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Heirlooms and traditions are meant to be protected and respected. They’re what help connect all the different generations in your family tree with a shared heritage. Not only that, but they’re often very physical reminders of the people we love who have passed on.

Bored Panda has collected some of the most impressive and unusual examples of family heirlooms ever from all around the internet. It’s proof that you don’t have to inherit a chest full of jewels and gold doubloons for something to be valuable. Scroll down to see what some families’ legacies look like.

Bored Panda reached out to Jodi Wellman, MAPP, for a chat about leaving behind heirlooms and positive legacies for our heirs. She was kind enough to answer our questions and you'll find her insights as you read on! Wellman is a speaker, author, and leadership coach, as well as the founder of 'Four Thousand Mondays.'

#1

My Uncle's 56-Year-Old Tortoise, Which He Inherited From My Grandparents

My Uncle's 56-Year-Old Tortoise, Which He Inherited From My Grandparents

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Many of us have lots of possessions that we could potentially pass on to our relatives because we think they're valuable. However, some of those items might be clutter that we simply have a hard time letting go of because we've been around it for so long. We asked Wellman, the founder of 'Four Thousand Mondays,' about how we can tell if an object is truly meaningful.

"From a practical standpoint, if you're unsure of the financial value of an item, get an expert to appraise it. For most of us, we're more concerned with the emotional value of an item, and we need to learn to be okay that we probably won't offend the ghosts of our ancestors if we donate their lace tablecloths," she told Bored Panda in an email. 

"When in doubt, play the 'Will I Regret This' game with yourself; if you donate Uncle Hector's hubcap collection, for example, will you wake up with a sinking feeling of regret? Or will you generally feel okay with yourself? If it's not worth much, donate it or sell it and get it out of the house."

#2

Tool Shrine I Built To Showcase My Father's And Grandfather's Tools I Inherited

Tool Shrine I Built To Showcase My Father's And Grandfather's Tools I Inherited

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#3

A Family Member Passed Away And I Inherited Their Cat

A Family Member Passed Away And I Inherited Their Cat

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According to Wellman, one of the best ways to determine if we should keep something that we think is precious is to ask the person we're saving it for. This cuts out a lot of guesswork and gets straight to the center of the issue. You could, for instance, ask them: "Would you like your great-grandmother's tea set from 1912?" 

"If your apparent heirs roll their eyes, maybe you sell the tea set at a consignment store. Ask your next of kin what they'd like to hold onto for sentimental or financial reasons, and then purge what you can muster."

Wellman explained to Bored Panda that we don't need fancy things to pass down to our heirs. "A positive legacy is a transmission of personal values; it's how others approach their lives as a result of having gotten to experience us," she said.

#4

My Paternal Great-Grandfather, Harry, Proposed To My Great-Grandmother, Edith, With This Five-Stone Opal Engagement Ring Full Of Fire. I Inherited It After My Grandmother Passed Away In 1990

My Paternal Great-Grandfather, Harry, Proposed To My Great-Grandmother, Edith, With This Five-Stone Opal Engagement Ring Full Of Fire. I Inherited It After My Grandmother Passed Away In 1990

Not sure of the year they married, but my grandfather was born (in wedlock) in 1908, so the ring and box are 113+ years old! The box is as fascinating as the ring. It is leather, velvet-lined, hinged, and secured with a latch hook. Most importantly to me, inside the ring, alongside the Maker's Marks, is the inscription "With Harry's Love".

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#6

I Just Inherited An 1864 Steinway & Sons Style 1 Rococo Grand Piano

I Just Inherited An 1864 Steinway & Sons Style 1 Rococo Grand Piano

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Tamra
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1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

So, I did a little research, and this particular piano could be worth upward of $90,000, possibly more.

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"Think about how people will remember and be influenced by your character, the examples you set, your ethics, the stories you told, the paths you paved for others, the things you built and contributed, the knowledge you shared, the silly idiosyncrasies, the way you made people feel after you left the room."

