Tag Archives: back roads travel blog

It’s National Bomb Pop Day!

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Charlie Wolfe & friend Fiona, who is rocking a Kid Picker tee! Photo: Meghan Aileen

For most adults, eating a bomb pop on a hot summer day takes them for a stroll down memory lane. Every time I eat one, I am reminded of the little league baseball park where I grew up watching my big brother play ball. I can almost hear the crack of the bat and smell the red dirt of the base lines.

The bomb pop, born in 1955, is a patriotic pop from a patriotic time in American history. The original bomb pop, invented by James S. Merritt and D.S. Abernethy in Kansas City, Missouri on July 30, 1955 was red, white and blue with cherry, lime and blue raspberry flavorings. Today, it’s a treat that has a special place on Summer afternoons, especially when we have the chance to introduce kids to their very first one. Inevitably, when handing a child their first bomb pop, we find ourselves saying, “You know. I used to eat these when I was your age…”

Share the bomb pop love with some kids today, and while you’re at it, tell them about what life was like back when you used to eat them, because it’s National Bomb Pop Day!

Charlie Wolfe & Friends sharing the love of the patriotic pop!
Charlie Wolfe & Friends sharing the love of the patriotic pop! Photo: Meghan Aileen

A Beautiful Day of Kid Pickers Buying & Selling in LeClaire

Kid Pickers Flea Market With the American Pickers

It was a beautiful day on the Mississippi River in historic LeClaire, Iowa. The morning started foggy, but the rain stayed at bay, bringing a warm & sunny afternoon. Our Antique Archaeology Kid Picker Flea Market vendors couldn’t have done a better job. Armed with knowledge of their finds and ready to wheel and deal, our Kid Pickers were ready to show off their picks and make a buck like old pros. They may have even taught the American Pickers a thing or two!

kids flea market antiques

Knowledgeable about more than just the picks they brought to sell, these Kid Pickers were well versed in booth set up and marketing too. From their own business names, to signage, to displaying their items for best exposure to passersby, these vendors really knew what they were doing.

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flea market for kids mike wolfe

Having been gifted with some of our soon to be released Antique Archaeology apparel just for Kid Pickers, our vendors were dressed for success! They make Antique Archaeology look good with their knack for styling our tees!


From cans & bottles to hats, toys & typewriters, there was a little something for every shopper. These Kid Pickers seem to be following one Mike Wolfe’s first rules of picking – Pick what you LOVE! It was apparent by their the smiles while showing off their goods to shoppers, passersby and even to the American Pickers themselves!

vintage cans flea market

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Knowing that all work and no play makes kid pickers dull girls and boys, there was plenty of fun to be had for our hard working young vendors. Danielle Colby, American Picker, took a few spins around the courtyard while dancing to Driftless Sisters, and American Pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz joined Danielle in visiting all the booths to pick a thing or two. The kids were able to complete their day on the levee in historic LeClaire by spending some time on the Mississippi River thanks to Riverboat Twilight who generously took our kid pickers aboard for a tour on the river. All in all, Antique Archaeology’s Kid Picker Flea Market was a huge success! As Mike says, “You can’t live forever, but you can make something that will.” We hope to keep generations of Pickers for years to come – start ’em young!

danielle colby antique archaeology

driftless sisters

leclaire iowa


The History of Father’s Day – The Holiday That Almost Wasn’t

Having been a recognized day of celebration for just over 100 years in the United States, Father’s Day is a relatively new tradition. Inspired by Mother’s Day, Father’s Day began in the early 20th century, but, believe it or not, was not embraced with nearly as much enthusiasm in those early years.

history of fathers day vintage ad
1940s USA Father’s Day Cards Magazine Plate Picture: Courtesy of The Advertising Archives

Where Did Father’s Day Begin?

There are varying opinions of where and when the very first Father’s Day Celebration took place in the US. It is, however, largely accepted that we can credit Ms. Sonora Louise Smart Dodd for its eventual widespread success. Her inspiration was her own father, a Civil War Veteran who, having lost his wife during the birth of their sixth child, became a single parent responsible for a newborn and five other children. Having been raised by this dedicated and loving father, at 27, Sonora Louise Smart Dodd took up the cause of campaigning for a celebration of fatherhood that was equal to that of Mother’s Day. She first suggested the holiday in Spokane, WA in 1909 and then led that city’s first Father’s Day celebration at the YMCA of Spokane in June 1910. It wasn’t until 1930’s however, the holiday began have some traction at the national level.

What Makes Father’s Day the Holiday that Almost Wasn’t?

In the 1930’s, as Sonora Louise Smart Dodd was seeking to raise awareness for Father’s Day at the national level, she did so with the support of trade groups that would benefit commercially from the holiday – the manufacturers of ties, tobacco pipes and any other traditional presents for fathers. Many men viewed the holiday as unnecessary and commercial in the early years. One historian has been quoted as saying that men “scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products–often paid for by the father himself.” The holiday held on, though, probably less because of the efforts of merchants and advertisers and more because of the love of joy seen in a child’s eyes when they pick out just the right tie for the male hero in their life. It took some time, but in 1972, in the middle of a hard-fought presidential re-election campaign, Richard Nixon finally signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday.

