Monday, June 28, 2010

KFC...Kevin's Fat Cat

Well Scamp is headed back on the road...we're cuttin' and runnin' on Thursday for another Mid-Century Modern, MCM, furniture load out of Indiana & Ohio...KFC is going along as usual.
KFC was a nick name he got from my neighbors...I'm like, what's that all about?
Answer...KFC is short for Kevin's Fat Cat...geez, he's big, he's not obese, but he is one large feline weighing in at about 22 lbs.
Anyway, he's the traveling cat of the antique show we put on the road.
We're headed all the way up to Lima, OH about 60 miles south of the Toledo and the lake for this pickup...I never know what's going to be on the load, just that we have a load waiting.
Kinda like Christmas or your's always a surprise...that's because my picker is not real computer savvy...enough said.
Scamp, the "travelin' cat" is headed out on this buying trip as usual...he loves to antique and likes hangin' out at the farm, which is where we hub from.
We're going to bring back a trailer load of Mid-Century and Danish Modern furniture to the Austin market...and Scamp/KFC will be along for the entire ride...yippie-ki-yo-ki-yea...meow.
Check out our way cool stuff @
Hasta luego...we'll be back in Austin on July 11 selling and yelling...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Rusty Franklin Boots...San Angelo, Texas

Here are my boots made by Rusty Franklin from San Angelo, Texas...Rusty's retired now, but my boots aren't.
These are some of the best wearin' boots I've ever had on my feet. Rusty and his cousin Rod were the best to work with ever, along with Rusty's shop foreman Eugene Lopez. When Rusty retired he sold his lasts and paperwork to Robert Brest of Brest Boot and Saddle Shop in San Angelo.
You can find out more about Rusty Franklin Boots on pages 68-69 of Tyler Beard's & Jim Arndt's The Cowboy Boot Book.
Rusty's mom was Joyce Leddy, M. L. Leddy's daughter and Rusty grew up in the Leddy boot shop in San Angelo. That's why his boots resemble Leddy boots so much, right down to the "cookie stitch." That's the short little stitch along the inside of the vamp next to the piping, which you'll only find on Leddy and Franklin boots. The throat of the boot, the toe, the counter, and even the "toe bug" look a lot like Leddy boots.
This proved to be very true one day over in Bryan, TX when I was waiting in line to do some banking. A cowboy up in front of me just kept looking at my feet...finally he up a says, "hey, are those boots from San Angelo." I told him, "made by Rusty Franklin, San Angelo, Texas." He said he could tell by the toe.
Now the wider square toe is very popular today...but I'll stay with the 1" hog-nose. This a similar toe to my Stewart Boots I posted a while back and right on the Stewart-Romero boots from their shop in LA back in the 50s.
Rod Franklin and I put these boots together with colors I wanted...the first pair Rusty made were the green tops, followed by the yellow tops, and finally the black tops. The black tops have a 8-stitch pattern with colorful varigated thread...which came out pretty good.
The vamps are all kangaroo hide and soft as butter...and, they're all custom, so they fit me like a glove.
There are still some quality boot makers in San Angelo...Leddy moved their shop downtown with glass windows separating the showroom from the boot shop, very cool. Of course Robert Brest is there, and Mercer has a downtown shop too, and there's at least one more small boot shop.
Anyway, more later and until then keep on the hunt for cool vintage and retro stuff...and shop our site @
Always tell me what's hot and what you're looking for...we're headed out on another buying trip the first 2 weeks of July...all the way up to Lima, OH with stops along the way...hasta luego and happy trails.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Stewart Boots - Romero Boots...Then Stewart-Romeros of the1950s you've got the individual boots of the Stewart Boot Company of Tucson, AZ on the left and the Romero Boot Company from Mexico on the right.
If you look critically, you'll see the components of each of their designers, artists, and makers in the Butterfly Boots in the prior blog.
Check out the collar of the both boots...very similar and in the Stewart-Romeros they just made the collective style a cut-out overlay with the same general pattern.
The throat of both boots is almost identical...that's the part in front going up from the vamp connecting to the upper part of the boot. When they made Stewart-Romeros, they really didn't change it because both companies did it the same...and that is a true "artist mark" for most boot makers.
Fancy boots were popularized by the movie cowboys of the 1930s through 1950s. When Stewart and Romero teamed up to open a boot shop in Los Angeles in the was paramount. Tom Mix had boots with a heel so pointed it just covered a quarter. Gene and Roy had boots desired by kids of the time.
With the success of these western movies, singing cowboys, and cowboy heroes everyone wanted to be part of the action...and, Stewart-Romero did some outstanding work.
The toes of Stewart-Romeros were a slight compromise between the two boot companies, and were a "hog nose" square which was a 1" undercut. The wingtip overlays were pure Romero as was the counter of the boot...I've never seen Stewart do anything as fancy.
It was a great joint venture which produced some very cool boots...still found today.
Keep an eye out for Stewart Boots, Romero Boots, and Stewart-Romero Boots.
I've recently found some very cool examples at second-hand shops, eBay, and other can still be done.
Happy hunting and keep searching for cool stuff, like you'll find at ...hasta luego.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Vintage Butterfly Boots...Cool Look and Style

