Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Wadginski Vampire Kit

Ken Wadginski collected antiques his entire life, and one of the gems for sale after his death was this period vampire hunting kit. The artisan that crafted it appears to have made sure the corked containers have an actual seal, something that the current crop of faux kits almost invariably ignore.

The Antique Trader article about the estate sale has this to say about the kit:

The vampire killing kit was made around the early 1900s, Stevens estimates. It contains four stakes, crosses, mirrors, guns with silver bullets, potions, vials, herbs, medicines, holy water and garlic. In October, Stevens Auction sold another, earlier vampire kit (circa 1800) for $14,850.

This part reads like it was lifted right out of a horror film:

But by the time Wadginski arrived in the mid-1960s, that business had already shut down and there was little left, save for the buildings and history of the town. Hollow Rock was named, legend has it, after a meteor that crashed there hundreds of years ago. The space rock, which was in fact hollow, today still has inscriptions that were carved by the Native Americans who live in the region at the time.

The second someone told me the town was named after a hollow meteorite covered with strange native inscriptions, and that the rock was still around, I would have politely told my real estate agent to cross that location off the list. Years of watching B-movies has taught me it's just a matter of time till whatever was inside starts wreaking havoc.


Anonymous said...

How are old corked bottles sealed? Your post got me wondering, and when I googled, all I got was current day practices, and some pages about champagne bottles. Where the corks covered in wax?

I have a few "things in bottles" I am working on, and I want to make it really nice looking.

Propnomicon said...

The two things I look for are wax and/or a full compression cork.

Pushing a cork into a bottle opening with finger pressure is fine for non-liquids that will be sitting on a shelf, since jostling isn't going to loosen the cork. For a vampire hunting kit that gets banged around on it's way to a tomb or lair something resistant to shocks has to hold the cork in.

In the case of champagne bottles that something is the friction of a fully compressed cork pressed into the neck of the bottle with considerable force. The other approach is a sealing band of wax or asphalt that holds the cork in, but can be cut away with a pocket knife when you need to get to the contents.

I admit I might be analyzing things too much, but it's little touches like functional seals on bottles that really impress me. Anyone can buy bottles and corks at the craft store. The real artists take the time to produce effective labels, a proper seal, and realistic weathering.

Anonymous said...

Wow. That is some great information. Thanks so much for explaining all that to me. I really appreciate it.

G said...

Very interesting about the SEALED bottles...and YES,they are sealed with wax..reason I know is I'm the one who purchased it from Stevens Auction and has been THE conversation piece in my home for years.Also have 2 Bloomberg kits.Several years ago I actually won first prize at a collectable show for displaying the Wadginski Kit.Be glad to answer any other questions about the kit you or fellow bloggers might have.