Friday Five

I thought it would be fun to do a “throwback” Friday Five. My neighborhood was built mostly from the 1880s to 1930s, so there are plenty of things that aren’t used any more but no one has gotten around to getting rid of. Here are some shots that harken bygone days and seem rather quaint now.

1. You can still find signs like these around the neighborhood. When I was a kid we practiced hiding under our desks in case of a nuclear bomb. Surely, that would have worked well.

2.  Glass doorknobs like this one in my apartment became popular during WWI because metal was needed for the war effort. They remained in vogue during the 1920s when my apartment building was built. Most of the glass knobs were clear, but if you happen to have one in another color, especially cobalt blue, give Antiques Roadshow a call.

3. Ok, I tried to get fancy with the photo editing here. This “waste” pipe is no longer operational, but I believe it was used to drain the bathtub. The knob is a plunger that would be lifted when you wanted to release the water. Can anyone confirm that?

4. It pays to pay attention around here. This is a rain gutter mounted to the outside of someone’s house to whisk water off the roof. It’s copper and you can see how it has oxidized over the years. It won’t be long before it’s changed entirely to green. Check out the intricacy of the brackets. Much more elegant than the fiberglass ones common today and also much more expensive.

5. This is a cold box built right into the thick walls of my kitchen. These were fairly common in cities before refrigerators. People in small apartments didn’t have room for a standard “ice box” which could be as large as a chest of drawers, so a cold box was recessed into the wall. It pretty much lives up to the advertising. It’s a metal box where you could store items that you wanted to keep cold. In the winter the cold outside air would help food fresh. There doesn’t seem to be a drain so I don’t think they used this as a traditional ice chest. I have no idea what people did in the summer.

The cold box has a little door to access the food inside.

Open sesame. Inside the cold box is a metal lined insert into the outside wall where you would store food. Thank goodness there were no critters inside when I opened the door.

Do you have any throwbacks in your neighborhood or home?

Have a great weekend! 

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31 comments

  1. I love these. The first one is quite creepy. I really like the door knob.
    That cold box fascinates me a lot.
    The house we live in is from the 1930s, pretty young considering I live in an older part of the town in which some houses date back to the Middle Ages. I guess there must be things like this, out of use elements that are very dated. I will start to watch out for them.
    One thing I found is this photo
    http://www.fotocommunity.de/pc/pc/display/17435424
    They have replaced almost all of these old street lamps but some are still there. This one isn’t far from where I live, near the river Rhine. I didn’t take the photo but I thought it’s a nice one.

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    1. It’s funny that what we consider “old” here in the US is really quite young to the rest of the world.
      I love the photo of the street lamp. It makes me wonder about the people who passed beneath its light for decades.

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    1. It is a neat pre-war building. Not as cool as the traditional brownstones of course.
      Though I bet your building isn’t as drafty… 🙂

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  2. I love these, Jackie. I remember my apartments in the city always had the old built-in hampers in the bathrooms. I always cherished them.

    One of the things I love most about historic architecture is the detailing. The joinery in the old beams, the hardware. Stuff that can be easily missed but is so rich in beauty and design.

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    1. Your comment about the built-in hamper just reminded me that I had one in my previous apartment. It was pink by design of the original owner. 🙂

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    1. I find it so interesting to think how people lived without the modern conveniences we have today like refrigeration or, in your husband’s grandfather’s case, plumbing. It kind of keeps us connected to them in some way.

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  3. I love the glass doorknobs — I still have a couple of them from an apartment I lived in when I was in college (they were demolishing the building). My current house has lots of old stuff (built in 1895), but I think one of my favorite things is the “antique bleeding heart” plants that are in one garden bed. They are delicate, beautiful flowers probably planted by one of the first house owners. And I love that they are still here!

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    1. I know the ones you mean – those little flowers are so pretty, the way they dangle off the stem. What a lovely legacy that they’ve kept coming back year after year. And you must certainly have a green thumb. I hate to tell you what would have happened to them if they’d been left under my charge.

