Old Iron Legs John F. Stahl walks and walks and walks and walks and walks


"Old Iron Legs" John Stahl stops walking long enough for a portrait.   Stahl poses right in the middle of Stahl highway, the railroad tracks.  He used them, but he didn't ride the rails.  Old Iron Legs walked.  Epic walks. 

John Stahl was born in 1882 Ohio but spent most of his working days selling stamps in the San Francisco Post Office.  When he retired, worried about his health, he took to walking.  This was apparently in the 1940s, as the earliest mention of one of his walks was a massive hike from the Panama Canal to Austin Texas in 1940.  3,500 miles.  He took a boat down, but walked back.

In 1949 he was seen in El Paso, Texas.

In 1960 he was stopped briefly by a reporter in Alabama during a six-month stroll to say "when a man retires he should have a hobby of some sort - walking is a good hobby."

Two years later Mr. Stahl turn up at the Seattle World's Fair, having walked 900 miles from San Francisco.  That walk was sponsored by a beer company, and when he arrived he kissed a girl, danced a little jig,  picked up a thousand dollar check and presumably kept walking. 
 

Original Photograph of John F. Stahl, signed on reverse and dated April 23, 1949 Balboa, Arizona.  Collection Jim Linderman

Thanks to J.J. Cromer
 

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Spectacular Circus Banners Hanging in 1963 At the Circus in Black and White (and Color) #34 collection Jim Linderman


A group of exceptional circus banners in a pair of 1963 snapshots of the Ringling Brothers Barnum Bailey Circus.  Folks often think the glory days of the circus banner was long gone by then, but these look pretty good.  A real phantasmagoria!  Note matronly visitors standing near the entrance.  

Pair of original snapshot photographs dated 1963  Collection Jim Linderman


AT THE CIRCUS IN BLACK AND WHITE is a occasional feature on Dull Tool Dim Bulb. This is number 34 in the series.

Original 8 x 10 photograph, circa 1930 Collection Jim Linderman

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Farm Boy in Yellow Hat Yard Art

Yellow Hat Farm Boy No Date Yard Sculpture collection Jim Linderman

Hot Banjo from Michigan! Hootchie Cootchie Banjo PIcker 1936 Collection Jim Linderman

Click to see the Banjo Cutie collection Jim Linderman
A Michigan man plucks his pin up painted banjo in 1936.  Original Snapshot collection Jim Linderman.  See Also OLD TIMEY MUSIC PHOTOGRAPHS the forthcoming book HERE.

Gigantic Tramp Art Folk Art ...um...THING collection Jim Linderman






No door or opening, just a "house like" Tramp art thing. 

Tramp Art "House" circa 1930  Collection Jim Linderman

Cartoon Tintype "Stick your Head Here" Man on a Mule collection Jim Linderman




Humorous "cartoon" tintype of one Frank Mason of Jackson,  Michigan poses inside a painting of mule circa 1875.  A "put your head in here" fun photo, but Frank is is a bad mood.

Frank Mason (inscribed on reverse) circa 1875 Tintype photograph collection Jim Linderman

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Skat the Cat and her Bean Bag Toss Friends Sideshow


Scat the Cat and her bean bag buddies.  Toss through mouth!

Circa 1940  Collection Jim Linderman

Juvenile Delinquent Woodworkers Crafty Cutlery Trays from Detention

CLICK TO ENLARGE SULLEN CRAFTY DELINQUENTS
Juvenile Delinquent Idle hands make young thieves and check-forgers, so a group of sullen juvies here earn fresh air while showing off their woodworking projects.  I always thought those old cutlery trays were made by farmers.  Now I know they were sent home with mom on visiting day.

Our early youthful offenders have also crafted magazine racks, stools and useful household objects.  Each one looks like he is taking shop as a ruse to carve a fake gun or sharpen a shiv...and numerous light beatings have taught them all to stand with their hands behind their backs.

Grates on the windows keep the neighborhood safe from antisocial personality disorder.

The one checked-off (and ticked off) third from the end is Junior.  He is making good progress. 

Original anonymous snapshot, circa 1935 Collection Jim Linderman


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Lemonade Sucker in Silhouette in St. Louis In Black on a Postcard In the Mail On my Blog

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Ah, the humble silhouette.  Progenitor of the photograph, of sorts, and a crisp, harder version of the shadow.

This silhouette is a particular favorite of mine as it not only depicts a fellow enjoying a lemonade, he takes the time to WRITE about having himself turned into a silhouette while sipping.


World's Fair Postcard St. Louis (blank) with Affixed hand-cut silhouette and text.  1904 Mailed
Collection Jim Linderman  

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Art without Artists Gregg Museum Exhibition Catalog Review by Jim Linderman




Friend, designer and long-time champion of things beautiful John Foster sent a splendid little catalog of the exhibition he co-curated with Roger Manley for the Gregg Museum of Art & Design in North Carolina.   A wonderful show of objects made by age, use, nature, mistake and unexpected circumstance…as well as a few made by those who would have been called during Aaron Copeland's time "the common man."

Drawing upon the collections of a few thinkers who ponder such things, the exhibit enlarges our understanding of what art is, especially when there is no formerly designated artist present.  The show is full of the reason I go to flea markets, antique shows…and even why I take walks.  Unexpected delights which cause one to pause and marvel.  Do we need an artist's strategy or intention to create or appreciate art?  Of course not.     

