Friday, April 25, 2014

Welcome to My World :-)

In elementary school spring brings flowers into the brains of kids.  Green sticks with colorful blobs on top abound.  They are so cute it makes you feel all sappy happy!

William Steig is pretty good at capturing this...I think my students would say he did a good job :-)
Check out the Steig makes you smile.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Knock Your Socks Off Graphics! J. L. Childs and Floral Park

It has been rainy and grey around here.  This collection of J. L. Childs catalogs is a gloom fix!

In 1874 John Lewis Childs of Buckfield, Maine, wrote to Charles Linnaeus Allen seeking employment.  I guess he was invited down to Long Island because Childs arrived in East Hinsdale, Queens County.  This area of Long Island had long been the home of florists and nurserymen as it was so close to the huge population in New York City’s boroughs. Childs became postmaster, and somehow got the name of the area changed to Floral Park. A fantastic address for a man who realized his future business was in mail order! By 1888 he was building a large brick seed house, donating lands so the community could establish churches, and soon had built a hotel, and an apartment house which was rented to his employees at a low rate and a printing house, the Mayflower Press, that could handle all his catalogs and printed matter.

This is the corner of Tulip and Violet Avenues in Floral Park today where Child's hotel was built.
I have no idea which corner...I am just showing a nice view.

 Info distilled from Floral Park, Nassau County, By Walter E. Gosden


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Miss McMillan's Purse

This Guthrie-Lorenz store was in Des Moines, Iowa, 1911. Full photo below.

When I first looked, I found very little online about Guthrie-Lorenz.  But then I found a few crumbs which were amusing.  This news from a 1922 copy of the American Florist shows they were still in business then.  

Des Moines Floral Arts Club.
The Floral Arts Club. of Des Moines. 1a.. held its regular monthly meeting at the Harris-Emery Tea room. February 14. Following the dinner the president. F. J. VVrlght, introduced Prof. S. A. Beach. dean of horticulture, Iowa State college. Ames, as the speaker of the evening. He spoke of "Vocational Training." and told of the time when students were required to take many studies that were foreign to the particular course they had in mind. But now all roads lead to the goal and students gain much time pursuing the courses desired at present-day colleges.
Prof. Voltz, of the same college  emphasized the need of carefully labeling trees, plants and shrubs in public gardens.  L. E. Foglesong, landscape artist for the state executive council described, in part, the plans for the new perennial garden at the State House grounds. Des Moines. which will contain 9.000 square feet of space and about 10.000 plants,  all of which are to be carefully labeled.
At the January meeting of the club  J. W. Ash had offered a purse of 500 coins for the best display of flowers for the February meeting.   Miss M. McMillan. of the Guthrie-Lorenz Co.. was the only entrant  exhibiting a beautiful collection of corsages  it being ladies' night. When the purse was awarded it proved to be a real curiosity,  comprising 500 cowries, which is the smallest value of any monetary system.   Mr. Ash had secured the money while in Y. M. C. A. work in British India. At the conclusion of the meeting the ladies received the corsages and Miss McMillan generously shared the contents of the purse with all present.  (See cowry links below!)

Then I found this...

This is the corner...all the corners there now look like this.  
Nothing left of the last century and before.

Cowry Links :-)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sea Bean Society...Who Knew?!

The things one finds...on beaches and on internet searches!

This find was very apposite given those coco de mer seed photos I just posted.  What a fun collection to start if you live near a beach where stuff washes up.

This photo is from Barrier Island Sanctuary is at fascinating website.  The 19th Annual Sea-Bean Symposium will be held in Cocoa Beach, Florida, on October 17-18, 2014.

I learned there that seeds that are dispersed by water are called drift seeds as well as sea-beans.

Here is a good interview with park ranger Ed Perry, Florida native and a 25-year veteran park ranger at the Sebastian Inlet with facts and fun anecdotes about drift seeds...he's collected them since he was a kid. “I’ve picked up about 240 different species on Florida’s beaches and I’ve been able to identify about 220 of those species.”

Monday, April 21, 2014

Off on a tangent: Weirdly Complicated Machines and Processes

I am learning about printing history along with seed company history.  Unexpected, but cool.

