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Custom Conversion Wrap-Up!

Custom Conversion Wrap-Up!

Hepcat Restorations:

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Justin has now completed the restoration/conversion of the GE TV, and it looks great! So an old TV cabinet has reassumed the role of a functioning home electronic that will bring many years of enjoyment. If you have an old TV you love but doesn’t work reach out to Justin to see about a conversion. Let this conversion show you the thoughtful care he takes to make these TV’s look original. Thanks again Justin!

Originally posted on Stellar Vintage Electronics of California:

The custom TV project for Hepcat Restorations was a wrap today! Following on from previous update posts:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Please do check out the previous updates for the ongoing status of this set if you’re feeling adventurous!

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This is the ‘jack pack’ I had to make to provide composite video and audio input, and output jacks for the external speakers. These cool little all-in-one jacks weren’t readily available from any electronic supplier that I could find, so I ended up sacrificing an old VCR to harvest these. Originally they were clipped into the plastic piece on the back side of the VCR, so I had to drill tiny holes in between each jack to secure the entire unit to the plate. The plastic faceplate is a square piece of plastic which I cut out of the plastic lid of the VCR.

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Jack Pack is secured to…

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Midway Antique Mall Summer Sale

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Please join us to celebrate the mall wide Summer Sale at Midway Antique Mall. This event runs from June 27th through July 27th. Mel and I will be at the shop this coming Friday and Saturday from 10am-2pm to kick off the event.

Hepcat Restorations will be offering a 15% discount on all items in our store (except items marked firm).

Midway Antique Mall

5130 Madison Ave, Sacramento, CA 95841

Phone: (916) 779-6252

Mall is open every day from

10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Witco

witco1Mel and I are new to the Witco scene, but we have had a few of the smaller pieces. Our friend Tracy at m.a.r.k. Vintage reached out to us to see if we were interested in this tiki end table she picked up. Mel and I hopped in the car and shot over the next day.

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We love this little table and need to restore it. It will look great in one of the Tiki areas of our home. At the time, we didn’t know who produced this piece.

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I then remembered that our friend Dennis had a tiki table that would go well with the one we got from Tracy.  The next day Mel and I met Dennis at his shop and we picked this piece up. Dennis said he thought it might be Witco. That got Mel and I thinking maybe the other table was Witco too!

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Upon researching this table we were able to identify it as a Witco end table. It is always important to know who produced a piece but to be honest, I liked it regardless.

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This other table has been harder to substantiate who the maker is. It appears to be in the same style of Witco, but I was unable to locate anything online to compare it with. I reallly dig the tiki faces on this piece.

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As you can see, the tops on both of these pieces will need to be refinished. The one on the left will be an easier repair, but the table on the right will need a lot of work.

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If anyone out there has a matching table to either of these and want to give it a new home let us know. Also, if any of you Witco experts out there can confirm the one on the right is also Witco, I’d appreciate it.

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In The Beginning…

By the late 50s, Tiki-fever was in full swing and Americans couldn’t get enough of it.

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Tiki temples and Polynesian-themed bowling alleys, golf courses, television shows and pop music saturated the land from coast-to-coast.

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But strangely enough, Tiki’s presence was still largely missing from the ultimate mid-century sanctuary:  the American home.

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That would soon change with the mass production of primitive décor and home furnishings that made it possible for Americans to finally bring Polynesia right into their own living rooms.

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Here is an ad out of a 1940’s magazine selling Tiki bars. This was the first step in introducing the Polynesian themed rooms into homes of that era.

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William/Bill Westenhaver, founder of Western International Trading Company (WITCO).

Tiki’s ultimate triumph was due largely to cartoonist and artisan William Westenhaver. William Westenhaver, a would-be graphic designer and painter, Westenhaver studied at the Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles during the late 40s.  His early works showed the large influence of Picasso and early-century European impressionists and expressionists, who themselves often used imported Polynesian primitiva as sources of inspiration.

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Westenhaver was no stranger to it either, having visited Melanesia during his time in the Navy.  It was here in the Admiralty Islands that he witnessed the natives carving their ancestral deities into everyday utensils and furnishings.

Yet it wasn’t until the late 50s that Westenhaver would finally be able to fuse his own modernist artistry with the native kinds he had observed.

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In 1957, his cousin Bob Post called and asked if he could help design some of the primitive artifacts his Western International Trading Company (WITCO) was importing from Mexico. Still eking out a living as a cartoonist, Westenhaver jumped at the chance and moved with his family to Mt. Vernon, WA.

