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Monday, January 31, 2011

what the heck is THAT?

First, as a quick reminder, I am offering 15% off in my Etsy shop to all loyal readers of this blog - just enter BLOG15 at checkout. I need three more sales to hit 100!

So, Jeff and I went sale-ing over the weekend. We hit three estate sales, one in a beautiful log mansion, where we bought very little since everything was VERY expensive. We also hit a sale in its last day that was 75% off. The place looked like it was owned by a hoarder - there was stuff everywhere, even on the last day, but I'm sorry to say not much of it was good. We did  manage to pick up quite a few things since everything was so cheap. Most of it is what we call "project stuff" - stuff that will probably sit around for much too long before we finally get around to up-cycling it. And we got stuff like a cool old wood palette on casters and an old wood sawhorse that we can use as photography props. The best thing was that we got everything for $7. We counted when we got home and we had 18 items!

We also decided to hit an architectural salvage place that is just a few blocks from us as they were advertising a sale of pieces recovered from a local mansion. I've never allowed myself to go in there despite its close proximity to our house because I knew I would fall in love with everything and not be able to afford anything. I wasn't wrong. I don't know how many square feet it is, but it has to be tens of thousands. There are enormous fountains in there that sell for $50,000! And amazingly huge wrought iron pieces that sell for $5k.

Just when I thought we were completely wasting our time, we spotted this interesting ... thing:

It was folded up just like that when we found it. Neither Jeff nor I had any idea what it was, but I LOVE industrial looking things and, finding that it was surprisingly in our price range, we decided then and there to get it.  While we were paying, a woman in line commented on how much she liked it and how jealous she was that we got it.

We brought it home and started messing with it and here's what it looks like fully extended.

It has a vice grip kinda thingy on the board that folds out.

Written on it is JS Tilley, Watervliet, NY, and it has a patent date of 1893. From the little bit of information I could find online, it appears that JS Tilley produces ladders and scaffolding (and maybe still does?). So, I think maybe this is part of some really old scaffolding.

Whatever it is, it's cool. And I think it would look great in a big loft holding a cool piece of artwork, since it stands a lot like an easel.

What do you think? Any thoughts on what this thing is?


  1. Nice find! I believe it could be a tripod / stand for a theodolite, which is old survey equipment for layout. It would make sense that it came from an architectural office, because theodolites were used on construction sites to confirm elevations and map out points. Also it seems that the height is adjustable and the clamps allow for adjustment of the legs... Do you think that's what it could be?

  2. I thought something along the lines of survey equipment, too...or it looks like is will work well as an artist easel?

  3. it's hard to see in the picture, but the "third leg" is what has the vice grip on it, so it doesn't look or act like a real third leg. it seems more like it was supposed to run perpendicular to the legs and attach to another piece like it. i'm not sure if i'm explaining it right, but it really isn't meant to stand on it's own. it won't stand at all on a hard floor, just on carpet.

    1. Hello - what eventually happened with this strange item? Just curious.

  4. I thought it was an easel! Very, very cool - whatever it is! There was an architectural salvage place in Memphis too. I must be like you because I didn't dare go in there knowing it would be way out of my price range!

    Good luck on the 3 sales! I did not get my last 2 until Friday afternoon and I got them back to back - thankfully I didn't have to wait with the one more sale lingering :) In my other shop I am at 299 but that shop is dead all year until Christmas so I don't expect to reach 300 any time soon over there.

  5. I just assumed it was an easel, a very beautiful industrial looking one, great find!

  6. It is an end 'A' section of scaffolding from one of the nation's oldest ladder maunufacturer, founded in 1855, filed for bankruptcy in 2004 due to cost of rising liability insurance.

  7. wow we just found a stack of these things rangeing from 3ft to 6ft and didnt have a clue what they might be. would love to sell them all !

  8. Does anyone have any they are still willing to sell? We are actually doing an historic renovation of the John S Tilley Ladder building in Watervliet, NY and I would love to have some!