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Another classic find: "1920s style" Thayer and Chandler Model B

Discussion in 'Airbrushes' started by Kim McCann, Oct 14, 2020.


  1. Kim McCann

    Kim McCann Mac-Valve Maestro!

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    Another vintage airbrush find. This time with the original packaging it was sent out in.

    It is a bit hard to date, however. There are several sort of conflicting things here.

    There are two post marks and stamps on the original package, one of the stamps is a 5 cent minute man from 1925, and there is a smudged postmark on it that bears it out. The other stamp is a freedom coil from 1952, but the postmark on that is illegible.

    The handle appears to be consistent with the 20s, but the paint cup is the same as others I have from the 30s and 40s. It has a low serial - 4347, so that might support the mid 20s date, but it is also in remarkable condition, so good as it makes me doubt it can be that old. All it needed was a good wash and polish, and the needled needed to be re-finished, but.... other than that, it sprays like it was new. Not much restoration to do.

    The case was wrapped in some kind of waxed cloth that pretty much came apart opening it up, so it was stored really well.

    My best guess is that maybe it was ordered in 1925, and then at some point later - the 50s, someone resused the box to send it somewhere for repairs or replacement parts? But, that seems kind of odd. I can't account for stamps being 27 years apart.

    Got from a private collector, and they seemed to think it was 1920s as well, but based on postage stamps, it could be anywhere from 1925 to 1952?

    The address for it is only partly visible, it was for a Lee M. Fowler and for somewhere Chicago as near as I can tell, or at least for an address in a city that contains 'i' and an 'ago'. T&C are in Chicago, so maybe it was a return or a service request or something.

    The paperwork inside the box is super badly aged, so it is pretty fragile, but the brush and case themselves are like new. 1920s T&C Model B.jpg
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  2. jord001

    jord001 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Nice find Kim, I think I have a model A and a model B They have alovely feel to them.

    Lee
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  3. DaveG

    DaveG Airbush Analyst Very Likeable!

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    all of the cases from the 20's would have been made out of wood, and wrapped with leather textured paper. Some would be snap closure, some had sliding clasps partially built into the case wall. The red case you have there (made by the Ideal case co.) would be more in line with 40's, 50's production. Late 50's, 60's cases had sharper corners, and a flat top vs. the camel back of the earlier ones. Same color red, though. Most of the 30's had black cases, also made by Ideal, but slimmer in design.

    20's production would have had a resin handle - pretty sure yours is aluminum.

    I have one of these too, and I am pretty sure it was never used. Came in a cardboard case with a red leather textured covering, with an embossed black and gold foil TC seal on the cover/top. No idea on age... only case I have ever seen like it.
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  4. Kim McCann

    Kim McCann Mac-Valve Maestro!

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    This is a resin/bakelite handle. No aluminum. So that would be 20s.

    But then other things indicate a later make, maybe late 40s early 50s.

    There are two red case types from Ideal I have found in my travels, one with a gold trim and one with no trim, from the 30s and 40s-50s respectively. At least so I have been led to believe. So again, some indeterminism in the date.. No trim, so 40s or 50s. I'm not entirely convinced this is the original case however, as inside it was the envelope for spare parts for a model A, and this is clearly not a model A.

    So there are strong indications for both 20s and late 40s/early 50s. As I said, it's a bit of a puzzler.

    What I likely have here is a frankenbrush, with some original stuff from the 20s, and then some aftermarket stuff or repairs done much later. That's my best guess. Given the resin handle, and the original postage stamp date, that's around 1925 - 1930, but then there is a cup from the late 30s, the case looks like the late 40s, and there is another second postage stamp from 52.

    The only thing I can think of is that at some point, maybe it was sent in for repairs, quite a few years down the road? So there may be parts here spanning over 20 years.

    I can see that looking at some of my Iwata brushes. I have an Iwata eclipse from 1992, and still use it today in 2020 but it has had more than a few parts replaced over the years.

    The only thing that makes me think it is on the younger side really is the case, and the absolutely remarkable condition of the airbrush. It's almost like, as yours, it was never used. Some scuffing on the bakelite handle, but other than that, not a scratch on it. The needle needed refinishing, and had a bit of old paint on it, but even that was in remarkable condition.
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  5. Kim McCann

    Kim McCann Mac-Valve Maestro!

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    Ah... that's what that was... I thought it was some kind of waxed cloth inside the box. It was really brittle and old, and heavily stained. It kind of fell apart. It was thicker than ordinary waxed paper, and had a sort of wrinkly texture, so I thought it was cloth or something like that. I expect that packing must have been used until quite late then, if this is actually from the late 40s or 50s.
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  6. DaveG

    DaveG Airbush Analyst Very Likeable!

