Site icon Things I find in the garbage

The muck

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The warmer weather makes me more adventurous. I decided to check out Ville St Laurent’s heavy garbage night for the first time since November.

There wasn’t much there, but I did find a copy of Rolling Stone from when Janis Joplin died …

… and a bag full of marbles.

I took a different way home, driving east on Cote Vertu and Sauve before arriving in Ahuntsic. I covered a few streets there, which is where I found this intriguing if mucky pile.

Inside most of the bags were boxes, inside of which was a mix of total junk and interesting miscellany. It was actually quite the hassle to sort through this stuff. Usually trash on the curb is more compartmentalized – you have your kitchen crap in one bag, the basement stuff in another, the garage junk in yet another. This makes it fairly easily to quickly determine if the contents of a bag are of interest. Here though nearly every box held something vaguely interesting, like an old jewelry box, which was mixed in with a bunch of bric-a-brac, making it necessary for me to rummage around the bottom in case there was more of interest inside (like silver or gold). It didn’t help that there were lots of old, rusty pieces of metal in these boxes, making the contents look more like the embodiment of tetanus than something of potential value. As a result, much care was needed when sorting through the rubbish.

Sorting is actually an exhausting process. It takes a lot of brain power to figure out what to take, what not to take, where to put the stuff you don’t want, how not to make a mess, and so on, especially when you have to work quickly. I ended up spending nearly 3 hours sorting through this stuff, and by the end I was starving but too tired to really do anything about it. I got home at close to 4am, which is much later than I usually stay out til.

Anyways, I did save a lot of small vintage items, many of which are pretty cool. I won’t go into much detail describing them. Click on the picture if you want a close-up!

This Woodstock patch might be original, though it’s not worth much regardless. The stain I think is from rust, so it might clean out in a wash.

This etching looks a lot like Robin.

I expect this carpenter’s apron was made in the 1950s, given the fonts used. It needs a wash, but should clean up alright.

I was hoping to find some old bits of gold or silver but had no such luck. Still, these unusual tools were interesting to find.

The tools might be made from ivory. If so, it’s the first time I’ve found vintage or antique ivory in the trash. The bottom piece looks like a toothpick, which were often made from ivory back the day. I’m not sure what the one on top was made to do, but there are four different “blades” all of which are partly serrated. If you know what this was made to do, let us know in the comments!

Also let us know if you have any idea what these bracelet-like objects are for!

A few of the boxes (and the bottom of this garbage bin) were filled with old papers. Much was unfortunately ruined by years of moisture, but some pieces were salvageable.

I wish this booklet, which commemorates the 25th anniversary of St Joseph’s Oratory (1936) was in better condition.

This old railroad brochure also would have been neat.

Still, I was able to save several photos and postcards.

A Dominican priest by the name of René Groleau wrote a message on the back of these 3d postcards. Apparently whoever received them donated to their mission.

This Christmas postcard (which I’d guess is from the 20s) is a little creepy, especially once you notice the weird, upside-down doll at the bottom right hand corner like I just did.

On a less disturbing note, I found some blueprints to a charming old house. I’d guess they also date from the 20s.

I didn’t read this pamphlet, but the artwork is interesting – as well as its claim that over one billion people are infidels.

Among my favourite paper finds was this old 1 cent bond (coupon?), which was to be used at Pharmacie Toupin. Apparently the bond could be exchanged for War Savings Stamps, which is a bit confusing because it looks to have been made in the interwar period. Maybe War Bonds were issued then as well, I’m not quite sure. Regardless, it’s a pretty neat, if not particularly valuable thing to find. For reference, it’s about a quarter of the size of a regular bill.

On the right is a copy of the constitution of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), as it was conceived in 1927. That leads to my favourite ephemera find, …

… which was this IBEW application card.

I very much like the cover image, the symbolism of which is characteristic of early labour movement art (another similarly themed image can be seen on this blog post). A strong union member pulls his near broken unorganized brother up from “the muck of low wages and bad working conditions” – a grim looking existence to say the least. The strong man offers his help (in somewhat awkward wording) and a vision of a brighter future: higher wages, better working conditions, and a pretty nice looking factory.

The application (which is roughly the size of a postcard) is a great window into the labour movement as it existed in the early 1900s. Unions deserve a lot of the credit for pulling workers in developed countries out of wage slavery, not to mention improving safety standards. For a quick look into what factory life was like in the 1800s check out this BBC historical summary. Unfortunately, with globalization and the decrease in transportation costs it’s now easy for companies to ship jobs overseas where regulations and trade unions are more or less impossible. The working conditions in Bangladesh for example are just about as bad as they were here in North America or Britain in the 1800s, which is depressing to think about. I could rant about this for a while, but I’ll leave it at that!

I’m not sure it has a lot of monetary value, so I’ll likely just add it to my personal collection of intriguing objects. Regardless, one of the cool things about blogging is that the things I post often become searchable via Google and other search engines, so someone researching this topic will be able to find something when they might not have before. I tried, but failed to find any cards or images exactly like this one on the web, which in my mind makes it extra neat.

I returned to this spot the two subsequent garbage days and found nothing. Maybe I’ll give it one more chance next week, but it’s possible that the basement (or wherever these items were stored) is now cleared out.

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