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  4. Your Friday fives are always so good, Jackie!
    I lived in a Victorian house in Martinez, California that had a clawfoot tub, glass door knobs (clear) and a cold cupboard. We were fascinated by the cold cupboard. It had wood slats for the bottom and let the cool air from beneath the house chill whatever was stored there.
    One of the most lushly blooming, beautiful red rose bushes I’ve ever seen grew out back…in the filled in outhouse pit. 🙂
    We found many tiny, colored glass medicine bottles around the garden and had them lined up on the kitchen window ledge.
    I loved that house and sometimes wonder if it is still standing. I sure hope so!!

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    1. Those rose bushes must be the happiest plants in Martinez, California!
      I’d never heard of a cold cupboard, but it sounds like much the same concept as the cold box in my kitchen. I guess people had to get creative to keep their food fresh.
      I hope that old house is still there also and that the new owners appreciate those wonderful details as much as you did.

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  5. Your post really did have a SIG nature to it. I’m certain he’d have a field day in your apartment. Um, not THAT kind of field day.

    Your pictures make me a little sad. Living in GA there is little history still standing, thanks to Sherman. I never really paid attention to the loss of history until I was older was aware of visits to my Aunt and Uncle’s place outside Boston. And, when I traveled to London and found ‘truly’ old things, well – it made me sad that Sherman burned the south. So much history up in flames. What a shame.

    Love the door knobs. My grandmother had those kinds of doorknobs. (She lived on Westwood, MA.)

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    1. Lenore, I know what you mean. When I lived in Atlanta, it was tough to find any historical buildings. The apartment I lived in was built in the 1980s. Fifty years from now someone will move in to that place and think that those gold-trimmed closet mirror doors are so quaint. 🙂 LOL

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  6. What a wonderful post, jacquelin … such cherished things from the past when workmanship was so skilled and things were made to last, and made with so much thought and care. I love the glass doorknob especially.
    Thanks for sharing
    Sunshine xx

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    1. Me too, Sunshine! The doorknobs just make the whole apartment sparkle. There are so many details like the carving on the moldings around the doors which are solid wood that I find remarkable.

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  7. In the South we don`t have basements because the walls cave in. However, we did have one in our house with dirt walls which was used to keep things cold-Which is a relative term when the outside temp is over 100…We also had transom windows at the top of the doors to let the air move through the house. Obviously before AC and any air movement is better than none!

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    1. Yes! Those transom windows are neat, especially when they have stained glass
      Did you ever have a sleeping porch? I think that those were used before AC too.

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    1. Me, too. It’s like they have their own personalities. I think my building is a grumpy old man. 🙂
      Thanks so much for stopping by Tori!

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  8. I love the details in an old home/building! Ours is 100 years old. I’ll admit that I have a love hate relationship with it. I love all the charm, but I’m not a fan of the maintenance. I love the stained glass windows, the built in bookcases, and ornate radiators. I hate the small closets, drafty windows and lead paint. Great post, Jacquelin!

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    1. That’s an accurate description – a love/hate relationship. The drafts. Oh, the drafts. And the plaster walls. And the wiring that needs to be brough up to code. And…you get the point.

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  9. yep, that waste pipe drains the water from the tub. it was my favorite detail of an apartment i once had on east 7th street in manhattan. which also had cut glass doorknobs! my new apartment in brooklyn has a cold box. i was looking for info about it, which is how i ended up here.

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    1. I love all the little details like this that I’ve found in my apartment. With the winter we’ve had this year, I bet food would stay fresh in the cold box for weeks.
      The glass doorknobs and giant metal keyholes are my favorite though.

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    1. I think the spam filter must have gotten it, but I checked the spam folder and there’s no message from you there. The system deletes messages after 30 days. I should check the folder regularly just in case. So sorry about that, but thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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