Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


Vintage Folk Art Handmade Fabric Activity Book c. 1960

A Vintage Folk Art Handmade Fabric Activity Book c. 1960.  Each cloth page provides learning tools for a young child.  Button which button, a working zipper (with "cowboys and indians" era figure in a teepee) and other dexterity tools.  Collection Jim Linderman

Antique Foam Rubber Doll Nude Woman / Teaching Tool / Display circa 1930 - 1940

Circa 1930 Foam Rubber Doll with considerable age.  Stand appears to be original, the wire has created a "tan line" on the woman's back.  I believe this is a latex foam figure.  VERY soft to the touch.  Whipped latex was introduced in 1929.  Relative explicitness suggests this was some type of display device (educational purposes?) rather than a doll.  Any guesses?

Antique Female Form of rubber, circa 1935 - 1940  Height 12 inches.  Collection Jim Linderman

Love During Wartime Nookey Ration Card

"Tear off a piece" ration card 1943.  Collection Dull Tool Dim Bulb
Love During Wartime appears in periodic posts on the blog

Vernacular Travel Photo

Vernacular Travel Photo (Museum of Natural History, NYC March, 1971)
Collection Jim Linderman Dull Tool Dim Bulb

The Human Living Whirligig

The Human Living Whirligig of Norwich, CT is presented by the Smith Wood Working Co. in 1957.  I checked...the float didn't win first prize.
Original Snapshot collection Dull Tool Dim Bulb

Miniature Folk art Carnival Spinning Wheel Gambling Antique Toy

An antique miniature carnival spinning wheel / gambling toy only 9 inches tall.  Primitive and handmade construction, but interestingly the wheel is covered with paper printed numbers.  The thin paper was applied to the wheel before small nails were pounded in. There is a "catch" cog, so the wheel works and clicks like a real one. I am guessing this was part of a very old "commercially" available toy set?  Think tramp art with old lithograph paper.  The old patina is real.  Maybe a novelty prize item from a very early carnival gaming booth?  
Late 19th, Early 20th century made by hand spinning wheel 9" tall, 3" wide.  
Collection Dull Tool Dim Bulb

Folk Art Mickey and Minnie Mouse Handmade Cartoon Characters

Folk Art Mickey and Minnie Mouse Handmade Cartoon Characters circa 1950.  Collection Dull Tool Dim Bulb the Blog.  Books and Ebooks by the author available HERE

Early Adopter John Willis and his Electric Bungalow

Two miles from where George Washington crossed the Delaware, on a tiny island where he had been living some thirty years, electric wizard Jim Willis rigged his modest bungalow with 100 dry cells of electricity.  He also tapped into the nearby trolley line for another 600 volts.  There were over 150 electrical connections which animated the place from top to bottom. In 1912, the Popular Electricity and World's Advance described the wonder thus:  "…when all the switches are closed, it is almost impossible to move a muscle or touch a thing without receiving a shock or turning on the lights or  ringing an alarm bell.  If you pick up a book, a pipe, or lift the lid of his tobacco jar, you start an alarm.  You can't even take a pin from his pin cushion, or a toothpick from its holder, nor can you even turn the water into the lavatory without the same result."  Willis also created an electric clock out of an empty tomato can which would automatically draw the shades when the lights came on! 

He welcomed visitors and averaged a few thousand a year.  If anyone attempted to swipe something, a gong alarm would sound.

Willis' Electric Bungalow Willis Island on the Delaware.  Real Photo Postcard c. 1912 Collection Dull Tool Dim Bulb.
Preview or order Books and Ebooks by Jim Linderman HERE.

Outside Office!

Can we work outside today?  Looks like the college newspaper staff is taking the show on the road.
Original photograph Dull Tool Dim Bulb.  Thanks to Boxlot on Facebook.

Plein Air Portrait Painters

Two aspiring illustrators apply their craft outdoors.  Enjoy the Summer!

Original Real Photo Postcard inscribed on the reverse with date 1912 and
Original Snapshot inscribed on reverse with date 1953.
Collection Jim Linderman
Books and affordable ebooks by the author available HERE

Summer Post! Link to hundreds of Dull Tool Dim Bulb images from last ten years.

LINK to Dull Tool Dim Bulb posted images from the last ten years on MOSAIA: http://www.mosaia.com/feeds/46551934645b8111baf20d0228b011f471b7e711

 See entire images at the MOSAIA LINK

Antique Wood Folk Art Toy with Original Paint

Antique Wooden Folk Art Toy with Original Paint.  A sliding motion toy depicting cartoon figures from the early 20th century.  12" long.  Collection Jim Linderman

The Unknown Superhero

The Unknown Superhero.  Anonymous watercolor on paper circa 1950 
collection Jim Linderman.  NOTE:  The Amazing Devlin Thompson located the source material!  It is apparently the Yellow Jacket, a Marvel creation!  Thanks Devlin.

