The Pearl Brewing Company was established in 1881 and began producing Pearl Beer in 1886. In 1902, Otto Koehler became President and Manager of the San Antonio Brewing Association (aka Pearl Brewery). Pearl was one of only five Texas breweries to survive Prohibition.
In the early 1930’s Pearl came out with their first advertising clock. The clock was a wooden art deco style with 4 different colors of neon. It is estimated that 50 or less were made. Looking for a more standard looking clock , Pearl found one in 1938 with the Octagon Neon Clock from the Neon Products Company of Lima, Ohio.
Charlie Staats May, 2018
Brewery Changed Logos, Changed out Clock Faces
Pearl is the only brewery known to use and continue to reuse this standard clock well in the mid-1970s – that’s 40 years! Whenever the brewery changed logos they would change out the faces when the clock came back to the brewery. Today, these Pearl clocks can still be found in Texas bars and restaurants.
There are 8 different production known octagon clock faces:
The neon ring is always a light powder blue
The front glass is always silver, silver with red or all red
The first six faces are silk screened, the last two are a total sticker dial face.
There is also one 1969 prototype face and one custom 1960s black neon octagon clock the brewery made for a restaurant.
Pearl Neon Clocks Highly Sought After, even broken and not working
There are two body styles for the octagon face clocks: sharp and rounded corners. These Pearl neon clocks are highly sought after, even the broken and not working clocks have value for their parts,” Charlie said. “I prefer to buy the broken ones.”
The Lone Star Chapter of the Brewery Collectibles Club of America hosts a buy, sell and trade meet at Shiner city park once a year in May. This meet is the club’s largest meet of the year with 50 collector-dealers and approximately 200 shoppers who buy, sell and trade.
The club has hosted a buy, sell and swap meet at the Shiner city park every year since 1978.
Renell Moore, May 6, 2018
Club Members Collect Texas Beer Advertising Memorabilia
Charlie Staats is the local club president. The club’s chapter has been in existence since 1973 and is based out of central Texas. The members meet once a quarter.
“We collect all manner of Texas beer advertising: signs, bottles, cans, openers, neons,” Charlie said. Most of the people in the club will collect everything from one brewery, such as Jax beer which was produced from the 1970s through the early 1980s.
Five of the main Texas breweries were Pearl, Shiner, Grand Prize, Lone Star and Southern Select.
Pearl Advertising Collection Features 2000 Pieces
Charlie has not missed a meet since it started in 1978, and he has personally been collecting beer advertising memorabilia since he was 13 and has amassed one of the largest Pearl advertising collections with over 2000 pieces.
“I am passionate about my collection and I came to the point where I wanted to know more about the brewery, the people who manufactured the items and the people who worked there.”
Texas Brewery History Newsletter Features “Looks What’s Turned Up” Section
Charlie publishes a quarterly newsletter in which he talks about Texas Brewery history and any of the recent pieces he has collected. Among those recent items are a 1971 Shiner Texas Tap Beer Lighter, 1959 Lone Star 10-year pin, 1960s Lone Star beer sign, 1970s Lone Star beer clock, 1978 Pearl gun mug, 1930-40s Lager beer pocket knife, 1951 Extra Dry Pearl Lager beer premium quality light-up sign, 1952 Pearl Lager beer “gem of fine beers” light up sign, Pale Dry Pete 3D plastic sign, 1933 Sabinas label, Sabinas Brewing Company, San Antonio, Texas and a 1950s Southern Select light-up sign and a Pale Dry Pete Grand Prize Chalk statue.
A mix of antique reproduction pieces and true antiques, Gatherings for the Home Store in Sugar Land, Texas offers a unique combination of primitives, and country along with accessories to compliment the items. Cherry Whittington, who has sold primitives and country pieces for 22 years, also offers accessories such as real natural floral pieces to accessorize.
“I go for the real natural floral,” she said. “I like the sticks and stems to go with the country décor.”
A mix of red, yellow and blue flowers are the colors offered for spring. Cherry’s selection of floral items are very popular, “I have people who drive from out of town to come to visit my store. I buy floral pieces from four different venues so I have a popular country mix that shoppers can find in one stop.
Renell Moore April 24, 2018
Primitives: Well Constructed, Hand-made, One-of-a-kind Furniture
“Primitives are hand made, one of a kind, furniture pieces that are not manufactured in a furniture factory. The pieces are very well constructed and sturdy. They are much higher quality pieces than the manufactured furniture pieces from a factory that are mass produced and placed on the showroom floor of furniture stores.”
The front room of Gatherings for the Home features a quality-built kitchen table painted black with black slat-backed chairs. It was built by a local craftsman, especially for her store. A tall kitchen hutch nearby used to store dishes, cutlery or other kitchen items and is a simple wood cabinet that resembles a china cabinet.
Amish made, Authentic Antique 1900s Cupboard
An Amish made, authentic antique cupboard from the 1900s, features an old patina wood finish that has lasted through a hundred years of food storage. A screen on the front of the cupboard allowed the air to circulate inside the cupboard and keep the insects away.