Wow...Butterfly Boots. How much cooler can it get? I love the famous, infamous, and notoriously beautiful art of Butterfly Boots.
These are some of the boots I've scrounged over the years...all are Stewart-Romero made boots.
Stewart-Romeros were a combination of Stewart boots of Tucson, AZ and Romero boots from Mexico...and I got really excited about these because I'd worn Stewarts when I was a drugstore cowboy back in Tucson in the 1970s. Once I discovered Romero boots, I did a little research and found out the two boot makers combined efforts in the 1950s in Los Angeles for Stewart-Romero Boots. They made some outrageously beautiful boots represented in the picture above...Butterfly Boots were one of their trademark styles.
I have some of my old Stewarts still and I have one pair of Romero boots I found here in Austin. The Stewart-Romeros I have I rustled from a few different locations.
One time I asked my boot maker, Rusty Franklin, to replicate the Stewart stitching on a pair of boots he was making for me...his response was, "can't do it without loosing part of pattern." The reason was, I'd shortened the top so much he couldn't get it all on there...I stuck with the shorter top and Rusty's stock top stitch.
I'll get y'all some pics of Rusty's boots too...he's retired, but he was an excellent bootmaker from San Angelo, Texas..."hat's off to ya' Rusty."
I'll show y'all a pair or two of my Stewarts and the Romero boots I have...Stewart may have been the only maker to use horsehide rather than cowhide for their boots. They had the great "Texas toe" and wear like a champ and they're still in business.
Until then, yippie-ki-yo-ki-yea and keep an eye peeled for way cool Butterfly Boots...hasta luego and good hunting.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rockabilly Jackets...Too Cool for Sunday School

This is the coolest Rockabilly jacket ever...created at Roadhouse Antiques, there's not another one like it anywhere. I created this for some snap and pizzaz when hanging around Austin...and boy does it generate a buzz when I wear it.
I had this one made when I couldn't find what I was looking for in a short cut, mariachi style western jacket. And, since there wasn't anything out there that blew my socks off, I decided to create one for myself.
Since I had this one done, I've made two others for myself and couple for other ex has one she fell in love with.
What I discovered while making these was it was a lot easier making jackets for guys than for gals...sorry about that ladies, but you just have more curves to worry about...I could do custom work in making women's jackets but if I didn't have the exact measurements, it's a crap shoot.
Anyhow, I have a few of these my closet...all different styles. And if I'm wearing one of 'em around town I'll get stopped by people on the street wanting to know where I got the jacket. I was wearing one at a show here in Austin one time and Mike Cavendar just kept staring at the coat. He couldn't quite figure it out...something was familar but then again it wasn't. Mike finally asked me, "did you make that jacket?" To which I replied "yep" with a big grin on my face.
Although, there are similar jackets out there by Scully and maybe some others, none quite have the look these do...mainly because they're custom made to fit me and I think we're cutting 'em a little shorter than off the rack jackets. I want that jacket sitting just above my belt so, if I've got a fancy belt with a great buckle it'll show.
I don't need all the jackets, so I've got this one up on Roadhouse Antiques' web site @ for thing for sure, if you have this jacket you won't ever meet yourself coming down the street because it's custom made and there ain't no more.
Kick up you heels and go boot scootin'...we'd love to see you waltz across Texas with the Rockabilly jacket and some great boots from the Roadhouse...hasta luego.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Classic Advertising...Retro Art

