Unsung but Essential Icons

C4207DAF-AF0B-427C-9666-7C2E3301CF53

As I control the creative direction of Aestheticons I choose what’s featured. Largely that means that I chose aspirational gems. However, instead of looking up in awe and appreciation we need to consider the more mundane.

The items featured in this piece are neither glamorous, alluring – unless you are into the really weird – nor really do anything in excess of their primary function. At that, they are superlative and without them elements of our busy lives would be a struggle. They are Unsung – not enjoying massive Instagram accounts with millions of adoring followers – but Essential Icons.

Cable ties

18D10B64-5A5E-4009-A3C9-201FC244EAA1

I defy anyone who derives the smallest amount of pleasure from tending a garden, to fix a plant to a trellace or a bamboo cane or a brush screening to a gate without the use of a cable tie. Not only can this devilishly small but wonder strips of plastic fixing be a the gardener’s friend, they, with equal competence, support the work of electrician, plumbers and builders and many others in thousands of conceived and yet to be conceived ways.

Known as originally as Ty-Rap, cable ties were first invented, primarily to secure airplane wiring into the bulkhead, in 1958 by US based electrical business Thomas & Betts and more particularly their employee, Maurus C. Logan. Mr Logan developed into production the idea he’d conceived of aboard a Boeing during construction. The Patent was submitted on 24th June 1958.

Why not add to your tool drawer with this Amtech selection of 500 cable ties? Click the AMAZON link below the image

750CC5B8-1E78-4155-8E0C-AD23603A7995

Amtech S0680 Assorted Cable Tie, 500-Piece

WD40

A7508063-8089-43D9-A15B-C3EBDC7F8916

As our readers know I Like to cycle but over the winter months my bike has a tendency to be a little neglected and exposed to the elements. When the cooler seasons have done their worst on my waistline the time is right to look for the foot pump and adaptor and get some air into those bike tyres. The tyres are only half the battle. The gears, brakes and chain scream out for the TLC that can only be lavished on them by WD40 the spray delivered a light penetrating, protecting and lubricating oil.

As the saying goes a “Sucess has many Fathers” and there appears to be some controversy as to originator of WD-40. It seems that the formula of WD-40 was developed in 1953 by The Rocket Chemical Company in San Diego, California and first produced in commercially available quantities in 1958. The contributions – depending on sources – of a Iver Norman Lawson and a Norman Larson (President of Rocket) are named as the “inventor” of the formula with the name WD-40 seemingly stemming from the expression “Water Displacement  40th Formula” – suggesting there may have been a 39th, 38th and so on versions of the formula.

It may be that Lawson invented the low viscosity formula – still a trade secret but still has the original and distinctive smell – and sold it to Rocket where Larson had the bright idea of putting it into aerosol cans. It arrived in the UK in the late 1960’s.

For those many jobs around the home or office for which only WD-40 will do, why not pick up a can or two by clicking the AMAZON link below the image?

2A69DE6E-F5E9-4F7E-BC73-BAB3169D054E

3 x WD-40 Smart Straw Aerosol 420ml Penetrant, Lubricant, Releasant Oil / Stops squeaks / Cleans and protects / Loosens rusted parts / Frees sticky mechanisms

Paper Clips

782C386D-1C8F-4488-8DFD-32E10D5F1A16

As a lawyer I am very pro the paper-less office, technology can teach us loads about sensible digital storage and retrieval. In parking our fears and posting to the Cloud we make a statement that’s more about efficiency and less about tree hugging.

For years we relied on the trust paper clip to secure our files, ensure correct attachments to letters and avoid inevitable embarrassment on a windy day. Called a “Trombone” in French, a literal use that I find very appealing, the simple paper clip does exactly what the tin says.

