Mustard and Gramophones

identifier: 2014050 COLMAN’S RHYMES

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Rhymes & Tunes For Little Folks. J. & J. Colman, [England] c.1902. Booklet, 20 pages including cover. 109 x 138mm.

A small advertising booklet featuring illustrated nursery rhymes, including one showing a family listening to a gramophone. This important illustration has been superbly researched in Antique Phonograph News. I have reproduced below a major part of the article; the full piece, with references, is online here and is well worth reading in full.

Early Nod to Nipper
by Betty Minaker Pratt and Bill Pratt

J. & J.Colman Ltd, in business since 1814, was well aware of the enormous dividends to be reaped from investment in advertising their yellow tins of mustard powder. One of their long term promotional items was a series of booklets that was given away free to children every Christmas from the 1880s into the 1950s. “Children treasured these booklets. For many they were the first and only books they ever owned.”

Rhymes and Tunes For Little Folks is a 20-page booklet, 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches, with 16 nursery rhymes, musical scores with lyrics, and 12 colour illustrations. The first page inside the front cover shows “J. & J. Colman’s Xmas Greetings to Their Young Friends All Over the World”.

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Loosely adapted from Francis Barraud’s painting, it depicts the familiar subject of the little terrier, Nipper, listening intently to the recorded message emanating from a Berliner “Trademark” Gramophone. The talking machine may not be an exact rendering of the Type B Berliner, but the artist is clearly familiar with the model showing a brass horn, side brake, and external spring box mounted on the back, with a crank handle on top. In this rendition Nipper, with two black-tipped ears, is placed prominently in the foreground, but he is not the focus of attention. The boy in the paper party hat with a trumpet is centre stage, in his Little Lord Fauntleroy suit. Mothers had imposed this fashion on boys since 1886 when Frances Hodgson Burnett published her popular children’s novel.

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This is an early use of the Nipper theme. Page 3 of the booklet, “Sing a Song of Six Pence”, showing the king and queen, confronted with a hopelessly underbaked blackbird pie, conveniently dates the illustration with the depiction of a sixpence coin of 1902.

… So, the endearing painting of “His Master’s Voice”, soon to become famous all over the world – some say the most recognizable trademark ever – was an apt and topical subject for the Colman’s group of artists and their series of seasonal nursery books for little folks.’

Antique Phonograph News
Canadian Antique Phonograph Society. Nov-Dec 2006

Only one copy of Rhymes & Tunes For Little Folks is shown in WorldCat.

Condition: Generally good. There is some rust staining in center margin of some pages (staples now removed). Minor marks to cover. Colours bright, pages firm and supple.

Price: £24.00 plus postage. s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

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Television: “…and it worrrks!”

identifier: 2014063 TELEVISION 1928 [SOLD]

One of the perks of being Head of Technical Services at the Museum of the Moving Image in London was that I got to talk with many interesting members of the public. One day, in the mid 1990s, I met a lady and her teenage son. She greeted me in a broad Scottish accent, introducing me proudly to the youth: “This is James. He’s made a Baird 30-line television, and it worrrks!” James (real name forgotten) was 18 or 19. I congratulated him, but was slightly sceptical, as I knew what was involved in such a project. “Where did you find all the information?” I asked. “Encyclopaedia Britannica,” he replied. My scepticism deepened. “You made a 30-line television receiver from information you’d read in the Encyclopaedia…” The lady broke in. “Well he can’t read, so I read it to him.” Evidently reacting to my bewildered expression, she explained, “He’s dyslexic.” I nodded, and started firing questions at James. “What did you do for a neon lamp?” “Dismantled two electric mains-tester screwdrivers, used the lamps together…..” Sounded plausible. And the big question, “Where was the 30-line signal coming from?” “The local electronics club got some members to build a line-dropper / frame frequency converter for me, so that I could use 625-line signals.” All the right answers. So it was true. He told me what happened if you slowed down the ‘scanning’ disc by pressing on the edge – the image doubled – and of the problems he’d had and how he’d overcome them. I was almost speechless. I lent them my copy of The Television Book (1936) and wished them luck in their future endeavours. “You must be the world’s foremost technical expert on 30-line television construction,” I suggested to James. “Yes,” his mother replied, “and I’m the second.” They returned the book some months later, with a note that James was expecting to start college soon. I bet that kept his mother busy for a few years. Their fellow countryman John Logie Baird would have been so proud of them both.

