December
2003 Issue

Compiled by
Mike McLeod

 The editorial staff at the Journal of Antiques and Collectibles would like to welcome our new Website-ings contributor, Mike McLeod. Mike McLeod is a writer living outside Atlanta who is too old to surf the internet, but enjoys taking a walk on the web.


One of the first Pez containers ever made, this dispenser is still in mint condition. (Photo courtesy, www.pez.noxqcez.com)

A Passion for Pez     Pez Land:   Pezians:   Official Website:

www.dhc.net/~mjackson/pez/ 

www.pezians.com/home.html

www.pez.com/

               If you (like Jerry Seinfeld) have a thing for Pez, then you need to visit Pez Land. There, you will learn Pez factoids, like  “Over 1 billion PEZ Candies are consumed annually in the U.S.A.” Makes your fillings hurt just reading that, doesn’t it?

            This dandy candy was actually created by Eduard Haas III in Vienna in 1927 and then sold in America in 1952. The name Pez, as the Pezians website will tell you, was derived from the German word “Pfefferminz,” which means for peppermint.

            But we all know it is not the candy that is the attraction to collectors. It is those crazy dispensers. They have been a hot item for decades. I recently visited the headquarters of eBay, and in the reception area of the Collectibles Building is a wall display of 121 Pez containers. And that is not a big collection for a real Pez collector.

            Other sites offer a wealth of Pez-related tidbits, newsletters, and links to books. From the Pezians website, you can send a Pez postcard. You can also learn that there are 19 flavors of Pez, including menthol, flower, coffee, and eucalyptus — which perhaps not surprisingly are no longer in production. At Pez Land, you can keep current on new dispensers, such as the new Bugz line, and hear rumors of new ones (among them a Smiley Face Pez in Wal-mart and a revised Spiderman coming to Australia). Under its “Dispensers” button, Pez Land also has a great gallery of hundreds of dispensers, many with the years of manufacture and photos.

            The official Pez website is also a good place to begin researching a collection. There, you can find photos of other collectors and their collections, as well as find out which retail chains sell Pez (just about all the majors). Clearly, on the Internet, there is plenty of Pez for everybody.

            


A 1939 New York World's Fair spoon.

Souvenir Spoons Museum

www.geocities.com/souvenirspoons

            Do you never get your fill of souvenir spoons? Well, even if you have, this is a wonderful site with photos of hundreds of antique and vintage silver spoons. In addition, there is information on spoon pricing, a forum for discussion, and a search function for finding a particular spoon by type, place, or subject.

            Here you will learn that the Salem Witch spoon “is credited with launching the entire souvenir spoon movement in the United States. The Witch Spoon was created by Daniel Low, a jeweler in Salem, Massachusetts, after he returned home from a German vacation where he had noticed ‘odd and unusual’ souvenir spoons being sold.”

            The variety of spoons and photos on this site is astounding: Apostle spoons (some date to the 16th and 17th centuries), funeral/mourning spoons (given as remembrances of the deceased; the practice originated in the Victorian era), battleship spoons, Berlin Airlift commemoration spoons, coin spoons, famous places and people spoons, Napoleon spoons, Queen Victoria spoons, Hummel spoons, Judaica spoons, and on and on. This site can inspire you to become a collector.

 


Dr. Hudson stands outside the Crypt of Civilization

The Crypt of Civilization

www.oglethorpe.edu/about_us/crypt_of_civilization/
(or  www.oglethorpe.edu and then search “time capsule”)

                In a converted, underground swimming pool on the campus of Oglethorpe University in Atlanta is hidden one of the most unusual and comprehensive collections of all time. “The Crypt of Civilization” was the dream of Dr. Thornwell Jacobs, who attempted to preserve a snapshot of humankind’s knowledge and experiences up to the year 1936 and seal it away for future generations. I mean, really future generations —the Crypt is not due to be opened until the year 8133.

            Jacobs’ time capsule holds more than 800 reference, technical, religious and fiction books (including a signed, first edition of Gone With The Wind with its original dust jacket), vintage toys, tools, dolls, and films of great men and women of the world. Voice recordings of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Chamberlain, and Roosevelt are also in the Crypt. (It seems Jacobs had a sense of humor because he included recordings of Popeye and a champion hog caller.)

            If electricity should become a thing of the past by then, a small generator operated by a windmill was included for powering micro-readers and projectors. Like an Egyptian tomb, the walls of the Crypt feature hieroglyphic-like drawings that portray the progression of knowledge up to 1936. One graphic represents the evolution of the use of light from fire to lanterns to the electric light bulb, and lastly, neon lights, which were very popular in the 1930s. The latest means of communication portrayed is the radio tower.

            Jacobs also preserved common, everyday items that will probably be a mystery to the people of 8113: Budweiser beer (in a specially-sealed container), a plastic ash tray, a vanity makeup mirror with light, a plastic savings bank, a cigarette holder and lighter, aluminum foil, an electric iron, a plastic drinking glass holder, a Schick Electric Razor, dress patterns, pencils, a slide rule (with instructions), crayons, a plastic ruler, corks, soap, hair pins and a hair net, costume jewelry, ladies’ stockings, razor blades, a shaving brush, lipstick, rouge, an eyelash curler, hair curlers, a tooth brush and floss, tweezers, artificial finger nails, artificial eyelashes, playing cards, combs, shoe laces, dice, a thimble and needles, fish hooks and a June bug spinner, a pocket knife, Vaseline, a plastic salt and pepper shaker set, a golf ball, and a couple of thousand other things. Photos and a complete history of the Crypt can be found on the website.

     


“Toy Story” brought Mr. Potato Head back into the public eye.

(Photo courtesy, www.mrpotatohead.net.)

The Formidable Mr. Potato Head

www.mrpotatohead.net

http://winnie.acsu.buffalo.edu/potatoe/

www.mrpotatohead.com

              The 50th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head should not pass without proper notice. (It is Mr. Potato Head’s 51st birthday this year: it goes without saying that he and the missus were married when Mr. Potato Head was just one year old.) So cheers to the happy couple and their golden anniversary.

            After a slight slump, the movie, Toy Story, rejuvenated the old spud, and today the number of Mr. Potato Head sites is growing. Hasbro, the current owner of Mr. Potato Head, maintains the official site (www.mrpotatohead.com), which includes a history of the toy, a daily Mr. Potato Head comic strip, news, FAQs (how do I get a replacement part?”) and where to buy him.

            Mr. Potato Head was reportedly the first toy advertised on television, and his appeal has a nostalgic edge that goes far beyond adding legs and arms to a potato. One of the most in-depth sites (www.mrpotatohead.net) offers toys, photos, and books. Click on “Around the World” to see photos of Mr. Head taken worldwide. On these pages you will learn that Mr. P.H. has all kinds of friends—Cooky Cucumber, Katie the Carrot, Pete the Pepper, Oscar Orange, Franky Frank with Mr. Mustard Head, and Frenchy Fry with Mr. Soda Pop Head, just to name a few.

 

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