My apologies for being so long away from the blog. Life had a way of intervening at the end of last year, and I lost someone very dear to me. I decided to ease back into the swing of things with a quick post about a very interesting little gadget that I found in my travels. Usually, I put them in my Vintage Eve’s Etsy store, however, this one was something that I found too invaluable to sell!
This thing is called a “Top Off” and it was produced by the Edlund Company out of Burlington, Vermont. This company came into being in 1928 according to UVM.edu. They were a manufacturer of can openers and other kitchen items; founded by Henry, Oscar, and Walter Edlund.
In 1931, the company had about 75 employees and “five different size can openers, ranging in price from $10 to 75 cents” (UVM.edu). I can’t imagine buying a can opener in 1938 for $10 which would now be the equivalent of $162 in today’s market! That must be a fearsome can opener! But I have to say, this one is still going strong even after all these years.
You just put this beauty on the jar, turn the top piece clockwise to open the sliding sides until the two sides fit over the jar, and then turn counter-clockwise. This simple machine uses the leverage of the handle and the steel grippers to pop the top off any jar I’ve had to open. Works like a charm! And is as solid as the day it was manufactured. This little gadget was developed sometime in the 1940s.
Turns out Edlund is still in business in Vermont, and they continue to produce high-quality kitchen and industrial items. I for one though, down to my vintage soul, will continue to love and use my 1940s Top Off. Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken!
I hope you enjoyed learning a little about this handy little gadget. It will never be in my Etsy store, unless I find another one. Then I may be convinced to sell any others I come across … maybe.
Is there an Ekco in your kitchen? I know there is in mine! This classic company has made so many different kitchen and household gadgets, I’m sure I haven’t seen them all. They are actually a cool company. Here’s one Ekco gadget that I use all the time!
The one above is one that is for sale in my shop but I have one of my own that is my go-to-gadget for slicing tomatoes. Such a simple thing, but it works much better than me trying to slice the tomatoes evenly by hand and it works in seconds. Perfect tomatoes for sandwiches and burgers.
So what’s the story on Ekco? Well, the name has the initials for the founder, Edward Katzinger and it’s his Company. According to an awesome book I’ve referenced before “Spiffy Kitchen Collectibles” by Brian Alexander, Edward Katzinger was a tinsmith by trade. He immigrated here in the 1880s and settled in Chicago.
He decided to set up a shop making tin pans for the baking industry. That is what he focused on and he did it well. His company flourished.
In 1916, Alexander says that Edward’s son, Arthur joined the company. They began to expand in the 1920s, which I would think would have been tricky because of the impending crash that they didn’t realize was coming. But they persevered. They acquired another company during the 20s and became a leader in the tin pan business.
In the 1930s they acquired the A&J Company and began producing utensils and gadgets. Arthur took over in 1939 after the death of his father and changed his name from Katzinger to Keating.
An article at “FundingUniverse.com” goes into the different acquisitions that Ekco made over the next 35 years and chronicles their growth. FundingUniverse states that the company went public in the early 1940s and began acquiring even more companies.
Arthur continued to run the company through the 50s and 60s. During that time they really expanded the different types of items they made. There were items for the kitchen, the mudroom (shoetrees), bathroom, and more.
American Home Products acquired Ekco in 1965 with Arthur Keating passing in 1967. From here it gets kind of difficult to follow. FundingUniverse.com goes into all the hands that exchanged this company through the 1990s, and there were quite a few.
Ekco was eventually part of Ekco Group, Inc. which was based in my home state of New Hampshire. Eventually Ekco Group, Inc. was acquired by WKI Holding Company out of Rosemont, Illinois. Ekco still puts out items including their Baker’s Secret line of bakeware.
Even though they are still making products, their vintage stuff is very collectible. They used to make items in red, yellow, turquoise, pink and black. No surprise here, red is the color collectors look for the most (me included!). Black is collected the least.
Do you have a memory of an Ekco kitchen gadget from your childhood? Tell me about it! I love hearing from all of you! I hope this has given you some good information about a company that was started by a young entrepreneur who came to America to find his dream and grew that dream into a house-hold name.
I wish you all a great week! Remember to party with me this week at the awesome link parties listed on the right.
While my blog is meant to be more informative in nature about the vintage treasures that I find and sell, I wanted to do an extra post that has more to do with my life of looking for these vintage treasures. Don’t worry, I will still be doing my informational stuff! But you know bloggers, we like to write and I wanted to share some fun stuff with you from my life! Let me know if you like some of these extra posts! I love to hear from you!
Above is a picture of me. I’m in the car getting ready to take off this morning because I have been looking for some new places to pick through. I have my local haunts but I like to branch out once in awhile when I have time. So I traveled a few towns over to a new-to-me thrift store in Kingston, NH. Apparently they have been there for awhile, but an antique store used to be in that spot, which is what I remember. The antique store moved out and this great volunteer group took over and opened the space as a thrift store. I didn’t find anything for the Vintage Eve’s store, but I did find some lovely red flats!