Which brings us to:

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Television. A Monthly Magazine. Vol. 1, No.1, 1928. The World’s First Television Journal. The Official Organ of the Television Society.

Editor: A. Dinsdale. (London, The Television Press), 1928. 8vo. Original illustrated coloured paper cover depicting a distinguished couple watching the opera being received on their television set, with the actual opera shown in the background. Profusely illustrated throughout. 52 pages + one loose leaf: “Supplement to Television, No. 1 – March, 1928” (comprising the article “Seeing Across the Atlantic!”).

“Of all scientific subjects, perhaps the one which is creating the most interest in the public mind at the present time is television. It is, however a subject upon which almost no literature or authentic information has been available, either to the interested amateur or to the scientist.

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It is the object of this, the first journal of its kind in the world, to fill this want, and to supply an organ the sole object of which will be to keep interested members of the public supplied with up-to-date and authentic information upon this new branch of science, which bids fair in time to rival wireless broadcasting in importance and popularity.” (from the Editorial by Dinsdale).

This magazine existed in both the UK and USA, in two slightly different versions. This is the first issue – worldwide – and was published in the UK in March 1928. The American version was issued in November 1928. The covers of both versions are illustrated here:

http://www.tvhistory.tv/1928-TELEVISION-USA-UK.jpg

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Television, Vol. 1, No.1, March, 1928, London, 1928. The first issue of the world’s first television journal, the official organ of the Television Society. 52 pages; illustrated throughout (including a full page by W. Heath Robinson); original pictorial wrappers. Includes the rare single-sheet supplement with the article “Seeing Across the Atlantic!” Articles include ‘Noctovision: Seeing in Total Darkness by Television,’ by Roland F. Tiltman; ‘Light-Sensitive Cells,’ by K. M. Dowberg; ‘Television on the Continent,’ by M. Dumont; ‘How to Make a Simple Televisor,’ by the technical staff; ‘Commercial Television: When May We Expect it?’ by the editor, Dinsdale; and, ‘Glimpses into the Future: Television in Warfare,’ by R. Heath Bradley, and others.

Perhaps no other published item in the history of television more successfully evokes the very beginnings of the medium’s introduction to the public.

Condition: Very good. Some lower corners have a crease in the margin, and dusty in that area. Pages are slightly tanned, but firm and supple. Staples just starting to show rust. Now in an acid-free paper wallet inside cloth-covered boards, ready for your bookshelf.

Scarce, and almost impossible to find in this condition. There’s a copy on ABE as I write, at £1,000 plus, and another at just £360. The example here is in better condition than the last mentioned.

Price: [SOLD].         s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

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Back of Supplement sheet

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Celluloid, and a scattering of flowers….

identifier: 20140906 CELLULOID NOTEBOOK

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Victorian mourning notebook with a celluloid cover panel. Size: 50 x 80mm.

This miniature notebook has a front panel of embossed celluloid, a material used from the 1870s to provide a material for mass production by moulding, in this case for an item that represented carved ivory. Evidently a mourning item, it contains a name on the inside cover, names of two people on the first page and then … it’s blank. From the dates given, this item is from the late 1870s or 1880s.

