The Urban Archeologist: Another Product You’ll Never See Again

Looks like an early erector set approx 1904
Looks like an early erector set approx 1904
Someday I will take my camera and flashlight and search for estate sale treasure in another part of the country. So far, I have only been able to explore Florida and only because I was there on vacation. I wrote and blogged about it a while back. Given that one example I am confident that I could find something old, unique and worth writing about in any state.


Last weekend I had almost no help from the sale descriptions I’d found online and in the newspaper. None I researched seemed like a “dig.” Fortunately, Patch editor Jaimie Cura pointed out a listing I hadn’t seen. A sale in Easton, CT had a description that included model trains, older books, and mandolin among other things. I decided that this would be my sole destination for the weekend.

With my daughter by my side we arrived to a home packed with interesting items and run by a familiar service – WCD Estate Sales – the owner, Jim, greeted and remembered my daughter and I from a previous sale. Jim gave me some insight as to the nature of the sale and we began to look.

I am shooting more video these days and while I would like to record all my discoveries as they happen, this home had a more personal story attached to it. I decided to shot only stills and with permission I shot an open and close from the street in front of the house.

I found something at this sale that always gets me excited, 16mm films, like the kind grade school students used to watch during class in the 1960’s and 1970’s. This format was also a popular home movie and industrial format for those who could afford it. These films look to be from the 1940’s and look to be employees testing out their company’s main product. Click here to take a look at some very humorous clips of a very poorly named product being demonstrated.   

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Colleen Walsh Fong December 15, 2013 at 04:13 PM
My dad shot home movies from 1955-1970's. To my siblings and me they are a treasure but I always wonder what will happen to them when we are passed. Nestled in the box with all of our movies was a real find--a black and white movie shot of my dad, his mother and brother circa 1936. That was an amazing find to me.
Greg Van Antwerp December 15, 2013 at 04:20 PM
I think these films I found were the result of a similar story. 16mm is ancient to most and certainly the equipment to project it is even more scarce. If you need to clean out a house to sell it, things like these films are sold or tossed. Unraveling these stories and telling them here and on my blog is my way of preserving them for others. Thanks for sharing your story.
North Georgia Weather December 21, 2013 at 08:17 AM
I'm in the process of converting about 6000 color slides that my dad took, to a digital format. What a job.
Greg Van Antwerp December 21, 2013 at 09:06 AM
Whoa! Steve, that's a Flicker site and/or blog in itself. Good Luck!
John Hawley December 21, 2013 at 11:39 AM
@NGW..I sent over 1000 slides to scan café to be converted into JPG files. They did a GREAT job.


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