Rust is a great equalizer. Almost everything constructed of metal begins a slow march towards decay. In some cases this marks the beginning of the end for the item in question, sometimes it means the item becomes weathered looking. With this comes character.
We’re heading back to the Metchosin Pioneer Museum today where we continue our long-running photoblog series “The Antiques Toad Show“. This series came to be after we were given private access one afternoon to the Metchosin Pioneer Museum by our friends dad, The Curator. An entire afternoon was spent exploring all the displays and items, and today’s post takes a look at a set of antique roller skates and some tin cans.
In today’s day and age where we have composite plastics, carbon-fiber and lightweight aluminum to use in constructing things, it’s almost like looking at a rotary phone today if you’re 12 years old. There’s no way you’d know what to do with these. These are the original roller skates that were so prevalent when we were growing up. The entire concept of safety when using these things revolved around the concept of trying to crash gracefully into a bed of grass instead of headlong into a cement piling. Sometimes in the event of the second option occurring, our moms would dab the sore spot with Windex, slap a band-aid on it, and send us back out with the refrain singing in our ears “get back on that horse!”
What she really meant, of course, was “get out of my house you darned kids!”
I am a little skeptical that the wheels on these skates still spin. With that all being said, this display was one that we really had a hard time taking our eyes off of.
Can you imagine the stories these skates could tell? All the road rashes on little knees, the bumps on the foreheads… all scars worn with pride, almost as if the mere act of survival itself was a pretty cool feat. Actually, it was!
In some cases this concept is lost on the viewer. But, when you really think about it, each weathered mark, each spot of rust is directly due to someone handling the item in some form or another. It’s this handling that tells the story. Sometimes you are left to surmise this, sometimes the story is rather obvious.
We find that items made in the 60’s and 70’s take on an antique feel once rust settles in. Even something as mundane as an old gas can suddenly finds its character within the wear and rust.
This picture is definitely one of our favorites from this shoot. These classic old cigarette tins are long out of use, and this only makes the item and it’s background that much more interesting. Whose fingers opened and closed this tin a million times? Was it a sailor out at sea missing his girl and family? Was it a local mechanic who worked hard and a few times a day popped out back for a break? Perhaps it was a barrister who focused on helping his clients, only allowing himself this one vice during moments of solitude? We’ll probably never know.
I find that as we get older we are more drawn to antiques and things that tell a story of the people who owned and used them. In some ways it makes sense, when we are young we think we’ll live forever and anything that happened longer ago than last week is considered ancient history. Age and experience help us put context around things like this, and I guess that’s what we all find so fascinating about them all.
The mystery is as enthralling as that which is known.
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