For the story of the introduction of celluloid – best known as the physical medium on which motion pictures were, until recent years, made and shown – I would encourage you to read the informative article: ‘Exploding Teeth, Unbreakable Sheets and Continuous Casting: Nitrocellulose from Gun-cotton to Early Cinema’ by Deac Rossell, which is available for free download here.
http://www.academia.edu/341267/Exploding_Teeth_Unbreakable_Sheets_and_Continuous_Casting_Nitrocellulose_from_Gun-Cotton_to_Early_Cinema

‘The company that finally found commercial success with the new material was founded in 1870 by John Wesley Hyatt and his brother Isaiah Smith Hyatt in Albany, New York. They called their formable plastic “celluloid”, and incorporated as the Albany Dental Plate Company. Hyatt used a mixture of pyroxyline and camphor in his celluloid, which he saw as a substitute for the hard rubber used by dentists in the false teeth, bridges, and other dental wares of the day. The company struggled until Hyatt, trained as a printer, began to form his teeth (and billiard balls, combs, and other trinkets) under heat and pressure, which created a material that was stable and hard in nearly any shape. Hyatt’s early products used no fillers, and only the “least quantity” of colouring pigments; therefore they were nearly pure gun-cotton, and his billiard balls burned rapidly if touched by a lighted cigar. Hyatt later wrote that “occasionally the violent contact of the balls would produce a mild explosion like a percussion guncap. We had a letter from a billiard saloon proprietor in Colorado, mentioning this fact and saying that he did not care so much about it but that instantly every man in the room pulled a gun.”
… John Wesley Hyatt received 61 patents between 1869 and 1891 for various celluloid-related processes, and by 1880 his company had issued licenses to almost two dozen firms engaged in the manufacture of celluloid dental plates, harness trimmings, knife and cutler handles, emery wheels, brushes, shirt cuffs and collars, shoes, piano keys, and a vast range of other items.’ [Extract]

 

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The notebook comprises about 60 graph-squared pages with gilded edges, that are mostly blank. Endpapers are white moire-pattern. The boards are covered with green-brown, coated paper. The accompanying pencil is topped with ivory or bone.

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The image shows a small boat with a swan figurehead, carrying five children. One is leaning over the side, and laying a floral wreath on the water. Another plays a flute as the ceremony is performed. I imagine that this was taken or adapted from an engraving or painting, but it’s a difficult subject to research. If you know the original subject, I’d be pleased to hear from you.

Condition: Very good. Some wear to the paper board covers.

Price: £35.00 plus postage s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

Plastics – and a new world

identifier: 20140908 PLASTICS MAGAZINE

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Plastics, May 1945 – vol. 2. no.5. Ziff-Davis, Chicago. 153 pages. Size: 217 x 283 mm. Colour and b/w illustrations.

Norman H. Finkelstein starts his 2008 book in the series Great Inventions with a quote from The Graduate (1967) ….

“I just want to say one word to you. Plastics.”

As with most movie quotes, that’s contracted from the original, which is here, if you have a minute (well, just 57 seconds) to watch that great scene.

By the ‘60s, it wasn’t clever for Benjamin’s adviser to be prescient about the potential for the ‘new’ materials. The huge future for plastics had been evident for many years, given a spur by the special difficulties of the 1940s. Finkelstein explains:

‘The way plastics successfully answered the material needs of World War II not only improved the material’s image and reception but demonstrated that plastic products could have unique qualities that made them even better than the natural materials they often replaced. Before the outbreak of the war, the plastics industry produced a limited array of products – radio cabinets, decorative buttons, toys, and other consumer items. A May 3, 1943, Life magazine article on plastics heralded “war makes gimcrack industry into a sober producer of prime materials.” Gimcrack means showy, worthless, and flimsy, a description not totally without merit for the pre-war period when plastics were not often respected by consumers and manufacturers. Wartime technology changed that impression and turned plastics into a respected family of unique materials.’ [Plastics: Norman H. Finkelstein. Marshall Cavendish 2008.]

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Plastics magazine had many functions. Chiefly promoting – presumably to a wider industry rather than the general public – the idea of plastics as the underlying fabric of a new world, it was also a promotional platform for the various manufacturers established in, or just entering, the industry.

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Some articles and advertisements reflect the thinking that these new materials required new design, while others seem to be peddling the same unambitious plastic domestic products – combs, trinket boxes – that had been around since the first days of celluloid in the late 19th century. But all the areas that these wonder materials were affecting are here: defence (mostly aircraft), kitchen utilities, photography, the young medium of television, clothes and shoes – though little evidence of toys, which would soon be a huge plastics market. The magazine seems to have lasted for only a few years.

