Nostalgia, or why we seem to prefer objects past from objects present.  (And we hope you do too)

 

I have alluded to my preference for vintage technology in a blog I wrote last year about how much better the 1954 Omega Seamaster watch I owned seemed to be from the Apple Watch Series 3 I had just bought. Equally, I am always excited when I purchase a vintage typewriter with its 40-year-old ink ribbon, get it back to the office, put in a piece of paper and tap a few of keys - the thing still bloody works! 

 Empire Typewriter - as good as it ever was. 

Empire Typewriter - as good as it ever was. 

I am not sure where this delight at seeing and interacting with technology and design from the 1850s onwards came from but it could have been down to childhood trips to the old Birmingham Science Museum in Charlotte Street deep in the heart of the city's world-famous jewellery quarter. Being wheeled around in my buggy by my grandfather and coming face to face with a living, breathing locomotive moving up and down the main room of the museum was mind-blowing for a small child. Or looking out of the window down onto the Birmingham Canal system, the transportation network at the heart of the Industrial Revolution. But I was equally as fascinated by the displays of thousands of different ink nibs or the recreation of a Victorian craftsman's workshop, dark, cramped and full of wooden tools.  

 The City of Birmingham locomotive being moved into the old Birmingham Science Museum  Photo credit John Stoddart

The City of Birmingham locomotive being moved into the old Birmingham Science Museum

Photo credit John Stoddart

And so it is, when scouting antique fairs or small vintage shops in obscure English villages, and coming across a wooden ruler, a small Austrian inkwell that at first looks lighter but turns out to be a perfectly crafted miniature traveling inkwell, or a braille machine from the 1890s not only am I transported to an earlier time where more care and love was put into making these functional objects, but I am also back to my childhood and Tuesday afternoon spent trawling a museum with my grandad. 

Handling these charming tactile items provides comfort and reassures us that in the age of the iPhone, and the swiping, tapping and the dual and triple screening that our needs are always the same. An inkwell for communication, candlesticks for light and an ironstone tea caddy for the tea we love to drink. Even better, we can take these hundred-year-old objects and use them as they have always been used. Who wouldn't want to use a wall mounted Spong and Co coffee grinder and some fresh beans rather storing your granules in an Ikea tin for a chemical cup of coffee. 

 A K. K. Priv inkwell made in Austria and dating from 1910's. It is as good as the day it was made. 

A K. K. Priv inkwell made in Austria and dating from 1910's. It is as good as the day it was made. 

These objects provide pleasure and delight, and the fun of collecting them and arranging them at home can provide a pleasant distraction for more mundane moments in life. 

If you are looking to add to your collection and don't have the time or opportunity to go out and look for these items we offer a sourcing service. So, if you would like to drop us a line and tell us what you are looking for, we can do the work for you. 
hello@thearqivist.com