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April 10, 2012

Lalique Car Mascots


That's what they're called (as opposed to "hood ornaments").


Below, excerpts from Tony Wraight's wonderfully detailed, informative essay about these glass pieces — exemplars of which are pictured above and below — on Finesse Fine Art:



It was in the 1920s that Lalique began to manufacture a vast range of objects in glass other than perfume bottles and related items, as previously. Along with vases, clocks, statues, lighting, and tableware, a range of car mascots was added in the late 20s.


A full range of the 29 mascot designs designs were produced to grace the sleek cars of Hispano Suiza, Isotta Fraschini, Bugatti, Bentley, etc. All were made from high quality glass, and provision was made for them to be illuminated by special metal mounts.


The popularity of the car mascots was such that Lalique commissioned the Breves Gallery in Knightsbridge to supply them to British customers, and their name was placed on the side of the mounting. Priced from 2 pounds twelve and sixpence, for a mounted Victoire or "Spirit of the Wind," Breves had the world rights to market Lalique mascots.


Though the range of car mascots numbers 27 in the 1932 Lalique catalogue, Breves gallery offered the Small Mermaid in their own catalogues as a car mascot, and also are believed to have offered the larger Mermaid, making a total of 29 in all. These two pieces were actually offered as paperweights from Lalique, but the bases are exactly the same two sizes as all others in the range, and appropriate for use with any fine car; these are especially pleasing in opalescent glass.


All mascots were mounted with Breves Gallery mounts of two basic sizes — larger bases to fit the larger size mascots, and a smaller version to fit the smaller mascots. The full Breves Gallery Knightsbridge address was always impressed on the outside of the illuminated base types — I have encountered bases in 10 different styles — most were simple tube designs of slightly different heights, some were flared outwards for larger mascots, some were flared inwards.


Two different mounting rings were used. Virtually all had a cut to accommodate the types of mascot that obviously were too big to allow a solid ring to pass over the body of the piece. To actually fit this ring, one has to prise the ring gently to position the ring around the base, then grip tightly and hopefully line up the ring thread to the base. The problem is that with the mascot being glass, and the ring being made of brass, then nickel- or chrome-plated, it is very difficult to complete this operation without damaging the lip of the base, thus spoiling the piece forever.


Simple red rubber washers were provided to assist the mascot to sit snugly on to the base, but over the years these usually wore away and were then discarded. The danger of damage is also great when finally tightening the ring even when fitted over the base — obviously when the mascot was used on the car whilst driving on the road, the slightest pressure on an overtightened or slack mount would result in a serious base fracture. Add to this the obvious problems associated from heat generated from the interior bulb, and one can see why so few pieces actually used on cars whilst driving have survived intact.  


The beauty of interior illumination was further enhanced by an assortment of coloured filters available at extra charge in blue, red, green, mauve, white, and amber. These were made in thick plastic, but of course over the years most warped, then were consumed by heat generated by the bulb inside the mount. For those wishing the ultimate in lighting spectacle, the Breves mount could be fitted with a separate purpose-built dynamo, sending various intensities of light through the mascot as the car gathered speed, thus producing undoubtedly the most spectacular adornment to a car bonnet ever devised. 


If one can imagine the effect produced for both the driver of the car and opposing traffic on the highway, it is little wonder that few mascots were used on a regular basis —many of the mascots were very large and must have given the driver quite a challenge in driving the car at night. In fact, I actually wired up a Victoire to the front of a 1929 Bentley 8 litre and drove this car through central London at 3 a.m. on a Sunday night to try it out. The effect was truly awe inspiring, but it was just as well there were few cars driving that memorable night! 


[via Alan Fick — I think....]

April 10, 2012 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Messograf Caliper Pen


From the website:



Vernier caliper rule, ruler, thread scale, tire tread gauge, and writing instrument: few pens boast this many features, let alone such an elegant, simple, and functional design.


The epitome of quality-obsessed, hand-made, German craftsmanship and precision seamlessly embodied in a multi-purpose ballpoint pen.


