Drinking sophisticated beer in a fancy glass is a normal thing these days. You can get a dry hopped lager in a thistle, or florally double IPA in a tulip pint, at most bars. Drinking beer has come a long way from its start in the 5th millennium BC in Iran, where it was being passed around in a bowl, sipped out of reed straws.
That style of drinking beer won’t be having a comeback anytime soon. There is one ancient style of beer drinking that could use a comeback, especially with the COVID-19 virus taking hold, the Stein!
The Stein is an iconic German beer mug that has been around for centuries. In German, the word “Stein” does not mean beer mug, like most of us figured it would; it actually means stone. It has this name because the original mug was made from stoneware, which is a type of ceramic that has been baked at high temperatures.
Steins can also be found made of pewter, porcelain, silver, glass and sometimes wood. The ones you’ll find today are usually some kind of ceramic stoneware. These mugs are topped with a hinged, metal (usually pewter) lid with a thumb lever. The lids usually have a conical shape and are sometimes engraved or designed. The Steins usually come in half liter or full liter.
They can be decorated, historically they might have a coat of arms, or a specific design to indicate a family or beer hall. Today they are mostly just decorative without any deeper meaning, although some beer halls and bars have ones made specific to their brand.
The lid of the stein is what sets this beer drinking vessel apart, and for a good reason. The historical significance of the lid dates back to the 14th century, in Germany where the Black Plague had been wreaking havoc all over Europe, killing tens of millions of people. After the plague had taken its course, Germany and most of Europe was infested with flies and deadly swarms of mosquitoes.
As a way to try and keep illness at bay, many laws and decrees were implemented in Germany to help with basic hygiene. One of them was that all food containers had to be covered, to keep flies and other bacteria out. This was when the iconic beer Stein mug was created.
This covered mug grew in popularity due to its necessity. Variations of the mug were made, the rich had ones made to show off their wealth, while the poor people had to get creative with the materials at hand.
For a while felt was being used as both a lid and a coaster. This was a terrible idea, the felt retained moisture becoming a breeding ground for bacteria.
As necessity waned the lid stuck around because drinkers noticed that the lid kept their beer cold, preserving its freshness and flavor. These days the only place you’ll find people drinking out of steins will be at a German style bar hall.
Patrons can purchase a stein that will be kept at the bar for their own personal use. Many people like collecting steins from their travels, you can find many souvenir steins that are specific to certain bars or places.
You can also find steins at Nostalgia! They might come in handy as this virus carries on! Come get yours today!
Dear Nostalgia Customers,
From the owners, vendors, and shop clerks we want to offer our most humble thanks to everyone who shopped with us in 2019. We work hard year-round to bring our shoppers an ever-revolving selection of unique, precious, strange and curious items. Many of us are passionate about the hunt and truly enjoy what we do, it means so much to us when you shop at Nostalgia. There are over 200 different vendors that sell in the store, most of us are local Rhode Islanders who live in your community. Supporting us helps us support other small local shops and businesses, it is a beautiful cycle of exchange.
In 2019, together we have saved 42,000 items from ending up in a landfill. That’s amazing, thank you! That’s also 42,000 wonderful gifts, pieces of nostalgia, and keepsakes that are being shared, loved and used. Another beautiful cycle of exchange. When you step back and look at your personal impact on the community and the environment, shopping at Nostalgia, (and other small businesses) you can see the sustainable cycle of a community coming together and supporting each other.
Nostalgia is heading into its seventh year in business and we’ve grown so much since then. Mike and Ren first opened Nostalgia in 2013 with only a few vendors. Over the years many vendors have come and gone. But one decided to stick around, Jim, who took over the store two years ago has continued to improve on the space. Nostalgia is now filled to brim with delightful curiosities. Check out these before and after photos to see how much we’ve grown.
We are looking forward to 2020 being another great year! We will be doing updates throughout the store to make the shopping experience more enjoyable. Here are our most recent updates to our gallery area.
We made more space for more vendors! We’ve added more clothing racks, which means more great vintage clothing finds.
We were recognized in 2018 by Better Homes & Gardens as the best thrift shop in Rhode Island and we hope to continue to live up to that honor! Thank you for your continuous support, the wonderful reviews, check-ins, social media shares and the good old fashion word of mouth recommendations!
Flannel shirts are part of the iconic image of the American lumberjack and have been an American fashion staple since the mid-century. The plaid flannel shirts place in American culture is only a small part of its long history. The flannel shirt, as we know it, became popular in Scotland and England in the early 1800s.
