Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mrs. O'Leary's Cow?

It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday and today I'm showcasing a truly unique commemorative metal tray that I've added to my sadly neglected vintage shop, Aunt Pheba's Vintage.


This little piece, which measures approximately 8 inches x 5.75 inches x 1/2 inch, was a souvenir from the American Medical Association Convention held in Chicago in 1948.  It was swag distributed by Sharp & Dohme, a pharmaceuticals manufacturer which began as an apothecary in 1851 and had just opened a large scale manufacturing plant in West Port, Pennsylvania in 1948.  Five years later, that company was acquired by Merck, a spin off of the German Merck KGaA.

I am guessing that Sharp & Dohme chose the Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch) motif to celebrate the opening of their new plant in Pennsylvania.  I love the whimsical motif and the use of color.

But what I find most interesting is the design itself.  The AMA Convention was being held in Chicago, Illinois. And one of the most prominent yet tragic pieces of Chicago history is the Great Chicago Fire of October 8, 1871, which destroyed a large section of the city and killed over 300 people.  According to legend, since discredited, the fire started when a cow owned by Patrick and Catherine (Cate) O'Leary kicked over a lantern in their barn.

I think this could make a unique gift for a med school or pharmacy school graduate -- especially one with ties to Chicago.   Or perhaps it could be a Father's Day gift for a doctor or pharmacist -- or a Chicago history buff.

TTFN
LeAnn


20 comments:

  1. I guess just about everyone has heard that legend, but whether they have or not the plate has a wonderful design to add some fun to kitchen decor!

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    1. I love the design, too -- and the whimsical use of color.

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  2. Such a neat little piece of history!

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    1. I thought so!! It's older than I am -- with stories to tell!

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  3. What a unique piece! It's funny to me that, even nearly 60 years ago, they handed out souvenirs and medical conventions.

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    1. Ha.Ha. I guess "swag" is not a new concept.

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  4. That's a really special piece! I would not have thought it to be "swag" at a medical convention :)

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    1. It was such a pleasant surprise to find it! Thank you for stopping by, Duni!

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  5. Lovely and folk- lorry! It reminds me a traditional russian folk design, just like i used to paint in Palex. Flush back in time:)

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Lana! I'm glad you like my little find.

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  6. Great little plate! And what a great story it tells. Can you imagine how many people would be killed in a big Chicago fire like that today? There are more than that many people on one floor of each highrise. I also love the color of the plate.

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  7. It's so interesting to hear so much about the back story of a piece. I'm not an antique/vintage hunter myself (I'm more of a thrifter!) so it's unusual to me :)

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    1. my daughter is a world-class thrifter! And I don't spend a lot of time hunting for antiques--but this piece was just too unique to pass up. I don't think the person selling it knew the back story.

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  8. I never knew about the fire. What a unique piece. She looks to be in the country, fortunately! {:-D

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    1. I just love this piece. Thanks for stopping by, Deb.

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    1. Isn't it fun?! Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. Love the history stuff! Great post and wonderful plate! Loved seeing it! Hope it does go to someone who can appreciate it!

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    1. I'm hoping it finds a good home, too.

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