Albert Mayer And Tobias Branger Storefronts, Davos, Switzerland

Carte-de-visite. Circa 1890s. Davos, Switzerland

Availability Status:  SOLD          Size:  4 and 1/16 x 2 and 7/16″

Circa 1890’s, Davos, Switzerland….

Here’s a carte-de-visite found at an antique shop on the Central Coast of California. And, it’s always a thrill to get a photo scanned to the computer (mentally rubbing hands together in anticipation of being hit with the wow factor, or the “hmmmmm factor”, which is just as good, or better, the intrigue, you know….which can then lead us to the wow factor. 😉 ) But, it can’t be stretching the point to say that each item anyone finds (or has, or looks at, or whatever) whether it’s a postcard, a photo, a trade card, a calling card, or some other enchanting piece of ephemera, likewise a piece of furniture, jewelry, etc., is like a key just waiting to open, or re-open, multiple doorways. Come to think about it everything has a history, even a scrap of paper lying on the ground outside….The contemplation of the history of everything is mind-blowing, which leads one to thinking about the inter-connectedness of everything and everyone, no doorways now, just like a billion times a billion, or better, infinity times infinity of criss-crossed links, well….really just oneness. (Is this how enlightenment happens for some, the contemplation of a piece of dust or a scrap of paper?)

Alpine air and wonderful shops

Davos, Switzerland, circa 1890s:  A street scene showing the Centralhof, (Central court) which is the tall building, (guessing this might have been an apartment building or hotel) and attached to the Centralhof a line of single-story shops; of these, the two store names that we can discern are, on the left, Albert Mayer Juwelier (Jewelry store) and on the right Tob. Branger. Click the image to enlarge and note at the top of the Branger window, there’s a phrase of some sort, the second word appears to be Voyage. The first word appears to start with an “A” so, maybe it was the poetic, l’Art du Voyage:  It turns out that Tobias (pronounced TOE-be-us) Branger and brother Johannes owned a shop specializing in, “…sporting equipment and ‘travelling utensils.’ ” 

All who wander…..

A little research explodes into lots of (snow-covered) paths to wander down…..Wow! Tobias Branger, thought to be the first professional ski instructor in the Alps…..he and brother Johannes teaching author Arthur Conan Doyle to ski….the history of Alpine skiing…..Doyle’s contribution to Davos as a winter sports destination….Davos’ history as a health resort for tuberculosis sufferers….the life of Louisa Doyle, Conan’s first wife…..Tobias’ “Norwegian snowshoes” (were they in the shop window at the time of the carte-de-visite photo?)….Alpine skiing with one pole….night skiing to avoid ridicule (I’m picturing the Brangers and other pioneers hanging out with today’s winter X sports pioneers and contributors – kindred spirits, for sure.) Wonderful articles online abound – see the links further below. And a question:  Is that Tobias and Johannes Branger posing outside their shop in the photo? A definite maybe. And though Tobias Branger and Conan Doyle are said to have looked remarkably alike, of the two, it would seem to be Tobias (on our left) in the image. See the comparison photos in In the Tracks of Sherlock Holmes, first link below.

Location confirmation

Backtracking a little, not being certain, at first, that the scene on our card was really Davos, we found mention of jeweler Albert Mayer, in the Dutch publication shown below, which is a guide for the treatment center for lung ailments and a travel guide. Description of some of the shops lists Mayer’s as having “the finest gold works, watches and rings,” and just to mention a couple more, a store selling Swiss wood carvings and (one can picture how the author of this booklet was charmed at finding) a flower shop with [Google translation from Dutch]  “the most robust little bouquets, even in winter when the trampled snow outside the shops is at least two feet high.”

In the Tracks of Sherlock Holmes

Davos –  the pioneer:  Winter tourism in the Alps

The Davos sledge:  A classic among sports equipment

Two Planks and a Passion

Teller of Tales:  The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle

More musings on the carte details….

