Wednesday, November 7, 2012

George the Yankee Butler

George fully extended - this is his back view
 Last Sunday I was driving down the highway going home from the antiques mall when I kept noticing neon pink and green estate sale signs.  Then I noticed they said SUNDAY!

Having a garage sale or estate sale on Sunday around here is very rare.  Most of the municipalities in the state do not allow them on Sunday.

I decided to investigate.  From the signs I knew the sale had begun on Thursday so I did not have high expectations.

The family having the sale looked totally exhausted.  There were piles of leftovers scattered around the porch and driveway.  The woman told me there was more inside.  I picked up a few items and went in the tri-level house.  People had rummaged through and thrown on the floor about everything.  The woman told me they had started off with everything neatly stacked and labeled, but gave up by Friday afternoon.  She had to drive back home and said just to make an offer on anything I wanted.

Albert Wood and Five Sons were furniture makers in Port Washington, New York. Albert had previously been an architect.  One of their commissions was a trophy case for Amelia Earhart by her husband.
Across a pile of magazines, books, clothes, and kitchenware, I saw a square dark cabinet-looking thing covered in dust.  I asked if I could navigate over to it and was cleared a path to a thing of beauty hidden in the dark corner.

A rolling bar.

With tambor doors.  ( I am not sure how to spell "tambor" - like on a roll-top desk.)

Maybe mahogany?

I tried to roll it out from its hiding place, but it weighed a ton.

The granddaughter helped get it out into the light.  She said she thought it opened some way.  The doors slid open and I saw the label "George the Yankee Butler".  I was so excited.  This was so "Mad Men"!  Below the label was a glasses tray that slid out for service.

It took three of us to figure out that the sides opened up to reveal a place for the bottles.  There were sliding trays above the storage areas that had a section to slide back to reach in and grab another bottle.  It was here we found out why George was so heavy.  He was packed with full, unopened bottles of whiskey.  We unloaded him, and I told them to have a party with what we found.  To my surprise there were three square glass decanters found in one bin.  Bourbon, Scotch, and Rye in gold letters.  

The grandchildren rolled him out to my Blazer and loaded him in the back.

Notice the metal mesh sides of the storage bins
There he stayed for a whole week until I had a day to clean him.

These photos do not do justice to the amount of dust on George.  He was right crusty with the dust.

I cleaned and cleaned.  Then I gave his mahogany goodness a quick wax.  He really needs a French polish, but I will let his new owners do that.

I left some of the dust so you could see how the bottles fit into the side bins.  There is a section at the top of the bin to hold bar tools.

Distressed Donna looks away in shame at the grimy George.  After I finished cleaning and waxing him, she was flirting with him!

This is George's front side with those beautiful raised panels and carved circles.

 George sits proudly awaiting a new home.  So dark and handsome!

George shows off his front side.  Just a few age spots on him. 

And guess what?  I did not steal his casters like I usually do.  He was made to roll in style.

The three square decanters sit in their new shiny glory.  The contents washed down my kitchen sink.  The house smelled of bourbon for days.  I do not know how long the liquor had been sitting in those bottles, but it was some mighty strong stuff.  The women running the sale did not even remember their parents ever drinking.  George had sat at the back of a storage closet all of their lives.  And these women had grandchildren!

Now did I want to replace The Monseigneur with George?  NO!  I would never get rid of The Monseigneur. (Read The Monseigneur's story here.) Chucks rather liked George, but since neither of us drink anything stronger than sweet tea any more, we decided another bar was ridiculous.  I can just see him sitting in a home full of mid-century furniture set up to serve the most delicious cocktails.  Gin and Tonic.  Bourbon and Coke. Scotch and Water.  Ah-h-h, those days are gone!

On a "what the heck?" query.  A convenience store  proudly announced with banners all over the store they have the perfect holiday mixers - 7-Up, Sprite, Ginger Ale - all these I can understand, but the list continues with Mello Yello and Mountain Dew.  What kind of libation would be mixed with these!?!  YUCK!

See y'all!

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  1. Hi there my friend! How are you! Can't wait to see this one on junkin joe next week : ) LOVE IT and I would be honored to be hanging on your fridge!!!! sending you tons of hugs and love!

  2. What a wonderful find and you are so right about him being right at home in a mid century modern room! Such a strange story that goes along with him. ~ Maureen

  3. Oh, sweet Louise; that thing is just beautiful!!!!! Would love to see this guy in person. About that Mountain Dew thing: I don't know, but I do notice a whole lot of young people buying that stuff now. Maybe it has some...magical (??) properties! My best to George!

  4. Wow! What a treasure! Such a fascinating piece and so hilarious that it was still filled to the brim with beverages. Very cool.

  5. What a fabulous find!!
    I love all those little openings!

  6. What a great find! Someone is going to love George. And you're right - very Mad Men, which is right on trend these days.

  7. What a cool find! I've never found the ultimate estate sale, but I am always searching. Cheers.

  8. That is so cool. People used to take their drinking seriously I think. I checked out the Monseigneur too. Great story about him.

  9. I think you should have name tags on your furniture and a button that says press to hear how Ms. Donna brought me to life :) Thank you so much for sharing this at Rustic Restorations Weekend!

  10. A little bit of family history about Albert Wood and Five Sons:

  11. George is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hugs and thanks for sharing! : )

  12. George is beuatiful. What a treasure. Just found your wonderful blog and now following. Hope you'll come over and visit me at I'll put the kettle on! :)


  13. I have a George Yankee Butler bar cart.Needs to be restored badly. Some one painted it. Can't find any information about it other than here.Would like to restore to look as original as possible or sell. Can't find pics or knowledge of materials for restoration and have no idea how much to sell for in its condition. Do you have any advice? Yours is beautiful!


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