Thursday, August 19, 2010


There seem to be trends in what has been showing up at Goodwill lately. Even the website appears to confirm this. For instance, one of the random things I've bought lately are some mismatched Homer Laughlin dishes in patterns & shapes that were discontinued in the late 1950's. I bought these locally, only to see the exact pattern going on auction the same day.

One thing seems consistent, the 50's and 70's and 90's seem like the decades people want rid of the most right now. I'm sure there are plenty of of 60's and 80's being stuck in for good measure, but this does not seem like the bulk of what I've personally spotted.

For one thing, good lord at the Avon bottles and Beanie Babies. Resisting the beanies is easy, but the Avon bottles really-really depend on what they are. Especially the ones I caved on. I bought not just one, but two different owls, both filled with forms of Avon Moonwind. I'm not sure if I'm just weird, lucky or my smeller is broken, but the scent is still actually quite pleasant to me. I would go so far as to say I might order a bottle just to have a version of it that is new and less intimidating, if it wasn't one of those scents that has long since been discontinued.

No offense to those who rock the older colognes. I just have a suspicion that if I even so much as tried it, I'd break out into chicken pox-looking hives.

The types of dishes I've seen though, well, they sorta break my heart a little bit. The Homer Laughlin ones I mentioned earlier are both shapes and styles that from what I read ran from 1949-1959. One is rhythm, Lotus Hai pattern. The other is duraprint, Highland Plaid pattern. I believe they are both 'charm' shape.

These terms are still confusing to me and I've yet to really research them, so forgive me for mentioning it before I really know what I'm talking about.

At any rate, I just get a bit sad sometimes by the Goodwill fare. Chances are good that these dishes were acquired when they were new, and they were probably relatively inexpensive. Likely, they were used for a good long time before being exiled to a back cabinet. And these are exactly the kinds of things end up in estates sales, yard sales or given for donation.

This much is a good thing. There is a chance for these items to end up in a good home or become someones new, old treasure. *But* there is something kind of animal shelter about the whole thing. I don't know the exact fate of any unsold item going to Goodwill, but I do know that what isn't sold in a normal store can end up being shipped to an Goodwill Outlet Store. This doesn't sound particularly favorable for the more breakable objects. I imagine it's inevitable that some of this is going to end up broken and in a dumpster somewhere.

I don't know what I wish. That breakables end up donated to an Antique Store?

I think I do sometimes. I can't shake the feeling that certain objects - particularly those from my grandparents generation and particularly-particularly those designed for everyday use - are falling off a cliff and shattering on the rocks below.

Collectibles is a very broad category. Even when narrowed down by decade and style, there are still tremendous variances in the popularity of one name over another.

For instance, I've only been familiar with the name "Fire King" for maybe two months now. I now have several 'rescued' Fire King dishes and will probably continue acquiring them for the rest of my life. And there's no shortage of people who are doing the same as we speak.

But very broadly speaking, incredibly similar objects and makers (Glasbake, Federal, Hazel Atlas, etc) can sometimes be quite a bit less valued. For one, these makers lack the advantages of Fire King having Martha Stewart obsessed with their Jadeite and Japanese collectors radically obsessed with their mugs.

Homer Laughlin Co. (and their 20,000+ patterns) is famous for Fiestaware, but Lotus Hai is much more specific and a bit lost in a crowd.

In this respect, I'm grateful for things like Pyrex Love, who make it spectacularly cool to be flagrantly obsessed with a lovely form of kitchenware. And Tupper Diva, who sheds shining light and cool information on a huge company with nifty products who has magically managed to stay remarkably poorly documented in this digital day and informational age!

I will end up with a lot of these things myself. Ugh, I've already got a damn good start! But I'm also looking with a eye out for the next Flambo-ware and every other strange, unfamiliar, and totally rockin' name I come across.

Polyethylene or no, over the cliff it's going. Even if it bounces when it hits.

50 years from now, museums and private collections will contain some of the finest objects we've made. They will be rich with bone china and antique carnival glass. Large corporations, whose names still exist in theory, will have visitors centers with wallpaper pictorial black-and-white blown-up images of their founder, preferably posing with his T-model Ford, under which, encased in glass, will be example pieces of their own early china work, its coloring based on some molecular malfunction that sickened or killed the people who applied it, but darned isn't it pretty?

But it will take private citizens to run the closest-approximation-to-flickr-in-the-future to run an active Flambo Fan Page.

And I'm guessing I'm just one of those folks.

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