Founded in 1945 in a small garage in Brandenburg, the Cleo Skribent pen company grew to become a leading maker of quality writing instruments, and their Messograf caliper pen soon became a trusted German staple, an implement of choice among auto engineers, architects, and craftsmen.


No matter your trade, we think you will find this tool a comforting reminder of just how things should be made.

The replaceable ink cartridges are standard size and can be found in most any stationery store in the USA.

All individual parts and components are made in Germany.


• Metric and imperial measurements

• Chromium-plated brass

• 6" x 1".



[via Paul Biba]

April 10, 2012 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Proof you can't outrun an avalanche — even on a snowmobile

 From Geek.com:

Nothing much happens at the start of the video above, shot north of the city of Tromsø in Norway. But wait until it reaches the one minute mark.

You see a guy on a snowmobile power his way up a slope that looks perfect for skiing or snowboarding, but as he reaches the top disaster strikes. Whether it was the noise from his engine, all those tracks in the snow, or just a weak layer below freshly fallen snow, it all added up to the start of an avalanche.

From the point of view of the cameraman, it’s quite far away (maybe 200 meters?) and he has plenty of time to get on his own snowmobile and bury the throttle. Luckily for us he keeps the camera pointed behind him.

As you can see, it doesn’t take long for the avalanche to engulf the first snowmobile and then catch up with it (avalanches can reach speeds of 150km/h). Anyone seeing an avalanche start is going to instinctively run in the opposite direction, but as this shows, even with a powerful motor underneath you, your chances of escaping are limited at best. In this instance he would have fared better by making a sharp left and heading for that smaller peak.

Apparently the guy with the camera was carried around 700 meters by the avalanche and thrown around the entire time. Thankfully he and his friends came out the other side unharmed.

By all accounts this was a pretty small avalanche and they were extremely lucky.

[via Dagbladet.no and Milena]

April 10, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Hawaiian Shirt for Dogs


From the website:



Lightweight 100% cotton Hawaiian print shirt for the laid-back pooch.


Velcro closures along the belly for a classic look.


High-cut belly provides a comfy fit.


Features beach scene print.



XX-Small to X-Large.



[via Me Wanty!]

April 10, 2012 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

When geology met topography — A tapestry of time and terrain


From the U.S. Geological Survey: "Through computer processing and enhancement, we have brought together two existing images of the nation's lower 48 states into a single digital tapestry. Woven into the fabric of this new map are data from previous U.S. Geological Survey maps that depict the topography and geology of the United States."

Screen Shot 2012-04-09 at 3.51.02 PM copy

"The resulting composite is the most detailed and accurate portrait of the U.S. land surface and the ages of its underlying rock formations yet displayed in the same image. The new map resembles traditional 3-D perspective drawings of landscapes with the addition of a fourth dimension, geologic time, which is shown in color. In mutually enhancing the landscape and its underlying temporal structure, this digital tapestry outlines the geologic story of continental collision and break-up, mountain-building, river erosion and deposition, ice-cap glaciation, volcanism, and other events and processes that have shaped the region over the last 2.6 billion years."

[via Milena]

April 10, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Grippy Pad


"The Grippy Pad will hold all sorts of things in place without magnets, Velcro, or adhesives."


Videos here and here.


April 10, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pizza


What took so long?

Wrote Jess Zimmerman on Grist, "This pizza is for real — it's offered by Pizza Hut in the U.K.. In fact, it's not even the fault of the Brits: Wiener-stuffed pizza has evidently been available in Thailand and Japan for years."


April 10, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Titanium Straw




Why not?


"Made of food-grade titanium — tasteless, odorless, corrosion-free, non-allergenic (to most of the world), and with an excellent weight-to-tensile strength ratio."

Approximately 7" long.


I'm kind of surprised, now that I think about it, that I've never featured titanium salt-and-pepper shakers — need to get on that pronto.

April 10, 2012 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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