Chris Ramsay spends most of his time checking out the world’s most beautiful and complex puzzles. But in this clip, he takes a moment to get up close with a century-old Gambler’s Holdout, a device used to cheat in card games by hiding extra cards up the cheater’s sleeve.
THE BEST Vintage
The cast iron toys of yesteryear were subject to rusting and corrosion like nothing else. But in the capable hands of Awesome Restorations, old things can look as good as new once more. Watch as they breathe new life into an old 1930s coin bank, sandblasting off the caked-on rust and giving it a shiny coat of enamel paint.
MoMA posted this mutoscope footage of Wuppertal, Germany’s Schwebebahn, a suspension railway that opened way back in 1901. The train line has changed over the years, but still is in operation. The juxtaposition of the overhead rail cars and the horse-drawn carriages below is like something out of a Jules Verne story.
Today’s computers are largely solid state devices, but some of the earliest examples of computers were mechanical. In this clip, you’ll get an up-close look at Charles Babbage’s 2.6-ton metal computer, a machine its 19th century inventor never got to see, but was eventually replicated in 1991 to prove that it works.
Photographer Mark Richards and author John Alderman offer a visual guide to some of the earliest examples of computing devices. The 176-page hardcover book features artistically-composed images of machines like the Eniac, Cray 1, and the original Apple 1, which call Silicon Valley’s Computer History Museum home.
Inspired by the look of vintage ticket stubs, designer Jackson Robinson’s playing cards for Kings Wild Project definitely stand out from the crowd. Each card is splashed with a patchwork of colors and halftone patterns, while the court cards feature full-body images of the royal crew. Also available in a special limited edition.
Video technician Denis Shiryaev of Neural Love took some early 20th century film footage from Tokyo, Japan, and processed it to increase its resolution and frame rate, repair damage, and add colorization. The result is sort of a living postcard of the time and place. The ambient sounds were previously added by Guy Jones.
Fully-mechanical cash registers are relics of a bygone era of shopping. But there was a time that they were so popular that they even made a version for kids to play with. Watch as Rescue & Restore takes on the challenge of tearing down and rebuilding a rusted-out Tom Thumb model that dates back to the 1950s.
UK leathersmith Victory Leathercraft is working on collectible pens made from oak timber from the famed ship HMS Victory. The wood was gathered during renovations of the British warship, which fought in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Available in ink or rollerball versions, and with an optional leather case.
Photographer and camera enthusiast Mathieu Stern got his hands on an old Russian camera that dates back to somewhere between 1954 and 1977. When he opened it, he discovered an undeveloped roll of film. He managed to get the photos developed, and attempted to decode the origins of its images.
These days, using machines to carve and sculpt is commonplace, but back in 1957 it was anything but. Back then, an ingenious inventor named George MacDonald Reid came up with a process that would snap 300 pictures of a subject’s head, then traced those images to carve it into a block of plaster, one section at a time.
In the earliest days of animation, characters had movements which seemed stiff and unnatural. Vox explains how an invention came along that allowed animators to draw movements atop live footage, creating much more believable motion. If you haven’t seen it Minnie the Moocher has been impeccably restored.
In this vintage 1959 newsreel from British Pathé, we go inside a UK factory where they transformed gold bars into incredibly thin sheets of gold leaf. According to the narrator, a single gold bar could cover 9000 square feet with the leaf it produced. We’ve got tendonitis just watching the guys doing the hand-hammering process.
This tabletop gadget looks like a vintage film projector, but it actually packs a modern DLP digital projector inside. It’s made from sturdy aluminum, with a tilting base. Its 10000 mAH battery means it’ll run for up to 4 hours while unplugged, and it can mirror Android or iOS devices over WiFi in addition to its HDMI input.
Rescue & Restore does a great job taking rusty old items and making them good as new. But given just how creepy this mechanical clown bank is, maybe it was better left in the junk heap. We could totally see a horror movie starting this way, then the bank comes to life and kills anyone who attempts to take the coins inside.
It tooks some work to modify this 1880 still camera lens to fit a Sony A7II, but the results captured in Mathieu Stern’s Weird Lens Challenge experiment produced a wonderfully ethereal and dreamy look, while still maintaining an impressive amount of detail.
IDIDTHAT creates whimsical and functional art by reclaiming vintage objects. They have lots of cool stuff in their Etsy shop, but our favorites are these old rotary phones from the 1950s and 1960 which have been converted to desk lamps. Their coiled cords can be bent into various positions, and their LED light source is nice and bright.
There are few things more satisfying than watching old, rusted out objects made good as new by talented restoration artists. In this clip from Odd Tinkering, he takes a 1970’s era Tonka toy dump truck, and gives the yellow plaything a fresh new lease on life. Scrubbing off the old paint looks like a particularly satisfying task.
Camera technology has come a very long way since World War I, though a lens is generally still just a lens. Photographerr Mathieu Stern decided to see what kind of video he could capture with a lens he snatched from a 100-year-old Eastman Kodak camera. The footage is quite good, with a dreamy and warm quality to it.
Originally released all the way back in 1876 by Andrew Dougherty, these classic playing were the first known cards to feature a dragon back. They also have a unique “triplicate” feature – a tiny card icon in the corners of each card, verifying its suit and value. Choose from red or blue backs.
VirtualArmory introduces us to one of the more unusual medieval weapons. It starts out as a sort of walking stick, but flips open to reveal a set of deadly blades. It might not have been the most practical design, but it’s sure an awesome bit of 13th century engineering.
A brief demonstration of a rare piece of office equipment c. 1953. The Keaton Music Typewriter made it relatively easy to create sheet music much in the same way you’d type a letter. If you made a mistake, however, you’d have to wait until 1956 for correction fluid to be invented.
A fantastic addition to any home, artist Rory Rundle’s handmade sign looks like it landed from a 1950s amusement park. It’s made from bent sheet metal with a distressed paint finish, and looks great lit up with vintage bulbs. Measures roughly 6′(w) x 6′(h) x 11″(l)
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