The Big Inch


I’m back in the city after spending last week back home. It’s nice to be back and doing my thing. I went out to Rosemont on Friday night, mostly because I missed the whole week of trash. I didn’t really find much outside of this pile.


In the bags amongst some true garbage were three photo albums. They had gotten a bit damp, probably from being in an unfinished basement. While some of the photos were ruined many were in good shape.


The green album contained photos from vacations to France and Tunisia in the late 40s and early 1950s. I can say this for certain because each photo is marked with a date and general location. These are a few of my favourites, including a picture of a caravan (bottom left), an elephant in the streets (top left), and a couple of the Eiffel Tower. There’s a lot of other great ones, however – whoever took these photos was a pretty good photographer. One of my room-mates is from Tunisia and he appreciated seeing these old pictures.

I took some of these out of the album and, after drying, the turned up a bit on the ends. If anyone has any techniques to flatten them out let me know. The only idea I have is to put them under something heavy.


Another album contained a series of wedding photos. Based on the cars in the background they would have been taken around the same time frame as the vacation photos. I recognize the church, it’s the Eglise St Ambroise on Beaubien. All the photos are quite beautiful.

I’ve been thinking about the ethics of posting people’s photography on the blog. I’m thinking that it’s not really a bad thing, so long as the subject matter is nice. If anything it might (if improbably) offer family members a chance to reclaim their photos as sometimes they are thrown out without the knowledge or permission of everyone involved. I’d like to know what you think, though – leave a comment and maybe we can get a debate started.


I decided to sleep in Monday morning but made it out to the western Plateau in the evening. I often pass by on the section south of Rachel due to its high student population but I decided to change things up a bit and check it out. In this area, on Laval near Napoleon, I came across a big collection of bags that got me pretty excited, mostly because of the amount of jewelry strewn about. In the end none of the jewelry was very spectacular but I did find some other interesting stuff that made it worth my while.


I really like the two metal containers. The one on the right is marked “Siam” on the bottom and I suspect the other one is from Thailand as well. Siam was the name of Thailand before 1939 and also from 1945-1949 so these are probably pretty old. There was also a cute little rouge tin and a plastic container with seven uncirculated 1969 “rabbit” nickels. They’re not worth that much, maybe 50 cents each, but they’re still kind of cool.


I also found a few religious medallions. These two looked the oldest, the one on the left quotes something Pope Pius X said in 1906 while the other is dated 1947. They’re probably made of silver.


This “deed of land” was sort of interesting. I wondered if I now somehow owned a plot of land in the Yukon. However, as it turns out these deeds, giving the grantee a “big inch” of land, were put into boxes as part of a popular Quaker oats promotion in 1955. The land was real but has since been taken back by the government because Quaker didn’t pay their property taxes. You can read more about the promotion here. These deeds actually have some collectors value, they sell from between 10-20 dollars on Ebay.


There was also another nice collection of old black and white photos, most of which probably came from the late 30s to early 50s. This photo postcard is kind of cool – it’s marked “Les Eleves Caporaux de la 5eme,” basically meaning that these guys were training to become corporals in the army.


Here’s two other similar postcards. One odd thing is that the photo on the right looks to have been edited to cut one of the men from the picture. The photo itself is normal, though, meaning that the manipulation must have been on the film itself. Who knows, I might be way off base though, I’m not much of a photography expert. Regardless, these postcards might be collectible.


There was also this old armband which would have belonged to a private in the army.


Another interesting photo. It features the Kaman 225, an experimental helicopter produced in the late 40s. Apparently it was the first gas turbine powered helicopter in the world. While the 225 was a prototype it eventually became the HTK-1 which was used extensively by the US Army. You can read more about it here. I have a couple of pictures (and a couple of negatives) of this helicopter which may be of interest to a collector.



I thought this tourist passport made specifically for the 1935 Brussels International Exposition (a bit like the the Belgian Expo 67) was pretty cool as well. This woman was born in 1884, basically around the time of my great-grandfathers, and would have been 51 at the time of the Expo.


Last but not least were these old watches, all of which were held inside and old rectangular watch case. Watches 1, 3, and 5 work are manual and work, though sometimes you have to shake them a bit to get them going (they probably need cleaning / servicing). 2 and 4 seem to be quartz and probably need new batteries. 2 claims to be a Rolex but I doubt it’s authenticity while 4 claims to be a Cartier Must De. I have my doubts about that one as well but I’ll have to open the back first (with a tiny little flat screwdriver) to be sure. The nicest one might be the one in the middle, a 17 jewel Vendome with a pretty ornate band. It’s pretty similar to this one which sold for 100$ on Ebay, though mine isn’t in as good of condition.

The weather for tomorrow is looking pretty bad, calling for pouring rain in the hours when I would normally go to TMR. I really like my TMR shift, however, so I’m considering just going tonight. My sleep schedule has been a bit off anyways so it wouldn’t be too bad to stay up a bit late. I’ll keep you posted either way.

15 thoughts on “The Big Inch”

      1. Hi
        Your doing a great job and I know it must be hard now in winter. Make sure to stay warm and dry! I wonder if can we can still buy those picture from you?



        1. I’m not sure they’re still around. I sold a bunch of photos at an art market recently. If you live in MTL you’re free to come look through my collection of photos, however. For locals I charge 3/1$ (or 50c) each

  1. Watch no. 3 is beautiful! I’d love to buy it if it’s still available. I live in Montreal. (Sorry, posted this in the wrong place the first time).

    1. Hi, I’d be willing to sell it. Only problem it doesn’t seem to want to work anymore. It probably just needs a cleaning / servicing but who knows. Let me know if you’re still interested, I’d charge 10$ (vs the 100 that one on Ebay sold for)

      1. Apologies for the late reply. I’m still interested and $10 works for me. I’ll have someone take a look at it. I follow you on twitter. We can send DMs there. Thanks!

  2. Hi there! I couldn’t find your email address or a contact form, so I thought I’d just leave a comment on your most recent post instead. 🙂

    I’ve been following your blog for a long time, over a year I think. Love it to bits! So jealous of your recent finds ;). Just stopped by to let you know that I’ve made a mention of your blog on my recent article. You can find it here:

    Keep up the great work!

  3. What a bounty of great photos.I can’t believe people throw photos of historic interest in the garbage.You are a genius who is doing great work.(Unfortunately you can only cover some streets every week).

  4. Re: ethics of posting pictures. I think it’s ok ethically, especially with older stuff. I mean, to me, at a certain point old photographs become historical artifacts, and putting them online makes them common heritage. If I stumbled across old pictures of my grandparents or distant family (or even myself 50 years from now), I’d be thrilled to pieces 🙂

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