But the flannel, the fabric, has been around since the 17th century. It was woven by the wives of Welsh farmers, who had been spinning wool yarn for centuries and eventually found that if you brush the wool on both sides it becomes much sturdier. This created a thicker more industrious fabric. It was durable and insulating, while still being soft and comfortable. Perfect for wet, cold, and windy climates.
The addition of the horizontal and crisscrossed bands done in multiple colors were originally added to represent the weaver’s region, and these patterns were call Tartans. Tartans have ancient origins, the oldest being from the 6th century B.C. found in Austria, belonging to a Celtic culture. Tartan pants were also found on ancient Chinese mummies from a similar period during the Iron Age. These textiles were simple checked patterns using light and dark wool, but very distinctive and usually worn by higher-society.
The more intricate spacing and patterns of the bands and the defined color choices first popped up in 16th century Scotland. Tartans became so popular they were once outlawed and only used for military uniforms and royalty. The tradition of associating a tartan pattern to a family or clan became popular in the 17th century.
The High Society of London wanted the heads of each clan to be honorably represented by a specific tartan pattern. These tartans would then be authenticated and recorded. This tradition carried on and became very popular, almost all Scottish clans now have several tartans attributed to their names. Now it’s possible for anyone to register a tartan to their name through The Scottish Register of Tartans.
So how did the tartan/plaid flannel shirt become this American symbol of resilience, strength and masculinity? Well the same way the country kind of did, through the Industrial Revolution. The country was growing at a rapid pace, forests were being cleared for cities, train tracks were being run to connect the coasts and the men working these grim jobs needed clothing that would hold up.
Everything from coats, shirts, pants and underwear were made from flannel. Flannel clothing would hold up against harsh weather and arduous work. The gritty images of railroad workers and lumberjacks in plaid flannel shirts working on these massive projects were popularized through the media and became synonymous with the American prospector.
In the mid twentieth century, the popular folk lore character Paul Bunyan brought the flannel shirt back into fashion. He is the symbol of the great American frontiersman, the American dream of the previous generation. Paul Bunyan was extremely popular with kids, but also adults, so this made the flannel shirt well-liked by everyone.
The flannel shirt remained a wholesome fashion choice for much of the century. It was in the 1990s with bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam that the representation of the plaid shirt got completely flipped around. Grunge culture took the flannel shirt ripped it up, burned it and tied it around their waist. The cultures rejection of the previous generations American ideal was clear in the way they treated the flannel shirt.
Now you’ll find a plaid flannel shirts everywhere, it has sort of shed its culturally distinctive nature. It doesn’t belong to one specific group or represent certain ideals, it is almost as common and universal as a white t-shirt, anyone can wear it and feel comfortable.
We always have a rotating variety of vintage flannel shirts in the shop, come find one that speaks to you!
If you didn't grow up buying vinyl and playing records you might not know a whole lot about how to find a good record. Knowing your tolerances when it comes to sound quality is a good thing to consider first when shopping for a vintage record.
Do you mind a light scratching noise here and there?
Can you handle some crackling throughout?
Or are you shopping for a pristine vinyl record?
These things matter, if you can handle some disruption a record with a few light scratches and some wear will be just fine! If you need the true undisturbed audio experience, good luck, your hunt is going to be a bit harder.
10 Signs You Shouldn’t buy that Record….
1. Make sure you have good lighting when inspecting the record. Take notice of how the record looks, does it shine? Are there deep grooves? Usually a worn-out record will look grey and flat.
Is it dirty? Dusty? Grimy? Dirt and grime can sometimes hide scratches or look like them. Try and blow away as much dirt as you can. If you have water on you, put some on your finger and run it over the record and dry it off with your shirt. This might remove grime you thought was a scratch or reveal a scratch, it's always good the check.
If you pull a record out and it has what looks like tiny little hairs, you've found yourself a winner! These fibers come from manufacturing and only stick around after removing the record from the sleeve a few times.
2. Start from the outside edge of the record to check the condition of the first track, look on both sides. This is where the stylus first hits the record and usually where the most damage occurs. Look for fingerprints and scratches, some of this can be cleaned up, but if there is significant damage that usually means the first tracks have been damaged.
3. Look for needle scratches, they are usually visible and can be felt with your finger tip. If you find deep scratches, you'll likely hear it. If you can see a scratch but can't feel it, there is a chance that you won't hear anything too disrupting.
