In our travels poking through shops and flea markets we have often come across unusual contraptions, sometimes the purpose of which are fairly obscure. In many instances these turn out to be among the gadgets intended for office use. In the explosion of technology from the mid 19th through early 20th centuries, there seems to have been a nearly endless variety of innovation attempting to make even the most mundane task easier and more efficient, not always successfully.
This site is dedicated to just such gadgets and implements with an emphasis on pencil sharpeners, many of which are barely even recognizable as such. Antique staplers seem to encompass nearly as wide a variety of forms and functions, while other sections of this site cover early attempts at copying text, the beginnings of a section on writing instruments, a page with a miscellany of other desktop utensils, and even a gallery of vintage photographs of offices.
This is among the best of the online museum we have come across. Well designed and easily navigable, with a wealth of interesting if obscure information. Even the commercial section of the site is useful as it clearly connects prices with the items offered.
What is it about Pez dispenser collectors and the Internet? Ebay owes its very origins to the obsessions of a Pez collector (it started as a way to sell and trade Pez stuff), and this is only one of nearly two hundred web pages, divided between two web rings, devoted to the displaying of collections (There is also apparently a common desire among Pez dispenser collectors to show off their collections.), trading items and information, and sharing creative methods of displaying these collectibles ranging from little dioramas to special display shelves.
The selection of this particular Pez site was essentially random. It was the first one we came across, and of the dozen or so we checked out it seemed the most extensive if not the most sophisticated. It includes both modern and vintage Pez paraphernalia (most collections seem to include both) and it is part of both Pez web rings so it provides links to just about everything Pez related on the Internet. You could literally spend HOURS checking them all out.
It has only been in the past fifteen or so years that cameras have become popular collectibles, and thanks to their durable nature, the fact that they were always valued, and, until the advent of the digital camera they had stayed basically the same for nearly a century, there are plenty of them out there. There are lots of camera sites out there as well, but this bilingual, German and English site is among the best we have found even though it focuses primarily on cameras of European origin.
There is a lot of information in this well designed site, including prices drawn from a number of sources, an interesting selection of features including an illustrated history of cameras for the beginner, a gallery of vintage photographs, extensive lists and pictures of European cameras, and an article about the site owners experience with a glass plate camera. Links to other camera sites round out this useful site and the humor section should provoke a chuckle from even those with no interest in cameras whatsoever.
Studium.com is a small but interesting e-zine (One of the pioneers we might add, begun in 1996) dedicated to the hobbyist (studium means hobby in latin). The focus is fairly narrow, reflecting as it does the interests of its founder and sole writer Dennis L Nowicki. Of the seven issues so far, coins and stamps are the most prevalent topics, but there are also features on such disparate subjects as collecting Sherlock Holmes related material and a diorama of the crash of a WW2 vintage plane (!).
Mr. Nowickiís editorials are interesting and thought provoking, covering a variety of subjects relevant to antiques and collecting. There are bits and pieces of information here for history buffs and collectors alike, and though the focus is narrow, certainly enough to make it worth checking out..
The prints of Currier & Ives have become such a staple of American culture and so widely reproduced, and many of us hardly even think of the actual 19th century origins of these images our past. The Currier & Ives Foundation, whose web site this is, will probably prove effective in addressing that. This would appear to be a relatively new site, but it is very well designed and quite informative.
The primary features are an historical profile of the publishers, a gallery of Currier & Ives images (not particularly extensive but hopefully this is only the beginning), and one of the most interesting features of the site, a section detailing the restoration of a print that we would have thought was beyond hope. Probably the most useful pert of the site for dealers and collectors is a detailed article about evaluating the authenticity of the prints which have been reproduced repeatedly since the 1930ís.