Showing posts from June, 2015

The Levellers: 'Our Forgotten Towns'

"Our Forgotten Towns" by The Levellers

Newel Post Lamps in Lviv

Before electricity, stairwells were lit up by candles, gas lamps, and other types of lighting. Lanterns were hung from hooks or poles high in the central area of the stairwell, or sometimes the stairwell's newel posts, due to their prime location, functioned also as lamp posts.

Early newel posts burned oil or paraffin, but eventually were replaced by gas lighting. And ultimately, with the onset of electricity, electric wires replaced the gas supply tubes to bring electric light to the spaces.

Newel posts lamps came in huge array of styles, and often there was a glass shade around the flame.

The newel post lamps that I've found in Lviv, however, are quite different than the examples I've been able to find online. And unfortunately, I haven't had any luck finding information about Lviv's interior lamp posts, so I'm not exactly sure of the details of how they worked.

I believe that the examples that I found date to the late 19th-early 20th centuries and burned gas…

NPR: Carrying The Torch For London's Last Gas Lamps

An NPR article about London's last gas lamps.

"In the United Kingdom, British Gas employs 30,000 workers. Five of them could be said to carry a torch that has been burning for two centuries. They are the lamplighters, tending to gas lamps that still line the streets in some of London's oldest neighborhoods and parks.
"London still has about 1,500 gas lamps. The group English Heritage decided to preserve them after almost all the others were replaced by electric lamps. These look almost exactly the same as when they were first installed 200 years ago. They're just a little taller to accommodate modern traffic.
"The gas lamps that still stand in London are now protected by law. If one is knocked down, it is replaced with an exact replica. They cast a calming, mellow light, maintained by these few remaining lamplighters — literal keepers of the flame."

NPR: 'Dirty Old London': A History Of The Victorians' Infamous Filth

An NPR article about the new book Dirty Old London: A History of the Victorians' Infamous Filth, with some excerpts from this book about London's horse-drawn transportation infrastructure, cesspools, the appearance of water closets, etc. Looking forward to reading this book to understand how people lived day-to-day and the changes that were introduced to address the problems associated with the filth, smoke, smell, etc. The link to the article is here. And here's the website about the book:

Antique Sinks in Lviv

Many of Lviv's old buildings had communal sinks located in the courtyards and on the balconies of each floor.  The only antique outdoor sink still in place that I have found is in the "Soviet" courtyard. Ten years ago there were more in their original locations, but by now they have all been removed and sold - and currently used as decorations as well as sinks in many of Lviv's restaurants.

This sink is located in the hallway of an old building.
This courtyard sink has been painted over.
These next two courtyard sinks have been removed.

The old sinks are sold in antique shops. People have found various uses for them:
Doorside Table
Flower Pot
Decoration Outside a Cafe
Decoration at Jewish Festival

And there is a trend now for restuarants to use the antique sinks in their bathrooms:
Sink at Kumpel Restaurant
(the Perkun company also made manhole covers)
Sink at Sztuka Cafe (Zygmunt Rodakowsi Lwow)
Sink at Khlib i Vyno Restaurant
Sink at Cafe 1

This sink was made by Br…

Benchmarks and Antique Shutters in Berehovo

Berehovo, or "Ukrainian Hungary," is a town in Zakarpattia, located only 5 km from the Hungarian border. For most of its history it was part of Hungary, and so this heritage is still strongly visible in the cityscape (all street signs, many shop signs, etc., are in both Hungarian and Ukrainian). Today even most of the cars have Hungarian license plates.

All around the center I found these large metal knobs with the words "Magassági jegy," which later I discovered means "elevation mark." These date from before WWI. More on benchmarks here.

 Old wooden shutters
Antique metal shutter
První moravská továrna na rolety ANT. BILEK (Antonin Bilek's first moravian company for roller shutters)
Interestingly, on the bottom of the shutter is an image of a lion, very similar to one that I found in Lviv (red shutter posted below). However, on the Lviv shutter no manufacturer's mark remains.
In Lviv