A stack of drugstore prescription receipts placed precisely on a spindle over the years represents order, procedure, tradition, progress, law, regulation,  success, safely served customers, sales and my father's generation ruled by orderliness all in one humble object.  There is decorative appeal, and a precision one would see in any well-crafted object, yet unless there is an institution collecting filled spindles of script, would this powerful object have been seen in the context of an art museum? Were not for the adventurous folks who seek out such objects, no.  The only common thread among the material here is found in the folks who contributed their finds.

A make-do chimney cleaning device from the collection of Rick Ege may have saved a few house fires, so function and utility applies, as does wear and need.  But what makes the bucket worthy of thought and admiration?  I am left only with the belief it is Ege himself and the curators.  That is not a bad thing.  Taste makers do more than sell product or decorate homes.  They bring attention to things not appreciated before.  In this case, things seen but not observed.  In another of Ege's found objects, a homemade radio antenna brings to mind the crucifixion and a radio preacher simultaneously.  At least to me. 

Aarne Anton, who has carried a luxurious appreciation of form with him for decades is represented with a twig "tack holder" but is that what it is?  Mr. Anton has the ability to discern exceptional happenstance from normal happenstance.  He has with consistent skill and thoughtfulness for a long time.  But can this object simply be a tack holder?  Could it have had held ribbons over the years?  Notes to remember something or to instruct a worker nearby? A thing to meet by, something to think "hmpf" while passing?   I will defer to Mr. Anton.

The show incorporates anonymous snapshots, functional objects, tools and devices along with a thoughtful essay by Roger Manley, who has also championed art created by the untrained for a long time. 

As there are no formal standards or criteria for determining what is art and what is not (without being elitist, exclusionary or guided by one's own time and prejudice) we must defer to the finders.  This show champions the taste and esthetics of the collectors more than the makers or the formal art world,  but then the collectors and curators represented here have expanded those boundaries consistently for a long time.  More than most shows, this one appears to show most of all that art is in the eye of the observer more than any artist.

2012 North Carolina State University Raleigh Gregg Museum of Art and Design (Show runs through December 16, 2012)  64 Pages

Working Man Whirligig Folk Art collection Jim Linderman



A working man whirligig characterized by small size.  Lil Man less than five inches tall, his green house only seven inches.  

Early Folk Art Whirligig collection Jim Linderman

Book Catalog HERE

Some Tough Women in Overalls Pipes and Suspenders


Some pretty convincing role players!  Original Photograph circa 1890 Collection Jim Linderman

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A Mean Calf Wean Calf Weaner Mask Farm Primitive

Being a vegetarian, I don't have to worry much about this Hannibal Lecter mask, which is actually a device used to wean a calf from his cow mom.  The idea is (or was…they are apparently made of nylon now) That Bessie junior would approach Bessie senior to feed, and Big Bessie would kick her away.  Seriously.  I thought dogs with those satellite dishes on their heads after surgery looked funny!  Seems pretty extreme to me, but then I'm urban, not rural.

We kicked it around the antique mall for a while, but I knew what it was.  

Calf Weaning Mask  Circa 1900.  Ouch.

Truly Terrifying Folk Art Lion 19th Century Handmade




Folk Art Lion from Hell! As much taxidermy as folk art, this terrifying lion must have certainly been part of a menagerie, as whoever made him was magnificently talented.  Wooden teeth, fake eyes, an actual animal skin around a internal frame of unknown material.  The mane is gone, long gone, and replaced with another piece of animal skin tacked on with brads.  Extraordinary!  The entire body is hand-stitched, possibly with sinew...and the lion is ten inches long.

19th Century Folk Art Lion Collection Jim Linderman

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CDV Photographer Trade Card Salesman Sample Photographica collection Horton Grand Rapids Jim Linderman




Photographer O. W. Horton of Monroe Street in Grand Rapids Cleans his Studio.  Circa 1855.

Orsamus W. Horton was one of the first daguerreotype photographers in Grand Rapids, MI.
Later he created Stereo photographs.  In 1916, on his passing, he was referred to as "Grand Rapids First Photographer" and was also the first to install a skylight.  He was also known as "Practical Photographer" and listed his location at "Foot of Monroe St."

Original Carte de Visite Photograph circa 1855 Collection Jim Linderman

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One Trick Pony Snapshot Photograph

A one trick pony.  Original anonymous snapshot circa 1935 Collection Jim Linderman

Large Folk Art Carved Ball In A Cage Whimsy collection Jim Linderman

What is the secret to carving a ball in a cage?  There isn't one, other than turning off the TV.

Carved Whimsy no date 8" tall  Collection Jim Linderman

Goofus Glass Carnival Glass FREE Origin of the Collectable RPPC collection Jim Linderman


Carnival Glass was largely given away or sold cheap, as you can see here, at carnivals.  The booth reads FREE but I am sure they had some angle.  It is also called "Goofus Glass" as the decoration was cheap and wore off, hence people felt it was goofy or that the seller had tried to "goof us" according to Wiki.  It is highly collectable today, but according to me this real photo post card is far more scarce than goofus glass. Not only does it show the questionable source of the glass, it has a few sleazy carnies hovering around for the photo.


"FREE" Carnival booth with glass and notions Real Photo Post Card dated on reverse 1908 Collection Jim Linderman


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