Travel's Golden Age
By Karen Parr-Moody
Decades before the Transportation Security Administration made us take our shoes off to board a plane, travel was viewed as far more glamorous. Luxurious ocean liners and romantic trains were yesteryear's standard modes of travel. Baedeker travel guides had red leather covers and gold lettering. And at GasLamp, a plethora of items remind us of the allure of travel's bygone era.
Pith helmets, as the one in the photo at right, first appeared in India in the 1840s, and were later widely adopted by the British colonials (helmet, $45; Booth B-110). One might remember such hats from old movies such as "Zulu." And who could forget those images of Harry Truman donning his favorite pith helmet when on holiday at the Little White House in Key West? Well, Harry did run a haberdashery in downtown Kansas City early in his career. Even for a ladylike twist, one could wear the helmet with some goggles and a long scarf and take off on a jungle exploration. Voila!
Haven't been to the Strand Hotel in Burma lately? Nostalgic about that week spent at the Hotel Europa in Costa Rica? Just slap a few of these Grand Hotels Luggage Labels, photo at left, on a suitcase and remember when you were an international jetsetter (labels, $8.95; Booth B-110). These stickers, reproduced from antique luggage labels, were chosen from hotels that have been long recognized for beautiful surroundings and remarkable service. Among the 20 stickers are the Hotel de la Mamounia in Marrakech, Hôtel Grande Bretagne in Athens, The Ritz in Barcelona, The Pera Palace in Istanbul and The Taj Mahal in Bombay.
The vintage leather traveling bar and contents in the photo, right, is discreet enough that your secret will be concealed until cocktail hour begins ($58; Booth B-110). The exterior looks like any other chic train case. But the interior has plenty of room for a standard 750ml liquor or wine bottle. It comes with a jigger, a cocktail shaker, plenty of stirring sticks, and more. It would make a great gift for any man who enjoys the finer things in life. Even if not used as a bar, it would be perfect for carrying travel-sized shower gel, shampoo, lotion, and the like.
During the "golden age of travel," stylish globetrotters considered it fashionable to journey to far-flung destinations with mountains of hard case luggage in tow. The beautiful cases in the photo, left, capture the allure of a bygone era of elegant travel (black faux crocodile case, $24, J.C. Higgins Boon train case, $45; both at Booth B-110). Their structure would insure that contents arrived unbroken, even en route to those far-off destinations and exotic locales.
Expensive guns require special attention when being transported to exotic locales, and this vintage sportsman's "handy box" in the photo, right, is the solution ($48; Booth B-178). After all, Hemingway would never have left his Westley Richards Droplock .577NE out in the cold. Such a handy box is also a good way to store guns safely when not in use.
Whether one is taking a weekend jaunt, or a long journey on a luxurious ocean liner, the romance of yesteryear can be brought back to the future by arming oneself with a vintage travel item. So take a quick trip to GasLamp and get packing!