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Here, he and the other WITCO artisans began carving and chain-sawing an array of unusual tribal designs into bedposts, tables, chairs and any other home furnishing you could think of, often accenting them with striking leopard-skin prints.  Island décor such as masks, spears, statues and even home tiki bars followed.

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This “Pop Primitivism”, or Modern Primitive, was a perfect complement to the clinical, steel-and-glass minimalism of American architecture at the time, giving homes the aura of a worldly and exotic whimsy.

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And it wasn’t just the fancy of Middle American eccentrics, either.

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Elvis Presley’s Graceland Mansion had a special “Jungle Room” (click here to see a 360 view of Jungle Room) outfitted with nothing but WITCO furnishings.

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Popular icons Hugh Hefner and Roy Orbison also decorated their abodes with them, too.

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Here we have a pic of Hugh and his bunnies by the pool. There appears to be 3 Witco tiki masks on the wall and a Witco bench they are sitting on.

By the late 60s, with WITCO having showrooms in most major American cities, Tiki had finally conquered the final American frontier. Yet, with nowhere else to go, the end was inevitable.

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After the cultural cataclysm of the late 60s and early 70s, WITCO’s fortunes began to decline, and in 1977, it closed it doors. Although Westenhaver went back to work as a freelance artist, the story doesn’t end there.

As the Tiki revival bloomed in the 90s, Westenhaver’s grandson-in-law, Ken Pleasant, picked up the torch and now carves his own WITCO-style furniture, much to his grandfather’s delight.

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Source Link:

http://www.enterthetiki.com/content/william-westenhaver

Custom GE Color Conversion Update

Hepcat Restorations:

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Update on the GE Color Conversion. Justin at Stellar Electronics is cranking this out!!! It won’t be long before he’s finished :).

Originally posted on Stellar Vintage Electronics of California:

I’ve been working on a very special project for my friends at Hepcat Restorations; It’s a 1960 GE Television set, that was gutted and converted into a bookshelf at some point and is being converted “back” into a modern color TV. Be sure to check out my first installment on this project if you haven’t already!

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Fitting the filler panels

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Test fitting the CRT and measuring to create custom brackets to mount it permanently.

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Custom color CRT mounts finished, and CRT mounted up in cabinet! I’m really happy with the way this is turning out. Sometimes it’s hard to visualize the final piece when starting with a mishmash of random parts.

View original

1959 Philco Safari H-2010

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Presenting the Philco Safari Model H-2010, the World’s First Transistor Battery-Powered Television. Take it anywhere-enjoy it everywhere! It’s the all-transistor Philco Safari. 15lbs. of portable fun. Fine-screen picture, glare-proof hood, built-in antenna, long-life battery, rich leather case…a fabulous “first” from Philco! $250

Mel and I recently picked this little fella up and love it! It has such cool styling and real genuine top grade cow hide. This is the first truly portable transistor television!

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They came in two colors, black and tan. The black seems to be more desirable but I like the tan.

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Here is the black version.

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Ours fired up just fine. The great thing is that since it is a transistor television you don’t have to be afraid to plug it in even if it has sat a while.

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We are soo happy that all the knobs, hood and antenna are all there. Unfortunately, you find these without the hood pretty regularly.  The leather on this unit is very clean without much wear.

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The screen you see is a reflection of a smaller screen below the visible screen. I don’t have a converter hooked up right now so all you see is static.

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Here is the battery that allowed these to become wireless. No surprise mine is long gone.

Here is a great commercial and some ads…

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Here we have Buffy and Maximilian watching their Safari while cruising the lake in their Chris Craft, lucky!

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Cool idea taking it to the beach but if I recall sand and electronics are arch enemies.

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Vintage Chromcraft Couch, Chair, Ottoman and Tables

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Mel and I were contacted by our friend Tracy at m.a.r.k vintage who let us know about an available space age couch, chair and table set. We were so excited to hear this and I shot over early the next day to get them.

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The couch, chair and ottoman are in good shape but I plan to recover them. The fiberglass on these pieces is thick and durable.

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This is the coffee table, end table and planter that came with the set.

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The fiberglass has the usual yellowing from being exposed to sunlight for some time.

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Restoring the fiberglass is simple. All I have to do is light sand all the pieces once the upholstery is removed. After I sand everything,  I’ll need to wipe it down really well to remove any particulate. I plan to use the Rust-Olum white appliance paint to restore the fiberglass. I love this paint because it is durable and finishes well.

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Surprisingly, there are no real issues with any of the fiberglass except the yellowing.

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Our intention was to fix this set up for resale…BUT…you hardly ever see pieces like this, so we’ve decided to keep it……. for now.

