On a recent trip to the Philadelphia area for a wedding, I had a chance to visit some of my favorite antiques dealers in South Jersey. At one of them, I came across this rather ordinary bench:
This bench has a tool tray and a tool rack on the back:
Drawers have machine cut dovetails:
An adjustable bench stop is currently frozen in place:
The odd thing here was the label on the front of the bench:
If you know Hammacher Schlemmer at all, you probably know them for that catalog that makes you wonder why you’re getting it. It features such brilliant gifts as The Best Bug Vacuum for $69.95 and the $50,000 The Barbecue Dining Boat.
Hammacher Schlemmer actually has a more interesting past:
Hammacher Schlemmer began as a hardware store specializing in hard-to-find tools in the Bowery district of New York City in 1848. Owned by proprietors Charles Tollner and Mr. R Stern, it became one of the first national hardware stores. A few months later, Stern withdrew and Toller continued the business until 1859, moving in 1857 to 209 Bowery. In 1859, family friend Albert Hammacher invested $5,000 into the company and the name was changed to C. Tollner and A. Hammacher.
Throughout the 1860s, William Schlemmer gradually bought out Charles Tollner’s stake in the company. When Tollner died in 1867, 26-year-old Schlemmer entered into a partnership with Hammacher and Peter F. Taaks. As a result, the company changed its name to Hammacher & Co. William Schlemmer had been actively involved with the business since 1853 when he moved to New York City from Germany at age twelve and worked at the storefront. After a few years Taaks resigned and since Schlemmer owned a greater portion of the company, the name was changed in 1883 to the present style of Hammacher Schlemmer & Co.
And it was all down hill from there.
Things change. Look on eBay for Hammacher Schlemmer in collectables and antiques.
More history for young people:
Abercrombie & Fitch: Founded in 1892 in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, by David T. Abercrombie and Ezra Fitch, Abercrombie & Fitch was an elite outfitter of sporting and excursion goods, particularly noted for its expensive shotguns, fishing rods, fishing boats, and tents.
American Eagle Outfitters: The first attempt was to open American Eagle Outfitters in 1977, positioning it as a proprietor of brand-name leisure apparel, footwear, as well as accessories for men and women, emphasizing merchandise suited for outdoor sports, such as hiking, mountain climbing, and camping.
I bought my first (and last) sleeping bag and tent at American Eagle Outfitters.
I am adding the following item to this blog because I found it interesting and don’t know where else to put it. I did find it at the same shop which makes them location coincidental. It is this box:
And waterfowl on the lid:
A closer view does not necessarily provide answers:
My best guess after looking at the actual box and these pictures if that it is a veneer failure. Looking at the corner of the lid you can see the substrate is white and the veneer likes to free itself. There is already a veneer failure at the edge of the tail board. Wood movement cracked the veneer and it either fell off or was picked of by idle fingers.
But, I could be wrong…