April 16th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey


Earlier this year, KUOW and MOHAI came up with a list of 25 “objects that tell Seattle’s story.”

They range from the obvious (a Boeing B-17, a poster announcing the Japanese-American internment, a Starbucks coffee cup) to the more obscure (an ancient, giant ground sloth).

A little more recently, SeattlePI.com ran a list of “25 things we miss in Seattle.”

These also ranged from the truly famous (the Lusty Lady sign, Frederick & Nelson’s window displays) to the lesser known (the Woodland Park Zoo’s nocturnal-creatures exhibit).

I’ve got my own list of Seattle pop culture icons. All of them are things I’ve personally seen or owned.

And yes, there are 25 of them. (Why break a routine that works?)

In no particular order, they are:

  1. A Frederick & Nelson shopping bag.
  2. A Dog House place mat.
  3. A J.P. Patches plush doll.
  4. A floppy disc of MS-DOS 1.0.
  5. A P-I vending box.
  6. Dr. Belding Scribner’s first artificial kidney machine.
  7. The Kalakala.
  8. Bud Tutmarc’s pioneering electrified pedal-steel guitar.
  9. A Neptune repertory-cinema calendar.
  10. A KJR “Fab 50” newsletter/record chart.
  11. A mascot costume for “Nordy,” the old Nordstrom children’s shoe department spokescritter.
  12. A first pressing of Nirvana’s Bleach on vinyl.
  13. A work of Northwest Coast native art; or, one of artist Preston Singletary‘s upscale “tributes” to Northwest Coast native art.
  14. A Space Needle ball-point pen.
  15. A set of Peter Bagge-designed “grunge rock pencils.”
  16. A first-edition hardcover of Sophie Frye Bass’s book Pig-Tail Days in Old Seattle.
  17. A Seattle Pilots pennant.
  18. The Pike Place Market mural honoring pre-WWII Japanese-American farmers.
  19. An Amazon.com shipping box with one of the company’s five early logos.
  20. A piece of Kingdome debris.
  21. An Ivar’s Acres of Clams kids’ menu.
  22. A Smith Tower elevator car.
  23. A Washington Mutual savings passbook.
  24. The prototype 747.
  25. A wooden miniature hydroplane.

One Response  
  • Art Marriott (AKA "ArtFart") writes:
    April 17th, 20133:18 pmat

    Clark, you might be interested to know that my wife Alice had the pleasure of getting to know Bud Tutmarc a few years before he passed away. Bud was out walking near his home and stumbled over a curb. Alice happened to be driving by, helped him up and gave him a ride back to his house. She got treated to a live-and-in-person version of the narrative you’ve linked to above, and he also gave her a couple of his CD’s. One thing I find a little fascinating is that Paul Tutmarc and Larry Hammond almost simultaneously hit on the idea of capturing a signal by wrapping a coil of wire around a magnet and placing it near a something made of steel that was in motion–vibrating strings in the electric guitar and bass, and spinning toothed “tonewheels” in the case of Hammond’s organ. If “intellectual property rights” had been dealt with then as they are now, the two of them might have engaged fleets of lawyers in an endless patent fight, neither instrument might have ever been produced, and popular music would have followed a very different evolutionary path.

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