Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Nethercutt Museum

Driving off Highway 405 toward the Nethercutt Museum we passed a large Merle Norman Cosmetic plant. At that time we did not realize there was a connection between Merle Norman and the museum. In 1923 J.B.Nethercutt went to live with his aunt Merle Nethercutt Norman. He later joined her in the family cosmetic business. In 1956 J.B. and his wife started collecting and restoring antique cars. Over the years they collected many different cars from classics to hot rods. The car, in which the lady is seated in the picture above, is one of those restored cars. It was one of the most expensive Packards sold in 1934. The shiny red car with the license plate of "Hussy" is one of over a 100 restored cars showcased in the museum. The next car which caught my eye was the 1928 Diana, manufactured by the Moon Car Company located in St.Louis, Missouri. It is described as a "The Light Straight 8/Sedan Deluxe". In Roman mythology Diana is a goddess of the moon. Appropriately the company thought one of their cars should be called a Diana. The goddess with her bow and arrow is a hood ornament on the car. I found a couple other cars in the museum also made by the Moon Car Company.
We were surprised to find a restored 1938 Pierce-Arrow Travelodge in the museum. A sign near it describes it as the ultimate in travel comfort; complete with a gas heater, beds for four, ice box, and a bathroom. The museum had done a great job in restoring it, considering that its last use was as a chicken coop! Attached to it is a Pierce-Arrow Limousine. Hard to believe that about 76 years ago it was possible to travel in such style!
 The museum also has a rather extensive collection of car headlights, carburetors, horns, spark plugs and hood ornaments. It was of interest to me that the swastika was a mascot, or hood ornament, before Adolf  Hitler started using it as a symbol for his evil empire. For many ancient cultures, even our Native Americans, it was a symbol for good luck, health and happiness. The rest of the Nethercutt Collection, which also includes a variety of musical  devices, is located in another building which we plan on visiting Friday.

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