History tells us that in the US on April 23rd 1867 Samuel B. Fay successfully obtained the first Patent for a bent wire paper clip. On November 7th 1899 William D Middlebrook obtained a Patent for a paper clip making machine that produced an item – made popular as the “Gem Paper Clip” which went on sale in the UK in the 1870’s – and are similar to those sold today. The name Gem – trademarked in the US by Cushman and Denison in 1904 – became known Worldwide and in Sweden, I am told, that the word for paper clip is “Gem”.

6EDB8F4A-FDE4-4BD0-89C6-0156C56272DD.jpeg

No desk is complete without a selection of plastic coated paper clips – please click the AMAZON link below the image to get yours.

306DADA6-3AB6-461D-9BF5-CD6A63748F5A
Zealor Paper Clips with Assorted Colors and Sizes (28 mm, 50 mm, 100 mm)

Image Credits – with grateful thanks – http://www.officemuseum.com, Zealor and the WD-40 Company Inc.

If you like this post please “Like” and share it with your friends and colleagues. We’d really like to hear of your experiences of the products/subjects featured in this post. please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks 

 

Favourite T-Shirts

63521B5A-19B0-48DA-A479-6A772F261FE8

I have a favourite T Shirt – our featured image. It’s not the slightly lewd text, nor the “End of the Pier” – “Nudge, Nudge” – humour that appeals most to me. It’s the fact that Mrs W bought it over 20 years ago in New York City and it is loved as much for the item as the thought that went into its purchase.

Indeed it may have been on impulse – she doesn’t like shopping much – but it is the expression of her view towards me as her then relatively new husband who was coming to terms with his then slightly thinning hair. It’s been worn by us both over the years and amazingly it has outlasted many branded shirts that have been worn half as much.

I like T-Shirts especially as the summer turns to crank up the heat into the early 30’s.

T-Shirts have, in my view, to deliver in two simple respects. They need to be 100% cotton – whatever the brands try to persuade you of their new wonder fabric that will keep you as cool as a Polar Bear’s backside – sorry cotton is best. It’s also needs to be slightly on the big side allowing it to flap in whatever wind is available capturing some cooling and fanning effect as it goes.

C28AFF1C-0A6F-40C0-BA6E-46EE3F89E964

For me, some of the very best T-Shirts are made by Fruit of the Loom – they are consistently good and I really respect a company that stays loyal – in the main – to the one product that they are noted for and deliver year after year. We have featured Fruit of the Loom on Aestheticons before and you can read our previous post here – Fruit of the Loom – T shirts

I really like certain iconic T-Shirts that shout loudly about your preferences. Many of you will know of my love for New York City and the iconic Milton Glaser design – I ❤️ NY – is simply, though a little cliched by over familiarity, but as valid as a tattoo.

1B59CCCA-3F4E-4920-8E45-363D80059AA3

 

Equally my London home is well represented by the shirts of the Hard Rock Cafe – again a little jaded and over-exposed – you can pick up the same shirt in London, Moscow or Marbella – but still its a cultural icon. Hard Rock Cafe T Shirt

AE449F35-98E1-4F29-B564-70249270347C

Last year I picked up on a ranking of the 10 most Iconic T-Shirts – Iconic T-Shirts    there will be those who will make it their mission – not in any charitable campaign sense but just as a bit of fun – to seek to collect all 10. Not for me, but please go ahead.

Enjoy the summer and enjoy your T-Shirts and I’d love to know which T-Shirts are your treasures!

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Image credits – with grateful thanks – Milton Glaser, Hard Rock Cafe and Fruit of the Loom.

 

Man Ray

E74F8EF0-36EE-4FB4-BA64-5103D9D723B2

Like most people with an interest in the popular cultures and arts of the last hundred or so years the name Man Ray is well known to me. His body of photography, particularly that featured in the galleries of London and Paris, seems very familiar but I know little of the artist behind these iconic photos aside from his key roles in Dadaism and Surrealism and his frienship with those including Salvador Dali – see Dominic Baker’s earlier post on Dali’s work here – Salvador Dali by Dominic Baker

Born Emmanuel “Manny” Rudnitzky on 27th August 1890 in Philadelphia, the eldest of four children of Jewish tailor and his wife, Max and Minnie Rudinitzky, who had emigrated from Russia. During Manny’s childhood the family moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The family changed their surname to “Ray” in 1912.

