top of page

The Beat #32.5: Found Objects, Pt.2

Guest Contributor, photographer Karl Heine

What’s Left Behind Tells a Story, Pt.2

Our friend the photographer Karl Heine shared so many beautiful photographs of discoveries he’s picked up on his seaside rambles that we had to share more. These are surprising, bittersweet reminders that what seems vital in one moment can very quickly become history.

Joseph Burnett’s Standard Extracts Bottle

Block Island, RI, ca. 1890s – 1920s.

This beautiful little aqua-colored bottle probably dates back to the 19th Century. In 1847, Joseph Burnett developed a vanilla extract for food flavoring. He and his partner, the Boston druggist Theodore Metcalf, founded Metcalf & Burnett Chemical Company and created a whole range of products respected for their quality … as well as a cocaine product said to “stimulate healthy and vigorous hair growth.” Burnett also founded an Episcopal church in Boston designated to be “free to all, with no distinctions as to wealth, color, race or station.”

Clay Tobacco Pipe

Seaside Park, Bridgeport, CT, ca. 1847

Conjuring images of grizzled sea captains eyeing the Connecticut coast, this clay pipe bowl was likely made of Scottish kaolin clay and made in England in the mid-19th Century. The “TD” stamp originated as the mark of Thomas Dormer of London, who was an originator of this style of pipe, producing them until the late 1700s. By the 1800s, “TD” was a generic style mark, and also used by Thomas Duggan, a London pipe maker who supplied the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Louis H. Meyer Porcelain Bottle Stopper

Block Island, RI, ca. Late 1800s–early 1900s

At first glance, this mysterious object could be just about anything — a bracelet, a pin stuck to a bit of corroded metal, a branded onion ring… In fact, it’s a porcelain bottle stopper from Louis H. Meyer. Meyer was both a confectioner and a liquor distributor, so this could have come on a bottle of lager or porter, or maybe a soda. We can both appreciate the intricacy of Meyer’s brand mark and the serendipity of this find while also remembering that most of the “disposable” things we make, sell and consume never really go away.


Found: Block Island, RI

ca. 1930s

South Norwalk, CT, ca. Late 1800s.

This find could easily have been mistaken as a beach stone and overlooked. But this brown swirl doorknob, made from a clay composite, was a popular New England hardware choice in the 19th Century. Karl thinks there’s a strong possibility this was produced by the Norwalk Lock Company, which was located across the street from where he found this piece. They were founded in 1865 and made locks and hardware until the 1950s.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page