Aug 3, 2023

The Weil Keeps Rolling

Weil Antique Center
Allentown, PA
We discovered this place just over two years ago during the final days of the pandemic.  Both my wife and I loved the place, but we didn't manage to make a return trip until this past Monday.

There has got to be tens of thousands of different things for sale at this place, and it's all so random and disorganized that you could spend an entire afternoon going through all of it.

I don't think I'd ever want them in my home, but I've always thought that stained glass lampshades like these were kind of neat.  They remind me of going to Pizza Hut when I was a kid.

Just about every store like this that I've ever been to has at least a few different pieces of uranium glass.  It's supposedly safe, but dishware like this really is made by mixing oxide diuranate into the mixture that is used to make the glass, so they are radioactive.  They look pretty cool under blacklight, but I'm not taking any chances.

There's a lot of old grocery product packages and promotional material throughout this place.  The ones that I found to be the most interesting were these old cartons for ice cream and frozen foods.  These have got to be at least 50 years old, if not older.  I'm not sure who thinks to save an empty box of Armour Buttered Beef Steaks in pristine condition for a half century, but I'm kind of glad they did because I'm the kind of weirdo who finds things like this to be interesting.

These are old product packages that I actually had when I was a kid.  These little plastic heads filled with candy were common throughout the 80's, and every kid in school had a few of them.  I know that I had the Batman one, and Audrey II from Little Shop Of Horrors, but I'm sure I had a few others.  The candy inside was pretty terrible.  They looked like generic SweeTarts and I think were supposed to taste like fruit, but they just tasted like you were eating chalk with a little bit of sugar and food coloring mixed in.

The packaging was the real attraction here.  I remember that kids in my elementary school used to take them around to their friends and ask for "donations" to whatever character they had.  They'd end up getting random things, like a nickel, an eraser, or a paper clip, or whatever else the other kid happened to have in their pocket at the time.

This is one of the strangest things that I've ever found at an antiques store.  In 1977, Disney partnered with the company behind the Colorforms line of toys to produce seeds to grow a vegetable garden.  Each package included the vegetable seeds themselves, along with instructions for planting, and a plastic garden sign featuring a Disney character so that you could mark the location of your crops.  I'm not sure if seeds that were packaged 46 years ago will still grow, but the packets looked as fresh and new as any of the new merchandise that you'll find at Wal-Mart today.

My memories of The Smurfs in the early to mid 1980's are from the eyes of a child.  I watched the cartoon.  I had some Smurfs toys.  Hell, I even had Smurfs bedsheets when I was a kid.  I'm not sure what role The Smurfs played in the lives of teenagers and adults in the 80's, but this ancestor of the Beanie Babies suggests that they were the "Netflix and chill" of their day.  You've got to wonder how many people are walking around today whose conception began after one of their parents propositioned the other for a night of Smurfing around.

There's only two things that Popeye and Bluto can agree on.  They both want to "Smurf around" with Olive Oyl, and they'll kick your ass if you throw plastic into the ocean.

I'm 43 years old.  I'm not an old man, but I've reached the age where things in my everyday life tend to make me feel old more often than they make me feel young.  Seeing a Kodak Fun Saver being sold in a locked glass case at an antiques store is now at the top of the list of experiences that have reminded me that my days as a young man are over.

I thought I had found an old pay phone for sale at the Slatington Marketplace a few weeks ago, but it turned out to be a Jim Beam bourbon decanter.  This time, the pay phone we found at an antiques store was the real deal.  It's one of those things that would be cool to have if I ever converted a part of my garage into a home arcade like I had originally planned to do, but I haven't had a landline phone for about ten years, so this thing just isn't practical and would probably just end up being stored in a box if I were to buy it.

There are far too many oddities on sale here to document them all, so consider this an extremely small sampling of things that I found to be interesting.  If you're in the Allentown area and want to spend a few hours checking out some crazy stuff, check it out.