My favorite part of owning a vintage shop (besides the thrill of hunting down oldies but goodies...) is researching the items I add to the shop. I love history...any kind of history...so it's a lot of fun to play detective and decipher when a piece was manufactured and the history behind it....even on the little items like the one pictured above! This kitschy little souvenir caught my eye on one of my latest vintage hunting trips. I could tell by the speckled design on the top and the retro images, that it was probably from the 1950's or 1960's. I wanted to make sure, though, so I did a little research. I first looked up the company listed on a label I found on the bottom of the shaker.
The Bok Singing Tower pictured at the bottom left (below the lion) contains what is said to be the world's largest carillon library in the world.
The first big clue to the age of the piece came when I researched Africa U.S.A. (the lion graphic pictured above). Africa U.S.A. was a theme park-like tourist attraction that featured African wild life that roamed free. It was located in Boca Raton and was open from 1953-1961. This was the only attraction featured on the shaker that is no longer around. So...I figure that the shaker was manufactured sometime before 1961.
I then researched the dates of when each attraction was built. It turned out that the Citrus Tower (see below) was the latest one to be built..in 1956...my second big clue. So...this piece couldn't have been made before 1956.
My research had proven my first hunch right! It was a mid-century piece manufactured between the late 1950's and early 1960's. What a fun little piece to research...and I LOVED playing the role of the kitsch history detective!