Roadhouse Antiques recently listed a great selection of vintage advertising...with some very cool die cut litho art. A lot of the pieces are from the early part of the 20th century and run up through the 1960s. This is the "golden age" of advertising to me. It's classic, it's creative, it's colorful, and it's cool. It's from the time before computers, when the art work was done by hand, the concepts were simpler, and the work was true art. Not to denigrate today's advertising because some of it is's just different from the early stuff.
Check out some of the vintage advertising we have posted for sale and you'll find some really great art. Like "Dr Morse's Indian Root Pills," pure chicanery, quack medicine, but great advertising.
You have to appreciate some of the quack products, snake oil, and elixers sold in the of my favorites was Hadacol. They finally took it off the market...probably because Hadacol was 12% alcohol...even teatotalers would take Hadacol with the recommended dosage a Tablespoon 4 times a day and some before would likely take the edge off the day.
Advertising such as the litho on tin sign above would never be condoned today...not politically correct. It has young children smoking cigars...ain't gonna happen in today's hypercritical world. The sign is also embossed, which is an expense most advertisers wouldn't okay today.
Coca-Cola has some great vintage advertising...and, they do some great advertising today, but the medium is much different. In the early 20th century, most advertising was signage...and, it had to catch your attention to compel you to buy the product. Nothing subliminal, nothing repetitive, no pop-ups...just straight forward graphic advertisements.
Check out our recent postings to view some really cool early advertising art...whether it's Coke ads for your game room, food ads to decorate Mom's kitchen, tobacco oriented advertising "sins," or great lithography for the art of the ad, Roadhouse has some way cool stuff for spicing up your decor.
If you're looking for any thing in particular, let me know. I have some larger hand painted signs not posted on the site as well as some neon, advertising clocks, and other product advertising...let me know what you'd like to see.
What really revs me up is the "art" of the advertising...absolutely love it.
My degree in art specializing in graphic design, can help you understand my passion for early advertising art.
Keep looking for cool stuff...and enjoy your hunt.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rockabilly Vintage Boots...Didn't Make the Tour

Rocket Ranch Roadhouse keeps a broad selection of vintage & retro boots in stock. Austin is a great market for them...partly because so many dealers carry them making for a great competitive selection. There must be thousands of vintage boots in Austin for sale at any given time.
We do love our vintage and retro here in Austin.
Selling vintage, retro, i.e "previously owned boots" is an art and a science...mostly because you buy what's available and cannot always have the right size for your clients. Or as they say in the rag and shoe business, "the distribution" of sizes is not complete.
The boots shown are a great pair of vintage Tony Lama boots with red stitching and piping and the highly sought after "roach killer" toe. This toe is from time-to-time referred to as an "X" toe, or simply "pointed toe." Boot makers will have this in their repertorie and you can find a less extreme version by Old Gringo and other retro reproducers. Here in Texas the most common reference to this particular toe is the "roach killer" so named because you could kill a roach in the corner with this's that pointed.
I was trying to find a pair of black boots for Lucky Tubb the other day before he hit the road for a tour east and then on to Europe.
If you don't know Lucky Tubb and the Modern Day Troubadors, check out their MySpace page...a great Austin Rockabilly band. They're headed out across the midwest to the east coast and then back to Texas before jetting off to Europe for some gigs in Belguim and the Netherlands...Rockabilly is hot over there as well.
This is exactly the type of boot he was looking for, unfortunately the size was wrong and we couldn't fit him...we'll keep trying.
I called around to some of my buddies who also carry a good selection but without any success...the request was very boot with roach killer toes, and preferrably a distinctive underslung riding heel. Lucky was out of luck on this one.
We love the boots, but fit is always an issue when selling previously owned boots. If your looking and find a pair you like, they fit, and they're within your budget, you should spring for 'em on the spot.
I'm going to get into some of the other Rockabilly gear we have in stock in the next blog...Austin has a great selection of "pearl snap" shirts and my good friend K T Antiques always has bunch of cool ones at great prices. But there's a lot more including accessories such as hats, belts, pants, western suits, and so on.
So for next time...look for a little about some very cool Rockabilly jackets we've been putting out for sale...they are show stoppers. I can't tell you how many times I've been stopped on the streets of Austin wearing one of Rocket Ranch Roadhouse's one-of-a-kind short cut jackets with pearl snap closures. One of 'em even stunned Mike Cavender of Cavender's Boot City.
Catch Lucky Tubb and The Modern Day Troubadors on tour right now...great music from a great the great-nephew of ET, the great Ernest Tubb.
Until next time...hasta luego...and, good luck in your hunt for cool stuff whatever it may be.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Letter Jackets...Above & Beyond MCM

