A Pinch Of Tobacco

Posted: 18th November 2013 by ToadHollowPhoto in Olde School, Photography
Tags: , , , , , ,

100 years ago we looked forward to the simpler things in life.  A nice smoke after a lovely meal, a clean-shaven face and the smell of aftershave, and…  well, we’ll save the last one for last.  It’s been awhile since last we visited the Metchosin School House Museum and explored all the wonderful treasures on display there, so today we are going to continue our long running photoblog series “Olde School” with a return visit to see some antique items.

Shaving Equipment - Metchosin Schoolhouse - Metchosin, BC, Canada

Shaving Equipment – Metchosin Schoolhouse – Metchosin, BC, Canada –

I hate needles.  And things with a moniker of “straight razor”.  They just make me queasy.  But I do love antiques!  I can honestly say that if today my only option for shaving was these pieces of apparatus, Mrs. Toad would be kissing a permanently hairy face.  Thankfully, that’s not the case.  But back in the time, men used a straight razor just like this with a shaving mug and a big poofy shaving brush.  I can remember a time when my dad used things just like this, and one of my favorite things to do was to play with it all.  I loved the way the brush felt and the smell from years of shaving cream, and it was fun to pretend I had to shave, just like my dad.

All these years later now, I use an electric shaver and the entire act of shaving is one of those things that I could apply the time spent every day doing something else.  Pretty much anything else, really.  I shouldn’t complain, though, my electric razor has bells and lights and the odds of it causing a major accident resulting in my untimely demise is slim to none.  I guess we call this progress.

Smoking Tobacco and Accessories - Metchosin Schoolhouse - Metchosin, BC, Canada

Smoking Tobacco and Accessories – Metchosin Schoolhouse – Metchosin, BC, Canada –

Antique tin boxes that smell of old tobacco… how wonderful!  I used to smoke a long, long time ago, and used a lighter much like the one we see in this picture.  It used some form of liquid fuel that really had a distinct smell that over time you’d get used to and wouldn’t really notice anymore.  I just love the weathering on these old tins, it’s fun to think of the people who used and loved these items all those years ago.  After a wonderful family meal, would dear old dad grab his smoking gear and head for the parlor for an after-dinner imbibe?  Or were these items loved and used by one of the loggers that worked so hard on the island here during those times?  Or perhaps it was a mechanic?  The stories behind these items may be long forgotten, but the allure these antiques have on people is most certainly not.

Respirator - Metchosin Schoolhouse - Metchosin, BC, Canada

Respirator – Metchosin Schoolhouse – Metchosin, BC, Canada –

And our final shot before we leave you for the day is of this respirator.  It was a rather odd item to find in the museum, but it definitely qualifies with its antique status.  As we were photographing this item we were trying to figure out who might have owned it and what its original purpose was for.  Some of the things we came up with were entertaining to say the least.  I am afraid most of them have left my mind at the moment, all that remains behind is the memory of a good time.

One of the very best parts about our visit to the museum on this particular afternoon was how quickly the time flew.  Each item we spent time with had its own story, and each one made our imaginations run wild trying to grasp the nature of this story.  Some are rather obvious, and others are most certainly not.  The best part is coming away with a deeper understanding of our world by exploring the past that gave rise to the current.  No matter what your age or interest, there is most certainly something on display here to capture the imagination.  The first step begins with a visit.

Thank you all so much for your kind visit today, we really do appreciate it.  As always, we love to hear from all our visitors so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have.  Until next time, my friends!!




  1. avatar LensScaper says:

    It’s the little commonplace articles from the past that sometimes have the sharpest memories. I recall my father’s shaving brush and shaving soap. I recall visiting a friend where I would often sit watching the TV, but with one way on his grandfather whose full time occupation was keeping his pipe smoking. And I played with the contents of a knapsack that my father carried in London during WW2 when he worked overnight as an ARP warden (Air Raid Precaution). Just a gentle jog to the memory, as you have given me by this great post, and I am back there seeing those images flickering through my brain. Thanks Toad.

    • These are wonderful memories, Andy, they add so much to our post here today. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to visit and for leaving these great memories behind that I am sure everyone will really enjoy. You’re the best, my friend!

  2. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Great post Toad. I remember watching my Dad shave and was always fascinated. I loved everything about those times, even the smell of his after shave lotion. Now I hate to shave as I have a thick beard and can’t use an electric razor. Great images from days long gone.

    • Cool! It seems that this post has brought up similar memories for you as the ones I have Len! Like you when I was young, the whole thing just seemed so awesome but now that I am older and, well, hairier it’s much less fun and much more work. 🙂 Thanks so much for your kind kind visit!

  3. What fun! Those old tin tobacco boxes really take me back. I remember my mother and aunts having them (and even rolling their own cigarettes, using some ancient contraption) when I was very young.

  4. Memories! I remember my father using the shaving brush to create the lather for his shave and in my early days of shaving thought it was the only way to go so even had my own brush for a while. I also remember the tobacco tins, although not from dad smoking his pipe but from all the storage uses the old tins were converted to. The garage was full of them, each with their own collection of screws, nails, etc. My mother also used them to keep spare buttons in.

    • Oh yeh, I forgot about reusing those tins for keeping little things organized, I’ve seen that before too! There’s just something comfortable and familiar about these items, particularly for folks like us who kind of remember them from our youth. Terrific comments Mark, I really enjoyed them a lot here today!

  5. avatar Edith Levy says:

    I’ve missed this series Toad. What a terrific post. You know I remember my father shaving with a shaving brush. He used a regular razor with blades not a straight razor but I loved cuddling with him (as little girls do) and he always smelled so good. Thanks for bringing back some nice memories. My father’s been gone now 16 years but I still miss him. I get the nofications when your posts are published but I only open them when I know I have sometime to sit back and take in your whole post and enjoy the images and stories. Just wanted to say…Thank you!

    • We are overwhelmed to read your wonderful comments here today, Edith. You, my dear friend, are the true definition of a friend to us here, I can’t even begin to think of how we can thank you for all your support and encouragement over the years here. We think the world of you and are delighted each time you pop by and leave us your comments like this. Thank you, my dear friend, you mean the world to us.

  6. That Aqua Velva bottle is the bomb! The Empress would kill for that! Great Post Toad! Be Well

  7. avatar ken bello says:

    I love these Museum shots. They are so much fun to shoot and share later. I finished shooting some displays and dioramas at our museum and I had a great time.

  8. avatar Rick Louie says:

    My first razor was a single blade! I think today how I risked my life putting in the blade to shave my face – j/k. Oh and the Aqua Velva! Memories of my dad splashing that stuff on his face. Ouch!

    • That was always like a 3rd cup of coffee in the morning wasn’t it, Rick? LOL Great post, my friend, it’s always a highlight for us when you pop by for a visit, good sir!