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Mary Ellen

I went back in time today

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Today I toured a house in Orange County, NY built in 1952. The whole house was original, from the furnishings to the built in pool to the decor and low voltage light fixtures. The only thing replaced over the past 54 years were the carpets and window treatments. It even had the orignial Pella windows.

Everything was in perfect , well maintained condition. I told the owner it belongs in an issue of Architectural Digest. I wish I could share my photos but client confidentiality prohibits it.

It is amazing that such treasures still endure. And I cannot believe the level of preservation that occurs when someone takes the time to maintain a property. Graceland in Memphis is another example of fine 50's decoration. I felt like a kid again today.

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Bill you are right some of Graceland is 70's tacky, but Gladys & Vernon's room is sheer 50's right down to the pink poodle wallpaper in the bathroom as well as Elvis' office. I do love the cheesy 70's kitchen though. I mean avocado colored appliances and all!

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Mary Ellen, your experience reminds me of that movie, "Blast From The Past." It is the story of a family which hides in a fallout shelter in October of 1962 in the belief that a nuclear attack has begun. In reality, a military plane makes a crash landing into their house and the family locks themselves in a 1962 vintage bomb shelter for 35 years. Everything in the shelter looks as if Rob and Laura Petrie had just hosted a cocktail party.

You walked into a time capsule and I really envy your experience!

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Jim I saw that movie too. It was very funny. Glad you enjoyed my tale. By the way, does anyone know why they used the low voltage lights back then?

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Jim I saw that movie too. It was very funny. Glad you enjoyed my tale. By the way, does anyone know why they used the low voltage lights back then?

I was in a similar home, only it was untouched since the 20's... soapstone kitchen sink, wooden (electric) refridgerator, Victrola in the parlour, horsehair stuffed sofas and it even had a 1917 car in the garage. It was very cool. The atmosphere was darker than in modern homes because the house only had 1920's type light bulbs with fine looped filamints, that gave off a low glow by today's standards. When I think of 50's homes I don't necessarily think low light though, correct me if I'm wrong... especially since so many of them had those really bright flourescent kitchen light fixtures with the circline bulbs. ... in my mind's eye that was a pretty standard fixture. Then there were TV lamps that were supposed to give off a soft glow over the television set to supposedly make the TV easy on the eyes. In the case of the home you were in, could it perhaps be a personal preference of the occupants to use specifically low watt bulbs? I myself have at least a couple of early 50's lamps that take the modern three way type bulbs...low, bright, very bright.

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I had a similar experience when I would visit my great-great (yes two greats) grandmother's home when I was little up in Maine. It dated back to the 30s possibly 40s. She and her husband weren't the original owners, but much of the interior was still original. While the house did have some updating, mostly to the heating, and addition of air coniditoner,etc many of the rooms were all true to the home itself. She carried this on in Florida before she died when I was about 12 or so, and I eventually inherited an old swag glass lamp that used to be in the living room.

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Hey Mary Ellen, are you saying the built-in lighting fixtures were low voltage? Like recessed ceiling cans?

Low-V lighting would have been very unusual for '52, indeed. Was this a model home at the time, maybe?

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Hey Mary Ellen, are you saying the built-in lighting fixtures were low voltage? Like recessed ceiling cans?

Low-V lighting would have been very unusual for '52, indeed. Was this a model home at the time, maybe?

I think she meant "low wattage." I once toured Eleanor Roosevelt's summer home which has been kept, as much as possible, in the original condition, and I was struck by the low levels of light relative to the present. In any case, I don't think low-voltage lighting appeared for general use until the mid 1960s.

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Mike - they were low voltage recessed fixtures. The house was custom built. Many of the features would have been very costly at the time and you don't see them in too many houses of that era. It reminded me of a real California ranch I remember seeing in the old Sunset Magazines. It had a beautiful in ground pool with slate patio, marble 2' tiles in the screened porch and marble stone & shake exterior.

The current owner is the grandson of the original owners and told me when he has to have the low voltage lights repaired or replaced he has difficulty getting it done.

What I did find unusual about the house was the whole back or east wall had numerous very large picture windows with stainless steel frames.

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Mike - they were low voltage recessed fixtures. The house was custom built. Many of the features would have been very costly at the time and you don't see them in too many houses of that era. It reminded me of a real California ranch I remember seeing in the old Sunset Magazines. It had a beautiful in ground pool with slate patio, marble 2' tiles in the screened porch and marble stone & shake exterior.

The current owner is the grandson of the original owners and told me when he has to have the low voltage lights repaired or replaced he has difficulty getting it done.

What I did find unusual about the house was the whole back or east wall had numerous very large picture windows with stainless steel frames.

Interesting! It sounds like a house ahead of it's time.

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Then there were TV lamps that were supposed to give off a soft glow over the television set to supposedly make the TV easy on the eyes. .

My granmother had a Halo light Sylvania and on top she had a TV lamp which was a deer standing among leaves like in a forest, ultra tacky but I wish I still had it.

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Then there were TV lamps that were supposed to give off a soft glow over the television set to supposedly make the TV easy on the eyes.

My family's solution was to plug a receptacle into the outlet behind the TV. Turning on and off was accompished by turning the bulb clockwise or counterclockwise, respectively. You had to do it carefully after an evening of watching TV so as not to burn your fingers. BTW, everybody in my family wound up wearing glasses.

E

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WOW this is the one my grandmother had except instead of pink it was black. In the vase part was strange

looking foliage

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I think she meant "low wattage." I once toured Eleanor Roosevelt's summer home which has been kept, as much as possible, in the original condition, and I was struck by the low levels of light relative to the present. In any case, I don't think low-voltage lighting appeared for general use until the mid 1960s.

Low light levels in a historic home could be authentic or could be because the conservators are trying to minimize fading of furnishings (of course, the original occupants may have done the same thing).

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It's funny how our parents told us to 'sit way back from the television so you don't burn out your retinas', but then as soon as they became available they put 200 watt light bulbs in every light socket in the house....

I don't know whether a "well-lit" house wears on the eyes more than a dim house or causes less eye strain, but I wouldn't be surprised if we find out some day what these great 800:1 contrast ratio flat screen computer monitors are doing to our eyes! I'll probably end up with a permanent Unisphere burn-in on my retinas, and little kids will ask "how come you have globes in your eyes?"

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It's funny how our parents told us to 'sit way back from the television so you don't burn out your retinas', but then as soon as they became available they put 200 watt light bulbs in every light socket in the house....

I don't know whether a "well-lit" house wears on the eyes more than a dim house or causes less eye strain, but I wouldn't be surprised if we find out some day what these great 800:1 contrast ratio flat screen computer monitors are doing to our eyes! I'll probably end up with a permanent Unisphere burn-in on my retinas, and little kids will ask "how come you have globes in your eyes?"

ooh -ooh I have a great idea - Unisphere-pattern contact lenses

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ooh -ooh I have a great idea - Unisphere-pattern contact lenses

That would be WAY cool. I'd like one in orange and one blue. I did actually see someone with mirrored star contacts once. They were... um, different.

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I agree; great shades. I have often wondered what that little tag (around her neck) states. I cannot quite make it out.

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I agree; great shades. I have often wondered what that little tag (around her neck) states. I cannot quite make it out.

I think I see "Westinghouse" but that's about all I can make out as well.

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Randy, you are Un-friggin'-believeable!

Just an hour and 13 minutes to solve that mystery?

Actually, I think you're slipping.

Hardly your best time!

What... were you in a meeting for the first 59 minutes?

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