One of the things about treasure hunting which I love is learning about items from the past. Items I have never seen before and whose time have come and gone. We call these pieces "daunting decor" items. We may not know the original function but their design is still greatly appreciated. When I came upon this scene at the Hollywood flea market I was intrigued.
I learned these two pieces came from the collection of a 94 year old dealer in Michigan. The vendor was generous with both time and information, sharing the design/workings of the front piece, a very nice victorian cast iron water heater and next, the purpose/function of that interesting copper piece standing behind.
Any guesses? Hum... well if you guessed a barber's towel warmer you are correct! From the turn of the last century this piece would have stood proudly in a barber shop. It's purpose was to steam towels and even sterilize instruments. Although from a bygone era, the style and form still have appeal.
The copper has a beautiful warm patina.
The base banding features a beautiful pierced star motif and the makers plate reads Kingory Mfg Co. out of Buffalo, New York. There is a date on the top box of 1901.
The top towel box still holds it's original ceramic liner.
These artistic utilitarian pieces were an important part of a barbers business from the late 1800's until approximately the 1930's when they were replaced by electric versions. Shortly thereafter many of these copper beauties were donated to the WWII war effort leaving very few examples remaining today.
After walking about the flea market, continuing my treasure hunting, I just could not stop thinking about the barber's towel warmer. You know what that means... it came home with me. Since there is a resurgence of old-time barber shops here is California I may know just the right customer for this amazing piece.
Here are a few of the other treasures from Hollywood. The antique cigar forms in the back are from Holland circa 1920's. The Italian leather pipe holder and English humidor tin are great items for a Father's Day vignette at the shop. The silver egg cups for an Easter display and I am hoping that some of the antique terra cotta seed pots I have at the shop will fit into the silver double handled bowl holders to add to our spring garden decor- could be fun. Also, the cast iron woodpecker toothpick/match holder and the cute little dish from a restaurant in Cannes just because. All in all, it was a wonderfully fun day at the flea in the big city.