After spending Saturday shopping the antique stores in San Jose, we decided we were due for a bargain and hit the flea market Sunday looking for real deals.
We had seen a washboard craft where they hung it on a wall and added a shelf and hooks across the bottom. The hunt was on. We stopped at a booth that had an early washing machine with a green enamel washtub complete with agitator inside and clothes wringer on top. The dealer said it was supposed to have an electric motor, which sounded downright scary to us. Yours for only $750! The washboards leaning up against it suddenly looked like a better way to get your clothes clean! We each bought one for $14, $20 less than the antique store price. Jennifer also sprung for a $20 galvanized steel tub for beach towels by her back door. (In a pinch, she could use them both to do laundry!)
Kitty found a box of wooden sock darners next to an array of treadle sewing machines. “My grandmother was always repairing socks. I just buy a new pair,” another shopper chimed in. We laughed at how easy we’ve got it. The sewing machines were beautiful, though—ornately decorated and more shapely than modern Singers. Kitty asked about a 1900s model in its original cabinet. Only $125? Something to think about.
We shopped on and found another relic of the bad old days—a cast-iron iron. Jennifer grimaced at how heavy it was, at least 10 pounds. Kitty thought it would make a cheeky doorstop for her laundry room and bought it plus a bag of thimbles for $15.
If You Can’t Stand The Heat
We’ve always been drawn to kitchenalia. We love how so many vintage kitchen tools can still do the job. In a stall overflowing with cooking utensils, Jennifer played with an $18 food mill with a green handle, saying she just saw one for $50 at Williams Sonoma. The vendor picked up a pair of giant ice tongs to show us. Can you imagine carrying around a block of ice for your icebox? That’s a tool we’re glad we’ve never needed! Jennifer went with an old school “Slap-Chop” for only $12, and Kitty scored a yellow Bakelite eggbeater for $9. Nothing better for fluffy scrambled eggs!
We were stumped when we spotted a wall of large flat whisks with swirly designs that were way too big for mixing bowls. The seller told us they were rug beaters used until the advent of the sweeper and push vacuum in the mid-20th Century. He had two fancy rattan ones he found in an attic in Germany. Kitty remarked at how artsy they all look together. Time to start a new collection! Which one did she pick? A primitive beater with a wooden handle and a scrolling wire pattern for only $25. Beat that!