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    I just checked, mine has serial # 3557B. I don't suspect they made near as many of the B's as they did with he A's... Unlike the A's, the B maintained the same handle style though it's production range. You sure about handle material on yours?

    The envelope is what they shipped air valve seals in.There was usually 12 included in the envelope, and they would have fit all models. I have a couple of unopened ones I have picked up along the way.
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  7. Kim McCann

    Kim McCann Mac-Valve Maestro!

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    Yup. Was the first thing I checked, unscrewed it for cleaning and to check the internal parts. No metal at all in the handle. Pure resin. If they maintained the handle style over the production range, maybe they kept the material the same too. I mean, if it ain't broke, why fix it? Right?

    I did have that waxy / textured paper tho, but then clearly the case is wrong for the period.

    I just checked, and there is no way that can be the original case. The brush doesn't fit into the metal clasps. It's clearly a case for a model A.
  8. DaveG

    DaveG Airbush Analyst Very Likeable!

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    Here are some cases - The tan colored one contained a brush (model A) from the mid 1920's (pre-removable head base). The case is cardboard, paper hinged, so they did not survive well. I have a few black ones made the same way, as well. The slim black camel back case has a sticker inside the cover dating it as an anniversary edition from 1938 (it is an Ideal Case Co. product). I've got to dig a few more of the early 1920's cases out - one has the brush standing up, so is very slim front to back, and has a sliding metal lock mech on the front. Paper hinges, so they fall apart easily.

    That is one of my Model B's in the red case - cardboard with paper wrap. I think it is from the 1930's.

    DSC_9482.jpg

    These would be the three additional styles before they went to a plastic case in the 70's. No gold trim, gold trim, and lastly, square corners and flat top. I have a gold trimmed case in original box with serial numbers that included an original sales receipt from 1953 (brush is probably mid-1940's). The flat top cases belonged to the generation of Model A's that came with the tapered, slim rear handle.

    DSC_9485.jpg
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  9. Kim McCann

    Kim McCann Mac-Valve Maestro!

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    Those are in beautiful condition. I have a couple of the slim body model As that came with the hump back case but no gold trim. More of a scarlet than a blood red, and the handles were blue anodized aluminum. I placed them late 80s and I think the cases were an anniversary edition or something because the cases were plastic by that point.

    I am certain now mine is a frankenbrush. mix and match things from over a 27 year period and put in the wrong case. The collector that sold it to me might have just grabbed a case he had on hand. Def 20s handle, but so many other indications of newer parts.


    I'd love to see your mighty collection in person some day. LOL. Dave Gs travelling airbrush museum!

    Sent from my SM-N920W8 using Tapatalk
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  10. DaveG

    DaveG Airbush Analyst Very Likeable!

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    Mine is also resin handle. As you mentioned earlier, they may have always been.

    Blue handles? you got a shot of those anywhere? I have long suspected that most of the Chicago based brushes, specifically Thayer, Badger, and Binks all shared a common contractor, and shared parts after changes in any particular line. Badgers first handles were blue...
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  11. Kim McCann

    Kim McCann Mac-Valve Maestro!

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    Here are two, they appear to be exactly the same model, the first one is in a bit better condition.

    One came in a broken plastic case, so 70s or 80s, maybe later. The other came in a red hump back case with gold trim, but it was a MUCH brighter red, like bright scarlet. Sadly, the case did not survive my last move. I think I still have the lid somewhere if I can find it. Smooth, not textured like the older ones. T&C branding inside the lid. So I assumed it was maybe a special promo case or something. No idea of the date, but based on old catalogs, I am thinking maybe 80s.

    You can see the handle is a midnight blue and extra pointy. It is anodized aluminum with a dark blue coating with just a hint of sparkle. I hope the pics show it well.

    TandCblue1.jpg

    Attached Files:

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  12. DaveG

    DaveG Airbush Analyst Very Likeable!

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    Ah ok, that is just a shift in the anodized color - it was supposed to be black. As PH changes in the dye bath, you can get color shifts. I have several of those handles that look like that, as well. My very first TC Model A was that style, purchased in late 80's. It was used though, so I can't recall the case, if there even was one. I purchased it from someone I worked with. I have a dozen or so plastic cases that would have been used through the 70's and 80's (most in horrid condition) It is crazy how often they changed, if you think about it
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
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  13. Kim McCann

    Kim McCann Mac-Valve Maestro!

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    Ah, so they were meant to be black and just color shifted over the years or due to changes in the chemical bath. I like how they aged then better than black. It gives them a kind of sparkle. I think you are right about the Chicago groups sharing a common contractor. Badger handles are remarkably similar in shape and have the same threading, and some of the parts are interchangeable even before the buyout. Some of the trigger parts on my 40s Paasche brushes are indistinguishable from the T&C parts. I've even cannibalized Paasche triggers to repair T&C ones. So I think you are spot on. A common contractor would explain all of that.
  14. DaveG

    DaveG Airbush Analyst Very Likeable!

