Tag sales, yard sales, garage sales, barn sales, estate sales…they’re all about people looking to get rid of stuff they’ve acquired and other people looking to acquire things, usually at bargain prices; maybe even finding some hidden treasure buried in and amongst all the things for sale.
I, however, have a superfluous amount of possessions right here in my house and barn that I don’t need or want. I sell antique and vintage items at my Etsy shop…and I have enough to keep that shop stocked for years to come. So, I really have no need to go to tag sales. Why on earth would I want to buy someone else’s things when I have too much of my own? Real estate, that’s the answer. Location and house, simply put. I have a real estate addiction. The background of this “addiction” is a story in itself, and I’ll write a separate post on that in the future.
I look at the tag sale listings in the paper to see if the sale is in an historic district, or on an interesting street with which I’m familiar. I’m partial to old houses. If I find a sale listed that I think might have potential, I Google the address and see what I can find out about the property. A couple of days ago there was a sale in the next town over. I Googled the address and found that the house was built in 1750 and was on ten acres. That’s all I needed to know! Even though I didn’t buy anything, the house and property were interesting to view.
And yesterday there was a barn sale in my town. The sign had been posted in front of the house for over a week. It was a very attractive house with a red barn out back and the sign on the house said “Built 1834”. Now we’re talking.
So I showed up just before 9 a.m. along with a multitude of other people. I made a cursory loop up the driveway into the barn and back down the driveway and enjoyed getting a close view at the buildings and property. Although I wasn’t looking to buy anything, I certainly had to take a look at what was for sale. Along with the larger items and prominantly displayed items there were boxes here and there that you had to dig through. To me, that’s the fun part. You never know what you might find. So now I really started to look.
I waited patiently for a woman to finish looking through a box in which I could see little ceramic saucers and other small things. She left and I moved over to the box and peered in. What immediately caught my attention was a rusty “something” tucked into the right side of the box. All I could see was about a narrow (maybe 2 inches or so) foot long piece of rust. Intrigued, I reached in and carefully picked it up. It had wheels and looked like an art deco rendition of a train engine.
As I gingerly held my piece of rust, I continued to walk around and poke through boxes. A couple of guys commented on the train. “Nice find” one said and the other asked “Where’d you get that?” and I pointed him to the box… off he went in that direction. I knew I had found a “treasure” (to me at least). I paid a very nominal amount for it and left.
I didn’t see any markings on the train at the tag sale but when I got home and took a closer look, I did see some writing that appeared to start with an “S”.
I searched “pressed steel train” on eBay and, luckily, I found the distinctive shape that matched mine. It was a “Stafford Liner” or “Stafford Streamliner”. Some listings dated it to the 1930’s…I even saw one that said 1920’s. Now that I had identified the name I did a general “Google” search and found an excellent blog with a great post on “Stafford Liners”. You can see photos of what this train looked like when it was in much better condition than mine. You can also see advertisements from the 1940s on this post. The ads show that the Stafford Streamliners were manufactured by the Stafford Corporation of Detroit, Michigan. I recommend that you take a look at this entire blog, and not just this one post. It is chock full of info on a variety of topics; it is humorous and well written. http://progress-is-fine.blogspot.com/2012/01/stafford-liners.html
Doing some further research, I found that the “Stafford Corporation” was incorporated August 30, 1945. http://opencorporates.com/companies/us_mi/177412
Then I came across a lawsuit that involved the Stafford Corporation. The legal documents state that Stafford Corporation was successor to American Sandblast Company and both companies were named as defendants. Also named as defendants were James Stafford McGlaughlin and Eleanor McGlaughlin. (From a snippit view of The Directory of Michigan Manufacturers, Issue 13, on Google books, I’ve verified that J. S. McGlaughlin was President of Stafford Corporation and E. S. McGlaughlin was Secretary of the corporation). This legal document states “Mr. McGlaughlin testified that from 1948 to 1950 the business of his company had been steadily declining and that the number of employees had been reduced from 50 to 2.” So I guess the end of Stafford Corporation was near at that time. This lawsuit is interesting as it involved an employee getting fired for taking vacation time. If there were only 2 employees at that point, I guess that could be a problem! You can read all about it here: http://www.leagle.com/decision/1954663340Mich323_1621
I did find that J. S. McGlaughlin of Detroit, Michigan, received at least two patents in the 1960s. One was design patent number 193,877, October 16, 1962, for a pouring spout for sprinkler cans and another for a reel design on May 7, 1963, patent number 3,088,692.
The Find a Grave website shows that J. Stafford McGlaughlin was born May 6, 1906 and died in November of 1971. He is buried at the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Wyandotte, Michigan.
The Wyandotte location of burial immediately made me think of the well known Wyandotte toys. “Wyandotte” was the brand name of the All Metal Products Company which was formed in 1920 in Wyandotte, Michigan. The company went bankrupt in 1956.
Wyandotte, Michigan is only 10 miles south of Detroit, where J. S. McGlaughlin had his business. And J. S. was buried in Wyandotte. Was there any connection with our J. S. and Wyandotte / All Metal Products Company? That I don’t know (yet).
I do know, however, that a James Stafford McGlaughlin (physician and jeweler) was Mayor of Wyandotte, Michigan from 1908 to 1910. This James Stafford was born in 1861 and died in 1931. And this James Stafford McGlaughlin is buried in the same cemetery and same family plot as our James Stafford McGlaughlin. I’m assuming that most likely they are father and son.
All of this research for just one old rusty train. But if I do list this train on Etsy, this information will come in very handy. And, hard though it might be for some of you reading this to believe, I know there is someone out there who’d love to buy this old rusty train.
I realize this post is out of the norm for me as it doesn’t have any recipes or pictures of my yard. I fully intended to just do a little post on tag sales and then it got out of control. I do a good amount of research on items which I plan to list at my Etsy shop. In order to easily document those findings for my own reference, as well as providing this information as a resource to others, I maintain a separate blog http://queenofsienna.wordpress.com
For those of you not familiar with this blog, you might find it interesting.
And that’s my tag sale adventure.