A pale yellow kitchen cupboard is one of the reproduction pieces manufactured in Pennsylvania. The materials are authentically old, but the individual wood pieces were constructed together to reproduce the cupboard, which is well-made. It is a brand new piece made by a company in Pennsylvania who specializes in finishes to make furniture look old. This kitchen hutch resembles a china cabinet that features glass window compartments to display dishes. These hutches were popular beginning in the mid 1800s up through the 1920s.
1800s One-sided Drop-leaf Table
“I like 1800s things, but I have some 1900s.”
An 1800s wood kitchen table with a one-sided drop-leaf is one of the authentic antique pieces found in the store. The table is in excellent condition and features a rustic patina finish with matching wooden slat-backed chairs.
India Ink Finished Jelly Storage Cupboard
Referred to as either a pie safe or a jelly storage cupboard, this tall free-standing cabinet is another authentic antique piece from the 1800s. It was used to store food and dishes in the late 19th century. This cupboard features shelving units to display baked foods and keep insects off of the food at the same time.
An India Ink hand-crafted storage cabinet for utensils, food and dishes is another authentic antique piece from the 1800s. It was used as a stand-alone cabinet and has a unique and elegant bluish, India-ink finish embedded into the wood.
Not only does Cherry hire a local craftsman to build quality primitive furniture, she sells furniture that she has had re-upholstered with country style cloth such as the small red and black checkered patterns. A local woman makes things for her store by hand – dolls for every season and items like snowmen for the Christmas season.
Flashbacks and trips down memory lane are just two of the things people experience as they stroll through the aisles of an antique store. For one Midland man, who was often fondly called the “music man”, a stroll down the aisle of Sunflower’s Showcase Antiques meant a meeting with a long-lost brother.
The gentleman walked to the back of the store and browsed the record section, store owner Jim Olsen said.
“He came back white as a ghost, and said he wanted this album,”
He then explained to us why he wanted this album so much – his brother had been in Nashville a long time ago and recorded some songs while he was there. His brother had long passed away, and he had come across one of his albums in their store – the album was signed by his brother.
Jim said they didn’t charge him for the album.
“You can’t charge somebody for something like that,” he said.
His wife, and business partner, Michele, said she had almost thrown the album away because it was an osbscure artist – not normally what she would put out for sale which is classic rock and classic country.
“But I didn’t because it was signed all over,” Michele said. She was glad she kept it, and she added they meet a lot of interesting people who come into the store.
Renell Moore April 23, 2018
Store Owners Interested in Learning History of Antique Pieces, Meeting People
“It’s like a history class,” Jim said. “We have older people who will come in, pick up a piece and tell you the history about it. Maybe they were a World War II vet – you know Korea. They’ll open up; they have a flashback of their past.”
Jim and Michele said they are just as interested in learning the history of things, and meeting people as they are in the business aspect.
Five Buildings of Antiques, Vintage, Collectibles: Glass and Jewelry, Outdoor Yard Art, Furniture
“Our goal is to be a quality antiques and vintage store.”
The store, located in the 3400 block of Thomason Drive in Midland, Texas is brimming with wonderful quality items. They have five buildings incorporated into one store. There are no dealers or consignments. Each building has its own personality, one building has mostly glass and jewelry, another building has outdoor yard art, and several others are full of wonderful furniture.
Customers can shop in air conditioned comfort in a clean, organized atmosphere
High Quality Items with Fair Prices
“We try to keep the quality high and the prices fair.”
Both Jim and Michele enjoy getting up and going to the store every day. “We enjoy working together and I think it shows in our dealings with our customers. We’ve made a lot of friends who start out as customers. The store is our hobby, and it’s a hobby we can do together that we really enjoy. We’re very grateful for the ability to do this.”
Sunflower’s Showcase Antiques: Owners Passionate about Antiques
Jim taught history for 10 years at Alamo Junior High and government and history for 10 years at Midland High. Michele taught English at Midland High and also taught English and History at Goddard Junior High. Michele retired in 2010 and Jim retired in 2011. They have been in business since 2005.
When Molly Bodungen opened a consignment shop, The Mercantile, in El Campo, Texas, she said her original purpose was to be a workshop where people could bring in their own pieces and she could walk them through the process of painting them, but the consignment took off and became so popular that she found she did not have room to host the workshop.
“We are home decor, we are not antiques, but if a shopper comes in, they just might find a diamond in the rough,” Molly said. “People who consign antiques need to know that they will not get its true value because people will buy it for home decor and paint it.”
Renell Moore, April 15, 2018
Coffee Shop Helps Antique Consignment Sales
When she bought the building across the alley and renovated it, she planned to have upcycled furniture and antiques in the paint store, but halfway through the renovation, she added a coffee shop, then rented some space across the alley to have a consignment shop with the antique upcycling.
