All it took was a Spirograph to make my day

Super SpirographOh boy, dear readers, did I ever make a yard-sale find this past weekend. The yard sale in question was on Cooper Road, just a few miles northwest of Queensborough, and I popped in on a whim. It was fairly late on in the day (in yard-sale terms) and I figured there wouldn’t be much left. But I struck pure gold! For just $1, I purchased a vintage Spirograph set!

Oh, and not just any Spirograph set. This is Super Spirograph. Which means it has more plastic circles and wheels and rectangles and whatnot than the regular edition does, with which to draw those wacky psychedelic patterns.

Now granted, a few of the parts are missing:

Inside the Spirograph box

As is the collection of coloured pens one needs to create the designs – though I suppose one could rustle up some replacements.

But truth be told I don’t have all that much interest in actually using the set. I am just thrilled to have this classic boxed pastime from the era of my childhood at the Manse, to add to our growing collection of vintage toys and games. It makes me happy just looking at it.

But you know what makes me happiest? Why, this – the original price tag:

Beamish price tag

And why does it makes me happy? Ah, I know longtime Madoc residents will know. Because it’s a price tag from the Beamish, the long-ago store on Madoc’s main street that sold all manner of wonders, from toys and games to candy and nail polish and clothes and whatever. (The building where it was located now houses a large dollar store, which I suppose is kind of the same idea as the Beamish – but the Beamish’s goods were, while not fancy by any means, considerably more mainstream and upscale than is dollar-store merchandise.)

I am just tickled to death to be reminded of that wonderful long-ago store. Where once upon a time (early ’70s, I’d guess) someone purchased a Super Spirograph set that was, many years later, to end up in my delighted possession. And bless that person’s heart for leaving the price tag on!

4 thoughts on “All it took was a Spirograph to make my day

  1. Katherine, that’s a wonderful find! I haven’t seen a Spirograph in over 40 years, not even at yard sales and such. I had one of those and it was fun to work with. I’m sure you could use any pen; PaperMate makes blue, black, red and green ballpoint pens (although the green might be hard to find). If only James R. Text in Belleville still existed.

    And to think that you got it at the Madoc Beamish store! In addition to the other items you mentioned, the Beamish store also sold records (45 rpms). They were just to the right of the north door (in front of the window across from the cash register.) They also sold small kitchen appliances, such as toasters, at the back of the store.

    Well, this is a welcome addition to your collection, I can tell. Now, about that pink sink ….

    • Oh my goodness, the James Texts! What a great store that was! One of Belleville’s best. (Kind of like how the Beamish was one of Madoc’s best.) But as for the Spirograph: I am happy to see you just about as tickled with my find as I am, Sash! On the pens front, one thing I remember about my long-ago Spirograph days is that ordinary pens would not fit into the little holes on the wheels. I think it was a racket to get you to buy special Spirograph pens. I may have to go to the internet to see if I can find any authentic ones that still work. Seems a tad unlikely.

      • Hi, Katherine. Oh, I’d forgotten about those pens being specially-made for the tiny holes in the gear wheels. But I’ve found this site that discusses other pens that can be used:

        I was at Costco a while back and I saw a set of something like 16 or 20 different coloured very fine-tipped felt pens for only $7.99 and I’m sure they would work. As is noted in that link, it’s nice to have more colours than just the four that came with the Spirograph. And it’s even nicer that you have a souvenir from Beamish’s. Now, what are the chances that the price sticker is still on, after all these years? Yay!!

        I loved the James R. Text shop. It had everything that anybody could want, in the way of office supplies. I guess the closest we have these days is Grand & Toy but they’re not everywhere.

      • My goodness, Sash, is there anything you can’t find on the internet? As for James Texts, yeah, I recall it only dimly but with great reverence. I love stationery/bookstores!

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