Here we have our own articles originally published in the Orillia Packet & Times plus links to other articles you may find interesting and helpful.

Batteries power portable lights, phones, cars, radios and satellites but while we may think of the battery as an adjunct to these wonderful devices it’s actually the other way around; this rather simple invention enabled all our modern communication and even transportation.

There is nothing more delightful than watching a child dance and sing. Almost every youngster does both naturally, it’s only later in life that we learn to hold back. Maybe that is why children’s songs are so appealing to us as adults;

Vintage lawn sprinklers are becoming hot collectables, one particularly rare figural example sold for $9,000

There is a whole area of collecting that revolves around professions. The medical profession has been an area of intense interest, doctors’ bags, instruments and old medicine bottles have been hotly collected but lately there has also been more interest in the nursing profession.

Collectors tend to collect stuff that they feel is important but may be trivial to others. What can be more important or trivial than your morning coffee?

Pity the poor parlour piano. If you have one that you want to sell, you know what I mean; you literally can’t give them away.

Signs help us find our way around; they inform us, annoy us, decorate and pollute the landscape.

Why do we as a society place so much weight on a ribbon around a man’s neck? The answer is not so much about fashion as it is about power. Our modern tie came from the military, then spread to political rulers and finally to business.

The office has been a pervasive part of our culture for some time now; office buildings still dominate the skylines of large cities. Today many of us have an office at home or a private office at work that we can decorate ourselves so there has been an increasing interest among collectors in vintage office equipment.

As recently as a hundred years ago pretty well anybody could claim anything had therapeutic value. Their success depended not on how well the medicine or device worked, but on how convincingly they presented the claim.

We might think it odd that a simple thing like a light bulb would stir up controversy but in fact it has a tumultuous history; with enough intrigue and drama for several movies.

We think of Nashville as synonymous with country, but it also played a big part in the development of blues, R&B and gospel. Popular myth has it that Allan Freed’s radio show in Cleveland turned white teenagers on to R&B but in fact it happened in Nashville first.

In 1665 English physicist Robert Hooke demonstrated an invention that would allow two people to talk privately without being physically close to each other. It was simply two cups connected with a taunt wire but Hooke had invented the microphone.

Glowing neon signs were such a prevalent part of our urban landscape as recently as 40 years ago it’s impossible to imagine mid-century culture without them, but they may soon be gone.

As I write this, the darkest day of the year has passed. Winter will not be quite so dark and depressing from now on. We can light a room by flipping a switch but the darkness must have been much more profound in the days before we had cheap, reliable and safe indoor lighting. Amazingly, that was just over a hundred years ago.

Toys, we’re fascinated by them. More so this time of year but it’s always there. Let’s face it; secretly or otherwise, we love toys.

Before the advent of radio and television many clocks didn’t just tell the time, they entertained. They played music, did a dance and were visually entrancing.

Most musicians who play traditional music, and even some who don`t, like to play it on vintage instruments. There are a lot of very focused musicians out there so we are all aware there is a good market for quality, vintage musical instruments. Even beat up ones can be highly sought-after if they play well.

People collect vintage spectacles for several reasons. There is the changing technology in frames and lenses as well as the fun styles from different eras. Spectacles are also historically important and worthy of serious, museum-level collecting.

Things that once were thrown away can now have value; over time we’ve come to realize they represent an important part of our history. Glass insulators are a prime example.

Have you seen the latest 3-D movie? Oh wait, I forgot, nobody cares about 3-D movies anymore. Two years ago 3-D technology was going to revolutionize the movie and TV industries but now it appears to have been just another fad.

As antique collectors we not only like old things, we like the old way of buying and selling them; in an unregulated market.

We old guys love classic cars, though how you define “classic” depends on just how old you are. We’d love to collect dozens of them if we could but that just isn’t practical unless your name is Jay Leno. However we can collect car stuff, or in my case, we can collect books about car stuff.

The world of knife collecting can be a complex and murky one indeed. There are so many different kinds of knives, and radically different collecting motivations, that nobody can say they just collect knives. You must specialize and the deeper you get into it, the more specialized you become.

Styles in homes and home décor come and go and one of the most enduring furniture styles, known as Arts and Crafts, is enjoying a huge wave of popularity right now.