As customers wait for their food after ordering at the coffee shop, they will go over to The Mercantile and shop while they wait for the food so the coffee shop has helped make the consignment shop successful.
Upcycling: Turning Something Old Into Improved Purpose
A beautiful sofa table sat in her store for about 5 months. “People would glance at it and say ‘oh that’s pretty’, but never wanted to buy it.” She said. “ Then someone bought it for a wedding cake table, and had me paint it white and distress the brown. I could have sold it three times that same week, and then after the wedding, the owners had cash offers.”
The current trend is that shoppers appreciate old dressers, but they want to turn them into bathroom vanities or something like that. A wooden bench will sit in the store forever, but as soon as she throws some chalkboard paint on the top and puts some legos inside of it, people see the different purpose and then it will sell.
“I try not to paint until someone requests that it be painted a certain color.” She once painted a rocking chair white because white is the color that sells. She placed it out on the sidewalk and sold it soon after, but the girl who bought it wanted it painted red so then she painted it red a second time.
Brown Furniture Doesn’t Sell, Add Color, Upcycle
A Lillian Russell walnut chest of drawers and dresser set from the 1970s is currently in her consignment shop. She said in order to sell it to shoppers in the 20 to 40 year-old age range, “The right person will have to come along, someone who grew up with one, their grandmother had one, it’s nostalgic for them. People like the quality of it, but they definitely want it painted.”
Some people like mid-century modern which is like a quirky eclectic mixture and they might just touch it up. Another person might like it if I had it painted white and then distressed down to the brown. All of the sudden you paint it white and shabby chic it, and people like it again.
Repurposing Antiques adds Desirability
If you take the drawers out of an old wooden file cabinet that is a hundred years old, make it into shelves and paint it white, it will sell immediately.
An antique brown high chair painted white and distressed would sell next week.
A wooden headboard from the 1970s that looks old and dated would sell if it was painted white and distressed.
Add a little gold patina to a candle stand that is black and it will sell.
Large Spools Sell Taken Apart
Two large wooden spools sat in front of the consignment shop for a long time.
“It’s hard for people to see that if they had the whole spool, they could make 2 tables out of it, so we had the whole spools outside on the sidewalk and they didn’t sell, but when we took it apart and had just the top and bottom out there, we sold 2 sets the first day we put them out.”
“This is my last time to shop Round Top”, I overheard someone say.
I was eavesdropping. I felt guilty, I don’t know why. Everybody does it. But I was taught you shouldn’t do it. Not intentionally anyway. And if you chance to overhear someone else’s conversation, you must pretend that you didn’t.
In this case, I had no intention of pretending I hadn’t heard the remark because it was alarming to me. My retirement pension just goes so far, and the semi-annual Texas Antiques Week festival at Round Top is my main hustle for making ends meet. I never got the lady’s name. Let’s just call her Ms. Loud – no offense – I’m from a Loud family myself. And usually our kind are more likely to bark than bite. So I decided to risk it. I apologized for eavesdropping and politely asked the big question: “What in heck do you mean saying something silly like that?!”
Infrastructure of small Round Top area communities are being asked to support more than they can bear
Forty-five minutes and two quarts of ice tea later (after she had cooled down in both body and mind), I began to understand. She had spent six hours total that Saturday in her car trying to get to the large well-known venue she wanted to shop, but with utterly no success. So she gave up and shopped a couple of smaller venues instead, which gave me the opportunity (and I must sincerely say, the pleasure) of making her acquaintance.
Visit the Antiques Fair during the Week
I encouraged her not to write off Texas Antiques Week yet. I offered my standard suggestions. If you can, it’s best to take off from work a few days and visit during the week. The same show you couldn’t get to on Saturday will likely be easily accessible on Thursday or Wednesday. Learning a few parallel back roads to Hwy. 237 (where most mega-venues are located) can help, but be careful. Eventually you must get on Hwy. 237, and you can spend a long time waiting for some kind stranger to let you into the traffic flow (if you want to call a parking lot a “flow”).
Don’t forget the outlying smaller venues and shops
Plan B: if the traffic on the main drag is altogether too much of a drag, don’t forget the outlying smaller venues and shops. The crowds are less hectic there even on the weekends, and the prices are often as good or even better than similar items you may find at the mega-venues on Hwy 237.
Appeal of Acres of Merchandise and the Overwhelming Variety of Unusual and Highly Collectible Items
Still no one can deny the appeal of acres of merchandise and the overwhelming variety of unusual and highly collectible stuff you are likely to find at the large venues on the main drag. The fact is, the infrastructure (a fancy way of talking about access roads and parking spaces in this context) is being asked to support more than it can bear. Wise vendors realize this and may offer steeper discounts on slow days. So visiting your favorite mega-venue on a weekday may be more pleasant in many ways.
Of course, if you’re like me, you love to people-watch. The big weekend crowds may be part of the fascination. If that’s the case, you just got to grin and bear it!