Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Pick - Part 3 - Beware of Quacks!


This rattan console table's surroundings weren't doing it justice where we found it while picking the business that had gone out. You can see Part One HERE and Part Two HERE.

Removing the fake flowers, the pile of trash, the coffee thermos, sugar, stirrers, glass, laundry basket and assorted bottles makes a huge difference, as does setting it in prettier surroundings than a defunct business with 80's ugly office carpet. In this case, the AFTER was comprised of simply cleaning it off and moving the piece to a new prettier location.

The company our furniture keeps alters it, just as the company we keep can make or break us.

Stripping this piece of the sloppy and outdated accoutrements and giving it a natural backdrop allow it's simple style to shine through.

Pretty curves and natural beauty. Somebody's going to love her! She would actually fit in perfectly in my Florida room. I have a rattan dining set I got in 1980 that this would pair with well. However, there is other furniture currently residing in the spot this table would look best, and until that finds a new home, there's no room for her. Too bad! She needs to be sold.

Beware of Quacks!

No, not the duckling variety, but rather the kind who might work their quackery on you with ultraviolet rays in the name of medicine.

While digging through drawers and bins in the dark at the business we were recently picking, I found some glass attachments to something. Some were on a ledge and some in various drawers. Since I couldn't see, I had no idea what I had, but they were glass and I was snapping up all the glass I could find. 

So I snagged 'em and hauled 'em home along with boxes and plastic bins full of other glass bottles, syringes, tubes, etc. Once we were home and I went through everything and saw what I had in the light, it was obvious they were really cool. While looking them up online, I found they are part of what is known as a quack medicine kit.

Quack medicine kits (also known as the Violet Ray Machine used for electrotherapy) had their heyday back in the early 1900's. These glass attachments and wands plug into an electrified tool that when turned on makes them light up with a violet glow. They are then passed across the skin, and at one time were believed to heal aches, pains, baldness and other ailments. Some people still believe them to be useful today and continue to employ them.

When I found out what these were, I knew we had to go back and see if we could find the tool to which these would attach that would make them work. How cool would that be to see them light up! Some kits actually come complete with their own mini electrical control boxes.

I also wanted to see if there was an original box for these in one of the storage areas that we might have passed over in the dark before. I had seen some of these kits in their respective boxes online and the boxes truly added to their character, plus they must be worth more money that way. Besides, I'm a sucker for an old box. I just HAD to know if it was there in that office space, and time was of the essence because the listing agent was going to have the stuff cleared out soon.

So my friend Lynette and I headed back over to the well-picked shop a few days later and searched and searched hoping to find the original box. We discovered a few more things while looking for it, and then with great excitement, as I crawled into the deep recesses of a storage area and contorted myself to get underneath some shelving (carrying a flashlight this time - remember these are windowless rooms) and into the very back corner behind piled up folders, files and miscellaneous cardboard boxes full of papers, I spotted a black box shoved about as far back into the corner as it could go, hidden away, with a handle that appeared to touch upon the style of those I'd seen online. 

"I think I found it!" I yelled excitedly to Lynette who was far down the hall. After all the picking through this place we did, it was amazing we had not discovered this box before. Of course, there could have been just about anything lying just behind or underneath a stack of folders or what have you anywhere in that place. We definitely had tired of shuffling boxes and papers and assumed there was only more of the same.

Unfortunately I don't believe this is the box that really goes with these (it doesn't look very old, especially that clasp), but I suppose it could belong to them, and maybe the insert that should have held the protective foam for the glass items is just missing. The style is somewhat similar to those I saw online, and it could be that this set is a newer version of the old ones found on my internet search. Apparently people still believe these work.

Anyway, I snagged a couple of the tools that hold the attachments and now I've placed the attachments inside the box, securing them with the elastic bands that were already there. I also found a couple more glass wands that were missed the first go round. Some were broken, but there were a couple more good ones. These can't be carried around in the box secured only by elastic though. The elastic doesn't hold them tight enough to keep them from bumping into each other. The glass needs more protection.

It's a good thing we went back and looked. Unfortunately, the tools need the electrical control box in order to work, and that was still in the office. The power source used for this in the office was a huge machine into which the corded handles, as well as other medical equipment, was plugged. We were NOT going to haul that home. 

Yes, I'm using this picture AGAIN. Sorry, but it's all I had to show you this part. The power source is the taller thing on the left that looks like 5 drawers with the little black arm and the bottle sticking out (the arm reminds me of the flailing arms of the robot on Lost in Space - "Danger, Will Robinson!") (For you youngsters, that's a TV show. You know, from back in the day when there were still shows in black and white and a remote was a kid who sat by the TV and did the changing of channels for their parents.) Sorry I didn't get a pic of the front of the machine here with all it's dials and whatnot.

If we had taken that thing home, you would know we were certifiable junk quacks.

We don't quite have our paperwork for that level of junk insanity yet. Had we hauled that thing outta there, we would have definitely qualified and we'd have been served with official papers. Then you would surely need to beware of quackery as well as my quirkery. By the way, I really wanted to take that bottle too, but I'm proud to report I left it and its frightening contents behind. I think that gives credence to the fact that I'm not quite a junk quack yet. Right? 

May my junk quack certification be delayed, indefinitely. 


I'm often at these sweet parties:

mop it up mondays

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special
Furniture Feature FridaysFrench Country CottagePhotobucket  

     Ivy and Elephants


  1. Wow - some of this stuff I probably would NOT have taken, and wouldn't have a clue what it was. How did you know about the quack kit? Amazing.

  2. Funny! Love the rattan table. It's so pretty. You did good leaving that bottle of stuff there! I had never heard of a Quack kit!

    Have a great week, and Happy Memorial Day!

  3. This is so funny! It's like antique foto facial equipment.
    My mom was an aesthetician and would love to look at these things.
    Quackery is so entertaining!

  4. I love the rattan looks great sitting there all cleared of clutter...someone is sure to purchase it. As to the quack kit...just plain freaky. I bet it does look cool lit up...maybe you could sell it to a Theatre Company for their props dept. !!!
    Ebay it sister!


  5. Great find on the rattan console table. Love, love, loving it. Great lines and looks like the glass top is in good shape.
    Wish I could buy it but then where would I put it? I just like to have things in case I can use them, lol. Not really but sometimes I feel that way.
    You girls sound like the American Pickers with crawling thru and under junk to get to the good stuff. Happy Weekend.


  6. A tale of two junk conquests - one victorious discovery of the rattan console table (beautiful undercarriage!) and the other? A semi-freaky discovery of the quack medicinal sort. You have to be close to receiving your certificate for advanced junking skills! I wish there was a photo of you crawling along the shelf to get to the box.

  7. I wish you had pics of the two of you digging through stuff! I'd love to pick a place like that!

  8. I want to be in the certifiable junk quacks club! I think I may already hold a high certification - not quite president yet but getting there ;)

  9. Not sure the doctor stuff would be worth much anyway. Somebody has to want it and I can't imagine there are many people that would ollect stuff like that. Love the table.

  10. Hi Liz,

    For me, rattan is so multi-dimensional; it's classic, due to its beautiful curves and warmth but also contemporary. Case in point: the glass top adds a cooler 'edge' to it and makes this fine piece shine!



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