The advantages of being seen


I’m trying again to do my runs in the the morning. For a while I’ve been going out the night before – I like that there’s no traffic and that I’m generally able to work in peace without anyone seeing me. There are also some great radio shows on at night. However, going out at night definitely negatively impacts my social life and my ability to be spontaneous. I also miss out on the benefits that sometimes come from being seen.

This Thursday’s run was a great example of that. I drove to Westmount and stopped for this pile of trash on the curb. I was sorting through the bags when the garage door began to open. I never know how these interactions are going to go, but I think it’s always best to keep doing what you’re doing. Running away or leaving the scene makes you look much sketchier, like you have something to hide.

Anyways, a woman came out and instead of being mad (rare, but it does happen) she asked if I wanted more stuff. She told me that she’s moving soon and has lots to deal with, much of which belonged to her father who passed away many years ago.


She gave me a whole bunch of old sheet music, much of which is from the 30s and 40s. There’s a lot here; that one box on the left is close a foot deep and it’s packed full of them. None of it is super valuable, but I’m sure people would buy some for 50c each at a yard sale (and 50 cents can add up pretty fast!).


She also gave me a vintage suitcase bag …


… and a cute little table. It has an angled top, which I think was made to put sheet music on.


In the trash I found two cool vintage metal drawers;


… a stapler (I’m convinced society wouldn’t have to manufacture staplers for years if everyone just took theirs out of their basements);


… a cool set of six vintage plastic mugs;


… an old “Barbicide” disinfecting jar by King Research;


… whatever this thing is (any help?);


… two ink stamps (the one on the left reads: “Private – don’t share this manual or its content with anyone except ‘common cents’ people”);


… and a cool Edison Voicewriter. It was likely made in the ’30s or ’40s. Unfortunately I didn’t find the power cable but it’s in amazing cosmetic condition. I’ll have to scour eBay to see if any come up, although it can be hard to find old cables.

Now, the best part: she told me to come back the next garbage day and pick up some more stuff! I wonder what things await me…

I still want to have a yard sale this weekend but I’ll wait until tomorrow before announcing anything. There’s supposed to be a bit of rain on Sunday, but if it comes in the morning it doesn’t affect me much.

20 thoughts on “The advantages of being seen”

  1. Nice reception. It will be interesting to see what else she is going to give you!

    The bottle with mesh looks loke a carbonated-water maker.

  2. As Nicole says, It’s a seltzer bottle, on the silver part of the top, you pop in a compressed air cartridge (you can still buy them at Canadian Tire I believe), you press something on there and it shoots all the air into the water, carbonating it. Squeeze the trigger and carbonated water will now come flying out of it into your glass. Do you remember seeing circus clowns on TV squirting water in another clowns face? It’s the same thing/apparatus πŸ™‚

  3. very cool. if I lived in the same city, I would SO buy that little table. for some reason, I love it.

    that barbicide container (fr barbers etc you know?) is cool too.

    all in all, very good hunting, not the least of which (VERY important) you made a woman\s day for knowing her Dad’s stuff will be valued/appreciated.

    that leather suitcase looks to be quite valuable?

    check it over carefully, older folks would at times hide things in the lining/secret pockets of suitcases like that (often would make their own secret pocket). too often an older person had no privacy, and that was the only way to get some.

  4. I’ve seen sheet music for sale in a used book store and they cost lots more than 50 cents !

  5. The bottle with the mesh is a seltzer bottle, used to add gas to make a drink fizzy. Collectible, but very heavy to ship!

  6. The “thing” is a soda siphon. You fill it with water then carbonate using a
    Soda charger (often made by ISI) there are a few different types of chargers but designs have been pretty static so finding the right one should be possible.

  7. The mystery item is a seltzer uses co2 cartridges to carbonate the water. The 3 stooges use to use one on their show when they chased each other around.

  8. Help is here! That is a very vintage seltzer Spitzer.The little bally thing on the side should have a CO2 on it and the carafe should just contain water.Thusly when your guests ask for a whiskey with just a splash of soda…… there you go.The capsules can be bought from food and beverage suppliers.Au Bout on St.Ambroise has them but they pretty much have gone the way of the do-do bird since soda guns now habitat most bars and otherwise cans are de rigeur.I have a few of these cool little canisters and my husband collects them.They are so cool.

    1. CO2 cartridges are sold at bicycle stores (including Mountain Equipment Coop),
      for inflating tires away from a pump. Thy look like what was used with a seltzer bottle, but it’s been some time. If there’s a standardisation, then that might be an easy source.

      My grandfather had one, and used it, but I don’t remember the CO2 bottle.

      “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer in the pants.”


  9. I love to see all your great find’s !!! I’m an antique dealer and when I have item’s that haven’t sold, I set them out by my lanlord’s dumpster do they’re visible and everything get’s snatched up. Loved the Barbicide disenfecting jar !! I follow you from the State’s, TT

  10. I have seen the tables as part of old orcdhestra equipment from the ’50’s? or earlier. The other equipment was from that era. musicans would bring their music in a bag that would sit in the bottom section during practice. does that vintage suitcase bag fit in there- standing up?

    1. I’m not sure… I don’t think they go together though. It’s meant to hold suits. Definitely the table is from around the 50s though

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