.Since my previous blog of March, I have been able to acquire an even more desirable Nash hood ornament, a 1950-51 flying lady with the signature of the designer imprinted in the cast metal. George Petty was an illustrator of the early 1900s in the vein of Norman Rockwell and Alberto Vargas. Of course, while Rockwell did homey, wholesome art for Saturday Evening Post, Petty and Vargas became famous for their sexy pin-up girls. Petty’s fame grew in the 1930s with his illustrations in the newly created Esquire magazine. In the ’40s his fame as pin-up artist spread as his art was copied onto the nose of military aircraft. The leggy gal on the plane below was perhaps the most famous of many. Notice that her legs are more than half of her total height. While Petty did not invent women’s legs, you might say he reinvented them by stretching them out in his art. (In Playboy magazine, Hugh Hefner did somewhat the same with breasts. His centerfolds of the ‘50s and 60s all featured women with much larger than average bosoms.
Crew of the Memphis Belle with the Petty Girl nose art
Nash Motors was founded in 1916 by former General Motors president Charles W. Nash who acquired the Thomas B. Jeffery Company. Jeffery's best-known automobile was the Rambler whose mass production from a plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin began in 1902. Curiously, the Rambler model name outlasted two manufacturers (Jeffries and Nash) and soldiered on into the 1960s with American Motors. AMC was created in 1954 by the merger of Nash-Kelvinator and Hudson Motor Car Co.
Evidently. Post-war Nash decided that hood ornaments, which often featured animals and made a particular brand or model more distinctive, would be a good marketing strategy for them. Before the war there had been a few Art Deco hood ornaments featuring highly stylized women’s forms, but Nash took this to the next level by commissioning realistic figures bereft of clothing. And who better to design such ornaments than George Petty, creator of the Petty Girl of Esquire and WWII airplane nose art fame? Returning soldiers were generally all familiar with his art work. Nash was clever enough to not only commission several designs by Petty, but also to use his widely recognized signature on the ornaments themselves.
Following the war, Nash automobiles offered optional hood ornaments that featured a female figure posed as if flying down the road with the wind blowing her hair with cape flowing behind her. I have so far acquired only one of these ornaments. Depicted below are a 1950-51 Nash hood ornament and two examples of Petty pin-up art. More hood ornament pictures are available for viewing under the “automobilia” tab of this website.
For more detailed information on George Petty & Nash go to the following websites:
Overview of Petty’s hood ornament work:
New York Times article on George Petty’s pin-up art:
Photo history of the Nash automobile:
If you haven’t heard or noticed, since obtaining my own website address outside the Weebly network I have shortened it to “byBuck.com.” If you are looking for classic car related items, you can enter www.byBuck.com/automobilia. If you wish to go directly to this blog: www.byBuck.com/bucks-blog. And so forth for each site page.
Since the Craft Fair in March, I have completed a couple of ornaments that I am particularly pleased with the way they turned out. Both required the use of a lathe for the recreation of original components of an ornament that were missing on the pieces that I obtained. For both I used native Texas mesquite because it is tight-grained, hard and finishes well
The first is something that an attendee at the fair had specifically asked about: a late 1940s Lincoln hood ornament. This 1946 Lincoln ornament required the turning of a perfectly spherical 2” ball, then the carving of the ball to mate with the ornament. Also needed was a short, thin, vertical piece to act as the leading edge of the wedge-shaped chrome wings which form a sort of vee. above the ball And then a long, thin base to sit on – for this I used bodark wood for contrast. All of that set onto a plinth of oak
The second is an ornament I have long admired by Nash. In the late 1950s Nash merged with Rambler and together they rambled on together for another decade and finally folded in the mid-60s. The 1956 Nash Rambler ornament is a wide chrome oval with a pair of spears that pierce the oval, both supporting it while each is mounted to the hood. Again, I was able to obtain only the oval and had to turn matching spears, flatten them slightly top & bottom and mount them to a plinth. All these pieces I made of mesquite
Here it is nearing the end of the first quarter of 2019 and we're back at Will Rogers Memorial complex in Fort Worth for the Spring Funky Finds. This time was not so financially productive for us as past F.F.events. Sold two small items and did not cover even half the cost of admission. But had lots of pleasant conversations and possibly picked up a couple commissions. Sometimes the post-event sales are better than those made at the show itself.
These general craft fairs are not ideal for my specialized niche creations. This year I am doing three new things to address this. I have already added a store front to this website under the Automobilia tab. I am going to seek classic car events that include vendor spaces for my live shows. And I am going to add non-automotive craft items for future general shows like Funky Finds.
