Sunday, April 27, 2008

Stripes with Mozart Music Score

One last music tie before I get back to the more traditional vintage ties. This one belonged to my father-in-law (now deceased), and was a gift to him by friends, as he was a fine amateur musician, played piano, sang, directed choirs, and in his later years, avidly took up the organ.

I don't know for sure, but I suspect it dates from the 1980's, which probably doesn't qualify it as a really truly vintage tie, but then, just how old does something have to be, to be considered vintage? The term is mostly used to apply to grapes and the wine made from them. It is also used to refer to cigars (or rather, the tobacco from which they are made) and coffee.

However, the Compact Oxford English Dictionary also provides this more general definition as a second meaning: "referring to something from the past of high quality."

This tie may well be 25 or more years old, which certainly makes it from the past. Whether or not it is of high quality, could, I suppose, be subject to opinion. The tie's labels could provide some bearing on this topic. The first label, on the back of the wide end, and provided in the form of a loop for securing the small end, reads

Made in U.S.A.

The second label, sewn into the bottom of the small end, reads "PINTAIL" on the front, and provides the composition of the fabric on the back: "80% Polyester, 20% Silk." Now there are those who would say that any tie made from polyester, or mostly polyester, as in this case, cannot, by definition, be of high quality. I do admit to being of the school that prefers natural fabrics to artificial. But sometimes, in ties, we have to relax those standards a bit, as some very fine designers have deigned on occasion, to put their stamp on polyester fabric.

Be that as it may, one can argue for the quality of this tie from another direction entirely. What about the music that is printed on the tie? It may be difficult to decipher from the scanned image, but holding the tie in my hand, I can read the score without difficulty. It represents the top part from the first couple of bars from one of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's most lyrical piano sonatas, the Sonata No. 11 in A Major, K. 331. You can see those same two bars, and listen to the entire movement on Wikipedia.

Now THERE'S quality for you, no questions asked! Not the particular performance captured on Wikipedia, necessarily, but the music itself, intrinsically.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Vintage Gramophones

Continuing the musical theme (pun unintentionally intended) from the past two postings, here is a tie depicting numerous identical vintage style gramophones on a deeply brilliant green background.

I'm not sure what the age of this tie is, or what period it comes from. It is about the right width, and shares some characteristics similar to the fabric of the thirties, but I'm almost certain it's later. If it were thirties era, the seam in the back (not shown in this scan; you'll have to take my word for it) would be significantly off center, but this one isn't. All the thirties ties I posted back in the first few months of 2006, have off center seams in the back.

It's not really quite wide enough, or flashy enough, to be from the forties, and this type of repeated image pattern is not typical of that period either, although I won't say it never occurs.

So is it early fifties? Could be. Or maybe sixties, when the narrow ties were on their way out and wider ones coming back in. Or it could even be from the eighties, when ties were getting narrower and more conservative again.

The tie has an interesting label which reads as follows:

100% Acetate
RN 19970

Rhodia, according to a July 12, 2000 press release is

one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals, contributes to improving the quality of life by developing value-added products, services and solutions for the beauty, clothing, foodstuffs and healthcare markets as well as for the environment, transport and manufacturing industries. [text color emphasis added]

I don't know if this is the same Rhodia referred to on the tie label, but it seems not unlikely. If anyone has a light to shed on the possible relationship between this tie's fabric and the Rhodia company, or any information that would lead to a more definitive determination of the age of this tie, please share it!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Music Staff with Clarinet

No tie got posted last week. We were out of town, on a family beach house weekend, down in Lincoln City, Oregon, and didn't get back until quite late Sunday evening. So no time to post.

This is the second promised hand-painted tie depicting musical themes. In this case, a curvaceous music staff flows down the tie with a treble cleff and key signature of two sharps (D Major or B Minor, take your pick) with a clarinet imposed upon the musical staff, surrounded by a flurry of eighth and sixteenth notes, some on the staff, but more flying loosely about.

The tie is hand-painted on a loosely knit, almost linen-like weave fabric. My wife thinks it's wool, but she's not sure, nor am I. The tie has one label, partially depicted in the scan. The label reads as follows (which may give some hint about the fabric):

Made of
Imported Priestley's
*Reg. U.S. Pat. Off.

So what kind of fabric is "Imported Priestley's Nor-East Non-Crush? Nowadays, we'd assume non-crush meant something made of polyester, but I'm not sure it had been invented when this tie was made. And the tie isn't even remotely like other rayon ties of the period. It's not shiny silk-like, but coarse, linen-like.

But why am I blathering on about the fabric? The hand-painted image is what makes the tie so great, and fun to wear!