Bits and reels


I found these tins on Canada day along with the silver plate candelabra and antique hanging lamp. I brought them home without looking beyond a cursory glance at what was inside.


These Granger pipe tobacco tin was full of these brass (?) things. Some of the circular pieces have two little wheels and some don’t. There’s also some wire pieces that may be for hanging the circular parts. Any ideas as to what these were for?

FYI, I found a great tool for identifying mysterious items. It’s a Reddit messageboard called “What is this thing?”. I’d recommend it if you want to know what something (including plants you may see, animals, etc) is.


The bigger tin, marked as being made by the MacDonald Mfg Co. out of Toronto, contained a more diverse portfolio of bits and pieces. The tin is pretty old, I would guess it’s from the 1920s.

shakespeare kazoo

This piece stuck out from the rest. It’s a Shakespeare “Kazoo” fishing reel and it’s definitely an antique, though I’m not sure exactly how old it might be. It seems to work fine. These generally sell for between 10-15 dollars on Ebay, though I’ll probably just put it in a future yard sale. Selling things for that little online is generally more stress than it’s worth.

wag rcaf patch

I found this patch along with some other not particularly noteworthy things in some trash bags near my place a few days ago. I decided to Google it last night and found out that it’s a WWII-era patch for a wireless air gunner (WAG). I can’t imagine what that job would have been like! It seems to be worth around 10-15$ on Ebay, again falling into that “is it worth bothering” range. Regardless, it’s always interesting finding military stuff.

I went to the bike co-op early this afternoon. I trued my wheel and did a few other minor repairs. It runs nicer now but the bump on each revolution of the back wheel remains. My theory now is that the bump is a result of a sizeable dent on my wheel, which may protrude upwards misshaping the wheel. I might be able to hammer that out but I may also have to buy a new wheel.

My Sony DVCAM player finally sold for 135$. Previously I had sold it to someone in Italy but the shipping was astronomical and the deal fell through, which was sort of lucky because I managed to get a better price the second time around. One thing I think I’ve learned about Ebay is that fixed price listings are often the best choice. It may take a little longer but I find that you can make more money that way. Auctions are good when you have something and you’re not exactly sure what you can get for it, but overall the fixed price listing forces the extra motivated buyer to pay a little more to get what they want.

I also had to cancel a sale (of a textbook I found in November, the last of 6) because the person was in Australia and the shipping was too high. They wanted me to ship the cheapest way (22$ via surface) but that’s notoriously unreliable and leaves me very vulnerable to fraud. I cancelled the transaction and it sold again, but this time the buyer claimed that they thought the shipping would be free, so that’s likely to fall through as well. It’s important to note that this last textbook is only still around because someone bought it near the beginning of the winter semester, but then never paid for it and disappeared for a couple of weeks. I cancelled the transaction and didn’t lose any money, but by then the semester had started and the demand for the book had plummeted. The guy emailed me far too late telling me he had bought one somewhere else, to which I had to resist telling him I didn’t give a damn. These are some of the reasons I find selling online more trouble than it’s worth sometimes. I think going forward I will limit most of my items to the US and Canada, which are generally my biggest customers regardless.

Anyways, I’m going to go out and enjoy this sunny day, and perhaps later enjoy some music at Jazz Fest.

12 thoughts on “Bits and reels”

  1. I would like to get some items from the second canister. Random pieces of metal and thoses wide brass rings, email me please

  2. I’m sure someone has already replied; but your unidentified rings are curtain rings / hardware.

    Happy Canada Day! Duncan Ottawa

    Date: Sat, 6 Jul 2013 20:26:12 +0000 To:

  3. Yeah, the noncircular bits are for pinch pleated drapes, and perhaps the circular ones are what the other parts hang off of.

  4. First pic -agree…older curtain rings..
    Second pic – electrical wall boxes / brass fittings for older water lines in house
    Other pics – seems like some real antiques
    Top Pis of can – I would bet you could get some good money (hundred, more) for those cans, by themselves. I have sold brand new (as in just emptied), interesting cans at garage sales for ten or more dollers.

  5. Old tobacco/cigarette tins can sometimes bring a nice little sum. I have three myself. & &

    That’s an old brass fishing reel. Nice. & Here’s one for $50

    It’s interesting to witness your “evolution” in the business. 🙂

  6. One reason those old tobacco tins are still around is likely because they had use as storage bins. One time I was poking around, and saw one that I hadn’t noticed before. A bit of chain inside, it made no sense (why such a short length of chain, why keep it in a tobacco tin?). But then I notice a scrap of paper, my father’s handwriting on it. It’s a piece of chain used to chain WWII German prisoners (who were held in Manitoba) after the Germans had chained Canadian or maybe just Allied POWs. A celebrated instance, I read about it later, but can’t remember the details. A bit of history, but without the note, it’s just a piece of chain.

    But that tin, and the other ones holding screws and nails, would not be around if they had no second use to hold such things.


  7. On Craigslist Montreal in the wanted section of June 4,an artist in the Plateau has posted an ad saying old National Geographic magazines wanted.If you find National Geographic magazines in recycling bins or in trash bags,please salvage them and keep them for yourself or donate them to him.

  8. When you go to Villeray,please check out Henri Julien,Drolet,Esplanade,etc between Jarry and Cremazie on recycling/garbage pickup day.You seem to go to eastern Villeray more than western Villeray.

    1. I usually do that route more actually, I just haven’t found anything of note (until last night, anyways). Recently I’ve been avoiding anything east of Boyer.

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