mid 1950’s

Apsco Fishing Reel Pencil Sharpener

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Apsco Fishing Reel Pencil Sharpener A slight handsome lad shuffles to the front of the classroom to a wall-mounted pencil sharpener beside the blackboard.  Pencil inserted, he slowly engages the planetary sharpener, called thus because the mechanism revolves around a stationary pencil.  While he does not yet understand the principle within the mechanism which rotates a set of helical cylindrical cutters set at a diverging angle to each other, he does appreciate this opportunity to covertly observe Lori in the front row.  If only she knew . . .

Another American Pencil Sharpener Company product is embedded in the memory of a 5th grader, along with the smell of chalk dust, cedar shavings, and graphite.  Nothing smells like a pencil, and recalls to me the timeless experience of grade school.  The magic of childhood forever with us.  But what of APSCO, of Chicago, Illinois?  Ahh, stay tuned for Part II of this fascinating story . . .

The Fishing Reel APSCO imaged at the top of this article ended up in the same Dumpster® as the Revere Ware. Yet another planetary sharpener mechanismpiece of Americana inadvertently tossed on the rubbish heap!  Fortunately, the intrepid author was there for rescue, triage, research, and restoration. ***Cue heart-pounding triumphant music***  Uncle Curt, up there with Saint Peter threading another worm, smiles through a wreath of pipe smoke . . .

dixonticonderoga     wikipedia

1960’s PYREX Water Pitcher

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VENTURING BY GREEN fields of new rye through southern Delaware, I ponder way-points to make my trip more interesting, the foremost category being American Thrift Stores.  The more affluent the area, the better.  While Lower Delaware does not have the cachet of, say, Palm Beach, there are pockets of glitter amid the dust and monotony of farmland.  One such oasis is Rehoboth Beach.

Passing a strip mall designed for all shoppers, myself due for a break, I wheel into a parking spot, fortuitously coming to a stop in front of a large Thrift Store.  My quests for the right butter dish and perfect water pitcher continue!  More on the butter dish if I ever find it.  But the pitcher?  I want light weight – thin glass – and large enough to get my hand inside to clean in.

Why light weight?  A shoulder injury has made some routine chores more difficult.  A heavy clunky water pitcher extended at arm’s length can sometimes be a painful experience.  Besides, if it is going to sit on the counter, might it not be pleasing to the eye?

The Deal Of The Century was thus found: this Pyrex® pitcher in the Eames tradition.  Thin glass keeps the weight down, while the volume is a decent quart.  Perfect for a round of martinis on the deck!  Or, as is more often the case in my deckless abode, enough water to accompany a meal of spicy chili.  Two dollars it cost me!  An eBay replacement is about $50 delivered, if you can find one!