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The British Library seems to have no issues from the war years, only those from 1947-49. Worldcat shows no copies in any other library in Europe.  There are currently no copies of any original issues for sale on Abe. You might be able to read it online, or buy a black & white POD reprint – but where’s the fun in that? This copy is a rare collectable that’s also very useful reference material.

Condition: Wear to cover, with some cracking of the laminate at the edges, and new acid-free restoration to the top edge and bottom right corner of the front cover (both sides). Pages firm and bright, with very few marks. Now in a custom folder comprising boards covered in red buckram.

Price: £35.00 plus postage.     s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

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Le Petit Inventeur – ‘The history of the future’

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Le Petit Inventeur. New Series nos. 1-25. Editions Albin Michel, Paris. 400 pages, Colour covers, b/w interiors. Hardback, bound in paper-covered boards, with coloured illustration on front. Size: 200 x 282 mm.

I would once have categorised the picture on the cover of this book as ‘Early television’, or ‘Videophone’, but of course it would now be best described as webcam skyping, or whatever the current phrase is for keeping up with family and friends online, both visually and sonically.

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This French magazine started in the early 20s, and this is a re-start from c.1930. Odd little pieces, with many b/w drawings, about all kinds of technological realities and promised future science-fiction gizmos that the boffins were just about to make real. In truth, the covers are the best part – and there are 25 of them, with most reproduced below. Great fun, and useful reference material for anyone writing about ‘the history of the future’. These magazines are not hard to find in their country of origin, but the bound volumes make collecting them much easier, and are rarely found outside of France.

Condition: Interior very good, with usual tanning of the pages. Some foxing to the covers (and minor marks to top margin), and a new webbing repair to the top of the spine. The old pasted-down endpapers are cracking at the spine joint, and there are a couple of small old paper repairs there, but the binding is still holding well so I’ve left those minor faults.

Price: £38.00 plus postage

s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

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The Monkey with the Magic Lantern

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Twenty years ago I became aware of the wide range of illustrated versions of the fable generally known as ‘The monkey with the magic lantern’, while designing the page layout for an article about the subject written by French magic lantern collector Jean-Philippe Salier. I had one edition in my own collection. Some years earlier, I was in Paris with doyen collector Bill Barnes, scouring the cabins of the bouquinistes along the banks of the Seine. I spotted a very nice large illustrated version of the subject, sealed in a plastic wrapper. I picked it up and asked the dealer (in one of my few memorised French sentences), “I want to buy this. May I open it?” The response was an unsmiling “Non.” Bill shook his head and tutted. This didn’t happen in the Charing Cross Road. “Is it complete?” A surly, “Bien sûr, il est complet.”

I gave the book to Bill to hold, took out the required wad of francs, handed them to the dealer and said to Bill, as I took back the book and opened the Sellotaped wrapper, “If there are pages missing I’m going to hit him with it.” There weren’t, so I didn’t. The bouquiniste was now smiling, I managed a forced smile and a “Merci”, we shook hands and Bill and I went away with our treasure. It was later displayed in the exhibition Magical Lanterns, at the Museum of the Moving Image in London. It’s the copy now offered here.

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Les Fables de Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian. Illustrees par A. Vimar. Henrie Laurens, Editeur. [n.d., c.1899] Avant-Propos de Andre Theuriet. 137 pages. Many b/w illustrations, and eight in colour, mostly full-page. Size: 225 x 283 mm. SOLD

Nicolas Stanislas-Auguste Vimar (1851-1916) was a French painter, sculptor, designer and illustrator. He exhibited in Paris and at Marseille, notably sculptures of animals, and contributed drawings to a number of journals including Figaro illustré and Le Rire. [adapted from Wikipedia].

