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NYC: Bloomingdale’s 2009 Holiday Window – Merrymakers
stamp collector
Image by wallyg
A Holiday party’s the perfect time to shine.
In your new dress or suit, you’ll glitter and look fine.

Bloomingdale‘s 2009 Holiday window display.

Bloomingdale’s, a chain of upscale American department stores owned by Macy’s, Inc., has 36 stores nationwide, with annual sales of .9 billion dollars. Bloomingdale’s started in 1861 when brothers Joseph and Lyman Bloomingdale started selling hoop-skirts in their Ladies Notions’ Shop on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. In 1872, Bloomingdale’s expanded and opened their East Side Bazaar, a harbinger of the modern "department store."

In 1886, it moved to 59th Street and Lexington Avenue, still their flagship store, anticipating and capitalizing on the northern movement of New York’s upper and middle classes. By 1929, Bloomingdale’s covered an entire city block. Two years later, the glamorous Art Deco edifice that still graces Lexington Avenue was completed. In 1949, Bloomingdale’s began its real expansion, opening its first satellite store in Fresh Meadows, Queens and by 1959, Bloomingdale’s had created a complete circle of stores around the flagship, in New Jersey, Westchester County and Long Island. This dramatic growth continued in the 70’s and 80’s with the opening of stores in the Northeast, Florida, and Chicago. Bloomingdale’s was on its way to becoming a true national entity. That vision culminated in November 1996 with the addition of its first four stores in California, the most ambitious expansion in the company’s history.

From the beginning, the Bloomingdale’s brothers catered to America’s love of international goods, and by the 1880’s, their European selection was dazzling. A buying office in Paris in 1886 was the beginning of a network that now spans the globe. The 1960’s brought promotions resulting from Bloomingdale’s fascination with the foreign market: the first was a small affair called "Casa Bella" featuring merchandise for the home from Italy. Over the next thirty years, the promotions took on a grand scale – including unique merchandise and cultural exhibits that would touch every department in Bloomingdale’s. Major transformation of the Bloomingdale’s image came in the 1960’s and 70’s. The promotions were so exciting that the term "Retailing as Theater" was coined to describe Bloomingdale’s "happenings." It was the era of pet rocks and glacial ice cubes, of visits by movie stars and royalty, from Elizabeth Taylor to Queen Elizabeth II.

The new direction in merchandising was both to seek and to create. Buyers covered the globe to find exclusive, one-of-a-kind items. When they couldn’t find what they wanted, they had it made. In fashion, Bloomingdale’s launched new designers and created boutiques for already-famous names. Among the discoveries: Ralph Lauren, Perry Ellis and Norma Kamali – and for the first time in America: Sonia Rykiel, Kenzo and Fendi ready-to-wear. Designers opening their first in-store boutiques at Bloomingdale’s include Yves St. Laurent, Calvin Klein, Claude Montana and Thierry Mugler.

In 1961, Bloomingdale’s made retail history in yet another area by introducing the first designer shopping bag. Artist Joseph Kinigstein was commissioned to create a bag for the "Esprit de France" promotion. Rather than doing the obvious – ladylike flowers in pastel colors – he reproduced antique French tarot cards in bold red, black and white. Most daring of all, the bag omitted the store name. Even so, it was unmistakably Bloomingdale’s, and the collector’s shopping bag was launched. Since then, Bloomingdale’s bags have been created by both famous and fledgling artists, architects and ad designers. Their designs have been featured in art museums all over the world.

In 1971 "model rooms", a highlight of Bloomingdale’s since 1947, gained worldwide attention. "The Cave," an intricate multi-level frame sprayed entirely in white polyurethane, was a spectacular example of the lengths to which Bloomingdale’s would go to make a statement of style. Over the years, the model rooms have been showcases for the talents of everyone from architect Frank Gehry to filmmaker Federico Fellini.

During the 1970’s, Bloomingdale’s was a favorite stop of the international avant-garde, epitomized locally by the "Young East Sider" who lived right in the neighborhood. In 1973 the store wanted to stamp the Bloomingdale’s name on panties to launch an intimate apparel promotion, they chose the company nickname as a nod to the young, trendy crowd, and the "Bloomie’s" logo was born. Soon, New Yorkers were affectionately referring to the city’s second most popular tourist attraction after the Statue of Liberty as "Bloomie’s" and the hottest souvenir in town was anything emblazoned with "Bloomie’s".

Princeton, Ill. Residence of John H. Bryant, 1905
stamp collector
Image by DominusVobiscum
Vintage Post Card – Princeton, Ill. Residence of John H. Bryant, 1905. C.J. Dunbar & Co. Jewelers. Printed in Germany. Raphael Tuck & Sons. #2051. Art Publishers to their Majesties the King & Queen. (King Edward VII & Queen Alexandra) Royal Warrent Icon. Reverse Postmark – Princeton – One cent Franklin postal stamp…
In the Princeton Guide, we learn that John Bryant "was a member of the state legislature from Bureau, Peoria, and Stark in 1842, and again in 1858. . . . In 1848 he was one of the early editors of the first newspaper to be established in Bureau County; in 1860 was a delegate to the convention in Chicago which nominated Abraham Lincoln; was appointed collector of internal revenue by President Lincoln in 1862."

