Our first house in Portland was a one of a kind 1927 Colonial Revival that was vintage to its core, right down to the massive old-growth floor joists. In the corner of the basement, seemingly as intact as the day he left it, was the original owner’s workbench. Sitting on top was Ol’ Man Amspoker’s set of 16 small utility drawers where he amassed an impressive collection of tacks, rivets, Cotter pins, screws (slotted — Phillips heads were yet to come), nuts and bolts and many more things old-school and now obselete. For our home fix-it projects, these drawers rose to the occasion time and time again with just the right washer or hook. So, when we moved and set up our new shop space, we brought them along and put them front and center on a brand new bench top.
The bottom drawer is a favorite (and the real inspiration for this post). It transports you right back to 1927 with its musty reserve of tiny, vintage hardware boxes. Graphically speaking, each box is uniquely different than the next, and with a closer look they prove to be little tributes to the designers of that era who invested long hours rendering by hand with real ink, paints and brushes. As simple and mundane as package design was for insignificant boxes of tacks and glazier’s points, the illustration, hand lettering and typesetting is truly classic, some of it quite genius and all of it inspirational. Take a look — courtesy of Ol’ Man Amspoker.