Miller's Old Stuff on Ebay
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Ron & Donna Miller - Publishers

Practical Hair Dryer Used Blender Motor

The electric hair dryer is the result of the unlikely marriage between the vacuum cleaner and the blender. It originated in Racine, Wisconsin,

Early advertisements for vacuum cleaners followed the general tendency to promote multiple uses for a single appliance. An early advertisement for the Pneumatic Cleaner showed a woman drying her hair with the hose connected to the vacuum cleaner’s exhaust. However, this was not practical for many women - it was just too big.

Then came the blender. It was first manufactured in Racine, Wisconsin, and the important thing it offered for the electric hair dryer was a small-sized motor. Hamilton Beach and the Racine Universal Motor Company, both based in Racine, came out with electric hair dryers using this small motor in 1920.

It was large, awkward and heavy, but it was certainly an improvement over blow-drying the hair with a vacuum cleaner.

Improvements and modifications came quickly. One of the most momentous was introduced in the Sears Roebuck & Co. catalog in 1951. For just $12.95, one could buy a hair dryer with a pink plastic bonnet that connected directly to the blower and fit over a woman’s head. Remember?

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Trade Catalogs Valuable Research Tool

Trade catalogs are an interesting part of Americana. They may be collected in their own right or as adjuncts to other collections.

Trade catalogs were not produced in any quantity until the 1850s. Prior to that, a few manufacturers, such as button makers and clockmakers, made up trade lists.

The first ones were usually distributors’ or jobbers’ catalogs, since very few manufacturers had enough inventory to advertise to the general public. By 1876, however, there were large numbers of catalogs for specific items available.

The most valuable catalogs to the collector are those dealing with things collected today: pictures, such as Currier & Ives; glass, pottery, china, stoves, buttons, lamps, weather vanes, watches, butter molds, kitchen utensils, toys and so on. They are extremely helpful for dating and identifying objects from chairs to firearms.

In addition to being valuable research aids, many contain works of art with quality lithography or engravings.

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French Pottery Has Long History

A plate showing a typical Quimper peasant design.
A plate showing a typical Quimper peasant design.

Three hundred years ago, a charming cottage industry started in the French town of Quimper (pronounced kem-pear.) Clay was abundant and the colorful, informal peasant designs used on the earthenware pieces combined to give a product that was enjoyed then and is still being made and enjoyed today.

The most common design is of two French peasants, a man and woman, facing each other. They are dressed in traditional garments.

Floral designs, farm animals and folklore motifs have also been used.

Since the ware was, and still is, decorated by hand, complete standardization is impossible. The varying shades and irregularities in design are part of the appeal.

For almost the entire three centuries, the leading companies have been Jules Henriot et Fils and Faienceries Bretonne de la Grande Maison H-B. Both have always marked their pieces clearly, using an underglaze blue Henriot or H-B., along with Quimper. Since 1891, France has been added.

Quimper pottery is a tin-glazed earthenware, or faience, which makes it comparable to the delftware and majolica being produced in other countries during the same period of time.

Quimper Pottery, by Adela Meadows, (Schiffer Publishing) is a suggested reference book for this style of pottery.

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