the stamp factory

News of a new limited edition Traveler’s Notebook release from Traveler’s Factory FB page.  I absolutely love it the gold stamp on the cover and the other items. So very pretty. 

4月27日、東京駅グランスタ丸の内にオープンするトラベラーズファクトリー ステーション。

TRAVELER’S FACTORY STATION will be open at Gransta Marunouchi in Tokyo Station will open on April 27. We would like inform Limited items for the new shop. Get ready for great things as TRAVELER’S FACTORY embarks on a new journey in Tokyo Station!

Cr: Traveler’s Factory. 


Crested Echeveria ramillette in mid-century Italian marbled pot

This was my ribbon winning plant at the SFSCS show this year. The recent photo (top) shows about five months of additional growth (July 2017). The plant was purchased from at one of our monthly meetings last year, and potted in September 2016.

I did a lot of research on the pot, which has a mid-century looking factory stamp “Made Italy” on the bottom. There is an 18th-century process called “agateware”, and another more modern one called “marbled slipware” (the later seems to only apply to flat pieces). I think this may be a mass produced imitation of those. Honestly, it has me a bit stumped, but the swirled shapes of the marbling were evocative of the patterns that develop from the cresting, so it seemed like a good fit.

I hadn’t done the topping stone when I took most of the photos, so here’s a closeup. Aventurine, Ruby in Zoisite, Moss Agate, and Gem Serpentine. 


The Ethiopian Mauser — The Ethiopian contract Model 33 short rifle

Ethiopia has a proud history of being one of the few nations in Africa to have never been occupied by a foreign power.  In fact, Ethiopian sovereignty can be traced back to ancient biblical times. To fend off European colonial powers, Ethiopia needed the best in arms that was offered at an economical price.  During the 1930’s, the rifle of choice was the Mauser rifle, invented in Germany and manufactured all over the world.  In 1933 the Ethiopian Government contracted with Mauser Works to purchase an order of Mauser Standard Modell bolt action rifles.  The Mauser Standard Modell was a rifle produced by Mauser purely for export purposes, and would serve as the direct forerunner of the German KAR98k bolt action rifle, which would become the standard service arm of the German Army during World War II. The Ethiopian contract rifles were stamped 1933, thus they were known as the Ethiopian Model 33 short rifle.  All Model 33's were factory stamped with the Ethiopian crest on the top of the receiver, which included the initials of Emperor Haile Selassie, as well as the “Lion of Judah” marked on the side of the receiver. The Mauser company logo was featured on the rear of the bolt.

The Ethiopian Mauser would see action when in 1935 Italian forces under Benito Mussolini invaded, kicking off what is now called the Second Italo-Ethiopian War.  While the Ethiopians greatly outnumbered Italian forces, they lacked aircraft, tanks, and artillery, while their Italian opponents were well equipped for modern warfare. There were also not nearly enough Model 33 rifles to arm the entire Ethiopian Army, thus they had to make due with whatever they had; a wide variety of small arms from around the world with different calibers. Despite the  exceptional bravery of Ethiopia’s finest, the ancient kingdom could not withstand the assault of a modern industrialized military.  Ethiopia suffered losses that number in the hundreds of thousands, especially after the Italians began using poison gas, illegal under the Geneva Convention.

While Ethiopia had been beaten, it was not defeated.  Armed resistance groups sprang up all over the country, severely mauling the Italian occupiers.  Furthermore, the Italian Army began suffering the effects of African diseases.  In 1941 Ethiopian freedom fighters, with the assistance of British troops, removed the Italian occupiers from Ethiopia.


The Colt 1911 Russian Contract,

While the United States did not take part in World War I until the final years of the war, it had little qualms making big bucks supplying arms to the Allied powers.  One lucrative customer was Russia, who constantly needed numerous amount of arms, ammunition, and supplies in the fight against Germany.  Between 1916 to 1917 the Russian government purchased 66,000 American Colt 1911 semi automatic pistols.  The pistols were standard Colt 1911 commercial models, chambered in .45 acp and marked with standard Colt factory stampings.  Its only identifying feature is the small Cyrilic marking "ANGL. ZAKAZY", located on the frame under the slide and roughly translating as “English Order”.  The pistols were not sold directly, but instead shipped to Britain, then shipped to Russia.  Russian contract serial numbers range from C23,000 - C89,000.  These pistols were never exported back to the United States, and thus are extremely rare.  The example pictured above sold for $19,000.


Art Under the Microscope: Brass

J. Paul Getty bought this cabinet in 1971 against the advice of his curators, who did not think it was genuine. 

The cabinet was in suspiciously pristine condition and the surface was coated with colored wax, suggesting that someone had tried to make it look older than it really was. Experts at that time concluded that the cabinet was a product of the Renaissance Revival of the 19th century, when American industrial magnates snapped up Renaissance-style furniture, including many fakes, from cash-strapped European aristocrats. 

So, was it a fake or not?

This microscopic image, taken in 2002, helped prove authenticity of a cabinet that many people thought was a fake ever since J. Paul Getty purchased it for a mere $1,700.

This image shows the crystalline structure of a brass tack used to attach a silk lining fabric on the interior of the cabinet. The pattern indicates that the metal was cast into shape. A 19th century copy would have been stamped out in a factory, not cast by hand.

More on the study of this mystery cabinet here.

Art Under the Microscope is a series that features, well, art under the microscope, as photographed by our conservators to better study and preserve our collections.


1892 Martin 2-20 at Folkway Music in Waterloo, Canada, near Toronto.

This thing was tiny and just incredible. As I said in my Instagram post…

“Here is a sobering thought. There are 7 billion human beings on earth, and not a single one of them was born yet when a craftsperson at the #NorthStreet factory stamped “#CF #Martin & Co” on the back brace of this incredible, 123 year old, 1892 (yes…EIGHTEEN ninety two!) Martin 2-20.I made a specific trip out to see this tiny little guitar, which is currently for sale at @folkwaymusic in #Waterloo, Canada. And it did not disappoint. It’s only slightly larger than a big #ukulele, and yet it sounded rich and full and amazingly articulate. I cannot tell you how holding this #guitar gave me an unnerving sense of the vastness of time…and my miniscule, insignificant place in it. When it was made, the Wright brothers would not fly for another 11 years. Arch Duke Ferdinand was 22 years away from being assassinated by Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo. Benjamin Harrison was president. Queen Victoria still had a decade left on the British throne. Picasso was still painting realistically for God’s sake! ;)”

#vintageguitars #vintagemartins#acousticguitars #parlor #parlorguitars#antiqueguitars #smallguitars #history