On November 13, 1913 William Swinton & Son Furniture had its grand opening at its new location at 27 Mississaga Street West.

Sometimes the most mundane of routines, shaving and haircutting for instance, can produce the most interesting objects for collectors. There is a growing movement, especially among young people, to do things the old way.

Great inventions often become part of our daily lives very quickly because of a combination of innovation, convenience, style and necessity. Once something better comes along, or it goes out of style, it will just as quickly become a relic, or a collectors’ item. The pocket watch fits nicely into this neat theory.

The antiques hobby is full of cycles; trends that come and go and come back again. The current big buzzword is “repurposing” – altering an object to use it for something else. It’s a great concept; finally you can find a use for those boxes of vintage Mason jars or typewriters that don’t work.

We do things at Christmas that we would never consider doing any other time of year; such as cut down a perfectly healthy tree, drag it in to the house, prop it up and decorate it with lights. Putting up a tree is actually a relatively recent Christmas tradition but its roots, so to speak, go back to ancient times

In the United States especially, there is a very active market in collecting presidential memorabilia. Theodore Roosevelt is the most sought-after presiden however, if we include casual collectors and the general public in the pool, President Kennedy is by far the most collected and revered.

One of the perks of owning an antiques store is you get to buy weird and unusual stuff. Neither one of us is expert in any field of antiques, we learn as we go, and that’s the real joy. A while back a young lady came into our store with a cardboard box full of broken and grimy clay figurines. They were strangely compelling.

All collectors are a bit obsessive, it comes with the territory. Of all the types of collectors though, those who collect vinyl records, especially those who still do it today, are among the most obsessive.

One of the most memorable and successful expositions, The Chicago World’s Fair, opened just over 80 years ago on May 27, 1933. The fair celebrated the latest in design, technology and entertainment. Oddly enough, what is most noted today is that it was the venue for the introduction of the Mickey Mouse watch.

With the torrent of so-called reality TV shows about antiques and antique hunting these days, there’s been a renewed interest in the hobby. These shows have also kindled a burning desire on the part of many people to know just how much their stuff is worth.

Lighting up in a commercial airliner these days will get you arrested but collectors of tobacciana (vintage items relating to tobacco), and collectors of aviation memorabilia often share common ground.

Finally summer is upon us so what do we think about? Getting cool. We’re fortunate that we live in an air conditioned era but that’s not available to everyone, everywhere so the next best thing is an electric fan.

It’s amazing to think that the devices we now use to start most fires, matches and lighters, are relatively recent inventions and the match as we know it was actually invented after the mechanical lighter.

As another New Year rolls around we take time to think about time; what has past, what’s ahead, and how things change with time.

It’s easy to accumulate a lot of Santa Claus things once you set your mind to it. However the more serious or historical collector can also find a lot of fascinating material relating to Santa Claus ...

Writing with a fountain pen is a different experience than using a ball point... it reacts to changes in pressure.

The zoot suit generated the strongest reaction ever seen about any form of clothing in the modern era

Ever since Guttenberg invented the printing press in the 15th century, the stage was set for typed, rather than hand written communication. However getting a machine to type what a person is thinking is not easy

The relentless determination of the public to have music and mobility combined really comes into focus when you look at the history of the first mobile music device; the car radio.

A lot of things are now being re-purposed or made into something else. Many old mechanical devices that no longer work are put to fantastic use by members of a world-wide movement called steampunk. It's a fascinating movement ...

We all know who invented the electric light bulb, the telephone, photographic film and radio but how many of us can name the person behind of one of the most important inventions ever – television.

Old bicycles are becoming very collectable. We’ve had quite a few in our store, usually in pretty rough shape. Most are being bought by young people who fix them up and ride them.

Personal computers are such a recent part of modern life that it’s a bit mind-boggling to think of them as antique or collectable, but there is an avid and growing interest in vintage computers.

Kodak isn’t just another very big company going broke; it is an icon that for years defined photography, which in turn has helped define our very culture.

There are lots of interesting articles about collecting all over the Internet. Here are links to some we find interesting. Note: these are not part of our web site, the link will open a new window or tab.