This is not, strictly speaking, ephemera. It’s cabinet hardware, and as such, intended as durable over many decades, and therefore well out of range of Oldphemera under most circumstances.
But this cabinetry has an unusual provenance. A house built in 1911, expanded in 1924 for student boarding purposes, then a chocolate factory, then turned much later into apartments between 1958 and 1963 by a man I’ll call Mister Fixit.
Being a bit of a scavenger, Mr. Fixit used a lot of random sources for cabinetry when adding kitchens. In the upstairs unit of the addition, there are three entirely dissimilar cabinet sets crammed in together - all of which have in common only that they well predate the era of the conversion.
This kitchen has two unrelated sets, and it’s not even a big kitchen. It’s a galley. That takes dedication. And again - old cabinets, installed decades later.
I had wondered earlier where this guy kept getting random old cabinetry between 1958 and 1963 - an era before common reclamation and recycling services, when modernity and disposability were the rage - and only today did I put it together.
This was when rows and rows and rows of houses were being bought and either moved or torn down to make right-of-way for the new superhighway, Interstate 5, through downtown Seattle, and through the very neighbourhood of this very house.
I will bet all the dogecoin in the world that this is how he got these cabinets. These just aren’t old cabinets repurposed (and now, thanks to me, being restored) - these are ghosts of kitchens past.
All along this road was once 6th Avenue NE in the west end of the University District, a swath of arts and crafts and craftsman houses, with cabinets often just like these. All were swept away decades before their normal end of life - ephemera by situation, rather than intent. All are gone, lost to memory…
…except for these, my unexpected kitchen ghosts.