a Field of RUSTY Dreams…
Every Field of RUST begins the same way… with a metal item set aside because it might be valuable sometime. The first pieces are usually stored inside of a building but soon they ooze out like lava… not the clumpy nondescript kind of lava but in shapes that if you look carefully enough appear to be formerly useful items. The edges and surfaces of these pieces have been softened by time and rust until they have become a vision of their former selves.
The Dream is that someday I will restore this, or be able to use this in a restoration, or build something with this, or if I hold onto this long enough “someday it will be worth something”…
So there we were, hundreds of people, scouring through several acres of sheds, buildings, campers, trailers, trucks, cars and piles of good stuff in search of a treasure that someone had over looked. My son, Nick, and I showed up in the afternoon of Labor Day Monday, the third day of the sale and still filled up the back of his pick-up.
There are a number of ways to obtain inventory for an Antiques Shop. Many of them are frantic dashes through estate sales (when the doors open) or the frenzy of auctions where the auctioneer creates an atmosphere where you just react and bid without thinking.
Monday was an idyllic sunny warm Fall afternoon. People were just ambling about, poking here and poking there. The only real frenzy was when someone disturbed some bees by poking in a place that they might have avoided and then some quick stepping ensued.
While I can operate in the more fast paced purchasing situations, there was a calm comfort in the slower pace. People were stopping and talking to each other and giving each other a hand. The pace gave everyone an opportunity to look, ponder and consider what that unusual item might be and how it could be used.
I ran into a Shady Lawn regular, M. D. and her friend pulling a little red wagon piled high with treasures. The bottom layer was old locker room wire baskets, with croquet balls, gears, handles, small wooden boxes, pieces of trim and other interesting tidbits carefully stacked in and balanced on the baskets. M. was wearing bib overalls, a bright bandanna over her hair, a huge smile, and a light coating of dust and dirt everywhere. She was on a treasure hunt, on a warm day, with her good friend – how could life be any better?
The best find that Nick and I made was a late 1800′s Victorian Metal Storage or Drying Rack of some sort. A metal tag on it indicates that it was made by The T. B. Laycock MFG. CO. of Indianapolis, makers of beds, etc. The rack is six feet tall and is constructed like one of the old cast iron beds and has approximately the same foot print as a bed but has shelves spaced about a foot apart.
Nick spotted the ends of the rack leaning up against a fence and hidden by tree branches. “That’s cool Nick but it is worthless without the rails because it is obvious that bed rails are not interchangeable with this rack.” The thing that makes this the best find is that an hour later, one row over and four buildings down we found the rails (on the ground with a metal cook-stove lying on top of them).
Every person has an eye for different items and Nick was especially drawn to a bunch of early 1900′s Louden Barn hay loft pulleys. Nick is an Engineer and it is no surprise that he was attracted to the creative complex design, and the gears, pulleys and all around mechanical nature of these pulleys. You’ll become a fan of these pulleys too when you see them at Shady Lawn.
So what is the difference between these rusty pieces at an estate sale and these rusty pieces when they are taken to Shady Lawn? Well, we have power washed some, buffed some others on a wire wheel and will soon have all of them out for sale. We are not just keeping them because we might be able to use them someday.
Nick found three metal tractor seats at the sale. I said we already have four seats at Shady Lawn that we haven’t sold. “Dad, where are you going to find some more? They won’t cost us much when we put them in the pile with all of the rest of the stuff.” We bought them and then promptly sold all seven seats the next day to an out-of-town antique dealer. The antique business is an unpredictable business… you never know when the “someday it will be worth something” will actually be.
Has anyone seen a pile of rusty tractor seats lying about? Shady Lawn is totally out…