Records produced in the 60s tend to have deep grooves, so a scratch you can sort of fell might not be picked up. If there is a scratch that's smaller than a pin point, chances are you won't hear it. Scuffs usually aren't that much of an issue either, as long as the damage doesn't cut deep, the record should be alright.
4. Look even closer, this is where good lighting comes in. You may have a record that looks great, no major scratches, until you tilt it to the side and catch the light and there are a ton of micro scratches. These usually happen because the record wasn't stored properly. Records with deep grooves won't be as affected as thin, shallow grooved ones.
5. Some scratches might be fine and others won't, skate marks, which go across the grooves, are usually ok. As long as they don't actually cut through the wax. Scratches that cross the rubicon that fade and come back are usually not deep enough to be heard.
6. Scratches that will be heard are called Tramlines, these run with the groove or sometimes diagonally and are the worst. They're hard to spot because they're hidden among the grooves. These kinds of scratches cause the needle to get stuck or skip, requiring manual intervention. Tramlines cannot be fixed, you should avoid buying any records with them.
7. Look for warps! Warping isn't usually a big problem, but it is definitely worth checking for if the record just doesn't feel right. Hold the record at eye level and look latterly across it. If there is any waviness to it, it's warped and this will definitely distort the sound.
8. Heat damage is also a killer. Check the edges of the record, damage is usually only on one edge. It will look pockmarked, bubbly, foamy, sometimes wavy. If it extends 1-2 inches into the record, this kind of damage will make a whooshing noise that is very unpleasant.
9. If you find small bumps on the surface, don't be discouraged. These are pressing faults, which happen when labels aren't dry enough, trapping water during the pressing, essentially steaming the vinyl. The small bumps don't usually cause the needle to skip and can't be heard.
10. Probably one of the most damaging things to look for is polythene transfer. This is found in a lot of albums from the 60s, where polythene lined inner sleeves bonded to the vinyl. This looks like patterns have been transferred on to the surface usually around the runout area. This stuff cannot be cleaned or removed. If you play one of these records, this plastic can transfer to the stylus tip permanently!
DO NOT PLAY THESE RECORDS
These are just the basics, a good starting place. The best way to really understand vinyl records is to listen to them. Pay attention to where those scratches are and evaluate the sound that is created when they are played. Happy hunting!
Fiesta Ware covered it all, bringing bright splashes of color to the dining room. The range of colors allowed for people to mix and match sets to their liking. The bright variety of colors and simple art deco design was a big hit. In the first two years of production more than a million pieces were made.
The craze all started with the infamous “radioactive red.” From 1936-1943 they used a small amount of uranium oxide to create the red color. Luckily in 1943, the U.S. government took control over all uranium oxide for developing nuclear weapons during World War ll, which was great because the use of uranium oxide made the ceramics RADIOACTIVE! Unfortunately, after the war they went on to use depleted uranium oxide, which still may be radioactive, all the way until 1972!
So be careful of the radioactive red if you ever come across it! But the other colors were safe; Fiestaware was released in: cobalt, light green, yellow, old ivory, turquoise, forest green, rose, chartreuse, gray, medium green, antique gold, and turf green.
After 7 decades of producing simple, art deco styled ceramics the craze wore off. There were many more American dinnerware companies on the scene making wide ranges of designs and styles. After 37 years of colorful production the Homer Laughlin China Company retired the line.
But the story doesn’t stop there, since Fiestaware was a part of so many people’s lives during the mid 20th century, there was a strong feeling of nostalgia for those pieces for people coming of age in the later 1970s and 1980s. People started coveting the discontinued, vintage, Fiestaware. This created a strong resell value, some individual pieces going for hundreds of dollars.
The market for Fiestaware was hot again! So hot that the company decided to bring the line back! In 1986, the 50th year anniversary, five colors were released: rose, black, cobalt, white and apricot. From there minor changes in clay and glazes were made so that the plates would be lead free, lighter and more durable, but still all made in America.
Now only 15 colors are available at one time. A new color will only be released when one is retired and completely sold out. They do this because the Homer Laughlin China Company loves the collectors culture around the Fiestaware. They do special releases for the serious collectors and support the annual conventions.
What they won’t stand for are copycats. In 2002 Target released a line of ceramic dinnerware that looked extremely similar to the Fiesta line and even packaged in a similar style. The Homer and Laughlin company immediately sued Target and won a few years later! This was no doubt a little boost to once most collected dinnerware in America. Fiestaware is still being produced and in only new colors, the company will not take any colors out of retirement.