It's hard for me to believe that my last post , in November, was about the Fall Funky Finds show and now their spring event is just three weeks away.. Suzanne, the dogs and I made a five-week trailer trip to the West Coast for Christmas and New Years. Over four thousand miles. The '04 Ford Expedition did a marvelous job with no troubles at all. It is now pushing 190K miles. The nine year old trailer had numerous issues. Fortunately, my tool kit was adequate for all repairs and replacements. We sold it about ten days after we returned home. After twenty years of trailering, for business and pleasure, we are through with trailer parks and roadside overnighting.
Besides seeing a lot of highway, we stopped for three nights at Placerville, CA, then spent several pleasant days over Christmas with Suzanne's brother at his home on acreage outside Medford, OR. Then back down I-5 to the SF Bay Area for a week with family there. on to Pismo Beach to meet up with a fellow H.S. classmate of Suzanne's and finally on to L.A. for eight days to visit family and another bridge friend of Suzanne's. Then we retraced our path east on I-10, I-20 and finally I-30 home.
After disposing of the travel trailer, we bought a new (to us) Ford Escape (2016 model) since we will not be pulling the trailer any more. Then we decided we don't want to part with the Expedition, so now we are planning to sell the Mercedes Cabriolet.
Also (here comes the big news), I recently converted my Weebly-based website to my own personal URL and have added an online store front to my Automobilia tab. "gemstonesandwoodworkbybuck.weebly,com" is gone. My new URL is "automobiliabybuck.com." Please visit often. I try to add content every week. Comments and suggestions are welcome.
I had planned for six craft fairs this year - one more than last year. But one was cancelled, one rained out and one never confirmed my registration. Two of the three that I attended were Funky Finds, Spring & Fall, at the Will Rogers Event Center in Fort Worth. I like it because it is indoors, two days long (not three) and you can set up the day before the weekend event.
I sold a total of four items; two each day. This was a wrap for this year. Next year I am going to focus on selling on the internet instead of packing all this stuff off to shows. I don't think it will be less time consuming, but I can do the work sitting at the computer instead of loading and unloading everything into the Ford and travelling to venues.
I returned to the cabin last week with Bella to finish the tile backsplash above the new countertops that were installed (by others) last month. I had set about half the mosaic tiles on our previous visit, so I had the remaining tiles to set, then grout it all and install the electrical plates on the outlets and switches. What had not occurred to me until the final day of this last work was that the last four tile installations I have done were not in kitchens. I did a tile shower in East Texas, then two showers and a front porch floor here in Denton. The last kitchen I tiled was in Placerville, CA. I found that leaning across a two foot counter and ducking under upper cabinets is a lot more of a strain on a 72 year old than on a 50+ year old. Progress was slow, but steady.
We had purchased the tiles at Lowe's. (Also where we procured the cabinets and counter top) They are travertine marble - a natural stone - cut into 2"x4" rectangles and set onto 12"x12" mats for ease of installation. This was all fine except when it came to trimming to fit at the upper cabinets. Travertine is full of small voids and fissures which lead to the small pieces breaking apart when cut into narrower strips. But grout covers a multitude of sins, so the final result is quite satisfactory.
The other wrinkle was the electrical. At one point there is a stud right in the middle of the point where I wanted a three-gang box and at another point (photo on left above) I needed to place a transformer for the undercabinet lights inside the electrical box. So to accommodate these situations I had to use build-it-yourself cover plates so that there could be a blank section at the stud and at the transformer locations. The only color switches and outlets that the local Home Depot carried in this configuration was pure white. I would have chosen beige, but it turned out quite well.
The new kitchen counter was installed earlier this month at the cabin and I was able to put in about 2/3's of the mosaic tile backsplash before we had to return home. The object is to have it completed before Thanksgiving. (Photos next month) Meanwhile, I have had some time in Denton to finish several shop projects that have been in process for a number of months.
Foremost among them is the desk lamp. Last Spring I had picked up a derelict desk lamp at an antique shop near Canyon Lake because I have been thinking of making a lamp with an automobile valve cover as the lamp shade. I did not have a valve cover and really had no firm idea how I would install a tube light inside it. But when I found this lamp with the electric plug cut off, priced at $19.95, I offered the fellow $10 and he bit. Then the hunt was on for a valve cover, an LED tube light and the means of putting it all together.
