Father's Day
By Karen Parr-Moody

Dear old Dad will get his day on Sunday, June 17.  And rather than covering dad in neckties and tool sets for Father’s Day, peruse the retro gifts from GasLamp. These will make the day seem less a homage to commercialism and more a celebration of who Dad truly is: A unique guy with a sense of class and style.

If Dad is a retro type of guy with a swellegant sense of humor, this set of six Playboy beer steins is the perfect order ($90; Booth B-311). While the Playboy clubs are long since gone, these steins will remind him of a day when their gift shops overflowed with plastic Playboy swizzle sticks. And who could resist the classy logo of the famous Playboy rabbit head, complete with bow tie? Designed by Art Paul, the magazine's first art director when it hit stands in 1953, the rabbit head has graced every cover since the second issue. (A bit of trivia: The logo for the first issue was a stag; Playboy founder Hugh Hefner initially planned to name his iconic magazine Stag Party).

For fishermen who like to reel ’em in – or just talk about the one that got away – this pair of Italian bottles is the catch of the day (photo, left; green bottle, $28; amber bottle, $40; both at Booth B-311. W. H. Ware was the first person to use a fish-shaped bottle; he patented the design in 1866 as the container for his “Doctor Fischs Bitters.” Bottle collectors swim to these Victorian-era bitters bottles like schools of minnows and they have sold for thousands at auction. Fast forward 100 years and an Italian wine firm, Antinori, made a line of reproduction wine bottles issued during the 1970s under the name Bianco Della Costa Toscana Italy. The two fish bottles in the photo at left were probably made this century, likely before the wine bottles,but were blown using an old method, with hand-tooled mouths. The quality of these fish is much better than that of the 1970s mass-marketed wine bottles.

While tobacco usage is assuredly bad for Dad's health, some fathers like to collect the treasure trove of gear related to such a vice. And as far as retro smoking accoutrements go, GasLamp has enough to complete more than a few "Mad Men" sets. The ashtray in the photo, right, is from the Lakewood Elks Lodge 1432, which was established in 1922 in Lakewood, New Jersey. This hand-painted ashtray from the club features not an elk, but a buck (photo, right, $25; Booth B-110). But who is splitting atoms here about the details? This ashtray is a fabulous find, no matter what critter is represented.

Panama hats, such as the one in the photo at left, actually originated from Ecuador. But like many South American goods from the 19th and early 20th century, these hats first went through the Isthmus of Panama  before being shipped to America, hence the misrepresentation in the name. During the construction of the Panama Canal, President Theodore Roosevelt wore such a hat, which greatly popularized it in the 20th century. But even before that, these lightweight woven hats made a splash at the 1855 World's Fair in Paris and were ultimately made famous in Europe by the French emperor Napoleon III, who was that era's most famous wearer of the headpiece. The hat in the photo is a size 7 5/8 and was made by Dobbs, a company that is in the same league as Stetson and Cavanaugh as one of the top manufacturers of Panama hats ($75; Booth B-110).

Dapper Dan is a character who has popped up for more than 100 years in the American pop culture landscape. During the 1920s, there was American gangster Daniel "Dapper Dan" Hogan. In 1955, Dapper Dan joined Wooly Willy as a toy in which metal filings were moved about with a magnetic wand to add features onto an illustrated face. In the 1960s, Dapper Dan was an award-winning racehorse. In 1986, a circa 1880 ``Dapper Dan" figural trade sign, carved and painted, went for $258,500 at auction. Then in 2000, George Clooney, as Ulysses Everett McGill, famously references Dapper Dan hair pomade in a film, set in the Depression era, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" Clooney explains to a drug store clerk that he does not want Fop hair pomade, exclaiming, "I’m a Dapper Dan man!"

The Dapper Dan in the photo, right, is a carved piece of folk art. While the provenance of this piece is undetermined, the words "Dapper Dan" are engraved at the base and he would surely make a unique find for that dapper man in your life ($45; Booth W-101).

Father's Day gives GasLamp shoppers a chance to show off their creativity by gifting Dad with something truly special. There are so many items at GasLamp that are masculine in tone, from vintage typewriters to sports equipment, that there is no reason to take a lesser route. And to add to Dad's fun, toss in a GasLamp gift card so that he can enjoy the shopping experience himself. Because what Dad doesn't like to piddle around with old stuff?

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