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We are thinking of doing our office in the Panton Era so these will fit right in.

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Here is what the set looks like new.

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It appears they also made a dinning set! Beam me up Scotty!

I’ve always thought this was hilarious!

Tiki Bar In The Rough

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Mel and I drove to a small town outside Chico to pick up a Tiki bar we found on Craigslist.

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This Tiki bar was not in as good of condition as we thought it would be. All that means is I have to restore it. We plan to put this in the shop because Tiki stuff seems to be doing really well right now.

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This bar looks fantastic from 20ft away but upon closer examination you can see that it will need some freshening up.

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All the bamboo will need to be sanded and an application of Ipswich Pine stain will be applied. Once dry I will polyurethane everything to seal it from the elements.

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The feet of this bar were made of compressed particle board. As you can see, they are rotten from water soaking into them. I purchased a 2 x 6 x 10 piece of lumber to replace all three of the rotted feet.

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The Formica on top has a crack. I am going to use some creative license on the repair of the top. You will see what I am planning once I complete the bar.

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This bar has a built-in cutting board, drawer and towel bar. As you can see, it has a lot of area for storage. This area will be refinished as well.

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Of course the chairs will need to be refinished but the cushions are fine. They appear to have been redone recently.

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I will be getting to work on this soon. It shouldn’t take long. Once restored, I am positive someone will want this in their home to enjoy for years to come.

Vintage Trailer Slideshow

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Here is my first YouTube video! I still have a lot to learn but it was fun making it, Enjoy!

The Death of the Vintage TV Lamp

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To me, TV lamps are pieces of art. There were so many different ones made by a lot of different manufacturers (Royal Fleet, Maddux, Lane, Texans Inc., Kron, Fuhry & Sons, Jacquelin, Royal Haeger…). These lamps became essential once televisions started showing up in homes. When watching the early televisions you had to watch them in almost complete darkness because of the low luminosity, making low light viewing a genuine benefit. The common belief was that watching the television in complete darkness caused eyestrain, hence the birth of the television lamp.

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Here is the opaque bezel that is back lit by the fluorescent lights.

Sylvania came out with this new revolutionary HaloLight feature which helped eliminate eyestrain and the need for TV lamps.

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Mel and I were contacted by one of our friends who informed us that she came into possession of the very rare Sylvania HaloLight television. She asked if we were interested and of course you know what we said. I shot over to pick it up. The cabinet on this unit is in good shape for its age. I plan to refinish it so it is perfect. I love the lightning bolt on the right side.

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 Once this is refinished it will look great.

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The control panel is pretty clean on this unit. I plan to replace the fabric with something a little less ratty.

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As you can see, Sylvania produced many different models and styles of the HaloLight television.

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Here is the style Sylvania television that best resembles what we have.

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 Here she is all lit up! Yup, it still works. Our friend Justin of Stellar Vintage Electronics said that if the Halo works you are ahead of the game because they are custom fluorescent tubes.

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Here are the benefits of the HaloLight feature as explained by Sylvania.

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 This unit has only one speaker so I don’t imagine it will compare to the modern televisions. If Justin can’t get this unit to work, it will be retrofitted with a modern tube and will be good to go for many more years to come.

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Whatever we decide to do with this unit, it is nice that another set has been saved from the junk pile.

Here are a couple of 50’s commercials of the Sylvania HaloLight.

Here are some other HaloLight Models produced by Sylvania:

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This is the conversion that Justin completed and is at Midway Antique Mall.

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Our GE Partio Cart Has Arrived

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Yesterday our General Electric Partio Cart arrived that we got from our friend Ed. We are soo excited! This is the same unit that President Eisenhower was impressed with, who called it “the most fantastic thing you ever saw.”

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It arrived in great shape thanks to Dean who drove it out to us.

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I can’t believe this is ours! I plan to restore it and have it up and running as soon as I can.

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I love the umbrella! This unit is so cool because of all the versatility it offers.

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Here is the control panel for the oven, burners and griddle. There is also a light just above the controls.

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The oven side of this unit is pretty clean.

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The inside of the oven doesn’t look like it was really ever used.

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The white haze on the bottom of the cart seems like it will buff off. Thank goodness this thing is on wheels because it weighs a ton.

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This is the BBQ side of the unit. You can see the holes on the back of the grill wall that is for the rotisserie. This unit is missing the drip tray so I will have to figure that out.

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The fold away cutting board shelves on both sides need to be refinished.

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Considering the age of this unit the umbrella is in great shape. It appears all it needs is some light cleaning.

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This unit needs some freshening up but overall it is in great shape.

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