Write This Down

27 03 2017

According to this 1928 advertisement for Sheaffer’s writing implements, “It is easy to build for a day. It is difficult to build a thing that will withstand hard usage for unnumbered years.” Ergo, the selection of ancient Egyptian iconography for emphasis of this superior product boast – although, the Great Sphinx appears to have had reconstructive surgery and a genetic rewrite.

Scheaffer's pen ad-small


Toasty Toes

8 10 2013

Once upon a time, houses were heated by fireplaces.  But other technologies arose which became increasingly relied upon as primary sources of heat.  In particular, heating stoves were partnered with the fireplaces, which provided flues for the stove pipe to vent through, and protective hearths upon which the hot little stoves could be placed.  In order to deal with the aesthetic issue of a dark empty cavern looming behind the stove, fireplace inserts were fashioned from sheet metal – such as this example, which features a group of travellers pausing to rest at a desert oasis with the pyramids and Sphinx in the background.  The large circle is actually a hinged flap that hides the hole where the stovepipe is inserted, in the event that a stove is not present (they may have been moved to storage in the summer months). 

fireplace insert-large


24 03 2013

My name is Dr. Sphinx and I made this diorama for fun.  Also, to submit it to the 2013 Chicago Tribune Peeps Diorama Competition, because I missed it last year.  Funny story – there is NO 2013 competition!  Oh, the humanity. Apparently, between my lack of perception, and some Google cached information, I goofed.  Well I didn’t spend two late, late nights of cutting, measuring, and gluing not to toot my horn – so, *drumroll* I present to you: Cleopeeptra, the Temptress of the Nile!   

Looks like the only competition I won this year was the Dork Award.


Don’t Leave Home Without Them

29 10 2012

In 1891, the American Express Co. created the iconic, handy Travelers Cheque – a vast improvement to travel for thousands of intrepid globe trotters.  No need to waste valuable trip-planning hours deciding upon camel caravan or hired hands to haul your chests of gold.  No more need for security detail to prevent said chests from being plundered.  Best of all, the money saved in avoiding all those extra baggage fees means Wife can go shoe shopping ’til she drops.

Thanks, Claud Hatcher

9 05 2012

RC Cola – love it or hate it – is almost as old as the Egyptian pyramids.  (You can read the full history here).  I have a few items in my collection that represent several decades of this product.  The bottle, copyright 1936, is emblazoned with a jazzy red and yellow logo that for some reason depicts four pyramids.  A teenage Shirley Temple promotes RC from an advertising fan, c. 1944 – this may be the same time frame for the coupon.  Paramount star Wanda Hendrix assures us that RC is ‘best by taste-test’ on a calendar from 1950.  And last is a photograph of RC being bottled at the factory – I included a detail shot of the bottles.  Enjoy!

Like the Desert Sands Between Your Teeth

20 03 2012

Most things are older than you think.  Like Grape Nuts, which was invented in 1897.  They might not be as old as the pyramids, but they’re just about as rocky.  Make sure you soak them for a couple of days in plenty of milk, or your teeth might end up looking like the Sphinx’s.


Come Hither

26 11 2011

Not to state the obvious, but Egyptian themes lent themselves particularly well to the world of pin-up art.  Pictured here is “Egyptian Night” from the 1930s by popular artist Rolf Armstrong.  A blonde Cuacasian woman is set like a jewel amid rich decorative objects, with a stunning evening view of the Pyramids in the background.  Is she a trophy bride, or victim of the slave trade?  Relaxing in satisfied anticipation, or slumped in an opiate induced stupor?

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