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    I have a photo someplace (found it, and added it to this post), where I laid out Thayer Chandler Model A's - with the oldest on the bottom. With each alteration in build that I could identify whether number of serrations around the head or air valve, or the knurling on the spring retainer, handle shape, etc, I would add another to the line. To the left of the line of TC's I placed the very first Badger Model 100, which came to life right when TC went to the tapered handle. To the right, is a line of Binks Raven brushes, that actually use the very same body blank as the TC Model A. There are some machining differences, but the same jigs would have been capable of holding both. The Binks Raven came to be at the same time TC started tapering the front half of the brush body... It is basically a manufacturing timeline :)

    badger family portrait.jpg
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  15. Kim McCann

    Kim McCann Mac-Valve Maestro!

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    Wonderful shot. Yeah, you can't look at this and the remarkable similarities without knowing that there were a lot of shared resources involved along the line. Aside from some minor cosmetic changes, they could be the same models.
  16. DaveG

    DaveG Airbush Analyst Very Likeable!

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    This is a pair of very early Badges - the first so early that the only branding that was done, is a foil sticker wrapped around the body. They are Thayer Model A's right down to the adjustable regulator heads. In the third round of changes, Badger started pre-setting the regulator heads, and recommended leaving them as set. Soon enough, the feature was removed altogether. The two differences found between them, and a Model A would be the air valve retaining screw, and associated spring, and the weighted bead at the back of the now blue handle. They referred to it as a counterweight, but I see it as a plug they needed to use because the other model they were making was a single action, with a threaded needle chuck screwed into the back of the handle... all the handles had the same through-hole, but the double actions were filled with a plug.

    early badger brushes1.jpg


    Oooops - I forgot one obvious difference between these early Badgers, and Thayer Chandler Model A. They have a teflon needle packing installed from the front. This same sort of seal arrangement is also found in the Binks Raven.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
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  17. Spritz

    Spritz Triple Actioner

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    Wow ! ALL those old airbrushes are beautiful and really cool.

    I did notice one thing that looks very nice and a little different than the newer ones. They all look like the main body is fatter in diameter, which I think may feel a bit more comfortable in the hand. Do they still make replacement parts for those old gems, or are they like so many other great things from the past, just for looking at in a glass case or on a shelve, because no more replacement parts ?
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  18. DaveG

    DaveG Airbush Analyst Very Likeable!

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    hehehehe, it is actually an optical illusion. With the exception of the one in the original post, the Thayer Chandler Model B (which is a larger brush, with a larger diameter body and handle) the rest of them are actually quite small. The Thayer Chandler Model A is quite a bit smaller overall than your typical Japanese airbrush. Wold airbrushes are also an exception, as they are a larger diameter, but basically the same length.

    On some of the Thayer Chandlers, you may get by with substituting with Badger parts, but they are not really the same. They don't have the same quality, or precision as the older stuff had. I am not sure about Kim, but I consider my entire collection to be usable at any given time. There are very, very few brushes that I own that I would not be comfortable with grabbing to work with on any given day. That is what they were made for ;).

    Here's an older photo I snapped to help illustrate the size of some of them...
    Top to bottom: 2000's Badger 100
    1990's Iwata HP-B
    1943 Wold A-2
    2000's Iwata HP-B+
    1980's Thayer Chandler Model A
    1980's Holbein Y-2
    1950's Thayer Chandler Model A
    2000's Grafo T-1
    1940's Paasche V

    relative size1.jpg
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  19. Kim McCann

    Kim McCann Mac-Valve Maestro!

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    My hobby is finding old vintage airbrushes and restoring them to their former glory, and actually USING them. They don't just get to sit in a glass case around here. However, admittedly, my modern microns get more use than anything else, but I still love the feel of some of the older airbrushes. Something about the machining makes them a pleasure to use, and my hands don't get as tired.

    That being said, parts can be a challenge. It depends on the part however. Many of the Paasche parts have modern equivalents that are workable, and some of the badger stuff fits on older T&C brushes, but some parts are rarer than hen's teeth. I've had to machine some replacement parts over the years, and I pretty much scour auction sites and estate sales looking for old parts, or broken down ones that I can strip for parts. Some are easier to find than others.

    @DaveG helped me by getting measurements for a Wold plunger for the air valve the other day, so I could have one made. I have a lot of Thayer and Chandler parts here in my studio, as I collect them, but it's not like I am placing an order for them on Amazon. It's pretty much what you can find in old shops and from auctions or what you can make. Dave has a mightier collection than I, and I think he too has to machine parts from time to time.

    But... some models are compatible parts-wise with their modern descendants, at least some of the most common ones... Paasche comes to mind.

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