Blog Archives

Vintage writing instruments

Can you guess which writing instrument I am using to write this post? Yes, you are right. I imagine that you too are most likely to reach for your keyboard on keypad, as the case may be, whenever you need to write something. That does not mean that you …

Antique scientific instruments

Unless you are a physicist, geographer, astronomer or something similar, an old scientific instrument may mean nothing to you. That is, until you see an archaic contraption covered with green patina that your best friend has proudly displayed in the …

Chandeliers, beautiful and opulent

The term chandelier comes from chandelle, the French word meaning candle holder, which is derived from the Latin candelabrum. Sometime in the 14th century, someone had the brilliant idea to hang those candle holders from a ceiling... and the chandelier as …

Antique teaware: Japan

The Japanese inherited tea from the ancient empire of China. There the art of tea was already ages old, a gentle pleasure that ran back to antiquity. It is perhaps fitting that tea arrived in Japan in 805, the same century that saw the writing of the Cha …

Antique teaware: China

"A cup of tea is a cup of peace." Soshitsu Sen XV   Tea is for some a repast and for others a religion.  It entered history as a medicinal brew during the Han dynasty of China (206 BC–220 AD), although folk tales mention tea being drunk …

Picture postcards

Deltiology, the study and collecting of picture postcards, is thought to be third largest collecting hobby in the world.   Once upon a time, weary travellers knew that their first duty upon arriving at a destination was to buy a bunch of picture …

Royal Albert porcelain

The name Royal Albert brings to mind delicate tea cups that Victorians might have used. For a good reason: Victorians did use them.   If Thomas Wild and Co. wanted to win the favour of the upper British classes by naming their table and tea …

Royal Doulton porcelain

The secret of porcelain was closely guarded by the Chinese for generations. The method of its manufacture was highly coveted by Europe and when the Europeans finally learned the arcana of porcelain in the 18th century, a thriving industry immediately came …

Dreaming of Africana

Some may miss the hunt and driving hundreds of kilometres to visit crafts markets and small stores. However, most of us will welcome the opportunity to find antique, vintage, traditional or derived South African and African artefacts on …

Bottle openers and corkscrews for collectors

Collecting bottle openers and corkscrews has a lot going for it. It is an engrossing hobby; the exhibits can fit into a shoebox; and it can be enjoyed on a shoe-string budget.   The truth is that most people start collecting openers because they …