The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Simple Hair Dryer

I found this plan for a Rube Golbergian hair dryer in the Popular Mechanics Handbook for Women, 1924, which contains some truly some truly ingenious domestic ideas. I'll blog some of them over the next few weeks.

Happy Halloween, btw. Sorry an "asbestos lining" and exposed heating element is as scary as I can get today. I'm just not inspired.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Treasure Island Compliments of Hotel Taft NYC

While thrifting this past weekend I turned up and interesting bit of NYC ephemera. This edition of Treasure Island was published by and given gratis to guests of Hotel Taft:

It's undated but I'm guessing late 1920s-30s from the cover design. The copyright page says
"Tarry at the Taft, New York". The FEP carries this printed in bookplate:

and rear endpaper features an ad for "Hotel St. George Pool, Clark St., Brooklyn" where you can "Swim in Sparkling Natural Salt Water, Bask in Heathful Sun Rays" all for $1.

I found nine titles published by the Taft listed on ABE: Alice in Wonderland, Tale of Two Cities, Sherlock Holmes, Soldiers Three, Last Days of Pompeii, Scarlet Letter, The Dynamiter, The Light that Failed, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.

I wish hotel chains and publishers would try this again. It would be nice to find some reading material--besides the bible--on my hotel nightstand.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Obelisks of Erotic Gratification

I recently acquired a pile of Sexology: The Door to Sex Enlightenment, a digest started by Hugo Gernsback (of Amazing Stories fame). The magazine ran from the 1930s well into the 70s and features some fantastically batty sexual advice and history.

This diagram illustrating the "differing amounts of gratification offered by the auto-erotic act and the normal marital act" is one of my favorites.

Click on image for explanatory text.

You can easily see--through the dramatic difference in "the height and girth of the obelisk[s]"--that the "gratification derived from the auto-erotic act is only about 60% as much as that of the normal marital act". But hey, I'm an obelisk half-full kind of guy.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


...and other indoor sports in the Pulp Fiction Cover Gallery.

Add me as a contact on Flickr or subscribe to my photostream and don't miss a single cover.

Junk in My Trunk Last Weekend

More great stuff from the same dealer as last weekend (no I won't talk). View on Flickr for my annotations.

and a detail shot of some items for my new shadowbox.

A tiny plastic frito bandito (holding a sign that says "South of the Border"), a 1940s-50s condom tin, and a 1-year safe driving medal that looks like a purple heart from D-Day.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cat Zombie Dance Party!

If you're in Brooklyn tonight--and want to dance like Andrew Lloyd Weber after the zombie apocalypse--you should be here:

Cherylween: The Dance Party That Will Ruin Your Life

Monday, October 13, 2008

Junk Boards as Mailing Protectors

If you have a sensitive constitution or are easily offended by violence against books please stop reading now.

I meant it.

Are you still here?

Okay. A while back I received a book packaged in the stripped-off boards of a junk title. I can't remember the inspired seller who sent it to me but it was a brilliant idea.

Booksellers end up with skads of hardcovers that are completely unsellable. If you donate them to a thrift shop you'll just have to look through them again. They burn gas to take them to the dump. And they have to be bundled separately from paper recyclables (if they can be recycled at all in your area).

However, as packing material they're a panacea. Book boards are denser and stronger than any piece of box cardboard. They come in a variety of sizes and by using them in this way you'll be fulfilling their destiny by protecting book contents that someone actually wants.

So after a recent cull I took a pile of beaten down books and skinned them like some necrobibliophilic Hannibal Lector (decorative endpapers, correctly yellowed blank pages, and bookplates/tickets should also be salvaged).

Now I use them to protect delicate pamphlets, magazines and vintage paperbacks. One caveat is that buyers may not realize their item is inside so you should mark the boards somehow. I'm going to make up an inkstamp to do this easily (and take advantage of another branding opp) but for now I just use a sharpie.

Horrified? Sickened? Appalled? You'll get over it fast. Just say a prayer to the great book spirit and kill them quick and clean.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Jacques Le Tord: French Pin-up Artist

The blog Au carrefour étrange has been posting numerous pen and ink pin-ups/erotic illustrations by an artist named Jacques Le Tord. I'd never heard of him before but I'm instantly a huge fan.

Check out the back yards on his women and you'll see why Robert Crumb moved to France.

Trying to find info on the artist but Babelfish isn't doing me any favors. Best I could do is that Le Tord worked in the 50s and was published extensively in a magazine called Revue Pigalle.

Love to find a coffee table book or an English snyposes of his career.

Junk in My Trunk: October 12, 2008

Today's finds. Went back to the old flea market cause the new one's gone too upscale. High eBay hopes for the Shirley Temple item.

View the photo on Flickr for my annotations.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bookish Burlesque

Working on the Field of Dreams principle, I've been blogging about strippers, sleaze paperbacks--and other scantily clad themes--every single chance I get.

And what do you know, it worked! I sold pieces of burlesque historical material to two fine performers who are upholding the tradition and keeping the tassles spinning.

...and they both have book-related acts!

First Ms. Ginny Fizz and her librarian tease to the tune of Elvis' "A Little Less Conversation"

Next Scarlett Letter and her anything but puritanical bump 'n grind fan dance.

Also see The Ministry of Burlesque Youtube page for a ton of burlesque performance and how-to videos.

Monday, October 6, 2008

World's Largest Garage Sale 2008 Haul

Junk in My Trunk: October 6, 2008, originally uploaded by Hang Fire Books.

Here's my loot from last weekend's town-wide garage sale in Warrensburg, NY. View the image on Flicker for annotations and descriptions. I'll talk about some of this stuff (and my wacky adventures acquiring it) once I dig myself out of the pile.

Friday, October 3, 2008


Found this set of showgirl publicity photos a few weeks ago at the BrooklynFlea. Not sure if they're for a stage production or film. I need to do some research but I'm running out the door so I'll just post and hope somebody recognizes a face. (click for larger versions)

Signature looks like "J. K. Milligan" and maybe "L.A." or "U.A."

Any Vaudeville/Broadway buffs have any clues?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Stud Service

Stud Service (Bee-Line 445-D) 1970 AUTHOR: Peter Blue ARTIST: (unknown), originally uploaded by Hang Fire Books.

...and more new arrival vintage sleaze in the Pulp Fiction Cover Gallery.

Add me as a contact on Flickr or subscribe to my photostream and don't miss a single cover.

Junk in My Trunk: October 2, 2008

Junk in My Trunk: October 2, 2008, originally uploaded by Hang Fire Books.

Nice haul from a normally picked-over thrift store. View it on Flickr with amazing Thrift-o-Vision annotations.

I have way too many clashing vintage dishes now. Time to start thinning.

Still looking for members for my Twitter Thrift Scouting Corp, ThriftScoutNYC.

Sign up if you're in/around NYC, or start your own local franchise.