F.W. Planert & Sons, est. 1898

Museum Artifact: Planert Ice Skate Sharpening Jig, 1910s

Made By: F.W. Planert & Sons, Inc., 939 N. Robey Street (aka N Damen Ave.), Chicago, IL

Patented in 1910, this elegantly rustalgic ice skate clamping device, or “jig,” was used to keep a skate stabilized while its blade was hand sharpened—cuz that’s what the kiddos had to do back in the day. The manufacturer,

Wilbac MFG Co., est 1940s

Museum Artifact: Expando Grand Slam Baseball Cap, c. 1960s

Made By: Wilbac MFG Co., 913 W. Van Buren St., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Chicago Pennant Company, est. 1910

Museum Artifact: Wooster College Felt Pennant, c. 1940s

Made By: Chicago Pennant Co., aka ChiPenCo, 6542 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Arrco Playing Card Co., est. 1927

Museum Artifact: Century of Progress Playing Cards, 1933

Made By: Arrco / Arrow Playing Card Co., 734-54 Mather Street (W Lexington St.), Chicago, IL

A promotional tie-in with Chicago’s “Century of Progress” World’s Fair in 1933-34 also marked a major point of progress for the city’s Arrow Playing Card Co., as it introduced its new identity as ARRCO—a name that would soon be familiar to amateur magicians,

Thos. E. Wilson & Co. / Wilson Sporting Goods, est. 1913

Museum Artifact: Wilson Success Mid-Iron Golf Club, c. 1920s

Made By: Thos. E. Wilson & Co. / Wilson Sporting Goods, 2037 N. Campbell Ave., Chicago, IL

Today, a typical set of Wilson golf clubs includes “woods” made of titanium and “irons” machined from flexible steel alloys. But once upon a time, these crooked fairway sticks were exactly what they purported to be—utilizing hickory for the shafts,

TinkerToy, est. 1914

Museum Artifact: TinkerToy Wonder Builder Set, 1929

Made By: The Toy Tinkers, Inc., 2012 Ridge Ave., Evanston, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Chess Producing Corp., est. 1947

Museum Artifact: Chicago Cubs “Pennant Fever” 7-inch Record, 1969

Made By: Chess Producing Corp., 320 E. 21st Street, Chicago, IL

Long before the Chicago Bears awkwardly rapped their way to a certified gold record with “The Super Bowl Shuffle,” the precedent for a singing sports team had already been set—albeit with substantially less commercial and cultural impact—by the baby bears over at Clark and Addison.

Bally MFG Company, est. 1932

Museum Artifact: Bally Mechanical Slot Machine Reel, c. 1940s

Made By: Bally MFG Co., 2640 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Card Shuffler by Nestor Johnson MFG Co., 1951

Nestor Johnson MFG Co., 1900 N. Springfield Ave., Chicago, IL

Skillfully shuffling a deck of cards, much like stoically smoking a pack of cigarettes, was a universal method of establishing one’s coolness in 1950s America. The risks of the manual shuffle, however—much like the cigarette smoking—were numerous and potentially deadly. And I’m not just talking about the carpal tunnel and paper cuts. If an amateur card shark failed to evenly redistribute his hearts and clubs,

Lincoln Logs Company, est. 1916

Museum Artifact: Original Lincoln Logs Set 1C, 1950s

Made By: Lincoln Logs, 1750 N. Lawndale Ave., Chicago, IL

One of the most successful toys of the 20th century was also one of the most ingenious from a manufacturing sense. Why worry about complex assembly lines and detailed craftsmanship when you can just sell a kid a box of raw materials and let them finish the job?!

Playskool MFG Co., est. 1928

Museum Artifact: Playskool Crib Rail Boat Toy, 1950s

Made By: Playskool Manufacturing Company, 3720 N. Kedzie Ave., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Arnold, Schwinn & Co., est. 1895

Museum Artifact: Schwinn “Hollywood” Bicycle, c. 1970

Made By: Arnold, Schwinn & Co. / Schwinn Bicycle Company, 1718-1740 N. Kildare & 1856 N. Kostner Ave., Chicago, IL

The last Chicago-built Schwinn bicycle rolled off the assembly line in 1982, and while the brand name is still embossed on the badges of various Chinese imports, anybody who buys a new one is bound to hear the inevitable cranky lament from a passerby: “they don’t make ‘em like they used to.”

The Schwinn in our own collection is a “campus green” Hollywood model,

Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co., est. 1848

Museum Artifact: Brunswick Black Scoring Crayons, c. 1950s

Made By: The Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co., 623-633 S. Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Airguide Instrument Co., est. 1930

Museum Artifact: No. 36 Field Glasses, c. 1940s

Made by: Airguide Instrument Co. / Fee & Stemwedel, Inc, 2210 W. Wabansia Ave.

As an avid birdwatcher and lifelong appreciator of faraway objects, in general, I can’t help but have a soft spot for these well traveled Airguide field glasses. This particular pair likely dates from the late 1940s, when chickadees still listened to jazz and goldfinches feared Communism.

Schwinn Majestic Bicycle Head Badge by Arnold, Schwinn & Co., 1940s

Arnold, Schwinn & Co. / Schwinn Bicycle Company, 1718 N. Kildare & 1856 N. Kostner Ave., Chicago, IL

These days, a head badge on the front of a bicycle is basically just an identification tag—a flat plastic hood ornament for lazy brand recognition. As you can tell by this flashy metal Schwinn “Majestic” badge from the deco era, however, even a small, functionally irrelevant bike part used to get the full VIP treatment down at the Arnold,