Pioneer – Rustbelt Treasures in Baltimore, Maryland

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This vintage rustic fire starter was originally used to carry a flame to light fireplaces and gas lights before electricity.

This vintage rustic fire starter was originally used to carry a flame to light fireplaces and gas lights before electricity.

A series featuring new Krrbies in new towns across the globe who are breaking unexplored territory. Find out what they have to sell, trade or give away.

For years, Laura of Rustbelt Treasures has been collecting vintage industrial items made of wood, iron and leather throughout the northern midwest, upstate New York and Baltimore. The name of her shop is a nod to the nickname of the area between the Midwest and Northeast, where local economies have historically been tied to industrial products, the transportation of raw materials and large-scale manufacturing.

Laura sells a little bit of everything. “Since I can’t resist a vintage item with character, the style of the shop has become more of an eclectic theme,” she says. Read on to find more about how Laura reworks her finds and when she leaves the original character intact.

A vintage soldering tool.

A vintage soldering tool.

“I wouldn’t say that I restore these items because I enjoy the patina an item has developed from its age and years of use,” she says. “It is more of a revitalization process.” She says her biggest score was a cache of vintage industrial foundry molds handcrafted for factory use. The wood grain of the molds lends each a unique character.

A vintage architectural keystone salvaged from a Baltimore city rowhouse demolition.

A vintage architectural keystone salvaged from a Baltimore city rowhouse demolition.

“I always think of the men that carved and designed these, and how much pride they put into the quality of their work,” she says. “I’m sure they did not think of themselves as artists but as you look over the details of these molds, the hands that crafted them were quite talented.”

To see Laura’s salvaged pieces, visit Rustbelt Treasure’s corner and follow her on Pinterest for ideas on how to incorporate industrial finds into your own home.

 
  • Veronica Aleman

    I feel like this story could have been better if it was written differently. It was written in a very intellectual way (which is perfectly fine…for a school paper) and so it gets a bit boring. But, it did catch my attention, so it could have been interesting, it just wasn’t. :/

  • LisaB

    Love the collection, and those molds are quite the find!

  • CJ Lotz

    There are so many neat items on Krrb and Etsy lately! What do you collect?

  • dak1b

    Lovely vintage items! I really enjoy collecting vintage items. Pieces of history.