Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Coast Radio

This image is a perfect example of just how far an old photo can take a collector like me. I bought it because, as a cyclist, I love old bikes. The woman is riding a very distinct machine. The angle is just off enough that it can't be identified with any precision. Once beyond the bikes, things get even more interesting.

On the back of the picture, there is a processor's stamp. "PRINTED APR 8 1940 THE OWL DRUG COMPANY." That set me off in an entirely new direction. The Owl Drug Company was founded in 1892, in San Fransisco, CA. It would go on to become one of the biggest drug store companies in the world and would be taken over by Rexall in 1920. The Coast Radio store could be the name of a chain, or it could indicate that this picture was taken in an American coastal city like San Fransisco, or Seattle. Under the silk sign it says Rayons and Wools. Is the store next to it Molly Mae or perhaps Holly or Polly Mae? Is there a Masonic sign next to the silk shop? Quite a lot of information for a photograph that measures 2 3/8 x 4 inches.

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