English version of the fable:
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Fables_of_Florian_(tr._Phelps)/The_Monkey_with_the_Magic_Lantern

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Advertisement, 1902

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I believe this book of the Fables, with illustrations by Vimar, was published c.1899. An edition was certainly available by 1902, where it appears in a bookseller’s catalogue [Catalogue: Ernest Martin. Lester Smith collection]. There were two versions of this edition; one with b/w illustrations at 6 fr., and one with some illustrations in colour at 9 fr. This is the colour edition. I have seen this book with an identical cover but in green cloth, grey cloth, and in beige. I have not seen another example in red.

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‘In France, Jean-Pierre Clarisse de Florian is presently considered a minor writer and poet from the late 18th-century. Most likely his major contribution to literature is the first translation of Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Not many people remember that Florian also write a series of fables … his most famous fable tells of ‘The monkey displaying the magic lantern’. Imagine how a frustrated monkey takes advantage of the temporary absence of his human mentor, a galantee showman. Here is a unique opportunity for him to proudly present to the other animals the lantern show he has watched so many times. No doubt he is fully knowledgeable about the process, and his sharp views of our world are about to change the life of generations to come. At last, a time for deep, philosophical considerations and valuable scientific comment comes of age. Precious sentences are filling the showroom while a series of views slide superbly [through] the lantern. Alas! What should have been an unforgettable one-monkey show quickly becomes an after-dinner talk of the most boring type … The galantee showmonkey … has forgotten just one thing – lighting up the lantern.’ [The Fabulist Displaying the Magic Lantern. A tribute to Florian 1755-1794. by Jean-Philippe Salier. New Magic Lantern Journal, Vol.7 No.2 September 1994.]

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Pictures of an itinerant showman with a monkey feature in many engravings and books from the 18th century onwards. In the illustrations in this book, the monkey is carrying and using a now very collectable Lapierre lantern, in the style known as ‘Carre’. I bought one in Paris in the ‘80s, from a friendly dealer in the Porte de Vanves market; which is still one of my favourite Parisian haunts.

This book turns up occasionally, but not always in good condition, and sometimes it’s the b/w version.

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Les Fables de Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian. Illustrees par A. Vimar. Henrie Laurens, Editeur. [n.d., c.1899] 137 pages. Many b/w illustrations, and eight in colour, several full-page. Size: 225 x 283 mm.

Condition: generally good. Minor foxing and some brown / finger marks to some pages, and general tanning. Wear to the cloth on the bevelled edges of the boards, and spine. Cover illustration colours, and gilding, excellent.

Price: SOLD.

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The Casket – instructive (but ‘orrible) tales

identifier: 2014085 THE CASKET

The Casket – consisting of instructive tales, original essays, delineations of character, facetiae, poetry, gems of modern literature &c. &c. &c.
With illustrations. William Strange, London, 1830 .

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No.186, 7th August 1830, to No.222, 9th April 1831. (Lacking 212, and 206/207 is a double number); then nos. 224 – 244 (238/239 is a double number). Although there is no number 223, the dates for 222 and 224 are only a week apart, so most likely there was a numbering error. Each issue 8 pages with engraved panel on front page, and occasional extra engravings. Murderous attacks, executions, ghosts and similar attractions for a popular readership appear on every front page. Size: 130 x 217mm.

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Bound volumes and disbound issues of periodicals from this period, such as The Mirror of Literature, Amusement and Instruction, and The Penny Magazine, turn up all the time. Some of the lesser known periodicals are quite elusive, as is the case with The Casket. A rare title anywhere. WorldCat finds only copies in the BL, and The New Casket (1831-1833).

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Condition: Acceptable-Good. Most pages good, or better. Some brown spots on several pages, the most intrusive (Death of the French King, and The Wizard of Westminster) are shown here. Watermarks to some margins, general slight age browning to some pages. Title page re-attached. An old paper label has been neatly stuck over part of the title page, deliberately obscuring the incorrect text “Volume IV”. Acquired without boards, now with new boards in burgundy book cloth, paper label on spine with manuscript title.

Price: £60.00 plus postage. s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

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and many more!