Was there some occasion for this photograph, or was it just the occasion of a photographer taking a photo circa 1890s? Note the three people on the second story outdoor courtyard area of the Centralhof building, two ladies on the left and a man on the right. (This from inspection under a magnifying glass – feeling a little Sherlock Holmes-y, for sure….) Other details to note are the duffel-looking bags (maybe mail bags) in front of both Albert Mayer’s and the Brangers’ shop; the poster advertisement – a mustachioed man with epaulets pointing in the distance and young woman just below him, it’s maybe a company name advertised there (almost readable) ; the iron balconies of the Centralhof building; the beautiful horizontal stripe effect of the mason work on the shop fronts….

Sources:  Stashower, Daniel. Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle. Henry Holt & Co., 1999. Google Books accessed March 31, 2013.

Davos – the pioneer:  Winter tourism in the Alps. (www.davos.ch.) Accessed March 31, 2019.

The Davos sledge:  A classic among sports equipment. (www.davos.ch.) Accessed March 31, 2019.

Louisa Hawkins. The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia. (www.arthur-conan-doyle.com) Accessed March 31, 2019.

Huntford, Roland. Two Planks and a Passion: The Dramatic History of Skiing. Continuum UK, 2008. Google Books accessed March 31, 2013.

Rosenblatt, Albert and Julia. “In the Tracks of Sherlock Holmes.”  Skiing. February 1982. pp. 74-78. Google Books accessed March 31, 2013.

Andriessen, Willem Frederik. Davos: eene beschrijving van het leven in dit herstellingsoord voor borstlijders. Van Raven, 1888. p. 56. Google Books accessed March 31, 2013.

Shu-le-Crow Cottage, Keswick, England

Old photo, circa 1900, Penrith Road, near Station Street, Keswick, England.

Price:  $15.00          Size:  5 and 3/8 x 3 and 1/8″

Here’s a wonderful photograph, we’re estimating from around year 1900, showing Penrith Road near the intersection of Station Street, in the town of Keswick, which is situated in the Lake District of Northwest England. Prominent in the photo is Shu-le-Crow Cottage, and best of all, one of its occupants at the time, wrote a description on the back:

” ‘Shu – le – Crow Cottage’, Keswick, showing the oriel and front windows of our sitting room. Note the chimneys, characteristic of Scotland and England:  Junction of Penrith and Station roads at the right. House over 200 years Old, fire place in Kitchen with ovens and boiling places as old as house. Slate slab flooring – Very Quaint in side, each room.”

Click to enlarge the image to see the people posing on the door’s threshold. Above them, but pretty hard to make out, are the words, “Shu-le-Crow Cottage.” Happily, the “cottage” is not only still standing but still (as far as we can tell) displays its name above the door today. See the August 2016 Google map of the building in pink and street view.

Sources:  Craven, Jackie. “The Oriel Window – An Architectural Solution.” ThoughtCo, Jun. 22, 2018, thoughtco.com/what-is-an-oriel-window-177517.

“A5271 Keswick, England street view.” Google.com maps. August 2016.

An Old Outbuilding

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. Circa 1907 – 1910s.

Price:  $4.00    

Rural America….a glimpse back

This postcard’s pretty beat up but still, or probably partly because of that, I love it. I love the pattern in the wooden shingles on the face of the, what would one call this, big shed? (Guess that’s why outbuilding works so well 😉 ) Maybe it was used for storage, or was once a chicken coop, though no evidence of chickens at this time. If you click to enlarge, and look inside, you can see what looks like a patchwork quilt covering up something. I love the window that looks like it was thrown together (sorry to whoever built it) and the short boards underneath the one end to make it all somewhat level. (Was it built that way or shored up later after heavy rains?) And last but not least, the young woman, laughing, the little girl with her toy wheeled cart, and their dog (caught in the middle of a bark or a yawn.) It’s a happy photo, and a glimpse back a hundred years or so, of life on the farm.

Country Meets City

Undivided back, used postcard. Postmarked March 26, 1908 from Chesaning, Michigan. Publisher:  E. B. & E. Co.

Price:  $7.00

A slightly comical card of an illustrated older couple, maybe they live in the country or city outskirts, and have come to downtown Detroit. Within their outline is a photo (slightly distorted probably to fit in the frame, in a fun-house type of way 😉 check out the tower) of the old Federal Building and Post Office at the Northwestern corner of Shelby and W. Fort streets.

Addressed to:   “Mrs. Floyd Walworth, Fergus, Michigan”

Where is Fergus?

