Saturday, May 28, 2016

A charming find at the second hand store

On the way home from school yesterday, the last day of school I might add, I decided to stop at the Second Time Around store. This is one of these stores where you can buy anything from kitty litter to a lawnmower to a vintage Swedish poetry book- in Swedish. You never know what they'll have. Which is why I like the store, an endlessly entertaining and thrilling inventory.

I try not to stop there too often, I really don't have a lot of extra money to be throwing away. But the occasional under $10 spending spree is sometimes necessary to maintain sanity.

I found some terrific treasures! Five sharp knives for $2, and knives were something I'd needed. Anthony Bourdain's seminal book, Kitchen Confidential, for 50 cents. Hey, can't go wrong with that. A small purse for $1, and it was clean. A vintage hard cover Methodist Hymnal for $1. I plan to use the pages for collage etc.

And this: a vintage Kodak Vigilant Six-20 collapsible camera, complete with instruction manual and surprise ephemera! It was $4. Wow.

The Kodak Vigilant Six-20 medium format camera was manufactured between 1939-1949 and originally sold for US $38 (about US $642 in 2016). There were several variations of shutter/lens combinations probably due to the war and scarce materials, and also that the technology at that time was rapidly advancing. My particular version with the Dakon lens was manufactured between 1946-1948.

My father had given me my first camera, a 1930's Olympus. I am sorry I got rid of it, or rather, I don't know what happened to it. I was fond of that ole camera. These are the first two photos I took with it:

I also owned at one time a Russian Lomo camera, which I loved. I gave that one away. I do like old cameras.

My Kodak isn't rare so it is not worth much money, I looked that up. I just like the vintage look, the heft and weight, the ephemera, and the charm of finding a magnificent machine like this at a second hand store next to the hammers. Here is the Kodak I found yesterday, pretty cool:

The ephemera I mentioned. The pouch the Vigilant came in also held these, a guide to taking snapshots under different conditions, the manual, and a ticket to the photo-sub.

The photo-sub at Silver Springs is a Florida attraction and has been designated a historical landmark. It was founded in 1852 alongside the clear artesian waters springing up from the waters under Marion County FL. In this HuffPo article from 2013, we learn that
Just east of Ocala, Silver Springs is one of the world’s largest artesian springs, gushing up to 550 million gallons of clear water to form the Silver River, a 4½-mile shorty that feeds the Ocklawaha River and eventually the St. Johns. Glass-bottom boats were invented and launched here in the 1870s, and in the 1920s a pair of developers created what became the theme park — and what many call Florida’s first tourist attraction. Animal exhibits, rides and a water park joined the glass-bottom boats, from which visitors still eye fish and fossils beneath the surface, and turtles, alligators and myriad birds above it.
The photo-sub to which the ticket refers was another attraction developed for the pleasure of shutter bug tourists. From this 1956 magazine touting the Springs,

Adapted for taking moving pictures, the "photo-sub" has a well in the forward section. Glass windows in the well permit the photographer to follow the movements of swimmers, and to portray, with fidelity, the great variety of underwater life in Silver Springs.
And here is the photo-sub. You see out one of the portholes, one of the swimmers had approached right up close, giving the photo-riders a great photo-opp.

The little trip down nostalgia lane sparked by the discovery of the Vigilant Kodak was fun. I learned a lot about cameras and lenses of that period as well as the history of the Silver Springs attraction. Second hand never know what you'll find!


Anonymous said...

Funny--someone was just telling me about Silver Springs because we were just in Florida, but it would have been really out of the way to visit. Maybe next time! This is a test to see if my comment will go through from my phone. Melissa

Elizabeth Prata said...

Yay it went thru!

The springs are totally clear, you can see manatees and more. Apparently the Port Charlotte area which is also in the region is also great, lots of history, caves, etc. Maybe next time!