still there, unclaimed.

Upon returning from Seattle, I had it in my mind to do something special for Jamie Ford. I started my artistic journey by searching the local second hand stores and thrift shops for old 78 records - with sleeves. I purchased a stack of them at a Veteran's thrift store, brought them home and selected one that was in fairly good shape, although the paper sleeve was unusable for my purposes. I also spent a great deal of time on the web, looking for a record label for a recording studio that would have existed in Seattle during the 1940's. I then soaked and removed the label from the vintage 78 and spent several hours creating one of my own with all the 'right stuff' on it. I also took a Ben Franklin brown paper bag and created a paper sleeve for the record. I was assured by Jamie that although Oscar Holden was a very real Jazz musician, the song is a fictional creation of Jamie's. His book is still on the New York Times Best Seller list, and if you haven't read it, you should. But of course I told you that already, didn't I?

I created the record label for a recording that does not exist, but because Jamie had brought some of my childhood family memories back to me, I gave him something tangible the end of March that existed only in his creative 'storyland'. What I received from Jamie in return was a signed First Edition of his wonderful novel of love lost - and found - in the grooves of a 78 record. Thank You Jamie. You did my spirit good. There's more songs yet to be sung.

And just so you can be sure that the piece of mail art I've included above did indeed go through the mail, check out the post he put up on his blog after he received it. He hadn't yet taken the removable label off of it, but you'll get the picture.

Friday, July 1, 2011

It's A Duck! PFF#47

Well --- Not really. It's a Goose. A White-fronted Goose in fact. This is my first of about twenty First Day Federal Duck Stamp covers that I have to do for subscribers. I'm very pleased with the way this one turned out as well.

If you get a chance, try to visit Hostess Beth Niquette at The Best Hearts Are Crunchy, for this week's version of Postcard Friendly Friday. More really great postcards and mail art!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Vintage Marbles

Some explanation is necessary for this piece of old paper.

Let's begin with some information I gleaned from that fabulous resource tool, the web. The following portion is from the Newberry Library in Chicago, and is a synopsis of the business that generated this piece of paper. Although formatted as if it were a ledger, it is actually a billhead that measures eight and one half inches wide by twelve inches high. I have more than one piece of this old paper that contain line items sold by them to C. W. Rank & Company Drug Store and Mercantile in Virginia City, Montana.

History of the A.C. McClurg & Co.

Chicago publishing house and wholesaler and retailer of books and merchandise.

A.C. McClurg & Co. traces its origins to Chicago’s oldest book and stationery store which was founded in 1844. The young Alexander C. McClurg went to work for the company, then known as S. C. Griggs, in 1859. McClurg resumed working for Griggs after returning from the Civil War with the rank of general. S.C. Griggs lost all its contents in a fire in 1868. But when the store was completely destroyed by the great Chicago Fire of 1871, Griggs decided to sell his share of the company to E. L. Jansen, A. C. McClurg and F. B. Smith. Jansen, McClurg & Co. was established in 1872. The business flourished and in 1873 published its first title, Landscape Architecture by H. W. S. Cleveland. By 1880 McClurg’s ranked as one of the country’s largest book distributors. In addition to its wholesale book business, McClurg supplied to small-town retailers throughout the West and Midwest a variety of merchandise, including “blank books and tablets, stationery, typewriter paper and supplies, hair and tooth brushes, druggists’ sundries, pocketbooks, pipes, pocket cutlery, etc.”

Although the book distribution component of the company was more successful than its publishing side, General McClurg felt secure enough to start publishing the monthly literary magazine the Dial in 1880 and continued to do so until 1892. It was during this period that George Millard created the rare book section that became known as the “Saints and Sinners Corner.” In 1886 the company changed its name to A.C. McClurg & Co.

When the firm’s premises were destroyed by fire in 1899, General McClurg decided to reorganize as a corporation with shares sold to employees. He died soon thereafter in 1901. Little publishing took place until 1914 when the firm negotiated what turned out to be its most profitable publication, Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. McClurg & Co. went on to publish 10 more Tarzan titles. Eventually Burroughs set up his own company to deal with all iterations of his famous character.

In 1923 A. C. McClurg chose to focus its entire efforts on wholesale work by selling its bookstore located at 218 South Wabash Street in Chicago to Brentano’s. The remainder of the company was finally liquidated in 1962.

Strangely enough, toys (rubber balls, dolls, iron toys, Sad Irons, games, and in this case MARBLES) are not mentioned among the number of items that they provided to C. W. Rank.

