The Joy of Box Brownie Cameras (2)

Part Two: Load your camera. There’s something wonderful, magical, even, about using a vintage camera for its true purpose. Not as an ornament, something to look nice on the shelf, but to genuinely take out and use. The almost spookily-accurate results are nothing to do with ‘old film stock’ – you genuinely can take photos so…

Brownie Points

The joy of the Box Brownie. Part One – Buying a box camera. I’m always a bit surprised when people ask me if the box cameras I’m carrying around with me have actual film in them or worse, if they’re even real. They seem to think I’ve adapted them for use with a digital camera, or that I’ve somehow managed to hide…

Collecting Bakelite

Nothing says ‘Vintage’ more than something made from the classic Jazz Age material, Bakelite. But what is it – and if you own something made from early plastic, how do you look after it? Although Bakelite itself is 100 years old – invented almost by accident in 1907 by the Belgian Dr. Leo Baekeland –…

Backs to the Land, Girls!

  1939. The world is on the brink. Mr Hitler hasn’t actually invaded anything yet, but it’s not looking good in Poland.   The men in grey suits are worried. How will old Blighty survive if the lads have to fight? They look at each other warily. There is one option. It’s not ideal; the chaps…

The Delicate Art of the Evening Glove

Evening gloves conjure up the opulence of a bygone era like tiaras and opera glasses. Every lady should know how to wield a pair, but they are fickle mistresses. Well-chosen, they’ll transform that tired old cocktail shift into something Edith Head would be proud of. Poorly chosen, you’ll be mistaken for a hen-night refugee and…

The Tweed Run

“I say, old chap, is that a 1934 Raleigh I see before me?” “Actually, it’s a ’35. The hub-sprockets were three-eighths of an inch larger on the touring model that year. But tell me, which tailor supplied that extraordinary pocket-square?” Not an actual conversation I heard on this year’s Tweed Run, but not far off….

Girl on Girl Action – the joy of leading

  Compared to many styles of dancing, lindy hop, rock & roll and the various swing styles are relatively gender-equal. You can usually count on getting at least a few turns with a gent even if you’re on your own or out with girlfriends. But there still never seem to be quite enough chaps to…

Vintage-Hunting in the USA

American Retro and Western classic memorabilia have a big following here in Britain – we love to collect everything from 1950s kitsch – gumball machines and carnival glass – through to gambling memorabilia and pyjama-party chintz. Much of what’s available here, though, is either replica, tatty original or very expensive. It’s hardly surprising – dealers…