- Philosophical BS
You may be
wondering, what philosophical questions could possibly be raised on this
topic of old doorbells??
. . . . . .
people ask me what exactly my motivation is for posting on this site all
that know about how to fix door chimes. Would it perhaps not be wiser- not
to mention more lucrative- to keep it to myself and just tell people they
can pay for service if they want the benefit of my knowledge? Or perhaps I
should write a book and maybe make some profit that way? Yeah, well. I was
reading an article in Wired the other day and came across a description of
my exact thoughts on the matter, stated better than I had ever consciously
put it together. To quote “…I run a blog about cool tools. I
write if for my own delight and for the benefit of friends. The Web extends
my passion to a far wider group for no extra cost or effort. In this way,
my site is part of a vast and growing gift economy, a visible underground of
valuable creations – text, music, film, software, tools and service—all
given away for free. This gift economy fuels an abundance of choices. It
spurs the grateful to reciprocate. It permits easy modification and reuse
and thus promotes consumers into producers...”
I’m not solving world hunger here and I keep my desire for peace pretty much
to myself, but one little thing I do is to help people I’ve never met to get
their doorbells to ring.
. . . . . .
get notes from people subtly, or not so, questioning if I am on the wrong
moral path. Mostly it has to do with the issues of restoring antiques versus
leaving them alone in the perfection of their original imperfect state and
so-called patina of age. You know, when it comes to an Antiques Roadshow-esque discussion of the original beetle-juice finish on
century sideboard made by the Whatever Brothers in colonial Rhode Island, I
get it. I really do. When it comes to a faux
neo-revival antique mass produced in
in 1948, I’m just not with it. I have this idea that things that are a mere
50 years old and look beat up, that’s not patina, that’s just beat up.
are relatively plenty of these If any of these are destined to be future
high-value antiques where unmolested originality is imperative , let it be
ones currently hanging on grandma’s wall, preserved under a protective film
of dust, cooking vapors and tobacco tar. But for now, I’m entirely OK with
making a few look sparkly like new.
I am an
industrial designer by training and profession (yes, I do have a day job!).
I think it’s interesting to see things as they were intended, or better yet,
as they were originally envisioned to be by the people who designed them…
and I can tell you with certainty that the vision is always way more perfect
than the realized production item. So why not restore a few to original
condition or for that matter a little better than original? Or maybe take
it a bit farther and have some fun, just like the original designer surely
did, and pursue ideas that may have been imagined but rejected because of
production cost constraints or perceived market demands?
Look-- I’m as
much a purist as anybody, but my view is that anyone who thinks a 50 year
old doorbell is sacred, I say that person might be worshipping the wrong
things. Anybody for a NuTone Jefferson in silver leaf with stainless
bells? Give me the commission and let’s do it!
it comes to faux antiques like a NuTone Jefferson, I think there is a strong
case for leaving the clock case in somewhat worn condition. With a
little wear, these look considerably more like legitimate antiques than they
did when new. However I do not have the same view of tired looking
tarnished bells. I think that’s because there is nothing about the
bells that makes any pretense of being antique—they are clearly of the 20th century. My
view is that things of such recent vintage do not wear age especially well,
and look better if brought back to sparkly originality. Anyway, it is not
like the bells embody any great craftsmanship or precious material that would
somehow be diminished by refinishing. The same spin polish and lacquer
finish that they had can be authentically recreated today. For that matter new bells can be made that for any
intent or purpose are identical to the old.
. . . . . .
have a philosophy that ideas are cheap. Several years ago I snagged a
discarded sanitary napkin vending machine from a demolition project. I put
it in my office and made a convincing looking sign to replace the original
plaque on it, to read: Ideas are Cheap. Have One Today! 5cents. My
view is that ideas are the cheapest commodity in any endeavor. You might as
well have a hundred a day. By contrast, the things that are truly precious
and rare are vision, wisdom, courage, cooperation, action, forward motion. I
reflect on my years serving as a product planner for a now defunct
cell phone manufacturer. Five years later I have yet to see a single idea
hit the market that we hadn’t thought of… but couldn't possible build
because of management petrified by fear, lack of vision, and inertia. The
truth is, thinking people in any industry at any given time, armed with
available technology all have largely the same ideas. The differentiator is
the courage to act on ideas and the brains not to screw up along the way.
years I have known a number of people who confided in me their secret idea
for the next big thing, whispered in strict confidence. They might as
well have shouted it from rooftops…. because, of course, ideas are cheap and
courage is rare.
perhaps you wonder how this topic of acting on new ideas has anything to do
with old doorbells? Aside from considering it all in the context of the
historical record of winners and losers among deceased captains of doorbell
industry, I whisper to you in strict confidence, watch this space.
"door chimes" above to see other related topics.
I am a
lot more skilled at fixing old door chimes than I am dealing with search
engine optimization, so here a a few terms and phrases that might help
surfers find me.
door bell vintage doorbell vintage doorbells
vintage door bells antique door bell antique door bells
antique doorbell antique doorbells