Man Ray’s artistic ability was evident early on. In 1908, following Brooklyn Boys High School, he pursued his art studies at the free thinking and socialist Ferrer School/Modern School and with Alfred Stieglitz – an influential photographer – who owned gallery “291” that featured European Modernists.

The Armoury Show in New York in 1913 featured works by Picasso and Kandinsky that greatly inspired Ray. In 1915 he met French artist Marcel Duchamp – who later described his use of a camera “as a paint brush “ – and together with Francis Picabia they comprised an informal grouping of New York Dada artists. From this era, Ray’s 1921 sculpture “The Gift” was created featuring a tailoring iron with tacks welded to its surface – thus rendering the iron’s true function, useless. Our image below shows his version from 1958 that, like many of his earlier work, were re-created by Man Ray – following his return from the US.

5016B10F-5800-4371-83FF-F30447E07EF2

Europe called and in 1921 Ray moved to Paris where he associated with the Dada and Surrelists artists in the French capital – along with Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. In Paris he pursued a lucrative career as a portrait photographer – taking photos of James Joyce amongst many others – and as fashion photographer for titles such as “Vogue”. His commercial work provided resources to developed his own style of photography called “rayographs”. These involved Ray placing and manipulating objects on pieces of photosensitive paper.

8BFDBAFE-7EEE-4890-B5C1-D05C1252C9BF

In 1924 Ray composed and shot the iconic “Violin d’Ingres” featuring his muse and lover Kiki. Kiki also featured again in “Noire et Blanche”.

By the late 1920’s Ray had a new muse, the fashion model, Lee Miller. In 1929 he produced the stunning “Solarised’ work featuring her profile headshot.

9583DE28-3DCB-4C74-A41B-896FFF960CE5

Our featured image “Glass Tears” dates from 1932.

Man Ray left for California in 1940 where he concentrated on his painting but returned to Paris in 1951 to continue to paint – really his preferred media – to write and sculpt. Aged 86 Ray died in Paris on 18th November 1976.

A friend from the art world once told me that often the most collectible pieces were “self portraits” – because simply it depicts how the artist sees themselves. This mischievous half bearded self portrait of Man Ray comes from 1943

A5B0919A-2820-4C98-87D7-06220F6D3F34

 
If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks
Photo credits with grateful thanks Man Ray Trust and the Lee Miller Estate

DC Comic Book Superheroes

DC 3

In the world of Film Franchises there are several recent examples “Harry Potter”, “Jason Bourne” and “Star Wars” that generally benefit from wonderful storytelling. They have flourished over the recent decades thrilling audience young and old. The Grandparents of these comparative youngsters, have transcented formats and generations.

Two competing comic book publishers have wrestled for audiences attention and have, in recent years, flourished thanks to the explosion in the capabilities of the special effects departments telling their timeless morality plays of Good conquering Evil. Now owned by competing media giants, Time Warner and Disney the duel continues. Contemporaries founded 83 years and 78 years ago respectively, they are DC and Marvel.

For me, DC Comics (“DC” deriving from a popular early series “Detective Comics”) is the clear winner. The home of iconic heroes including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Justice League and Suicide Squad and equally nasty villains The Joker and Lex Luther. The value of these heroic characters has been carefully realised over the years in print, on film, via gaming and merchandising.

DC Comics was founded in Manhattan (432 Fourth Street, New York City) as “National Allied Publications” by Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson in 1934. His mother was a journalist who hosted the likes of Theodore Roosevelt and Rudyard Kipling at the family’s home. A known writer on military matters Wheeler-Nicholson saw a gap in the comic market and published a tabloid format “New Fun – The Big Comic Magazine” in February 1935 that become the first comic book containing all-original material and advertising.

