Friday, January 1, 2010

Pieces of culture

More items from the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Above is a pram, built by Dick & Cowden's pram works at Newton, according to the descriptive text below. I haven't any info on that factory at the moment -- but this reminds me more of a kiddies' toy pram than one you'd use for the baby of the family.

This I had to take a shot of, once I realised who had owned it. Built from Australian cedar at the Hokianga  in 1845-1850 by William Webster (1816-1895), an early saw-miller, it is displayed with this description:

"In 1845 he began to make a pipe organ in his leisure hours, using an Australian Cedar log for the case and Kauri, Kahikatea, Matai and Tenekaha. The organ has a compass of four and a half octaves. The white keys (naturals) were made of whales' teeth obtained by trade from the Bay of Islands and the black keys (sharps) were dyed with the same dye used by the Maori for their mats. The brass bellows gauge was filed from the rudder of his rowing boat. The pedals and iron work were handmade in his own blacksmiths shop."
He gave the organ to his daughter Annabella Mary (1864-1955) on her marriage to John McKail Geddes, he who has a street named after him here in Avondale. Hence my interest.


Pottery by Helen Keir, late 19th century, "Moa and Clematis".


I couldn't find the description for these stairs under glass -- but I was taken with the design.

This is supposed to have been a barber's chair, designed  by Garnet Campbell around the middle of last century, for Kay's French Beauty Salon (1954) in Karangahape Road. Even if I was svelte and as light as a feather, I reckon I'd be way too scared to ever sit in that. And it was one of three in the salon! Egad.


  1. The organ is wonderful. I have never seen anything like it. Even still today, designers produce chairs that look very uncomfortable or downright dangerous.

  2. I helped remove the barber's chair off display recently for a series of photographs for another's remarkably sturdy! If i remember rightly, that particular one was for children and not adults.

  3. They are lovely, those stairs under glass are a realcurio!