History of the C. W. Rank & Company, Drug Store and Mercantile

 I don't believe you can purchase any marbles in this business today, but oddly enough - it's still a going concern. The building was purchased from the original owner in 1889, the year Montana became a state, and it still in business today. For a little more history of the business, you can visit their web site HERE.

The Marbles

When I first decided to put marbles on this piece of paper, I began looking for marble images on the web - by name, since I knew that McClurg would have to have imported the marbles they sold, and most probably from Germany. Although clay marbles were first produced in the United States around 1890, it wasn't until Martin Frederick Christensen of Akron, Ohio, perfected, patented and produced glass marbles by machine. Up to that time, most glass marbles were produced using a long cylinder of hot glass, cut by a metal 'scissors' which had a cup of the proper size as part of the blade for the marble to be produced. The clay marbles as well as the older glass marbles are highly collectible. The Christensen company began producing glass marbles in 1903, and produced them through 1917.

In early May I contacted Joe Street from JoeMarbles about using some of the images on his site for models for this paper. He agreed to allow me to use any of his photographs, provided that I link to his site and send him a link to the finished image. Although I didn't use any of his photographs and finally learned how to outsmart my digital camera, I'm providing the link to his site because you can easily get lost if you're interested in finding some of your own lost marbles. Over the past twenty years or so, I've gathered some marbles that I enjoy looking at while they sit on the window ledge in natural sunlight. Indeed, to me some of them look like little planets. Some of the cobalt blue ones are very old and have been used repeatedly to the point that they look like a cratered moon. Even battered and pitted, they never lose their appeal - at least to me they don't.

Marbles Day 3

My son got married. He may have lost his marbles - but I seriously doubt it.

I'm back at my drawing table, and it's looking like I've at least another day of serious work left to do on my marbles - which I found. The photograph is one of three I'm using as models. Your views of my marbles may vary.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Marbles Day 2

After two days of trial and error, and a successful photo shoot, I'm going to post this now, because Day 3 is at least four days out. I've a wedding to attend.

This piece of old billhead paper is dated March 17, 1892. From A. C. McClurg & Company of Chicago, Illinois. It is an order for the C. W. Rank & Company Mercantile in Virginia City, Montana.

There are line items which call, by name, for at least four different varieties of MARBLES. What you see is what you're going to get. Except for Marbles #31 - #61. "We are at present out of Marbles #31 - #61".

More next week...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Buster Brown Reprise

In 1902 successful Sunday Cartoonist Richard Outcault, who developed the comic strip character The Yellow Kid, came up with a new character - his name was Buster, a little rich kid with a pompadour haircut and a (talking) dog named Tige. Bottom line is that Tige is believed to be the first talking animal in the comic strips, and it largely went unnoticed.  Buster had no last name - until 1904. That year at the St. Louis Exposition, Outcault sold the licensing rights to Buster to the Brown Shoe Company. Buster had initially been introduced in Outcault's The Yellow Kid strip, and reaction from fans was one of reasons Buster developed a following of his own.

In June of 2009 I published a post of a piece of letterhead from the Brown Shoe Company upon which I had placed an image of a piece of sheet music for which Richard Outcault had drawn his version of the song title: the Buster One Step That was a letterhead. This is the same image on another piece of Brown Shoe company paper. I have several smaller billheads, but the Buster and Tige images are really popular.

Now if I could only take some decent marble pictures for models, I'd be putting old marbles on old paper!

Friday, June 10, 2011


I need help with this one, since I think I saw this image somewhere, although I didn't copy it. Anyone remember seeing something like this in the late 60's? I had no web access and very little reading material, so if I saw it somewhere - possibly an album cover? Regardless. I made it mine, somehow. In South Vietnam. While staying awake. Enjoy. And let me know if you recognize the basics in this image. I'd surely give credit where credit is due.

Make certain you stop by The Best Hearts Are Crunchy for Postcard Friendship Friday hosted by Beth Niquette for more EYE CANDY that's been sent through the mail!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Chocolate Heart and Candy Rose PFF #45

I did this cover in 1999 for the United States Postal Service Love Stamp issue, and I had a friend living in Fort Collins who was willing to make the thirty minute trip to Loveland, Colorado, to cancel my covers for me.

Beth Niquette at The Best Hearts Are Crunchy is once again hosting Postcard Friendship Friday. I would suggest that you pay her a visit for more delicious eye Candy!


Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day 2011 PFF #44

Lt. William "Muf" Mufich
Lt. Mufich was stationed with VF-18 (the Fighting 18th) F6F-3 Hellcat Squadron aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid in 1944. Lt. Mufich often flew as wingman for the third highest Ace in terms of confirmed shootdowns, Lt. Cecil E. Harris. Lt. Harris scored a total of 23 Japanese planes destroyed in air-to-air combat during the war in the Pacific.

