Man in a Bottle, ca. 1957
Don’t be polite. What you’re really wondering is, “What the heck is it?”
My Dad didn’t want it. Neither did my aunt, my sister, or anyone else. So, I took it.
First definition of ephemera: stuff no one else wants.
Really. Ephemera is intended to be thrown away after use. It has a transitory specific one-time purpose. That folks tend to tuck the odd theater stub in a scrapbook or dry prom corsages is outside the intended purpose of the item. Hence, stuff that survives is less than common and more interesting to a lot of us ephemera aficionados. Of course, there’s always the craftsman who repurposes an old photo in a piece of art as well.
“Uncle Sam” 11-29-57
You’ve seen the photos and now you know as much as I do. If you have any clues about this bit of gen-u-wine mid-century craftsmanship please leave a comment or join Caroline Pointer and me tonight on What’s Up Genealogy, Google+ Hangout on Air. We are talking ephemera and odd artifacts and would love to hear what you think about this treasure.
Well, it is certainly one of a kind!
To be honest, the first thing i thought of — and that was strengthened when I saw the bottom photo taken from the back without the information that it was in a bottle — was that it showed a man in an electric chair. The cap poised above the head of Uncle Sam in the chair reminded me of the skull cap placed on the condemned (think of the process shown in The Green Mile). The bottom photo eliminates the bottle image and the golden metalic-looking paddles on each side made this gruesome image even more vivid for me. Macabre? Yes, but it was the first image that came to me. Perhaps this was some staement about Ol' Uncle Sam?? 😉
Lee Taylor-Elliott says
I do believe my middle name is "Ephemera"