Shhhh, we won’t mention how many pairs of shoes I actually own right now — but $2 for leather flats, how can you say no?
Anyway, since I was close to Plaistow at this point, I decided to visit one of my favorite Vintage stores, “A Well-Kept Secret.”
This is a picture from inside on the first floor. The lower level is crafts and the upper floor is vintage heaven.
I found this little “Josef Originals” August lady that will go in my shop, for a great price. I love these little figurines! They had one for each month. Isn’t she pretty?! And she still has her peridot gem and original tag.
That was all I happened to find in that store today. So, since I still had a little time before I needed to go to a meeting for a committee I’m on, I stopped at my favorite local thrift store. They had gotten some stuff in from an estate sale that was still in totes. Here’s the tote I was after.
What I dug out of it were 2 old Ball Ideal jars! Below is one of them. They date from 1933 to 1962 based on the logo — and in pristine condition I might add.
Then, in the back, back room, under a book, inside a basket I found these mid-century modern fondue forks by Inox and this Mouli grater from the 1940s. In fact, the gentleman at the checkout said his mom had a grater just like it when he was growing up and he was older than me, so it was definitely vintage!!
Finally, tucked in a corner, I found this old tool from the 1950s. I found it in a narrow hallway tucked behind some stuff.
As a picker, you really have to be willing to dig through totes and boxes, look under and behind what you see to find the really great treasures. Sometimes, but rarely, are those treasures sitting nicely on a shelf. And sometimes, they are covered with so much grime that the person selling it doesn’t even realize what they have! I had this Pyrex, pictured below, in my shop for less than an hour.
When I found this piece, it was covered with grease and dirt. But it cleaned up nice and sold that fast (I just snapped my fingers). The rest of the treasures above will all be in the Vintage Eve’s shop soon.
Well, that was my day of what I call picking! Thanks for coming along with me. Where do you find your best treasures? What was your favorite one? I’d love to hear from you!
If you’re on social media you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and now Instagram! Come party with me at the linkups under Link Parties and have an awesome week!
There are many times I am wandering through a thrift store or an antique shop and I come across something that gives me pause. I look at it, pick it up, turn it over, all the while my brain is feverishly trying to figure out what the heck this thing was used for! It never ceases to amaze me when I find out the answer. Let me share a few oddities with you. Maybe some of you may say, “I already knew that!” but I think a few will be as stumped as me.
Let us start out slow. You can almost guess what this item was used for. Almost. Is it a clamp? Then why does it have open grooves? It can’t be a clamp because when you separate the handle it opens and when you squeeze it, it tightens the tines. You can’t hold it together indefinitely … so it can’t be a clamp. It opens fairly wide so it was definitely made to go around something. An early hair implement? Any guesses? Take a look below. But I give fair warning, you will slap your forehead when you realize how simple this tool is and that someone felt the need for such succulent perfection.
Look at the multitude of meats that can be perfectly sliced!
This next picture makes me think of “War of the Worlds.” Why, you ask? Take a look at this space age thingy.
Can’t you just see some little old lady, a cigarette hangs out of her mouth (before they were illegal in the work place), hunching over she pours molten metal into the cone. Pulling the lever with all her might, little metal objects extrude from the holes pinging off the bottom tray. Oh, by the way, I have a really good imagination. Because what this thing actually is (care to take a guess?) …
… is a juicer. Not what I was going for but, hey, they need juice in space. Right?! In case they run out of Tang.
Third on my list of WTH is this little number:
Anyone see that movie where all the metal spiders were attacking people? Tom Cruise or someone like that was the leading man? Oh well, either way, that is what this little item reminds me of. Doesn’t it look like it would just walk off the counter the second you turn off the lights? Crawl onto your bed before it bore into your ear and through your brain? Just saying. Too many “Blob” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” when I was a kid.
What this gadget actually does is it makes (insert drum roll here) …
French Fries – or any other veggie you want to make into a french fry shape.
What do you think this would be?
Would you believe a hole maker for belts when you need to add a new one? So would I … but that’s not it. How about a medieval torture device? Could be, it does look painful, but nope. Looks terrifying doesn’t it! That must mean it’s a dental instrument… no, not a dental tool.
What it is …
A cherry pitter or stoner much like this one. Beats working it around with your teeth until you “elegantly” spit the cherry and part of the pulp into your hand. Definitely a useful little gadget!
Lastly, I have to add this one because it begs the question why. WTH is this?
Unless you’ve actually used one of these (and I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from wondering about you), you would never in a million years guess what this is.
It’s a square bottle looking thing with a round top that screws down and moves the platform inside downwards.
Did you guess? I bet you still didn’t come close to guessing that this is …
It pretty much speaks for itself, doesn’t it. Why, oh why, someone decided they needed their hard boiled eggs in the shape of a square is beyond me. What I find even more amazing is that a company felt there was real merit in the idea and marketed it. Who knew?!
Well, that is all I have for this week. I hope you have learned something and enjoyed my blog. Keep coming back for more. If you get a chance, check out my vintage store at Vintage Eve’s at Etsy. You never know what you’ll find. Have a great week!