Friday, September 20, 2013

Of Antiques and Elder Things: An interview with The Rational Past.

One of the vendors coming to the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon this year in San Pedro is a quirky outfit known as The Rational Past.

Purveyors of scientific and industrial artifacts scoured from laboratories, medical, nautical, and astronomical institutions, their collections include everything ranging from weights and scales to surveying, drafting, calculating and optical tools of the trade and "items of Unique interest." Be sure to check them out and see if they bring out the young Herbert West in you!

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started on all of this? What are some of the most interesting pieces you've found so far?

The Roberts family have been in the artifacts, antiques and collectibles business for over 20 years (since some of us were 11 years old). Al has a science background and Bobbie's expertise is art. We enjoy the esthetics and functionality of tools that made history in a range of fields.

What's your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story?
I am not going to pick a favorite Lovecraft story but Paul will offer many opinions when we get there.

What is some of your advice to someone beginning to collect instruments like these? How do we build a good eye for a rare or quality piece?
With these instruments you should buy what you like. As with anything, look carefully and ask a lot of questions. Just make sure that it is the real deal if you are paying for the real deal. We are careful to label all our pieces and talk with customers about use and history. We have helped prop several movies over the years and were surprised that art directors feel it is important for the actors to have the actual instruments in their hands when ever possible.

For the Lovecraft crowd we are sure the piece to which they would have responded enthusiastically was a tray of 50 glass eyes once in our possession. They were pieces of art glass circa 1900 with different colored irises and varying degrees of blood shot.

Where else can we find you throughout the year?
Our schedule of events are on our web site. This fall we are very busy. We will be at Los Angeles Printers Fair, COMIKAZI and LOSCON.

What's your favorite music to listen to as you do your research?
I personally love to work to The Sound of Silence.

We are looking forward to a good and interesting time at the Festival.

You can visit the Rational Past online at:

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