I examined the charred and water-damaged flight log of Lt. Mufich in early May of 2005, and I noted four ‘Rising Sun’ stamps in his log, and a ‘possible’. Hellcat pilots were scrupulous about claiming shootdowns – unless the plane was observed as destroyed in the air or splashing into the sea, the plane was not claimed.

I was able to find a photograph of one of the Hellcats from VF-18, and I’ve placed the Squadron emblem (a + symbol) in its proper place on the tail of the plane in my artwork.

Number 14 was a Squadron plane that Lt. Mufich often flew, though it must be noted that Hellcat pilots were not assigned individual aircraft because of the way that the planes were maintained and readied for missions on the hangar deck.

Lt. Mufich autographed the covers in May 2005 during my visit to his home. He died peacefully in Kalispell, Montana, at the age of ninety years of age in 2010. I don't read the newspapers very often, so I missed his obituary last year.  I'm trying to make up for that fact.  I found it to be an honor to meet and talk with an American war hero intimate with this particular aircraft whose valiant service to our country proves him to be an Ace extraordinaire.

The U.S.S. Intrepid was struck by two Kamikaze planes on November 28th, 1944, the second of which penetrated the flight deck and went into the hangar deck below. The bomb the second Kamikaze was carrying did not go off until after it entered the Intrepid. When it did detonate, it set off a chain reaction of devastating explosions involving countless torpedo and bomb laden American aircraft waiting for launch within the hanger deck. These explosions disabled the fighting effectiveness of the ship until repairs could be made. Sixty-nine sailors and pilots lost their lives in the attack. Lt. Mufich was on the flight deck when the Kamikaze hit occurred, and escaped injury.

He not only made a trip to visit the U.S.S. Intrepid (it's now a floating museum) in New York Harbor in 2006, but he also had his photograph taken in the Ready Room aboard his ship, holding my cover and standing next to a photograph of himself and his squadron taken in 1944. He was wearing a smile.

This may be long winded, but I wanted to take the opportunity to urge everyone who has a father, mother, uncle, aunt or even a neighbor who's a WWII vet to take a few minutes to watch THIS VIDEO if you haven't already.  I've also included a link to a  group called the Honor Flight Network. If you've never heard of it and YOUR WWII veteran has not visited his or her memorial in DC, you should take five minutes to watch the video. We are losing OUR WWII veterans at the rate of a thousand a day. Remember them and remember the reason they gave of themselves.

Be sure you stop by The Best Hearts Are Crunchy where the hostess Beth Niquette presents another session of Postcard Friendly Friday!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Indian Motocycle Logo #2

As depicted on the billhead, the logo is taken from the 1912 Indian Motocycle Catalog. I found this via my brother-in-law Tom-Tom Benson. He pointed me to a site called the Vintage Motorcyle Library, and the catalog is listed as one of the Indian related items that can be purchased on the site.

From the Indian Chief Motorcycle site: The original Indian motorcycle company was founded in 1901 in Springfield Massachusetts USA, by bicycle racer George Hendee and Swedish immigrant Oscar Hedstrom. Some people wonder why it was called the Indian Motocycle Company instead of Indian Motorcycle Company. In Italy, all motorcycles have names beginning with "moto" e.g. Moto-Guzzi, Moto-Ducati, Moto-Laverda, so perhaps Hedstrom was familiar with that. The earliest models looked like mopeds (bicycles with small single cylinder engines) and only 3 were made in 1901. Interestingly, Triumph began production the next year (1902) and Harley-Davidson the year after (1903). So the order was Indian, Triumph, Harley. Indian made 143 motorcycles in 1902.

The "Big Three" are no longer still around. The Indian was produced in the United States through 1953, but is no more.

Although it says on the logo that they have been built since 1901, what it fails to mention is that the Indian Motocycle was THE FIRST motorcycle produced in America.

I purchased two more pieces of this same paper in March and I still intend to put an Indian 4 on a piece of this paper, even if it really isn't historically accurate. The Indian 4 was first available in 1928 to Indian riders.

Michael Curnow opened a bicycle shop in Butte, Montana, at 205 South Montana Street in late 1908. I know that because the 1908 Polk's City Directory for Butte has no listing for him, whereas the 1909 directory does have a single line listing for him. In 1911 he became the Indian Motocycle dealer, and by 1913 he must have had a fairly decent business because he purchased a quarter page advertisement in the directory. I would dearly love to find a photograph of him, but so far I've come up empty.

This piece will soon be on its way out the door, as someone who saw the first piece that I did (which was pictured in the 2011 Western Heritage Artists Show program) asked me to do another.