Any given day at EcoRelics is a mixture of cardio workouts, a stroll down Memory Lane and a giant game of Jenga. There’s really never a dull moment and I love that about being on the team. To me, one of the best parts of working with antiques and architectural salvage is researching the stories behind interesting objects.
It helps that Annie and Michael have a love of history and encourage the investigation of these artifacts.
A short list of rare bits and cool oddities I’ve encountered includes:
Charles Edward Bennett’s old monogrammed Samsonite briefcase with a stack of his pre-public service business cards…yep, the Florida Democrat that put “In God We Trust” on our money.
A Rolodex chock full of old downtown Jacksonville business contacts, many of whom I personally visited during a previous career in the last century…
A handful of Coricidin style bottles, the kind Duane Allman used to play slide guitar…
“Bicycle Race” is a single by the British rock band Queen. It was released on their 1978 album Jazz and written by Queen’s frontman Freddie Mercury. It was released as a double A-side single together with the song “Fat Bottomed Girls”. The song is notable for its video featuring a bicycle race with nude women at Wimbledon Stadium, which was edited or even banned in several countries.
The video for the song was infamous for featuring 65 naked women, all professional models, racing at Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium. It was filmed by Denis de Vallance. The group rented the stadium and several dozen bikes for one day for filming the scene; however, when the renting company became aware of the way their bikes were used, they requested that the group purchase all the bicycle seats. Could these be some of those bikes? Who knows!
Then there’s this clock built by famed clockmakers Chauncey Goodrich of Forestville, Connecticut. Goodrich held numerous patents including the 30 & 35 hour works. Think about that, how often do you need to plug in your IPhone? Mine won’t last 35 hours! But this beauty would run 30 hours and chime twice an hour on one winding.
What sets this ‘Ogee’ style clock apart is it’s decorative aspects. There’s a Currier and Ives style illustration of the McLean Asylum in Belmont, Massachusetts. If that name rings a bell, you might be a Sylvia Plath fan or might have read ‘Girl, Interrupted’ by Susanna Kayson. McLean was the setting for both ‘The Bell Jar’ and Kayson’s novel.
Please don’t get the impression that this working mental health facility is some arcane haunted horror movie set. McLean is currently host to the largest psychiatric neuroscience research team in the world and is part of the Harvard Medical system.
But why decorate a clock with a 19th century asylum? Did they sell them as souvenirs of your stay? Well, it seems that American scenes were popular as decorations on clocks and other pieces in the late 19th century. The McLean Asylum was a shining beacon of cutting edge science, medicine and care for the mentally ill. I dare say, someone found it comforting.
I will admit that it sometimes takes a particular customer to enjoy certain peculiar items here at Eco Relics…Eddy