Lighting the darkness

I’ve been away for a long time.  Life has that funny way of getting away from you.  Writing about this stuff can be therapeutic, so here, late at night, I am going to write about a few things I’ve picked up since last posting.

First up, is a Rayovac Sportsman 360 lantern!


This is a late 1960s – early 1970s fluorescent lantern.  Solid state and waterproof, it is a heavy beast (it runs on 4, 6-volt lantern batteries in the bottom) but is well built (in the USA!), and looks like it was mostly cared for by the previous owner.  It has 3 power settings – low (partial light from a single tube), medium (full light from a single tube), and high (both bulbs on high – as seen above).

What’d it cost: $7.99, plus another $28 in lantern batteries

What’d it take: Some scrubbing of the contacts inside to clean off some corrosion, and some goo gone to get the price tag off the globe

What’s it do: Provide light during power failures, at night while camping, and I’ll see if it can be incorporated into deck lighting in the summer.

Next, an Eveready “Big Jim” lantern flashlight!



This is probably late 50s to early 60s in age.  It’s a flashlight that runs on a long, thin lantern battery, and does not have any housing to protect it.  It is a big head that pivots, and looks like it was probably stored in a shed or garage.  The contacts that connect the battery to the light are pretty poor and a lot of jiggling is needed to get it running.  I really just bought it because of the name “Big Jim”.  Companies nowadays don’t tend to have fun like that when naming products any more.

The pain was finding a battery for the thing.  These style batteries aren’t common, and aren’t cheap.  Luckily the Canadian Tire near my house had one in stock.

Pictures to come…

What’d it cost: $4.99, plus a $20 lantern battery

What’d it take: A lot of patience to get the contacts to connect correctly.

What’s it do: Look cool on a shelf in the workroom with other vintage tools.

Another vintage light, a Rayovac Sportsman flashlight!


This is probably a bit older than the camping lantern, although they do seem to be a part of the “Sportsman” line of lighting products from Rayovac.  This is a vintage looking flashlight – chrome, nicely made, and feels sturdy in the hand, even without the 3 D-cell batteries in the handle.  It has a button to enable you to use it for morse code too if you like.  It has a nice big head on it too, and has real glass in it, instead of today’s plastic or plexiglass.

When I saw it on the shelf, I had to take it.  It’s now become a regularly used light when walking the dogs at night, replacing a shoddy made in China LED light that never stayed on.

Pictures to come…

What’d it cost: $3.99

What’d it take: A bit of cleaning and removal of the vintage batteries, and replacement with fresh ones

What’s it do: What a flashlight does.  Nice and easy to hold while giving a great beam.

Here’s a bit of a different piece of lighting, a Star Barricade 877 light!

This was a total random find a while ago.  When I found it, I had no idea what it was, but a big blue light was something that was very different.  Turns out, this is the type of light that you see mounted to the top of the big road pylons!  It works, and when turned on, the light blinks for a second, then out for a second, then blinks.  It runs on a couple of 6 volt batteries, and has 2 light bulbs inside – according to the literature, it should auto-fail over to the backup bulb if/when the primary bulb burns out.  Anyway, it has become a fixture on my ‘oddities’ shelf, and gets used at Halloween to warn the kids of a zombie-filled house when heading up to the door!

Pictures to come…

What’d it cost: $9.99, plus another $15 in batteries

What’d it take: Just the replacement of the batteries

What’s it do: Not a lot.  But it looks cool.


Older finds (Part 4)

A Shell oil barrel from the early 1960s being used as a flower urn

This is another online auction find from a couple of years ago.

I put a bid on this and ended up winning it, I was surprised as it was a last-minute bid and I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with it.

It’s a Shell oil barrel from about 1960.  Spirax EP (Extreme Pressure) is some sort of pneumatic oil for farm equipment.


Someone had tried to touch up the paint on the barrel at some point, and while I Was cleaning it out, I washed it off since it apparently was a latex paint.  Anyway, I like it a bit more untouched.

Inside it was pretty rusty, and I’ve cleaned it out thoroughly and used some rust remover and rust inhibitor inside to try and protect the interior.  It’s a nice thick gauge metal so I’m not worried about rusting through, but it has cleaned up OK.

We happened to have a plastic planter that fits nearly perfectly inside the barrel; I am working on maybe either drilling some small drainage holes in the bottom and using a bit of waterproof caulking on the top lip to try and make it as water-resistant as possible.  For now I just have some rocks in the bottom and periodically open it up to check if there is standing water inside.

This year we bought some red and yellow begonias to pick up on the colours of the barrel.  This is right near the front of our house:



It may get repurposed into a trash can on the back deck, when that gets built.

What’d it cost: $6 and a drive to Nanticoke, and $10 on rust cleaning/inhibiting chemicals

What’d it take: 30 minutes of cleaning and prep

What’s it used for: Holding flowers during the warm weather

~ Ryan

Welcome to Thrift Shop Finds!

Thanks for stopping by!

Welcome to my site.  This will be a place for me to document things that I’ve found and find at local thrift shops, flea markets, auctions, and the like.  It will also cover some creative upscaling of items that I’ve got.  I’m located in Hamilton, Ontario and travel 1-2 hours in any direction of my home in search of interesting things.  Thanks for stopping by!