Fergus, Michigan is a “locale” located north of Chesaning, in St. Charles Township, Saginaw County, in the vicinity of Fergus and McKeighan roads (purple marker on map below). It was a station on the Michigan Central Railroad and had a post office that closed in 1933.

The sender writes:   “Josiah and Samantha are both recovering from their colds. Hope to be able to go sight seeing soon. This is not very warm weather but expect better some time. Are you well? Lovingly Aunt Minnie.”

Floyd and Myrtle

Without a doubt (we got thrown off track at first by another possibility) the recipient of this postcard was Myrtle G. Spencer, daughter of G. H. Spencer and Emma Burrows, who had married Floyd E. Walworth on August 1, 1907 in Corunna, Saginaw County, MI. Myrtle was about age 22 when she married Floyd, but was first married to John R. Wegert (June 18, 1902 in St. Charles, MI). Floyd was about age 29 at the time of marriage and both he and his bride were residents of Fergus, MI and native Michiganders. His parents were Matthew Walworth and Lucy Merrill. Floyd’s occupation was live stock shipper and Myrtle’s was music teacher.

Aunt Minnie, a mystery

The sender of this card, Aunt Minnie, was not yet found in records. She mentions family members Josiah and Samantha, names which we expected would jump out at us from old records, but no; a more time-consuming search would be needed as far as who’s who for Myrtle or Floyd’s possible aunts.

Publisher i.d.

Last but not least, according to Publishers’ Trademarks Identified by Walter E. Corson, the postcard publisher E. B. & E. Company was Ely, Boynton & Ely of Detroit.

Sources:  Austin, Dan. “Federal Building.” historicdetroit.org. (accessed September 15, 2018).

St. Charles Township, Michigan. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Charles_Township,_Michigan (accessed September 9, 2018).

Chesaning. Google Maps. google.com (accessed September 9, 2018).

“Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NQQ4-2ZB : 9 July 2018), John R. Wegert and Myrtle G. Spencer, 1902.

Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 93; Film Description: 1907 Montcalm – 1907 Wayne.

Corson, Walter E. Publishers’ Trademarks Identified. Ed. James Lewis Lowe. Norwood, PA:  1993. (print).

Blomberg Property, Kinnekulle, Sweden

Undivided Back, used postcard. Postmarked February 13, 1905 from New York, NY. Publisher:  Axel Eliassons Konstforlag, Stockholm, Sweden. No. 3561.

Price:  $10.00

Addressed to:   “Mrs. O. Thunstrom, 288 Flushing Ave., Astoria, L. I.”

“N. Y., den 12 febr. 1905. 

 Jag kommer till om frelag, för att stanna 10 dagar har nu lofvat [lovat] att stanna här, och det är ej utan att jag är ledsen deröfver [däröver] i alla fall, men det får väl gå för en tid. Hoppas att ni alla mår godt, stora och små. Vidare när jag kommer!  Många hälsningar, August.” 

The adverb deröfver, according to Wiktionary, is an obsolete spelling of däröver. Below, a translation from online sources. We’ll try to get a better one, shortly:

“I’m coming to you on Friday, to stay 10 days now have now promised to stay here, and it’s not without I’m sorry for anyway, but it may be a while. Hope you are all good, big and small. More when I arrive! Many greetings, August.”

Blomberg Säteri

From the above link, Blomberg Manor is beautifully described as being located  “…on the flowering mountain Kinnekulle on Lake Vänern.”  (Google translation coming up very poetic – no doubt from the Swedish!) The first-known original proprietor was from the early Middle Ages, an Olof Skötkonung of Blomberg. As to be imagined, since then the estate has passed through a variety of hands (bishop, priest, statesmen, noblemen, captain) and uses (dairy, lime mortar, grinding mill, sawmill, distillery). Today it is proudly owned by the Jönsson Family, and is an  “ecologically driven farm in regards to agriculture and meat production”  per quick web translations.

Sources:  deröfver. n.d. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/der%C3%B6fver (accessed April 30, 2017).

Blomberg Säteri. (blombergsäteri.se.) Accessed April 30, 2017.