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1950s USA Daughters Hugging Father Magazine Plate Picture: Courtesy of The Advertising Archives

Hatch Show Print – Documenting History in Advertising Art

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Not all things are digital these days. Just ask Hatch Show Print, the historic Nashville letterpress shop that has been inspiring concert goers, consumers and fellow graphic designers for three generations. More than just your run of the mill print shop, they have impacted an entire segment of advertising design with their unique, vintage aesthetic that hasn’t changed in more than a century. Why mess with perfection?

hatch show print mike wolfe american pickers

What is Letterpress

Letterpress, which began the 1400’s, is a printing process using metal letters and hand carved blocks which are inked and pressed against paper. It was the first process of printing that allowed mass communications. While largely abandoned and replaced in the mid-20th century with offset printing, and even more recently with digital printing, some print shops, like Hatch Show Print, have continued the process. More modern printing tools may have made mass-production more efficient and cost effective, but they do not reflect the same color and texture of old school letterpress printing.

hatch show print nashville antique archaeology posters

Who is Hatch Show Print

A family business, Hatch Show Print, naturally, is the brain child of the Hatch family. William H. Hatch ran a print shop in Wisconsin and his sons Charles and Herbert, both born in the 1850’s, grew up with the art of letterpress. The family moved to Nashville, TN in 1875 and a few years later, CR and HH Hatch print shop was born. Their very first print job was a handbill announcing the appearance of Rev. Henry Ward Beecher. Beecher was an American Congregationalist clergyman, social activist and speaker, known for his outspoken belief in the abolition of slavery. From that first handbill, the color, simplicity, and style of Hatch letterpress was an instant success and the shop quickly became the go to for area entertainment and business advertising, documenting the history and culture of the South along the way. Hatch has created posters for some of the most iconic musicians and artists of all time, including Elvis, Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Willie Nelson, & Dolly Parton. The business flourished throughout the twentieth century, and despite several eventual ownership changes, still operates in Nashville today.

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Hatch Show Print for Antique Archaeology

Thanks to our own partnership with historic Hatch Show Print, Antique Archaeology brings you a chance to own a little piece of this advertising history. Created with the exact same letterpress printing process of the 1800’s shop, each poster will have its own unique imperfections that make it a truly one of a kind piece of advertising art.

Order you own Hatch Show Print Posters at Antique Archaeology HERE.

hatch show prints mike wolfe american pickers

Read more about historic Hatch Show Print and plan a trip to their studio if you’re visiting Nashville. Their website is here. 

Order you own Hatch Show Print Posters at Antique Archaeology HERE.


The History of the VW Beetle & The Rare “Zwitter”


History of the VW Beetle

Designed by Porsche under the direction of Adolf Hitler, the Volkswagen Beetle was intended to provide cheap transport for the working class masses of Germany. Though originally designed in the 1930s, introduction of mass production was impacted by World War II, meaning that the bulk of the initial production runs went to high ranking Nazi officials. The Beetle wasn’t produced in large volume until the conclusion of the War in 1945.

With its small size and rear engine, the VW Beetle was designed for economical travel of the Autobahn. As it eventually gained popularity in the United States, it was seen by many as a compact, great gas mileage alternative to the flashy, large sedans that were popular in Mid-Century America.


 What is one of the Most Rare Volkswagen Beetles & What Makes it Rare?

The Volkswagen Beetle that has come to be known as the Zwitter was only produced from October 1952 through March 1953. It’s short production run makes it particularly rare. You can tell you are looking at a Zwitter if it has the split rear window of the early models, but has the redesigned dashboard more commonly seen in the oval rear window version of the Beetle, as opposed the dual glove compartments of the regular split window models.

1953 Zwitter Photo by Willem Aart Van Dorpen
Photo Copyright – Willem-Aart van Dorpen – Bé’s 1953 Zwitter. This amazing car was featured in the January 2011 issue of Ultra VW magazine.

What happened to the VW Zwitter?

The Zwitter ceased to be when Volkswagen did away the split rear window in the Beetle. The manufacturer replaced the split window of past Beetles with the singular oval window in 1953 to improve rear view visibility.

Has Anyone Seen THIS Zwitter?mike wolfe american pickers 1953 VW Zwitter

Back in 2011, you may have seen this one on Mike Wolfe’s Facebook page. He was the proud owner of this unrestored 1953 beauty for a brief period of time between buying it and sending it on its way to a new owner. In case you’re wondering, yes, he still misses her!

Read more about the history of Volkswagen, from Hitler to 1967, here at Pre67VW.com.






