Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

The cigar box

The other day I came across a dusty, ratty, old cigar box, in a pile of junk, and fixtures, and fittings, outside a home that is being gutted for renovation and sale. It rattled when I picked it up.

cigar_boxA long time ago (I have been told) people used to use cigar boxes as catch-all storage.. handy places to keep paperclips, and such.

The sounds told me it obviously was still full of nick-knacks, trinkets, and things. So I opened it. What kind of *stuff* would I find inside?

What kind of person had owned this cigar box?

I found some thick-framed and thick-lensed, black, dork-glasses. Minus one arm. Some keys that opened who knows what. Some rubberbands and paperclips and safety pins. Some beads and buttons and baubles. In a word – crud. But. I also found…

A funny sort of thing I believe is a pen… that you write with?…

I think so, because also in there was this…

The ink is still good, it appears, so I am going to test out my theory…

I knew what this was…

.. but I can’t remember seeing anyone using one recently, nor do I recall catching a whiff of that delightful aroma. Not in twenty five years or so. Seeing this reminded me of a wonderful man I once knew.. who took the time to explain things to a curious, question-filled boy…  A long time ago.

I was – then – not surprised to find this…

nor this…

Now all I need is a flint! But I doubt you can still find those.. these days..

Thanks to another gentleman, a long long time ago, (who also who took the time to explain things to a curious, question-filled boy) I found this and…

and! I felt 12 again. Wonder if I remember how to tie a swivel on..?

Naturally, I saved the best for last, folks. Also inside that shoebox was something I was quite happy to see… My “prize”.
(It needed a little cleaning, but..)


Sharp as blazes.

I looked at the house, being stripped and gutted, and tried to picture the owner in my mind. The man who had kept this shoebox, and used to live inside. I looked at the yard’s azalea’s and rose bushes, and well-kept fence…

I cannot tell you why, but I think I would have enjoyed talking with him.

Even if he once did wear black thick-frame dork glasses…


Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.

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September 29, 2010 - Posted by | computers | ,


  1. Paul,

    You are correct about folks storing items in cigar boxes. As a matter of fact I can’t get over how this fascinated you. Why? Because I am the same exact way. I can remember growing up and exploring cigar boxes, drawers, etc… at my Grandparents. As a result, I truly believe I have a liking for containers, unusual boxes, bags, etc… To this day, I have my own “giant” box that someday someone will hopefully open up and say, “Wow, I would have liked this guy!”. Like the cigar box here, it is my life in a box.


    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Ramblinrick | September 29, 2010 | Reply

    • Rick,
      I do not have to look in your “giant” box to say, “wow! I like this guy!” You are aces in my book.

      I guess we have that in common: when I was knee-high to a grasshopper my folks frequently took us to places like Grandma’s, and Great Aunt Myrtle’s, and there was very little there for a boy to do but open drawers and explore the basement/attic…

      I cannot tell you why this particular box even caught my eye in that big pile of trash and scrap. It just.. did.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by techpaul | September 29, 2010 | Reply

  2. Oddly enough, I believe there is still a small market for the fountain pen and the lighter, so you might be in luck.

    They still make Zippo lighters, although I haven’t seen one except for in movies. A good cigar shop might be able to help you.

    Funny, whenever I see glasses like that I think of Drew Carey.

    Enjoy your box of stuff.


    Comment by KC | September 29, 2010 | Reply

    • KC,
      You are correct: there is indeed a market for such “collector’s items” and “memorabilia”, but I won’t try to profit from my junkpile “find”. The strange feelings that came over me were profit enough.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by techpaul | September 29, 2010 | Reply

  3. NOSTALGIA…memories of Yester Years!

    Looking at “yester years” good, bad or indifferent, always brings back “what one time was…” sometimes sad memories too, for what is lost in our lives of today. Few people use those lighters now, fewer people smoke pipes… the glasses well… even those cannot be easily repaired – all is new fashionable and expensive now.

    More people should take the time to rummage through old places and things. Old boxes hold most interesting treasures, cigar boxes for sure, because those boxes were attractive to look at, made of wood, not a throw away item.

