vintage

The Complex Inner Workings of Vintage Calculators Revealed

We imagine that photographer Kevin Twomey cringes just a little when he sees crafters on Etsy selling typewriter parts as jewelry. The Bay Area artist prefers to keep the vintage machines he finds intact so he can examine their inner metal workings through the lens of his camera. His series Calculators, which we first discovered on Colossal, started when he was asked to photograph a mechanical engineer’s collection of old adding machines. “The stripping of the external shell of the calculators was not the original concept for shooting these machines,” Twomey explains. “But when Mark removed the covers to show the complex internal working of the calculators, I immediately knew that this was the heart of the project.” Take a closer look at the bones of these complex calculators in our gallery. … Read More

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The Wolfen Book Covers of Jack London

“He was sounding the deeps of his nature, and of the parts of his nature that were deeper than he, going back into the womb of Time,” wrote Jack London in his 1903 classic novel The Call of the Wild. The story centers on a dog named Buck who is sold off and shipped to the Klondike to be trained as a sled dog. The harsh conditions and treatment ignite his primitive, wolflike ways — and he becomes the story’s mythical hero. London’s 1906 novel White Fang finds a wolfdog on the journey to domesticity. The author’s experiences as a “hobo,” sailor, and journalist took him to faraway places — many which become the settings for his stories. “It was in the Klondike I found myself,” he wrote while reflecting on his days in the Yukon Territory. London always had a penchant for dogs and animals, and his cold-weather travels found him surrounded by them. The wolves and dogs of London’s stories made their way to the covers of his books, which we’ve collected in memory of the author. … Read More

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Retro Glamour Photos and Headshots Styled in Ridiculous ’70s and ’80s Fashions

From one of the makers of the Original Video Pizza — featuring an hour-long montage of saucy, spinning pie with sizzling sound effects — comes the Glamour & Headshots series. Portland photographer Robbie Augspurger, who we first discovered on Ignant, takes a page from the Sears, yearbook, and Glamour Shots portraits of yore, styled in the best-worst of the 1970s and ‘80s. Random firewood? Check. Creepy double-exposure portraits with pets? Check. Lightsaber and brown knitwear? Check, check. “This photo series started when I purchased an old light kit. Its power settings put limits on what I could do in a studio portraiture context, having only ‘on’ and ‘off’ as my main controls,” writes Augspurger on the project website. Vintage Instagram filters are fun and all, but we can’t get enough of Augspurger’s hilarious and frequently convincing photos. See more in our gallery. … Read More

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13 Spooky Vintage Board Games

The verdict is in: films about possessed board games sell a lot of movie tickets. The Michael Bay-produced horror movie Ouija, about a group of friends who confront a dark supernatural force after playing with an ancient spirit board, topped the box office this weekend. As anyone who has frequented slumber parties or had a lonely high school goth existence knows, the Hasbro game — which uses a plastic planchette to spell out messages from the afterlife — has scared curious players since it was first introduced in 1890. In the spirit of all things spooky and vintage, here are other horror-themed board games to satisfy your inner Halloween geek. … Read More

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25 Vintage, International Book Covers for H. G. Wells’ ‘The War of the Worlds’

Happy birthday to English author H. G. Wells, one of the fathers of science fiction. His 1898 novel The War of the Worlds, about a devastating alien invasion on Earth, has been published continuously for over 100 years. Orson Welles resurrected the frightening story for his 1938 radio broadcast, narrated by the director as a news bulletin, which led to widespread panic as listeners thought the Martian invasion was real. The War of the Worlds has been adapted dozens of times, most popularly by Steven Spielberg in a 2005 film starring Tom Cruise. But the book itself lives on in the imaginations of readers everywhere. After spotting a stunning collection of War of the Worlds book covers, we selected several vintage covers that span the globe. These images represent the influence of Wells’ story throughout the decades and demonstrate how different countries absorbed the intense, interplanetary tale into the collective consciousness. … Read More

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A Gritty Photo Tribute to 1970s and 1980s New York City

Former mayor Rudy Giuliani tried to scrub New York City clean in the 1990s, but nostalgia for notoriously gritty New York in the ‘70s and ‘80s remains at an all-time high. An exhibition at Lot 180 remembers a city that was, with a collection of photos, vinyl cover art, posters, and more. Cultural icons like Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry, and Jean-Michel Basquiat (and his graffiti tag SAMO) populate the collection. This isn’t the “Disneyfied” New York City of today. Street photography from artists such as Robert Herman and Fernando Natalici depict the city’s graffiti-filled trains, the XXX theaters of Times Square, and other relics of a bygone era. The exhibition, which you can preview in our photo gallery, runs through September 1. … Read More

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Miniature Paintings Enshrined in Vintage Books

Joseph DeCamillis, who we first learned about on Beautiful/Decay, transforms vintage books into works of art by inserting miniature copper oil paintings into their covers. But his altered books are more than just two-dimensional pictures. DeCamillis collages other materials and personal writings with the paintings that play off the cover text, creating new narratives. Combining DeCamillis’ talent with his love of collecting and literature, the paintings are created with brushes that have three hairs or less. They are the size of a postage stamp. Once completed, DeCamillis seals the books shut forever. “Enshrining the miniatures in altered books establishes them as icons,” he writes on his website. The highway imagery is inspired by DeCamillis’ time living on the road in an old motor home. See more of DeCamillis’ whimsical book paintings in our gallery. … Read More

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Dazzling 19th-Century French Book Advertisements

A popular figure in France’s social scene, and a successful poet and playwright, Victor Hugo spent nearly 20 years planning and composing Les Misérables. It received lukewarm reviews, but the book became a commercial success after its first printing in 1862.

The excitement the novel generated leading up to its publication was unprecedented. Advertisements displayed around the city of Paris introduced passersby to the characters struggling to start anew amid the 1832 June Rebellion in the City of Light. It was a bona fide media frenzy well before the age of the Internet. … Read More

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Vintage Photos of Spring Breakers

Spring break season is upon us — a time when students everywhere step away from the books to decompress and indulge. Films like Spring Breakers paint a colorful picture of the MTV generation binging on drink, drugs, and sex once the temperature starts to rise and their weeklong break from the stresses of school affords them the freedom to sow their wild oats. Were the students in past a tamer bunch? Celebrations seem wilder these days, but some things never change — as evidenced by these vintage photos of spring breakers ready to get their party on. … Read More

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Lost Photos of Kansas City’s Underground Drag Scene During the 1960s

When we think of places where drag and ballroom culture has thrived, cities like New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. spring to mind — but many don’t realize that there was a vibrant community in the Midwest during the ‘50s and ‘60s. In 2006, artist Robert Heishman uncovered a group of slides in a Kansas City salvage yard labeled, “Jack’s Slides: Chicago and Kansas City.” Heishman found a stash of images featuring beautiful drag queens, but the photographer remained a mystery. … Read More

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