Flotsam & Jetsam

I’ve found plenty of interesting junk this past month. Some was probably tossed as part of spring cleaning, but some was a result of people cleaning out houses. This particular pile in Rosemont sat near a recently sold house so in this case I’d presume the latter.

The pile featured a large pile of wood. Usually wood isn’t worth poking through (it’s often a better source of tetanus than quality junk) but I gave this collection a chance; in previous weeks I’d found some interesting stuff at this spot, and it seemed like the previous owner wasn’t keen on throwing anything out. I ended up finding two great pieces mixed in with the debris, if you look close enough you can kind of see the first one in the middle of this pic.

As a lover of politics and political ephemera I great appreciated finding this vintage PQ election sign. This would have been from the 1976 election when the Parti Quebecois had their first electoral victory. Paquette won his riding (Rosemont) and held it for around 10 years.

I’ve now found two 1976 PQ election signs. The last one was from the Plateau – it sold for 130$ but also had a cool separatist mural painted on the back. I’d guess that this one is worth a bit less than that, but I’ll bet it’s still worth around 80-100$.

I hope to find more election signs. A vintage Pierre Trudeau might be my holy grail – he served the riding of Mount Royal, so it’s not a total stretch that I might happen upon one someday.

I found this awesome wooden cabinet near the bottom of the pile. I’m not sure what it was made for originally but its future is probably as a curio cabinet. For reference, the piece is approximately 26 x 25 x 3.5″ and each box measures roughly 2.25 x 2.25 x 3″. Some on Instagram suggested it might have been for sorting mail, but I can’t see it given the small size of the boxes.

On top of each box is an old label that looks to reference a place in Quebec, or sometimes towns in provinces nearby. The white papers sometimes hang over the old labels and also feature more mostly Quebec place names.

If you have any ideas as to what it was made to do please let us know in the comments! Regardless, it’s a great piece that I’ll be tempted to keep for my myself. If interested take a look at the photos below – click on the picture and then the “view full size” button on the bottom right if you’d like to zoom in.

I also saved a collection of old toolsy stuff, most of which I’ve since given away or sold at a yard sale. I was hoping to find more quality stuff at this spot, but I think this haul was its last hurrah.

I found this three pronged flag stand while touring around Westmount with my mom. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before – my guess is that they were made to go on the front of a car. Each flag measures about 8 x 4″.

“Fast colours” and “British made” are printed on each flag while the metal base is marked “Stadium” and “Pro Pat.” I can’t be sure when this was made, but I’d guess that it dates at least to the 40s and quite possibly before that. Two of the flags are pretty stained but maybe they could be cleaned up. If you have any insights as to how this would have been used let us know in the comments!

Later that day I saved an old electric soldering machine by made by the P.W. Ellis company. The patent date is 1923, making this device quite vintage. I know, it looks pretty grungy but I think it’ll clean up pretty nice. It could be a fun decor piece, or maybe it still works…

A bag I found in TMR contained more intriguing junk.

I have no idea what this doohickey is. My first guess was a thurible, one of those incense burning things that are used in church, but I’m not sure of that. For one, there’s only one hole in that bottle left piece which would make it unsuitable for distributing incense. I’m also not sure why there would be little wheels on the top section. Do you know what this is? You can see a couple of different angles below.

Inside that old soiled Birks bag was a collection of silver.

Despite the green tarnish (most often seen in copper) all these pieces appear to be solid silver. The little bird dishes, the small plates, and the small spoon all look to have Egyptian 90% silver marks. The larger spoon (stamped 925) is a Mexican tourist piece from way back when. The sterling salt shaker, if I read the marks correctly was made in London in 1882. Most of what I find is from the 20th century, so it’s always fun to find something older than that.

I tried cleaning these and was surprised how easily most of the blue stuff came off. There’s still some work to be done though as some of that tarnish is pretty troublesome! If you have any tips on cleaning it off let me know. For now I’ll soak the pieces in soapy water to see if that breaks down the grime. Unfortunately, the little spoon snapped when I tried to wipe it down.

The weather has been great lately and I’ve gone on more garbage runs as a result. I had some success in St Michel yesterday morning and in NDG last night. Here’s hoping the good weather and finds continue through the rest of the week!


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23 thoughts on “Flotsam & Jetsam”

  1. Your cubby could have been for hotel keys. These are VERY COLLECTIBLE now, so don’t price too cheaply. Good luck!

  2. That cabinet is the cat’s pajamas, Martin! Don’t know what it was intended for but I’d want it to display my fountain pen paraphernalia. I’d bet someone would snap it up to display miniatures, too. Great finds this time!