    Thanks Paul …this sort of makes me think of giving my goodies a permanent home …in my many boxes that I treasure.



    Comment by Gaia | September 29, 2010 | Reply

    • Gaia,
      I am very much “in sync” with your comments here.. except (maybe) one: you simply cannot find the same quality in the new and “fashionable”. Even though the price tags may be high, today’s stuff is (generally) disposable (my word for that is “cheap”). Yesteryear’s stuff was built to last.

      I’m sure it was never intended to be used as such, but this cigar box did turn out to be a bit of a “time capsule”… Thanks for sharing.


      Comment by techpaul | September 29, 2010 | Reply

  4. Hi Paul.

    Funny article, that makes me feel kind of old.

    I have a lot of those articles i my pocket. Not in a cigar box.

    I have a Zippo (in fact I have a few) because it’s simple and it works every time. And I love the sound of it – especially when you close it after use.
    And you can get it many places – at least in Denmark.
    And flints too – no problem.

    And I also have a few fountain pens (five or six). Bought one recently. And I write with it every day.

    I don’t smoke any more, but when I did I used to smoke the pipe (like my father).

    And I always carry a pocketknife. Even if it’s against the silly law in Denmark. I use it for a lot of things. For instance when I’m collecting mushrooms.

    And I wear glasses. One type for reading and one type for distance.

    best regards.



    Comment by niels henrik hojbjerg | September 29, 2010 | Reply

    • niels henrik hojbjerg,
      Do you wear a hat? In my imagination, the owner of the box wore a hat. A bit like the one shown…

      I can make a small confession now that this has been up for a while – I knew perfectly well what a fountain pen is, and how they work. A relation of mine collects them, and swears there is no finer writing instrument.
      Some, I understand, are quite valuable.

      I have had the pleasure of touring your delightful country (also a long long time ago), and hope someday to return. Thank you for sharing.. and letting me know there still men who obey the old maxim, “never go anywhere without your knife”. (Sorry. A Leroy Jethro Gibbs reference there. Pop culture [USA].)

      PS — I regret making you feel “old”.. but if it’s any consolation, finding the box had a similar effect on me.


      Comment by techpaul | September 29, 2010 | Reply

      • It’s okay, Paul.
        You don’t have to regret anything.
        I feel young too.

        And your imagination is perfect.
        I also wear hats and caps.


        Comment by niels henrik hojbjerg | September 30, 2010 | Reply

  5. Paul, you could not have described my thoughts better if you had tried!


    Comment by "Old Salt" Dana | September 30, 2010 | Reply

    • “Old Salt” Dana,
      I thank you. It is not a “how to” article.. but I did put some time and thought into it. Glad you like it.


      Comment by techpaul | September 30, 2010 | Reply

  6. The fountain pen reminds me of school 40 or more years ago, all the desks had their inkwells and one kid was assigned the prestigious role of “ink monitor” giving him or her access to the store cupboard and all it’s wonders.
    One of our great pleasures was seeing how far we could bend a nib without snapping it. For some reason the school stock of nibs were all for right handers which meant those of us who were left-handed ended up tearing the paper and spraying ourselves, and anyone near us, with a fine patina of ink.. In them days National Health Service glasses for children came in only a couple of flavours, and mine were thick black plastic frames, the alternatives being pink or wire-frames as I recall. Of course no self respecting boy would go anywhere without his penknife.
    Autre temps autre moeurs.


    Comment by roger | September 30, 2010 | Reply

    • ‘other times, other customs’.
      Yes, Roger, it’s true…

      Perhaps I have simply reached an age; or perhaps there are other reasons; but I – for one – think we humans would be better off sticking with some of the ‘old ways’ and rejecting some of the ‘new’… though, ink wells and fountain pens would not be a technology I would cling to – too messy! (just my 2¢)

      Thank you for sharing this with us. “Ink Monitor” was before my time..

      Question: what do you think is the most important/significant technology (invention) to occur in your lifetime?
      (open to all)


      Comment by techpaul | September 30, 2010 | Reply

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