Wednesday, March 07, 2007

D.E.A. Bathroom Machineries: Antique Plumbing in Murphys

This is but one of several images I shot in D.E.A. Bathroom Machineries, a unique shop in Murphys, California.

Murphys is a small town. The main street is about two and a half blocks long. Ironstone Vineyards is likely the largest business and major tourist attraction. Yet, Murphys is absolutely adorable. Cute as a button! Obviously a summer mecca. Art galleries, bistros, wine shops with tastings, and a playhouse make up the small center of town. The historic hotel dates from the mid-19th century.

For me, however, the most unique shop was undoubtedly D.E.A. Bathroom Machineries. It've never seen so many early 19th c. bath tubs and sinks in my life. There were thousands upon thousands of rusted keys, vintage hardware, milk glass lampshades, and items for which I have no earthly idea what the function might have been. At first I resisted the keys, but I thought about them all week. I had seen a really, really nice dress and matching cape in another store but finally decided that I wanted the keys even more. I bought dozens ($200 worth) on my final day and left the outfit behind.

I also saw a Christmas cookie tin full of rusted, square nails. They had no price. The owner was out. Yet, I knew to ask about them. I saw the professional looking camera equipment in an out-of-the-way upstairs room. I knew this business could only survive via eBay! Sure enough, the sales person took my card and scribbled a note about the nails. Sure enough, I got an email on my first day back. Sure enough, a credit card for a mere $10 and mailing address was all that was necessary. I can hardly wait for the nails.

My mind is flooded with ideas for the keys: simple shadow-boxes of rusted, blank cut keys with a label: The Key to Success!

Yet, the nails! I can almost see them stitched to painted canvas in neat, corroded rows...a testament to hard work, repetitive hammering motions, persistence!

By the way, the place has a website, of course. The keys are amazing! (209)728-2031 495 Main Street, Murphys, CA 95247.

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