By March 1937 the first Detective Comic was published and become very popular. Batman was introduced in issue 27 in May 1939.

DC 11.jpg

Cash flow problem saw Major Wheeler-Nicholson leave having been compelled to hand the business over to his creditor and fellow publisher, Harry Donenfeld and his accountant Jack Leibowitz.

DC’s fourth title “Action Comics” Issue 1, which introduced “Superman”, was published in June 1938 – in 2010 a copy of this publication achieve $1m at auction.

DC 10

The late 1940’s saw a waning in the popularity of DC’s Comic Book Superheros but with some re-imagining in the mid-1950’s The Green Lantern and Justice League of America were launched.

DC 6

In 1966, the now iconic Batman TV show first aired on ABC in the US, driving comic book sales and appealing to a new generation of young teens – and fans of the Lincoln Futura used as the platform for his “Batmobile”.

DC 7

1953 saw DC launch the satirical, excellent and still published “Mad” magazine. In 1967, then owner National Periodical Publications was purchased by Kinney National Company an early incarnation of Warner Communications.

In late 1976 Jeanette Kahn, DC’s newly appointed Publisher commissioned graphic designer Milton Glaser – I ❤️ NY – to design a new logo. Known as the “DC bullet”, the logo premiered in February 1977 and was used until 2005.

DC 1.jpg

1978 saw the release of the first Superman movie – culminating in “Superman Returns” in 2006. Batman has had seven outings in his own right between 1989 and 2012. In 2016, Batman was pitted against Superman in “Batman v Superman – Dawn of Justice”. “Wonder Woman” was released in the US on 2nd June 2017.

Images courtesy of DC Comics and Time Warner

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

 

Loctite Super Glue

img_0219

The breadth of its uses are virtually limitless. There are few surfaces – other than glass – that cannot be repaired by its judicious application. Yet infuriation is all to often experienced as you fail to notice whilst carefully applying it to the intended area of repair that you have, in fact, fused your thumb and fore-finger.

img_0216

The iconic product the can achieve this dubious success is, of course, Super Glue. “Super Glue” is a trade mark now used extensively but often associated with the “Loctite” brand – a German owned US company founded in 1956 – that was rebranded “Loctite” in 1963.

Its logo is now akin to that of a Superhero – DC Comic Book Superheroes.

The core of this small but hugely influential product is the catchily named “Cyanoacrylates”, which are a family of strong, fast-acting adhesives that have an infuriatingly short shelf life – whether or not they reopened. Included in this family of chemicals is “ethyl-2-cyanoacrylate” that is commonly sold as “Super Glue”. Other variants have medical applications, as anyone who has had a wound dressed with the last decade will attest to. Indeed first uses can be traced to 1966 when a spray was developed that was used on injured military personnel in Vietnam to reduce bleeding.

The Goodrich Company filed the original patent for cyanoacrylate in 1942. A group of scientists including Harry Coover Jr. discovered the formulation largely by accident whilst researching clear plastics to make gun-sights. It wasn’t until 1951, whilst working for Eastman Kodak on jet airplane’s cockpit construction, that Coover and his colleague, Fred Joyner, saw the commercial application for an adhesive that stuck to literally everything. A Patent for the new adhesive was applied for on 2nd June 1954 which was granted on 23rd October 1956. The product was first sold in 1958 as “Eastman #910”.

During the 1960s, Eastman Kodak sold cyanoacrylate to Loctite who repackaged it and marketed it as “Loctite Quick Set 404”. In time Loctite developed their own manufacturing capability and acquired market share very rapidly such that by the late 1970’s Loctite and Eastman Kodak (in a new guise as “Permabond”) together controlled around 75% of the US industrial cyanoacrylate market.

img_0222

The addition of rubber to the cyanoacrylate makes Superglues flexible and by adding bi-carbonate of soda it is given the properties of a very effective filler.

So what are the tried and trusted techniques to unseal glued fingers?