When I was a little kid my Pop took me into a print shop where this absolutely gigantic machine cast my name in a lead slug.  The linotype machine was like Oz...and the guy who sat there and typed in my name was really a wizard as far as I was concerned.

My father used the linotype service to produce text to paste into camera ready artwork for everything from catalogs to package design. Rubber cement and little bits of glued down paper were how you created pages.  It seems so crude now, and I grew up with it!

The electrotype procedure is a little harder to get my head around, but it must have been an incredible money saver!
From Wikipedia: As described in an 1890 treatise, electrotyping produces "an exact facsimile of any object having an irregular surface, whether it be an engraved steel- or copper-plate, a wood-cut, or a form of set-up type, to be used for printing;  ... In printing, electrotyping had become a standard method for producing plates for letterpress printing by the late 1800s."

This explanation is really good!  Good ol' Ebay just cast this up on the shores of my blog.

"One of the most popular suppliers of engravings in the 1880s and 1890s was Albert Blanc.
Horticultural engraver and electrotyper, was born at Antwerp, Belgium, in 1850. When eighteen years of age he came to America, locating in Philadelphia, and secured employment in one of the leading engraving establishments. In 1870 he began business for himself. His proficiency quickly brought him to the front, and success greeted his venture. In 1885 he began the study of horticultural engraving and electrotyping, and since then he has had practically monopoly of this business. His engravings are used on all parts of the globe, from the Russian capital to the Cape of Good Hope, and from the American continent to Australia. He has practically revolutionized the seed and floral trade, enabling any seedsman to illustrate his catalogue at comparatively little expense. Catalogues of new engravings are issued yearly, of which he furnishes duplicates at a very moderate charge.
Some four years ago Mr. Blanc began the cultivation of cactus plants for pleasure, and appreciating their beauty, as well as their ease of cultivation in apartments and gardens, he concluded to make them popular, and went into the business on an extensive scale. He engaged collectors in all parts of the world, and under the firm name of A. Blanc & Co. this is now the largest establishment known for the cultivation and propagation of these interesting plants. They supply most of the wholesale houses here as well as in Europe. Their yearly exhibitions in Horticultural Hall usually attract the greatest attention, plants being shown there that cannot be duplicated anywhere.
A. Blanc & Co.'s catalogue and "Hints on Cacti" are most beautiful works, well calculated to give the craze to every lover of the curious and interesting. Their extensive greenhouses at Forty-eighth and Walnut streets have proved to be very attractive to connoisseurs. From there they supply not only the humble artisan who wants few plants for his window, but also the Royal Gardens at Kew, England, where can be seen some giant cacti in all their glory, and which excite the wonder and admiration of all who visit these well known gardens. A. Blanc & Co. have also agencies near Tucson, Arizona, and Monterey, Mex." From: 1891 - Philadelphia and Popular Philadelphians

Below is a page from a Vilmorin-Andrieux & Cie, 1888 catalog  from which a seed company or nursery could order electrotype printing plates.

  This thick catalogue assembles the vast collection of wood-engraved illustrations used by the Vilmorin-Andrieux firm in their seed catalogues and other publications. Electrotype printing blocks for all the images depicted could be ordered from the firm for use in illustrating retail seed and nursery catalogues. Instructions for ordering these are printed at the front in French, English and German. The numbered illustrations are printed on one side of the sheet only, "the other is intended for the illustrations which we may publish in the future and copies of which will be sent to all the purchasers of this album, to be pasted on the blank side corresponding to the numbers." Altogether at least 4000 images are included, the majority of which are devoted to flowers, although vegetables, herbs, trees, fruits, grasses, garden implements, etc. are also shown. The illustrations are accompanied by descriptions in French, English and German, and by prices in francs and sterling.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Silly Seed Stuff for a Sunny Sunday

Mabel Lucie Attwell, the illustrator of the above rotund toddler, was born in 1879...the ninth child out of ten children born to a butcher. If this link is correct, she was talented and spirited... and made a good living eventually producing these very popular images!  

And who was Margaret Tempest??  A woman, born in 1892, who as a child enjoyed sailing Ipswich, who illustrated a zillion books...that's who :-)
This website dedicated to keeping her memory alive is cool.