  3. The little spoon may have been for lifting salt out of a server to sprinkle on your food at the table.

  4. My guess for the wooden cabinet is not that it was for sorting mail but that it was for sorting the destination cards that were attached to bundles of sorted mail. I hope someone knows the answer because I am very curious!

  5. for cleaning pitted marks from silver, you’d do well with a dremel and some polishing/buffing attachments. https://www.eternaltools.com/blog/4-tips-for-polishing-metals-with-your-dremel-rotary-tool-or-dremel-flexible-shaft. You can get all kinds of great polishing bits and other things at Sassounian’s at 620 Cathcart, suite 825. http://sassounian.ca/. Jeweller’s rouge and a buffing wheel might work too, and you can get that there as well. Maybe rig something to fit on a regular drill, rather than a dremel, though you’ll have more control with the dremel.

  6. Thought I’d add that the soapy water won’t do much for the silver, and might do more harm than good. And, do you use Peek’s as a polish? Best stuff ever, IMO. And stay well clear of the hallmarks when polishing.

    1. The soapy water was more for some tape residue on the bottom of the plates (though it didn’t work particularly well for that either). I have some Birks polish and some Haggerty’s, they usually work pretty well. I’ll try those before unloading the pieces. I don’t think I’ll get into buffing these, I’ll sell them to someone who’ll do it themselves.

    1. I doubt it because they’re Egyptian silver, I doubt too many Jewish pieces were made there anytime recently.

  7. Have you tried using silvo to clean your silver stuff? I’ve found that it works pretty well.

    1. I’ve used that a bit yes, it’s pretty good though I have Haggerty’s and Birks (which I found in the trash) at the moment.

  8. Hey..i have had silver over the years.i found that the really dark spots will disappear suing a paste of baking soda and water and a soft cloth..i takes elbow grease but they will come off..let me know if it works for you…

  9. I love that cubbyhole piece. Great finds all around. Unfortunately I have no answers on any of your questions.

    I don’t feel quite so bad about the junk in our garage when I see what you find that’s been hanging around other peoples’ homes for decades!

  10. I remember well that morning I was with you, when you came across the pronged flag stand and electric soldering machine … and watching you riffling through bags in the chilly pouring rain. I should have taken a pic of you “in action” in such weather; it would have made a great blog pic. I’ll make sure and have my head about me next time we’re out on such a day.

    Sweet batch of silver you found there. Too bad about the spoon breaking, but I guess you can still include it with your next collection of scrap silver.

  11. i think you may have been not far off on your guess of a thurible. I believe it is a Light, perhaps an eternal one. the bottle would hold oil and a wick. the chains would hang the whole thing and the little filigree with the tiny wheels would raise and lower to cover the flame and keep it away for burnables

  12. The furniture with the small pigeon holes reminds me of something I saw for old train tickets–before printing on demand was available you’d have to sort and organize pre-printed tickets. Eight Mile Vintage’s idea that it would be used for storing packing labels when sorting mail makes sense. I too hope someone has a real answer.

  13. I use the piece of foil in glass pan, baking soda and boiling water soak method for silver cleaning. Sometimes have to do this twice. Dremel or electric polisher with rouge attachment tor large items, Wright’s silver polish for one or two items if I feel lazy. Perhaps the sorting thing was used by concierge at hotel or apartment building?

  14. I agree that the flags look they were on a car (embassy?) and have dirty and grease on them. Fels Naptha, is a bar soap used to remove grease. It is in a green and red wrapper and is very gentle on fabric. I use it to remove makeup from silk clothes and it does not leave any mark.

  15. Hi, the cubbyhole thing could be a frame for old printer’s dies (can’t think of the real name) – newspapers, books, etc.. Was used laid flat. I’ve never seen one with the holes that big but it could be one. People use them for all kinds of things – smalls, put in cup hooks and use for earrings or necklaces. I have a small one but it’s not very deep.
    Good luck.

  16. The brass thingy looks like something church related.Because of the wheels on the filigree circle:it would suggest something that goes up and down.Hope someone has a clue.

  17. I’ve heard that when you have sterling with blackened sections that are actual pitting, you should use ammonia to clean (well ventilated area) – and while it might leave the silver a bit dull underneath, you can then just polish. You can even mix ammonia with certain polishes to amp them up. The issue I have found with the hot water/tin foil/baking soda/vinegar method is that when you have a highly textured piece – it doesn’t work as well, as you want a lot of surface in contact with the aluminum foil.

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