   Browse and order books by the author available HERE

Satan and Adam Memories and a New Documentary

I used to see Sterling Magee play on 125th Street in Harlem. No, not the Apollo...the STREET. Mr. Magee was also known as Satan from "Satan and Adam" a salt and pepper blues duo.  It was a regular gig worth taking the A-train for. Satan was once called "The Fastest Guitar Player in the World" and he might have been, but his amp was so cheap it all came out like one glorious distorted note. He used a foot operated drum and cymbal thing while plugged into a lamppost near the Studio Museum of Harlem. 

Satan also made art, and I spent a day in his apartment while he showed me his trippy, cosmic, Sun Ra holograms made out of plywood and such. Sorta like primitive Rubic's cube toys but shaped like stars and each with their own particular logic only Mr. Satan could interpret. I went with a friend, he later told me that was the longest afternoon in his life. I wasn't surprised to learn he had a nervous breakdown not long after, but what DID surprise me was the extent of his Wikipedia entry! He never told me he played with a transvestite duo known as "The Illusions That Create Confusion" but he did mention James Brown and King Curtis, both which were true. He also made a few early singles and with Adam, a few LP records but they gave him a better amplifier. Too bad. He sounded great with the one he carried on a modified shopping cart. 

I am pleased to see a new documentary on same!  Enjoy it...there aren't many stories like this coming along to be told. 

Barefoot Charlie Hasse Builds a Nite Club in Wisconsin

Barefoot Charlie Haas had big feet and big pine trees growing up inside his Barefoot Charlie's Nite Club. There is a photo of him watering his inside trees with a watering can. He also had a working slot machine installed inside a large dead bear. Charlie was the builder, furniture maker and the owner. Charlie passed on in at the age of 79 in 1970, and the wooden joint burned down in 1988.  
It looks like at least one sizable piece (a table and chairs) resides in the Northern Waters Museum.

Outsider Art Folk Art Sculpture The Catskills Prepare for War

Outsider Art Folk Art Sculpture  The Catskills Prepare for War!  Said to be from New York State.  Circa 1930 - 1950?  Original Snapshot Collection Jim Linderman

Black Sideshow Minstrels of Nashville: Jerri Jackson and the Hi Steppers of 1952 R&B Rock and Roll

The High Steppers of 52!  The unknown sideshow photographer kept good notes too.  Seldom does a photograph caption squeeze in so much information.  However, the real story isn't the Cetlin and Wilson Shows mentioned.  It is the remarkable all African-American cast and crew bringing hot music and dancing to the greater community at a time when the races hardly met.

Here, the High Steppers are performing in Heidelberg, Pennsylvania.  Over 60 years later the population of Heidelberg is still 98% white.  The kids watching the show had probably never seen anything like it.

The traveling troupe was organized by Jerrie Jackson, shown here in a photograph from the Country Music Hall of Fame collection.  Country?  Jerrie Jackson was based in Nashville.  Ground zero for white country music.  Still, there was an active R&B scene in Nashville, and the book A Shot in the Dark: Making Records in Nashville briefly mentions Mr. Jackson's work on the very first release from the legendary Excello Record label.  The disc is credited to Willie Lee Patton and "The Charlie Dowell Orchestra" but Martin Hawkins suggests he was really using the Jerrie Jackson Revue as his musicians.  Dowell was a tap dancer in the HI / High Steppers and Wilie Lee Patton was in the chorus.  

The best source for the High Steppers story is an obscure book The Sound of Applause by Audrey Taylor Henry.  Her book claims to be "A History of Medieval and Modern Outdoor Entertainment Forms Introducing Three African-American Showmen" but it is even more.  The author had numerous personal connections to the High Stepper members, and she shares stories about an extended black family who grew up on the circuit.

The book has an odd format.  Chapters are followed by "quiz questions" as in a textbook. She also has an extensive glossary of carnival terms.  A surprising number have African-American roots.  These include dance forms such as Krumping, Mess Around, Poppin',  Snake Hips and the Tack Annie.  Even those in the trade referred to the act as a "jig" show. 

Jerri Jackson was born in Georgia in 1907. He learned piano and performed with his church choir, but he likely didn't perform any gospel with the High Steppers Act. Exotic dancers seldom perform in church.  He paid his performers well.  Members received 50 dollars a week, and in the off seasons were also employed to perform in "ethnic" clubs and the Bijou Theatre in Nashville.  He was referred to as the local impresario in Nashville and was active booking and producing acts in the Theater Owners Booking Association which catered to black audiences.

