The Sengbusch Ideal Junior Stamp Moistener
When I was a kid, my Dad had some items on his office desk which just fascinated me. One of them was a small black ceramic dealie, more or less cubical, with a black ceramic wheel which turned inside of it. The Sengbusch Ideal Junior stamp moistener. Idea was, you'd pour a little water down into the well inside the cube, and then when you turned the wheel, the surface of the wheel would come up wet with water from underneath. So then you could run the back side of a postage stamp across the top of the wheel, and voilà!
Sure beat having to lick the stamp, especially if you needed to put a bunch of stamps on a whole stack of envelopes. Even if it was only a single stamp, hey, mucilage, you don't know where that horse hoof has been. I always thought this stamp moistener was a really neat idea. Funky. Plus, it was ingenious but simple. Simple enough that the ancient Romans, or for that matter the ancient Sumerians, could've invented it, if only they'd had postage stamps.
My Dad's stamp moistener had a little chip out of it. When I was two years old, he lent the stamp moistener out to somebody, and they dropped it on the floor. Oops!
Well, one day not long before I moved over here to Iowa, I was out at a Goodwill store, and what should I see amidst the bric a brac on their shelves but a stamp moistener identical to my Dad's. Without a chip, even! Black ceramic. I turned it over, and between the four little feet on the unglazed underside it read SENGBUSCH IDEAL JUNIOR MILWAUKEE, WIS. MADE IN U.S.A. What's more, they were selling it for only 39¢, mere pocket change. I snatched it up, and when I moved here to Iowa, I put my Sengbusch stamp moistener on my office desk.
Only problem was, I quickly discovered that the US Postal Service had changed over completely to non-mucilage peel-and-stick sticker type postage stamps. Just when this happened, I don't know: I hadn't been sending many letters in the several years before I moved over here (long story). Something of a disappointment: no sooner did I find my own cool black ceramic Sengbusch Ideal Junior stamp moistener, than I learn it's now obsolete.
Nonetheless, it still sits on my desk. Some items are just too cool to discard. In defiance of so-called "progress." Call me a Selective Luddite™, but when we let go of horse-hoof mucilage stamps, and ceramic quasi-Sumerian stamp moisteners, we let go of a little piece of our souls.