• From Rubble to Riches: The World's Fair That Raised San Francisco From the Ashes When the Panama-Pacific International Exposition opened in 1915, San Francisco looked fabulous: Bedecked with ornate, European-inspired architecture and an array of technological wizardry, the city resumed its role as a West Coast powerhouse less than a decade after near-total destruction. Block after block of property flattened by the 1906 earthquake and ensuing fires had been transformed to make…
  • Pulling Out All the Stops to Save a 40-Ton, 100-Year-Old World's Fair Pipe Organ Deep beneath San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza, in a windowless bunker called Brooks Hall, a 40-ton pipe organ gathers dust. Known variously as the Exposition Organ and Opus 500, the century-old instrument was a mechanical and musical wonder when it was unveiled in 1915, the seventh-largest organ in the world. "The city of San Francisco, this pretentious fishing village, has never respected it…
  • Signs, Tins, and Other Advertising Antiques How did I get started collecting advertising antiques? My dad was a lecturer and tutor in graphics and art from the 1960s onwards, and was into vintage automobiles and advertising, like vintage signs, pumps, and globes. So I spent the large portion of my childhood going to auto swap meets and antiques fairs, I think it all started from there. The first thing I collected was old bottles. In one …
  • The Disappearing Art of Porcelain Signs I liked to collect things even as a child. Things that didn’t cost anything, like different colors of stones. There was something about the advertising that I liked, so in the mid-1970s, I started to pick up porcelain signs. I got heavier and heavier into that, and by the 1980s, I had a fairly substantial collection. As a result of collecting telephone signs, I would run into other advertisin…