The Arcade

The Arcade pc1The Arcade pc2

With wonderful memories of summer

This one was going to be put up directly after the recent Coney Island post, but something got lost in translation, lost in the shuffle, there was some interruption to the thought process or just brain fade maybe 😉 But it’s a beauty, isn’t it? A little sad perhaps, with that end of summer feel to it. On the other hand, maybe the arcade is happy to have a well-deserved rest and some peace and quiet. In any case, the building has a half-timbered style facade (around it’s entirety we assume) diamond-pattern window panes above, and a large, fan-style window over the double doors. What exactly did the arcade house during the season?

Well, what exactly is an arcade?

The word arcade comes from the Latin “arcus” which means arc or bow. And the definition generally describes a covered passageway that houses shops, with arches along both sides. But in modern times we probably think of a game arcade or a cantina housing food concession stands and perhaps souvenirs. If you look closely you can see two wooden oblong objects, each ending in a box shape that juts out, one attached at each side of the double doors. What were these used for – to contain the list of tenants that rented the selling space every year?

A definite artist

It’s also interesting that someone, with a quite steady hand, filled in the roof with pencil, taking care to outline the roof vent, and even drawing in a little something to show grass or weeds at the base of the utility pole.

The birch

As to the location, there is a small stand of birches to the left of the pole, indicating that this photo was probably taken in one of the northern U.S. states, as birches are prevalent in the Northern Hemisphere of the planet. They are considered a “pioneer” species that show up after a forest is clear-cut or after a fire.

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. Cyko stamp box. Circa 1907 – 1920s.

Price:  $15.00

Sources:  arcade. [http://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/arcade] Accessed September 9,  2015.

Where do birch trees grow? [http://www.ask.com/home-garden/birch-trees-grow-fc33b08d46570b5f] Accessed September 9, 2015.

Real Photo Postcard Stamp Boxes. Playle.com. [http://www.playle.com/realphoto/photoc.php] Accessed September 9, 2015.

Chapman & Smith Company, Chicago, Illinois

Chapman-and-Smith-watermark-and-resized

Advertisement for Chapman & Smith Co., Chicago, Illinois. Circa 1878 – 1890s.

Price:  $15.00             Size:  6 x 5 and 7/8″

This is something someone must have cut out of a newspaper, magazine, maybe a city directory or maybe even the company’s catalog, and glued onto cardboard, unless possibly the company was giving away rather large trade cards? This drawing is 5 and 7/8 inches high and 6 inches long. The purple background was used when the ad was scanned, and not part of the original. Anyway, it shows a drawing of the building for the Chapman & Smith Company. According to their 1899 catalog, they were established in 1878 and incorporated in 1887. The same 1899 catalog stated they sold,   “All kinds of supplies for bakers, confectioners, ice cream makers, caterers, hotels, restaurants, etc.” and were the “Pioneer Supply House of the West.”  This catalog is online (text only) and is a fascinating look back at what was available and popular at the turn of the 19th century in the world of baking. Here are some examples:

Candy crimpers, popcorn ball presses, Stone’s wax straws, julep strainers, cleaned currants from Greece, cleaned again by Chapman & Smith (the absolute cleanest – no dirt!) Turban cake molds, a Maricabo Coffee or Tea Urn (which contained a stone reservoir and lid to keep in the essence and flavor), Quaker bread pans, Boston Brown Bread flour and pans, Hick’s buttercup cutters, New England brand jam, Chapman and Smith jams and marmalade (blueberry, fig plum, pineapple…), all kinds of nuts (English, Grenoble and French walnuts, Canary almonds…), extra fine sugar jelly, New Orleans molasses, Acme (yes, Acme!) lemon squeezers, Jamaican and African ginger, Dutch caraway, etc.

The address for Chapman & Smith from the 1899 catalog is given as:  185-187 W. Randolph St., Chicago, IL but they moved at some point in or before 1910, to 1017 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago, IL, since at the new address in 1910 they were granted the right by the Chicago City Council to construct and maintain a canopy over their sidewalk. This drawing was definitely of the 185-187 Randolph St. address, as you’ll notice the street numbers before and after their name on the front of the building.

Sources:  Internet Archive (archive.org) showing the full catalog text.

Journal of the Proceedings of the City Council – Issue 1 – page 1644. Chicago 1910.