Ephemera: Interior of a Used Furniture Store
by Bill Pratt
Collection of Bill and Betty Pratt
A junk store really, a clutter of furniture and
hangings, the numerous flags indicating the
U.S., perhaps the late teens or early 1920s. Not
likely much of interest here.
The salesman and
his customer pose casually for their photograph
at the rear of the store. The collector’s eye spots
the display of records hanging behind the two
gentlemen, their colourful labels meant to entice
Perhaps you noticed the prominent
stacks of 78s on the dresser in the front corner
of the picture. The top label is a 12” Columbia
Tri-Color first introduced in 1906, perhaps a Mary Garden
or a Rosa Ponselle. Next to the records is a lidless
Columbia Grafonola introduced in 1914. At the
lowest end of the Columbia line it seems right at
home in the store but it was likely not the machine
that played the Ponselle.
Spend a little more time with the photograph.
Follow the line of furniture on the left to the back
of the store. Additional piles of 78s tease the record
collector. Beside the older man, wearing the overcoat
and hat, is a second machine, also lidless, perhaps a
Victor Victrola IV or VI or a second Grafonola.
Seen enough? Not fair really. The photograph is printed only
slightly smaller than the original but the other items of interest
to the phonograph collector are difficult to spot, even using a
strong hand lens. See the clock standing on the round table beside the
younger man? To the right of the clock is a pile of phonograph
cylinder boxes lying on their sides. They look to be
Columbia and Edison wax cylinders.
Wow. Few items of value but still a lot to intrigue
the phonograph collector. Time to leave the store
without a purchase though. But wait. The final item is
practically impossible to see. On the wall to the right
between the flags and behind a metal pan (?) a cardboard
hangar advertises packets of phonograph needles. Always
handy and only a nickel. The store was a good find after all.