top of page

Summer Subscription Box Unveiling

Updated: Aug 22, 2018

Canned Ham's vintage goods subscription box gave subscribers their own vicarious Great American Roadtrip this summer!

The summer subscription box of vintage goods went out a few weeks ago, and it’s time to unveil all the fun surprises inside! The theme this time was Great American Roadtrip, because roadtripping and summer are pretty much like peas and carrots in my mind. Plus, I love the nostalgia of the golden age of the American highway system – I mean, I named my business after one of its greatest icons! Souvenirs and postcards and luggage and roadside food and kitschie tourist traps make for some great imagery, so for a designer like me, this theme is a goldmine. Hopefully our Ham subscribers had as much fun digging in to their boxes as I did filling them up…

So, each box includes 2-3 vintage items, a Canned Ham original and a newsletter kind of thingie giving you some historical background on your newfound loot (guys, I’m sorry – I just can’t help myself! I MUST SHARE HISTORICAL TRIVIA WITH THE WORLD!!) and providing some ideas on how best to put it to use.

A few of the vintage glasses that went out in the Great American Roadtrip subscription box - the Kansas and South Carolina glasses (right) are the oldest, with Louisiana (on the left) being the newest.

For instance, a couple subscribers to the summer box each got a set of three of these awesome-sauce souvenir state glasses. The colors are right up my alley – all bright and bold. The typography is nice and crisp, too. These souvenir glasses were sold at gas stations, motel front desks, souvenir stands and the like allover the United States from the late 1940s through the 1960s. After the end of World War II, Americans were into seeing their country like never before, and they were aided in their travel efforts by newly improved roadways, compliments of the Works Progress Administration's attempts to provide jobs during the Great Depression.  Add to that Eisenhower's shiny new interstate highway system in the 1950s,  and baby, we were off!! Pack up the trailer (canned ham), throw the kids in the back seat and hit the open road! And as we do here in the States, we bought things. Lots of things. Souvenirs from all the states you visited were an absolute must! These state glasses are just one example of the tremendous variety of kinda cool/kinda weird stuff being sold to America’s road warriors in the mid-20th century. Most American companies were getting in on the action, too. The earliest of these glasses were actually made by Hazel Atlas (you vintage glassware junkies out there know who I’m talking about!). The frosted ones are oldest (and probably Hazel Atlas), usually featuring only one color, while the multi-colored affairs are a bit more recent.

So what do I suggest you do with these cuties? Well, if you own your own canned ham vintage camping trailer, by all means, put them on the Formica folding table between the cherry red pleather banquettes and sip your lemonade all day (I can dream, can’t I?). I’m a fan of actually using vintage housewares when you can, rather than just putting them on a shelf to collect dust, so even if you don’t have your own canned ham parked in the driveway, you can still sip your lemonade from them anytime you want. (Curator PSA: even though the printing on these glasses is pretty darn tough, please don’t put them in the dishwasher. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can withstand the ravages of a dishwasher for very long. Just accept dishwashing as part of your vintage life.)

If you’re looking for something a bit more creative, I’m also a fan of putting things in glasses for functional display. In the Canned Ham office (i.e. my dining room…because I don’t own a dining room table, but I DO own multiple crafting surfaces), I like to have my supplies at the ready, which means they’re always OUT, which can look pretty cluttered. So, I use various glasses and mugs in similar colorways to put all the pens, markers, pencils, scissors, rulers, etc. in. The result is actually a pretty cute display, and those state glasses would be perfect – cute, colorful and convenient! Man… I’m kind of wishing I’d kept a few for myself…

And one last thought on arranging your glasses, or anything else really – odd numbers, folks. There’s a reason the subscription boxes included 3 glasses and not 2 or 4. Years of exhibit experience has taught me that the human eye really likes odd number groupings (and I’m sure there’s a really good reason for that – science! – but let’s just say it is what it is for the purposes of this blog). So, moral of the story – if you acquire more state glasses, make sure you get more than 2! Happy shopping…

The first fall subscription box goes out at the end of the month, so if you want to get in on this action you better move it! The theme is Back to School – letterman’s sweaters, thermoses and fav classic books galore!!

bottom of page