Solution 1 – Soak the skin in warm soapy water to soften the glue. With an acetone-based nail polish remover the cyanoacrylate will soften. Use an emery board to remove the residue of glue or let it peel off.

Solution 2 – Dip the affected fingers in sugar or salt paste – just add water!

Solution 3 – Pour olive oil or spread margarine over the affected area and gently rub together.

Solution 4 – Rub petroleum jelly or liquid detergent diluted with a small amount of water  into the stuck skin.

If the glue affects the eyes try none of the above and great straight to A&E/ER!

img_0217-1
Images Courtesy of Henkel/Loctite

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

 

Cross Classic Century – Sterling Silver ballpen

2486C2C5-09E3-4534-9017-D4120F26E29E.jpeg

The Cross family business was founded in Providence (Rhode Island) in 1846 by Richard Cross who manufactured gold and silver casings for pencils. Richard’s son, Alonzo T Cross, inherited the business from his father and developed a host of innovations including the predecessors of the mechanical pencil and modern ball-pen.

Cross pens are the essence of understatement and their simple, iconic and fine Art Deco lines make them timeless. The ladies’ Classic Century is elegant and its Sterling Silver body acquires an allure with age – a patina that, in my view, should only rarely be cleaned.

I was in New York looking for a gift for my wife and there is something classically American about this iconic and authentic pen that forms part of a range that was launched in 1946.  Its patented twist-action barrel sparked a design revolution and its sleek profile has found an army of loyal fans.

Cross is, perhaps, not regarded as being a foremost luxury brand but for me the range, style and workmanship are underrated. The Classic Century is an authentic American classic with a trade mark design that evokes the majesty of certain of New York’s skyline. See our earlier post on The iconic Chrysler Building Chrysler Building, New York City

In 2013 the business of AT Cross was purchased by Clarion Capital Partners LLC.

Should you like me be tempted to buy the special lady in your life an heirloom pen then I can highly recommend the Cross Classic Century – please click the following AMAZON link below the image – to gift this beautiful pen.

45ADAE14-7CCC-4EB9-B9F4-E7B29371CCD9

Cross Century Classic Hallmark Silver Ball Point Pen

You may also be interested to add the matching and equally iconic Century Classic Sterling Silver Pencil to this wonderful gift. Please click the Amazon link below the image

6B750CFD-D5EF-4386-B569-C311C2D40B82

Cross Classic Century Sterling Silver 0.7mm Pencil (H300305)

Don’t risk losing you beautiful and valuable pens – keep them in a bespoke designed leather holder – available for one or two pens – please click the AMAZON link below the image

51BACCCB-E39D-421C-95F2-302383AFF1F2

Cross Classic Century Pencil Cases, 15 cm, Black

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Image Credits AT Cross & Co Inc. – with grateful thanks.

Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt

2F8C9A30-BD07-403D-B991-7C7E351A1D98

Launched: 1972

Designer: Ralph Lifshitz (aka Ralph Lauren) developed his version of the Polo Shirt design – which was first launched by Rene Lacoste in 1933 – see our post here – Lacoste Shirt.

History: After designing and retailing ties, Ralph developed his Polo brand first with ties and then shirts – gaining the rights from Brooks Brothers (for whom he worked briefly in late 1964) – see our post here – Brooks Brothers Shirts  – in the process who to this day use the “original polo button-down collar” shirt on their button down range.

Launched in 1972 in 24 colours this pique cotton shirt – often features the number 3 – said to represents the number that the captain of the Polo team typically wears.

My Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt: Perhaps re-imagined and derivative but in the 1990’s a Ralph Polo shirt with its little polo-player logo was very good short hand for who you were. It continues to come in a range of amazing colours and if anything I suspect they are now cut even a little fuller than they once were. They are hard wearing and a great accompaniment to summer time short. I am very fond of them even it is only a rare sight to see me on a horse – with or without a polo stick in my hand.

Your Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt: Share your love for these fabulous shirts here….

Photo from Ralph Lauren with grateful thanks