Collecting, cleaning, displaying, researching, and appreciating TRIVETS and related go-withs!
This handsome advertising stand features a cascade of Chinese characters above a large piece of laundry equipment.
Details: made of cast iron, it’s heavy at 3 pounds 10 ounces. It measures 8 ⅛” x 5 ⅝” with three ⅝” feet positioned below a ¼” thick base. It’s flat and unsigned on the back. On the front is advertising for John Randles, Inc. of 208-210 Water Street in New York City.
This stand is documented on page 239 of the 1990 reference book Trivets & Stands, rated VR (very rare). I’ve only come upon this stand twice in all my years of collecting, so I’d agree that it’s still very rare.
As for the image on this laundry stand? It’s a mangle, a device for wringing moisture from wet laundry. The earliest mangles were manually operated. Later models were gas or electric, evolving to incorporate heat to dry the fabric as it passed through the rollers. Mangles were in common use in New York City’s laundry industry, with an estimated 3,550 Chinese laundries at the beginning of the 1930s. Most likely, John Randles was a distributor of laundry equipment.
As for the age of this interesting laundry stand? For now, I’m dating it to between 1930 and 1950. The phone number BEEKMAN 3-2595 is the clue!
The earliest telephones had rotary dials with numbers only. In December 1930 New York City became the first city in the United Sates to adopt a two-letter and five-number format. Continuing until the early 1950s, phone dials were alpha-numeric, utilizing a system that identified the region of the phone number while aiming to make it more memorable. BE3-2595 would have been dialed as 233-2595. (FYI, area codes were not introduced in the United States until 1947.)
As for the location of this former company, Water Street is located in lower Manhattan. It runs parallel to the waterfront, not far from the Brooklyn Bridge. Much of this area has totally changed since the 1950s. Today it is prime real estate featuring museums, restaurants, and condominiums.
I’ll continue to search New York City business and census records, as well as old trade journals and other publications, for any mention of John Randles or his company. I’d also appreciate any help a reader could provide in translating the Chinese characters.