Woodstock Vintage Lumber Brings New Life to Reclaimed Lumber

The once prevalent hard wood forests of the US were heavily logged without replanting in the 18th and 19th centuries. Those hard woods that were once the bones of ships, barns, Victorian homes, manufacturing facilities and other buildings are now scarce, many of the remaining forests protected from logging. We are fortunate to have companies like Woodstock Vintage Lumber to thank for salvaging those woods and offering them a second life in furniture, beams, flooring, mantels & more.

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With custom design services, Woodstock Vintage Lumber works with clients to create works of art built from pieces of American history that fit exact specifications to meet their home and business decor needs.

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More than just furniture, Woodstock Vintage Lumber allows you add history to your vintage home decor with counter tops, floors, mantles and reclaimed wood plank walls.

 woodstock vintage lumber, two lanes, mike wolfe, american picker, vintage home decor, salvaged wood, upcycled,
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Need beams? At Woodstock Vintage Lumber, antique beams are reclaimed using a socially responsible process. They restore the lumber to the highest standards of quality while retaining the unique look created by nail holes, weather checks, saw kerfs, and knots — all natural traits that allow the wood to tell its story in your home or business.

Want to see some of the work that Woodstock Vintage Lumber has done for us? See the work they did for our Country Living Fair booth not long ago on Two Lanes Blog here and check out the Woodstock Vintage Lumber Blog for a peek at the work they’ve done at Antique Archaeology Nashville at Marathon Village

See more of Woodstock Vintage Lumber’s work and learn more about their history and ordering process on their website.





J. Augur Design – A Chance to Own A Piece of History

Sometimes what we are supposed to do in life finds us more than we find it. Judy Augur of J. Augur Designs is a good example of that. What started out as a venture into the curating and reselling of vintage clothing has turned into an unexpected business constructing new, hand made, one of kind bags from some of the many vintage textiles she has been able to collect over the years. A woman after our own hearts, Judy Augur now spends her days giving new life to fabrics that many people may mistake as being past their days.

mike wolfe, antique archaeology, leclaire, american pickers, vintage tee, vintage fashion, j. auger,

Constructed by hand, using vintage finds like canvas dating back to World War I and World II and old Navajo weavings, J. Augur bags offer consumers a chance to own a piece of history.

mike wolfe, antique archaeology, leclaire, american pickers, vintage tee, vintage fashion, j. auger,


Back road travel friendly they are large enough for you to carry all the things you really need but small enough to keep you from bringing along all those things that you don’t.

mike wolfe, antique archaeology, leclaire, american pickers, vintage tee, vintage fashion, j. auger,

Maybe it is because Judy Augur uses fabrics that have already seen a lot of life, but something about them just beckons you to grab one and take it along for a ride.

mike wolfe, antique archaeology, leclaire, american pickers, vintage tee, vintage fashion, j. auger,


Not surprisingly, we at Antique Archaeology are a little partial to her current selection of rooster designs. Take a look at J. Augur Designs here online to see which are your favorite.


Homer Tate – Curator and Creator of the Macabre

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Homer Tate’s Wolf Boy. Photo: 2015 by Meghan Aileen

Objects become collectible for so many reasons. Sometimes, it is simply their rarity. Other times, we are drawn to the collecting of things that remind us of a different time or of the inspiring life of those who originally created them. Homer Tate’s oddities fall into all of those categories.

Born in the late 1800’s, Homer Tate was a man that lived a conventional life, holding traditional jobs. He was a miner, a sheriff, a farmer, and eventually the owner of a motel and gas station in Arizona. Maybe it was the people he met and things he saw while running a desert gas station and motel that inspired him to completely change the course of his life.

Photo of The THING courtesy of http://www.delange.org.
Photo of The THING courtesy of http://www.delange.org.

In 1945, Homer Tate moved to the city of Phoenix and took up the pursuit of art. He didn’t take up the pursuit of traditional art, however, painting or sketching. He became both a curator and creator of oddities of the macabre. Working with papier-mâché and dead animal remains, he created mythical creatures like the Wolf Boy, one of 26 mummies found in a cave in Peru that you may have seen on American Pickers. He eventually opened Tate’s Curiosity Shop to display his many oddities. A flyer promoting the establishment claims the shop contained, “The world’s best manufactured shrunken heads–a wonderful window attraction to make your mother-in-law want to go home.”

Perhaps one of Homer Tate’s most famous curiosities is The THING, the papier-mâché mummy with the mischeivous grin. It was originally purchased by Thomas Binkley Prince and immediately turned into a tourist attraction, advertised by billboards for miles around. It was the kind of thing you probably begged your parents to let you to stop and see while on long driving vacations in the family car. Like many roadside attractions of yesteryear, it was displaced by an interstate. The THING was relocated and has undergone an ownership change, but has continued luring travelers from their paths to see it beneath the glass of its coffin since the mid twentieth century.

Thanks to his decision to spend his life in the pursuit of these oddities and art, we can easily think of Homer Tate as the man who ventured off the path of conventional and then lured the rest of us into following him, if only for a few brief moments while traveling.