Unfortunately I did not think to take pix of the lamp in its as-found condition. Above are photos of two identical lamps that I located on the internet, both for sale. These are both in better condition than the one that I acquired, but the brown colors are similar and the base, neck and shade are identical. They have double, 18" fluorescent tubes with old-school, wire-wrapped transformers (2) in the base. On/off is via the two red and black buttons on top of the shade.
My first step was to remove the shade and all the electrical materials, except the cord to the wall outlet. Next I stripped the paint from the base and neck. I was surprised to find that the base is apparently of aluminum and that the neck is still fully flexible and in good operating order. Then to the internet (eBay) in search of a suitable valve cover. I was open to any brand-embossed cover that would accept an 18" tube light. After a few weeks and a number of separate searches I came across a vintage "buy-it-now" aluminum Corvette cover for $50. Most valve covers are in pairs. Vintage 'Vette covers are being offered for $300-$500. The one I found appeared to be clean and undamaged. I grabbed it. While I waited for its arrival I began looking for a suitable LED tube.
Turns out that with the LED explosion of lighting applications, there are now LED tube lights of many descriptions. And the best part is that the old ballasts and transformers are not needed with LED tube lights. So I ordered a single, 18" LED tube-bulb plus the appropriate socket....that's all that is needed. When the 'Vette valve cover arrived it was indeed clean enough to eat out of. I buffed the outside to a polish and did the same with the aluminum base and flex-neck of the old desk lamp. Then I drilled holes in the bracket and cover so I could bolt them together and installed the light sockets with HD double-sided tape. I ran a new, small-gauge wire down the neck, installed a rocker switch (from my misc. electrical parts bin) in the front of the base and voila, I have a desk lamp. I had in mind to paint the base, neck and background around the Corvette script and fins, but I think I like the polished aluminum as is. In fact, after putting it on my desk (just to take photos) I like it so much that I now am thinking of keeping it for myself, rather than offering it for sale as I had originally intended!
Other Items that I finished this last week include two Packard hood ornaments, a pre-war Chevrolet hood ornament and an early post-war Hudson ornament. as shown below.
I have not been awfully productive in my home workshop lately. We decided to redo the kitchen in the cabin we purchased last year at Canyon Lake, TX. The last couple of trips down there have involved picking out new cabinets, tearing out the old cabinets, redoing the in-wall electric wiring, installing new pendant lights over the bar, installing new cabinets and picking out a countertop. This month we will be going back to oversee the counter installation and then I can set the new tile backsplash.
We ordered matching cabinets for the bathroom, but we decided that we will wait on installing them. One thing at a time. Meanwhile, below are some of the flora that are blossoming in Texas lately.
We had rain all day last Saturday in Denton. It was particularly heavy in the morning when the set-up for Arts & Autos was taking place. I was not much inclined to drag all my stuff out in the rain and risk getting my craft items water damaged, especially considering that I sold only one or two items last year when the sun was out all day. So we stayed home. I spent most of the day finishing the cedar sofa table for our cabin...which I will take down there tomorrow. It is still in need of several coats of finish. (Photos soon to follow)
In the last week I have completed several new items. First, I located a small Lexus logo to complete the matched set of mesquite Toyota/Lexus clock blocks.
And speaking of fanatics, a couple years ago I met a fellow who is a Rambler-AMC fan. I did a couple of commissions for him. Recently I stumbled onto an eBay seller who had two vintage Rambler hub caps. One does not encounter Rambler/AMC stuff frequently, so I made an offer that was accepted and I now have two early Rambler hubcap clocks.
Otherwise, I have been working on a backlog of ornaments in my shop, including several duplicates that I acquired at prices I just couldn't pass up. Particularly a 1941 Buick hood ornament with five holes drilled in the top. I already had '41 Buick ornament with two holes in the top. It was not unusual for people to obtain a fancy ornament (like a Packard cormorant) and bolt it to the top of the ornament that came on their Buick or Ford. So that is what I did with this duplicate '41 Buick hood ornament.
I've been dividing my time between installing new cabinets in our cabin at Canyon Lake and completing new items for an outdoor car & craft show on the grounds of the Denton Historic Courthouse. in two days. Unfortunately, right now there is an 80% chance of rain predicted. But I will prepare my gear and inventory anyway. There is no "rain cancellation" according to the show sponsors, but an all-day rain will pretty much kill the event. I know I will not expose my unique and wonderful creations to wind and rain.
Meanwhile, here are a few items that I have completed lately. (Float your curser or click the photos to read the description)
I am still trying new show venues to find those that provide the most effective exposure for my works.