I love the Mid-Century Modern look in and accessories. I also have a penchant for other things extending into the MCM experience. This includes a lot of different elements, some of which I've collected over time...many long before I began bringing in MCM furniture and seeking the appropriate accessories to highlight those pieces.
I've always been a fan of cool retro jackets and have quite few in my closet. When I first started finding athletic jackets, club jackets, and the like I was rather naive about the genre.
The blue & white satin jacket in the middle of the picture is an unmarked "club jacket" from the 1950s. I found this jacket in a bundle of clothing I bought in 1978...thought it was cool and kept it. I've worn it a number of times before retiring it to "display only" status. That's when I began to learn about the "reversibles" and concentrated my efforts there.
Let me explain the "reversibles." These are club and athletic jackets which are fully reversible giving you two different looks. They are usually melton wool on one side and satin on the other. It's rather rare to have both sides display a team or club logo, name, or other graphic, but it's possible...rare, but possible.
What's so cool about the "reversibles" is you have two jackets in one...and two distinctive looks. I love to be searching a secondhand store or flea market and find a reversible jacket...I get jazzed, especially when the price doesn't take into account the rarity of the jacket. A lot of times the seller has no idea the jacket is a reversible. If this is the case, I'll usually point it out...then I'll buy the piece if the price is reasonable. Here's the quickest way to tell if you have a "reversible' jacket, 1) you have closing snaps on the inside and outside, or 2) pockets on both sides...both identifiers are the first thing I look for when I'm checking out a jacket.
I obviously get a bigger kick out of a jacket that fits me, but will buy smaller ones also, just because I like the style. Some will have the name of the original owner sewn across the left front...athletic jackets usually have the original name inside one of the pockets. So, if you find a cool letter jacket, check inside each pocket to see if there's name sewn inside...many times you can tell by the name whether it was a guy's or gal's jacket. Not that it makes any difference, but it's fun to know. I have jackets from junior high school up through college...I had a cool letter jacket from Yale not long ago and sold it at a market here in Austin. The best finds outside of "reversibles" are jackets with a lot awards...District Champs, All-State, State Champs, etc. Some even come with other doodads...I have one "reversible" girl's jacket with "Going Steady" strings on the letter. Usually from the 50s or early showed the gal wearing the jacket was not available...gotta love those little signs from the past. Also you'll find a lot of metal pins indicating a sport...some will be sewn into the letter or jacket but a lot were metal and simply attached.
I'm finding a recent surge in demand for vintage and retro letter jackets...maybe it's because of Lady Gaga's video with the dancers all wearing vintage letter jackets.
Anyway...I've been collecting for over 30 years and still wear 'em.
I've got one reversible with the name "Lenny" over the left chest. I've worn it to parties and been called "Lenny" all evening by people who didn't know me, just assumed I must be "Lenny" because that's what the jacket said. That jacket is one that has info on both sides as "Lenny" is on the front of the wool side and the white satin reversible side has "N C E" on the back. I have no idea what "N C E" stands for...but, what the that point whatever you make up sticks.
What better way to have fun, enjoy collecting, and have a useful piece all at the same time...besides you can have an alter ego when you wear them.
Enjoy the hunt the cool, vintage, retro, and antique you'll find at Roadhouse Antiques & Vintage on-line and at home in Austin.