Before Television – Chalk Hem Marker

photo_hem

What Happens When We Turn off the Remote

“Before Television” has been a newsletter feature that shares the Courtenay and District Museum collection with readers while at the same time highlighting the ingenuity and creativity of people as they added beauty and personal style to items from their home and work life.

This month’s installment is an old-school style chalk hem marker. The idea was for the home sewer to mark hems without needing an assistant. Put on the item of clothing to be cropped, adjust the marker height and a few squeezes of the bulb would send puffs of chalk powder out to signify the hemline.

Before Television: Eaton’s in Courtenay

photo_eatons

“Before Television” has been a newsletter feature that shares the Courtenay and District Museum collection with readers while at the same time highlighting the ingenuity and creativity of people as they added beauty and personal style to items from their home and work life.

This month’s installment may not highlight ingenuity and creativity but the cover definitely features some over-acting!

In 1974 Eaton’s Courtenay branch was located at 307 5th Street – still known as the Eaton’s Building to longtime residents. The business closed in 1981 and the building was converted to the City Centre Mall in 1982. It is currently home to various businesses including Uptown Yarns and Linda’s Leather & Shoe Service. The building was recognized for its heritage significance by the Courtenay City Council in 2008.

Before Television: Union Steamship Estates Creamer

2003.68.2

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The theme for BC’s 2014 Heritage Week (February 17-23) is “Heritage Afloat”. In that spirit we present a Union Steamship Estates creamer from our collection.

The Union Steamship Company was founded in Vancouver in 1889. Its passenger and cargo ships were well known along the BC coast. The company expanded into excursion ships carrying holiday makers from Vancouver to Bowen Island. In the 1920s passengers might choose to take such an excursion as a moonlight cruise on Wednesday or Saturday nights where they could dance on board the Lady Alexandra’s deck.

When a hotel and other resort properties were built on Bowen Island in the 1920s a subsidiary company, Union Steamship Estates Ltd., was set up. Thus the logo on the creamer. By the early 1960s the company’s foray into the resort business was ending and buildings were being torn down.

Before Television: Perpetual Calendar

CDM 985.4.1

CDM 985.4.1

What Happens When We Turn off the Remote

“Before Television” is a newsletter feature that shares the Courtenay and District Museum collection with readers.

This charming artifact is a perpetual calendar affixed to a thin sheet of decorated metal. It may have been a token gift from Rev. Menzies to his congregation.

Reverend Thomas Menzies (1870-1947) was a much respected figure in the Comox Valley. He came here with his family in 1900 and became pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in the spring of that year.

An article from The Courtenay-Comox Argus of March 20, 1947 briefly summarizes some of his contributions. “He spent 22 years in the district…He represented this riding in the B.C. Legislature from 1920 to 1924. During his residence in the valley he took an active interest in all agricultural associations…Before a church was built at Comox he took services in the hall and before St. George’s was built in Courtenay services were held in the old Agricultural Hall. He was instrumental in getting both these churches built during his ministry here.”….

Before Television: Mystery Objects

985.4.1

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Unique cigarette holders? Medieval tools of torture?

No, just an example of a woman’s beauty supplies from the mid-20th Century – metal hair curlers.

These curlers are in the wire clasp style and would be used when doing a “wet set”. Although not pictured here, the curlers came in every size from “midget” known for grabbing onto those pesky short hairs at the neck nape, to “giant” which would have been used for fashionable rolls and puffs.

Before Television: Projectile Point from Goose Spit

CDM 976.13.17

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Hamilton Mack Laing collected this beautifully crafted projectile point from his property, located near Goose Spit, in Comox. Laing, a respected naturalist and writer, settled in Comox in 1922 and completed building his home, Baybrook, in 1923.

In Author and Historian, Richard Mackie’s, book, Hamilton Mack Laing: Hunter-Naturalist, p. 87, he writes of Laing, “He had fallen in love with Comox. In October 1922, he bought the five-acre lot on Brooklyn Creek where he, [Percy] Taverner and [D. Alan] Sampson had camped all summer. At the age of thirty-nine he had found his home: he would spend the next sixty years living on the same shell-midden.” As evidenced by the artifact above, Laing found more than just shells on the property.

Early settlers found stone tools such as this often, indicating the large population of First People settled around the shorelines of the Comox Valley before effects of exploration and settlement, such as displacement and disease, took their toll. First Peoples employed stone tools such as this in every aspect of daily life. This projectile point could have been attached to spear poles or shafts for hunting.

Recently, there has been some discussion in local newspapers about the Town of Comox tearing down Baybrook, the original Hamilton Mack Laing house. If you would like more information on Hamilton Mack Laing, there are some copies of Mackie’s book, Hamilton Mack Laing: Hunter-Naturalist available on Amazon.

Before Television: Comox Post Office Model

CDM 2002.102.1

CDM 2002.102.1

While not created before the age of television, this model of the Comox Post Office certainly shows a dedication to handcrafting and embellishment.

The model was made in 2002 by Dave McKay (b. 1930 – d. 2008) of Union Bay. Dave was well known for creating miniature replicas of Comox Valley landmark buildings. His replica of “old Union Bay” is on display in the former Union Bay School building.

The Comox Post Office pictured here and modeled above, was built in 1913 and torn down in 1958 to be replaced by a modern facility.

CDM P255-235a

CDM P255-235a

Before Television: 1920’s Make-up Case

“Before Television” is a feature that shares the Courtenay and District Museum collection with readers while at the same time highlighting the ingenuity and creativity of people as they added beauty and personal style to items from their home and work life.

This month’s item is a natty cigarette and make-up case from the 1920s featuring a needlepoint design. The case opens into several compartments: mirror, loose face powder, puff, and holder for seven cigarettes. With lipstick clamped firmly to the top, just grab this compact little number and you were ready to go.

Before Television: Baby Bonnet

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Here’s a charming little baby bonnet from the museum’s collection. Probably from about 1910-1920, this bonnet is trimmed with angora – both cute and cozy for baby.

In the 1909 edition of Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, Mrs. B. describes the requirements and duties of the nursery governess. Of primary importance, “…love for children and a good temper…clean, neat, and refined in manner and speech goes without saying.”…

“A knowledge of needlework is also essential. It is not always stipulated that the nursery governess makes the clothing for the children, but it is always understood that she repairs it and keeps it in order, and to do this she must work neatly, and, if the children be old enough, give them some instruction in the rudiments of needlework. To be able to renovate and renew little garments, to trim hats or bonnets, and to suggest or design pretty and inexpensive little costumes should be a pleasure to one who takes an interest in the children for whom she works…”.