Antique Wooden Letterpress Drawer

letterpress drawer

For many decades, my grandfather, Harry Sumner, worked as a printer. Back then, the printing presses required individual block letters to place down. Those letters were organized in special drawers, such as the one above. At some point, my grandfather bought one of these drawers to hang on the wall. The wording on the handle says

48 Kaufmann Bold – Foster (ATF)

kaufmann drawer

Some of the slots are bigger than the others to hold the more frequently-used letters.

Turns out, a lot of people use these old drawers to decorate and for other purposes. Check out some images on Google.

Here is where each letter goes:

letterpress drawer

My Grandmother’s Cuckoo Clock

You can’t put a price on sentimental value, and that’s why I decided to get my grandmother’s cuckoo clock fixed, after it hadn’t worked for probably more than 35 years. My father originally bought it, I think in Switzerland, and gave it to her. My grandmother’s story is that my uncle and grandfather couldn’t stand listening to it, so she brought it to the basement, and over the years I suppose it just stopped working.

After an all-round fix, then a secondary fix that took far longer than the first fix, it’s now working again, and my grandmother is happy about it. However, she’ll leave it on the wall for show, and perhaps use it only for company, because the truth is, the clock is fragile and we don’t want it to break again. Still, I say it’s worth the price I paid.

Roman numerals.

The doors have hooks in case we want to turn off either the bird or the boy.

The bird comes out to cuckoo on the hour and the half hour. I don’t really think he’s paying attention to the real time, though.

The little man comes out to play music but the door doesn’t open as far as it should and he merely stands inside, instead of poking his head out. Oh well.

Three standard weights hang from the chains. I think they must be pulled to the top once a day to stay working. It must be completely level on the wall for it to work.

My Grandfather’s WWII Stuff

Years ago, my grandfather would take me to his basement to show me his box full of World War II stuff. It contained a German helmet, some Nazi knives, and a couple of old handguns. (See photos of him during World War II here.)

Many years later, my grandfather discovered that some of the stuff was stolen. My grandparents had some work done – a couple of times – in their basement, and had no idea anything was taken until it was too late to know exactly when it was taken or which person/persons took it. The guns and knives were taken. I recall my grandfather, in his 80s, saying that losing those guns ‘broke his heart.’

Here’s what we’ve got left. The helmet, four holsters, a Nazi belt buckle, and a canteen. I’m assuming the holsters are from WWII, but I’d have to take them to an expert to get authenticated.

The helmet and the canteen, relatively speaking, seem small. Maybe the German had a small head, and maybe 1940s soldiers had smaller canteens than the ones I’ve seen in supply stores. The canteen has English written on it so I’m unclear if it’s a U.S. canteen or a German one that he found. It also has a broken lid that was replaced with a working one.

Also, the German helmet has the name Gren Fribrmamm (I think) on it.

The Dark Crystal Busts by Plan B Toys

Plan B Toys released a series of collectible busts between 2003 and 2006 based on Jim Henson’s 1982 film The Dark Crystal. They are long sold out and very hard to get. Here they are.


We’ll start with the best one – the Garthim. Yes, he’s a big creepy bug with lobster hands, but he’s literally the stormtrooper of the Skeksis, the one who brings order. Also, his base is made of the pod people. Here’s a closer look:

Sad, but cool, too.


Here’s my next favorite one, mainly due to the size. It’s also more colorful than the others. SkekUng is the Garthim master, so he controls the big bug above.


Here is UrYod the numerologist. I think that makes him The Count of the Mystics.


As much as I like this one, he doesn’t seem complete without a few others, surrounding the crystal at the end of the movie after the Great Conjunction.




This one is smaller than the others, and seems a lot more fragile. This is my least favorite one. I’m sure the Chamberlain would be upset.


The mad scientist isn’t available. Plan B Toys only made one prototype. They showed it at toy fair one year but the license with the Henson Company expired before the company could get him to market.