I was going to just throw the box pictures in at the end of a regular post to conserve our blog fodder, but to no one’s surprise, I have enough paper boxes to fill a whole post.
I rediscovered most of these boxes while cleaning out my guest bedroom closet for the plumber. It was nice to see them again, and I was thinking about using them for gift-giving boxes. I really tried, but they are boxes and no one will like them as much as I do! But, if you’re looking for an easy way to spiff up a gift, a really nice vintage box is much nicer than wrapping paper. You can always tie a bow on them without using tape.
I think this is the oldest box:
This is probably from the 1920s or ’30s in the Art Deco style. I’m not sure what the design is, maybe candles, maybe just a shape. It is gold, green, and red, so it could be a Christmas box. I did a little online sleuthing about the writing and found that Bullocks was a very nice department store in downtown L.A. that opened in 1907 and became a chain in California. The downtown L.A. store closed in the early 1980s, but there are still some original Bullock stores in southwest US that operate as Macy’s. The phrase, “One O’Clock Saturdays” referred to the fact that Bullocks closed at 1pm on Saturdays. Why was that printed on their gift boxes? I’m not sure; maybe it sounded high falutin’ to the advertising staff. But, you can see that this box is lovely enough to use for a gift with no paper at all.
I was kind of excited when I found this box:
It wasn’t in great shape, but it sure looked like a box that held some nice jewelry at one point.
Sadly it was empty, but still had it’s satin-fabric-lined bottom, and a gold Marvella imprinted inside the lid. Marvella was an interesting costume jewelry maker that most people associate with artificial pearls. It was started in 1911 in Philadelphia and they sold both fake pearls and faceted bead jewelry. In the 1950s, a Marvella simulated pearl necklace would cost about $15 for a single strand and $10 for the matching earrings. Twenty-five dollars in the 1950s was a sizeable amount of money, so this was a high-quality costume jewelry company. In the 1980s, they were bought out by Trifari, another reputable company. I couldn’t tell you what came in this box, but I bet it was fabulous!
I call this shape and size box a powder box:
There is nothing left inside it to show what it originally held. The torn paper label on the bottom in part reads, “Handmade in Japan”, and then underneath that is stamped in red ink, “Alcohol proof”. I love the Asian aesthetic of the design, and the birds, but all I can think about right now is why powder needs to be alcohol proof? I think it’s so pretty that it could almost be a present in itself! I did a brief look on the internet, and while I saw this very box for sale, no one speculated why it was alcohol proof. Please chime in if you have a theory!
I think that Kathy gave me these. (Kathy: I did, they were in a free box at a yard sale. I spare no expense on my friends.) If not, then she encouraged me to buy them:
They are actually paper-covered tins, which is kind of unexpected. Again, they have an Asian vibe to the decorative paper and the blue tin has Kanji lettering on it. I’m pretty fond of flowers no matter their style. When you pull the lids off, you see this:
It seems to me that these tins probably held tea, or some kind of powder. The lids fit tightly and the extra sealed lid inside would keep it fresh. On the bottom of the blue tin, there is a label that reads 100 g. I could see making or buying some nice hard candy and filling a tin up.
I know Kathy gave these nesting boxes filled with great gifts:
They are presents in themselves because they are beautiful! I really don’t know how old they are, or where they came from. The paper covering almost looks like origami paper, very neatly applied. I actually had these sitting out in my craft room so I can look at them and rejoice at how well Kathy knows me.
This box shows why these old boxes didn’t necessarily get thrown away:
I bought this at a garage sale all excited about the tiny nails and hinges. It wasn’t for an embarrassingly long time that I took a good look at the box that held these small containers.
I think this a Velveeta box from 1967 from the Lego giveaway. I’m not really sure when a two pound box sold for 89 cents, but it wasn’t in this century! Plus, Velveeta had to tell people that Legos were “building toys”. I wonder what set they sent you with their special offer. I used to love saving labels and box tops to send away for a special offer. Some of the old giveaways were surprisingly nice things. To be honest, I might have bought this whole box just because this was something that my grandfather would have done. All of his hardware was stored by type in Gerber baby food jars. If he could have put the jars in a box just the right size, well that would be gravy!
Kathy again: I am going to piggy back on Deb’s post and add a picture of something I have been meaning to take a pic of and share, because it fits so well here:
I purchased this adorable little cardboard box at our used craft store before they went out of business. It is about 6 inches long, and covered in that darling paper. What bunnies, gnomes, frogs and spiders have to do with each other, I neither know, nor care. I just love this box. Wish the tape wasn’t on it, but I can cope for all that cuteness. Back to Deb.
I didn’t take pictures of them, but I use old paper cigar boxes to store decorations like those crocheted or tatted snowflakes, and other loose things. All of these boxes are out there just waiting to be found in a closet or garage. Take a look and see what you find!
We have more pictures that I thought, so we should be okay for a month or more, with some other kinds of posts mixed in. Kathy just dropped off a book on cooking pamphlets and their history that should make for a fun book report.
Please stay safe. Things are going to get worse before they get better, but we can get through to the other side with some common sense and respect.