Tag Archives: Chicago

Top Hat and Lindy Commerce

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I love the micro-economies that pop up at swing dance events. I hope that vendor areas continue to develop at events and bring dancers closer to the goods and products they need and want.

I’m not at Lindy Focus this week, but it’s hard to ignore all the Facebook status updates. I had hoped that my friends who are attending would take photographs of their purchases so I could live vicariously through them. A photograph of Sharon Crawford in a top hat caught my eye, as I scanned my Facebook wall, with the description, “See Sharon Crawford if you’d like this vintage Beaver Top Hat from London to be yours.”

The post was from Bill Speidel, collector of sartorial antiquities, who acquired several top hats from an estate sale and decided to sell one of them at Lindy Focus through Sharon Crawford’s vending table at Lindy Focus. This top hat is spiffy – a Herbert Johnson of London beaver top hat, size 7, sold by Fifield and Stevenson of Chicaco, IL. Bill is asking $125.00 for the hat, which, given the condition and wearable size, is a good price for this topper.

If you are interested in the top hat, there are two ways to go about acquiring the hat: 1) if you are at Lindy Focus, find Bill Speidel or find Sharon Crawford’s table in the vending area – she’ll be the one sewing custom boutonnieres and fascinators; or 2) if you are not at Lindy Focus, email Bill at wspeid@cox.net to arrange for payment and shipping. Buyer pays shipping costs.

The top hat would pair well with one of the tuxedos I posted yesterday… šŸ˜‰

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World’s Fair

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Scarf from 1939 World's Fair

I’m still looking for the perfect compact and keep coming across ones I like from the swing era World’s Fairs. The World’s Fair is a series of large expos held in different countries, the highlight of which were the national pavilions, created by participating countries. According to Wikipedia, the early expos, starting in the early 1800’s and, until the late 1930’s, were focused on trade and “were the platform where the state of the art in science and technology from around the world was brought together.” After that, the World’s Fair focused more on cultural exchange. Key expos of the swing era held in the United States were Chicago in 1933 and New York in 1939 (the 1939 World’s Fair also featured performances from Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers). The merchandising opportunities for these expos were in abundance and you saw everything stamped with a world’s fair logo, from silk scarves to money clips to parasols.

Here are a few fun World’s Fair items on eBay:

1933 World's Fair pin - I think it would be hilarious to see this on someone's lapel - "You were there? Really??"

1933 World's Fair walking stick/cane - for that soft shoe routine you've been working on

1933 World's Fair Japanese silk scarf - seller says her mother-in-law kept it in her cedar chest for over 60 years

1939 World's Fair parasol

1939 World's Fair Persian lamb fur muff

1933 World's Fair Japanese silk scarf

1933 World's Fair radio in original box