Monthly Archives: May 2016

Willis Supply

Willis Supply, a subsidiary of Willis Supply of Knoxville, opened its office at 801 East Main Street in 1960.  Its manager was Manford Willis, a native of Kingsport.  The company wholesaled electrical, plumbing and boating supplies.

This is plastic specialty piece that fitted over the dial of your rotary phone.

It has what look like three badly placed thin pieces of paperboard on the back, perhaps there to stabilize the piece. The notch in the lower right accommodated the finger stop (actual name).
I haven’t been able to determine when this company closed, but this item would have been pretty much outdated by the mid-1960s, as the  push button phones took over.

In a 1968 ad supplement to the Kingsport Times-News, this company bragged of “Selling GOOD Products in the Best DAMMED Valley in the World”.

Remember the dial tone?




Bays Mountain Golf Course lighter


Look in the dictionary for “rough shape” and you’ll see a picture of this lighter.
It’s a “Mi-Lite Korea” issue, probably early 70s.  The lighter is a little over 1-1/2″ wide and a little over 2″ high.  Altogether, it closely resembles a Zippo.
I can, through back issues of the Kingsport newspaper, find Bays Mountain Golf Course, about 2 miles south of Church Hill, in business in 1964.  It’s mentioned as an attraction for the area.  That location would put it somewhere behind McPheeters Bend School.  I think that’s the land that Bays Mountain Park acquired to extend its hiking trails

This once belonged to Sam Assid, who owned a well-regarded custom furniture/restoration/refinishing shop on East Sullivan Street for ages.



A 2.25″ pen knife.  These were generally given out to customers or potential customers who were a little above the ordinary “hearty handshake” group.  I’ve received several of these over the years, not from auto dealers, mind you.  The blades will cut butter, once or twice.  After that, the joins begin to decouple.
JBR, owned by the Belle family for three decades,  was absorbed by Courtesy Chevrolet in 2010.
I did at least one remote broadcast from JBR on Lynn Garden Drive.  I was in the showroom, facing the street through those big windows.  It was a morning remote and business was slow. At one point, the manager came over and handed me five one-dollar bills.  “Tell ’em that the next five people who come in for a test drive will get a one-dollar bill,” he said, “that’ll bring some in.”
Sure.  I recall that one guy straggled in after I’d put out the word a couple of times.  The rest of the time, I could almost hear the crickets outside.

I can hear Daffy hissing, “Ingrateth!”

General Shale Brick Display


Back in 2011, before the police got touchy about people wandering around the old General Shale property (there had been a LOT of vandalism), I would walk over there with my camera and take pix of stuff lying about.  This is apparently a display showing the different colors that General Shale could product on exposed brick surfaces.  These are all stringers.  No headers are shown, so I don’t know if they were also treated or if these were just for decorator areas.