Contax IIIa
stamp collector
Image by Süleyman
Manufactured by Zeiss Ikon AG., Stuttgart, West Germany
Model: c.1956, color dial, serial no. L 76078,
all L series produced between 1956-61,
all Color Dials produced between 1953-62,
all Contax IIIa produced between 1950-62,
Dating as to PhotoForum and Contax IIa-IIIa serials
35mm film Rangefinder camera
Lens: Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 50mm f/2, collapseable, uncoated,
Mount: special built-in type Contax rangefinder bayonet mount of 50 mm lenses,
filter thread 39mm, interchangeable
This type lenses have not their own focusing ring,
serial no.1984874, Surprise: according to this serial no. and some other features, this lens must be a prewar production (c.1936) of original Dresden factory
Dating as to Frank Mechelhoff , and Contax rangefinder lenses
There is a second outside bayonet mount on the focusing helicoid of the body for other than 50mm lenses
Lens release: pressing spring catch with the red dot on the lens flange and simultaneously turn the lens clockwise
Aperture: f/2-f/22 (no click stops),
setting: ring and dial on front of the lens w/ two small handles for easy turning
Focusing: by a thumb ring on the left-front of the camera via helical built in the body,
the yellow rangefinder images must be match in the viewfinder,
scale and DOF scale on the focusing helicoid on the body
Focus range: 1-20m +inf
Shutter: all metal focal plane shutter, vertical traveling, speeds: 1-1/1250 +T & B
setting : ring and dial beneath the winding/cocking knob, lift and turn to desired setting
for T: the shutter closes by turning the speed dial to B wo/ lifting
Shutter release: on top of the cocking knob, w/ cable release socket
Cocking knob: also winds the film, on the left of the top plate
Frame counter: on the cocking knob, advance type, manual setting
Viewfinder: coupled view and rangefinder
Exposure meter: Photo-electric Selenium cell exposure meter (no battery), uncoupled,
w/ a lid on its light taking window, working accurately !
Film speed range: 9-30 DIN (6-800 ASA), setting: by inner thumb ring on the meter settings dial knob Exposure setting: matching needle and black diamond mark in the window on the top plate, adjusts by turning a big, complex dial knob on the left of the top plate, shows DIN scale, aperture and speed scales, speed setting possible from 60 sec. to 1/1250 sec.
Re-adjustment of exposure meter is possible by a screw on the back side, close the meter lid, turn the meter dial counter-clockwise as far as go, the meter needle must point the black dot in the window, if not, adjust it by turning the screw
Re-wind knob: on the meter setting dial,
for easy handling it can be lifted about 1cm, turns when winding
Re-wind release: a knob on the bottom plate, film rewinds by pressing the button and simultaneously turning winding knob
Flash PC socket: on the back side of the camera, synch 1/50 (orange on the speed dial) for electronic flash and 1/100 and over (red) for bulb flashes
Engravings in the cold shoe: Zeiss Ikon, Stuttgart, Germany and serial no.
Self-timer: possible three delay times setting
Back cover: removable with the bottom plate, open by two folding lever on the bottom plate
Relief on the back cover leatherette : Zeiss Ikon logo
Tripod socket: old 3/8”
Strap lugs
Body: metal, Weight:800g
serial no. L 76078 (Stamped inside of the camera also)
+Original metal lens cap

Contax I was a high end 35mm rangefinder camera made by Zeiss Ikon to compete with Leica models. It was released in 1932.
Contax II was released in 1936 and was the successor of the Contax I. It was the first camera with a rangefinder and viewfinder combined in a single window.
Contax III, also released in 1936, was a Contax II with an exposure meter. It was one of the first cameras with a built-in exposure meter.
After the war, the Soviet Union captured the tooling and drawings of the Contax as war booty, and transfered them to Kiev, where they began the production of the Kiev rangefinder camera, as such a continuation of the Contax.
At the same time, the Western part of the Zeiss Ikon company, based in Stuttgart, completely redesigned the Contax and launched the Contax IIa in 1950 and Contax IIIa in 1951.
Contax IIIa is the same camera with Contax II with a light meter. Compared to the prewar Contax II and III, the IIa and IIIa used the same lens mount with a completely re-engineered shutter mechanism, new body, and much improved chrome finish.
Earlier version IIa and IIIa cameras, all the shutter speeds on the dial in were black, and called, Black Dial. like early Leica cameras.
The Color Dials were in production longer than the Black Dials, 1954-62 vs. 1950-54
The earlier black dial Conrtax IIa and IIIa have a peculiar flash sync connection then they have standard PC socket.
Contax IIa and IIIa is a professional quality system 35mm Rangefinder with large system of lenses and accessories, that some considered the best 35mm lenses during the 1950’s.
Contax IIa and IIIa has a superb mechanical fit and finish, many believe better than even the legendary Leica M3.
The lens 50/2 Sonnar, produced in West and East Germany, has excellent reputation.
Also made in uncoated pre-war Jena version, black or chrome,
the latter version is on my camera.
West German version has nicely finished chrome barrel, East German version has OK finish aluminum barrel. The color and engravings on the front of the lens of the West German post war versions are chrome with Zeiss-Opton, black with Zeiss-Opton, and black with Carl Zeiss.
more info about Contax: camerapedia and
Stephen Gandy’s CameraQuest

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