Mr. Jackson's first colored revue was known as The Hip Cats Minstrel Review active in the 1940s. 

Billboard Magazine reported in 1951 that "Jerri Jackson's Hi Steppers and the Divena, underwater strip tease show were the leading money earners" in Macon, Ga.

The High Steppers touring stage had signs reading "Rock "N" Roll Special Midnight Ramble" and "Rock 'N Roll with Jerry Jackson's High Steppers" back when the phrase had hardly emerged.  In Levon Helm's biography, he credits a similar act known as the Rabbit Foot Minstrels as an influence.   

Black showmen operating in the Jim Crow era have not received the attention they deserve.  The massive Bear Family box set Nashville Jumps, Blues & Rhythm 1945 - 1955 is a good start. Black in Blackface: A sourcebook on Early Black Musical Shows by Henry Sampson is too. 

Yes, there were black minstrel shows without white performers in black face.  Here is another.

Original Photograph Collection Jim Linderman

Vintage Figural Croquet Game Wicket Folk Art

Vintage Figural Croquet Wicket Folk Art.  22" tall.  Victory Products, Muskegon Michigan.  No Date (circa 1935 - 1940?)  Original paint.  Collection Jim Linderman

Ted Terry and the Sawtooth Range Riders Travel to New York on a Bull Named Hitler

Ted Terry started out as someone else.  He was born Dallas Edgman but GIVEN to a family in Canada!  I had no idea one could give away their children back then.  Dallas became Ted, and he eventually became a member of the Sawtooth Range Riders, a rodeo group who performed on the radio.

In 1937 he and a few band members accepted a $500 bet from a casino owner that he could ride a bull to New York.
The bull he rode over 3,000 miles had two names too.  Originally named "Ohadi" which is the reverse of Idaho, the beast seems to have acquired the name "Hitler" on the road.  Also on the trip was Skipper the dog, Silver Sally the aging pack horse and other members of the Sawtooth boys.  They covered an average of 12 miles a day.  The crew reached Times Square in 1940 and won the bet.

There are several entries on the adventure, but one comes from The Backyard Cow: An Introductory Guide to Keeping a Productive Family Cow by Sue Weaver.  I'd not ever have learned of the book if it weren't for Hitler Ohadi the Bull.

A ten minute youtube film featuring band member H.G. Wood follows. His amazing photographs document a long lost Western America as well as the amazing trip. The film was produced as part of the Phd work of Janine Curry.

Real Photo Postcard of Ted Terry and The Range Riders.  Circa 1938 Collection Jim Linderman  

Jumbo the Elephant has a Drink and Goes to the Opera

There was a real Jumbo (original name, Mumbo Jumbo) who passed away in 1885.  Later, Jumbo became Dumbo, a slur created by Disney.  Elephants aren't dumb.  This Jumbo represented thread from the Clark's O.N.T. Thread Company.  I don't believe Jumbo was paid for his endorsement.  Kerr's thread company borrowed the Pachyderm as well.

Love During Wartime Hand-painted Duffel Bag with Pinup

Pacific Theater Duffel Bag with painted by hand with Pinup.  Circa 1945.
Collection Jim Linderman
From the continuing series Love During Wartime on Dull Tool Dim Bulb

Below Average Folk Art Calligraphy on a Trade Card

It looks like the young Gregg boy is practicing his calligraphy on the job...and he swoons for Sarah.
19th Century Trade Card with calligraphy and animal drawings.
Collection Jim Linderman

Antique Shaking Hands Memory Help Sewing Card

Shaking Hands Memory Help Sewing Card, unfinished.  Printed "child's work" template. Cook Publishing 1909.  Elgin, Illinois.  Collection Jim Linderman. 

Underwater Ballet Vernacular Photograph

"Vicki" takes an air break.  Original snapshot, no date, circa 1960.  Thanks to BOX LOT on Facebook.

Folk Art Wood Loiterer circa 1920 Real Photo Postcard

Folk Art guard named "Sourdough" watches over the shop. 
Real Photo Postcard c. 1920 Seattle  Scenic Photo Publishing Co.
Collection Jim Linderman

The Hand Painted Signs of Joe Light, Memphis TN Southern Folk Artist Original Photographs by Jim Linderman

Joe Light was an African-American man from Tennessee, but he called himself an American Jew.  He spoke his views to the neighborhood by messages posted on his house and shop.  Later, he was encouraged to paint.  Small works are seen mounted on his antique shop, and a number of paintings owned by the Souls Grown Deep collection can be seen here
Original Photographs of Joe Light Environment c. 1993 by Jim Linderman