For some deep dives about living life to the fullest, feel free to take a look at Wellman's 'Four Thousand Mondays' website. You can also use her calculator to see how many Mondays you have left to live. It quickly helps put your goals and priorities into perspective.

#7

My Grandma's Prized Calamondin Orange Tree, Which I Inherited. She Passed Away Last Week

My Grandma's Prized Calamondin Orange Tree, Which I Inherited. She Passed Away Last Week

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#8

My Grandfather's Pencil Sharpener Collection I Inherited

My Grandfather's Pencil Sharpener Collection I Inherited

Some backstory behind this: my grandfather died before I was born. My family always told me how genuinely nice and cool he was, even to strangers. Growing up, whenever I visited my grandparents' house, I would see a shelf proudly displaying his collection. My grandmother passed away when I was 18 or 19, and none of my father's six siblings or my father himself were going to claim the collection of sharpeners. I couldn't let it go to waste.

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#9

Inherited This From My Grandpa. He Bought It New

Inherited This From My Grandpa. He Bought It New

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Jrog
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

1978-79 Chevrolet Camaro. Sells for about $15-20k depending on the condition.

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No matter how wonderful or extravagant inheritances can be, they can be emotionally messy and physically tiring to sort out. First of all, you’re likely still mourning the loss of a loved one. If you were particularly close, you will need lots of time and support to accept what has happened, to heal, and continue living your life. So, you’re probably not even thinking about what heirlooms they left you in their will. 

Another issue is that even if you loved someone very dearly, you still most likely might have to give up some of the things they left you. Unless you have a very large home or you’re blessed with plenty of storage, you couldn’t possibly accommodate every tiny little thing they were sentimental about, from furniture and photo albums to hobby knick-knacks and a hundred different dolls they collected.

#10

This Miniature Leather-Bound Library Of Classics I Inherited From A Friend, All No Bigger Than My Palm

This Miniature Leather-Bound Library Of Classics I Inherited From A Friend, All No Bigger Than My Palm

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#11

Went From A 2-Person Backpacking Tent To This 1981 Pop-Up Trailer That I Inherited From My Grandpa. Feels So Elegant

Went From A 2-Person Backpacking Tent To This 1981 Pop-Up Trailer That I Inherited From My Grandpa. Feels So Elegant

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#12

My Grandparents Had This Lamp In Their House Since At Least The Early 70s. Pretty Sure It Was A Ceiling Lamp At One Time, But I Inherited It And Kept It As A Desk Lamp

My Grandparents Had This Lamp In Their House Since At Least The Early 70s. Pretty Sure It Was A Ceiling Lamp At One Time, But I Inherited It And Kept It As A Desk Lamp

To my surprise, it’s made from uranium glass.

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If your relative was a particularly energetic collector (or had a gentle inclination toward hoarding), you might find yourself having to sort through boxes and boxes of things.

Some of these items might be historically valuable, and you’d like to keep them. Others might have had a deep sentimental value to their original owner that might be lost on you.

But the reality is that many of the things you’ve inherited may have no real place in your home. You might not want them, or they might simply not (physically) fit at home. And holding on to hundreds of things out of guilt is no way to go through life.

Some of the items you find while sorting through your loved one’s home might be worth selling or donating to charity if they’re in good enough condition. Others, inevitably, might have to be thrown away… or subtly given to your other relatives to see if they’d like them.

#13

Made A Bar Of Soap Out Of My Father-In-Law’s Inherited 110-Year-Old Soap Press For His Birthday (Stanley Soap Co. Est. 1865, NYC)

Made A Bar Of Soap Out Of My Father-In-Law’s Inherited 110-Year-Old Soap Press For His Birthday (Stanley Soap Co. Est. 1865, NYC)

Stanley is indeed their family name. His great-grandfather was John T. Stanley, who emigrated from England to the United States in 1860 at the age of 17. He was skilled in soap and candle making at the time however, his first job was in collecting animal fat from around the city. Now my history of how he parlayed this trade into soap making is a bit hazy at the moment but I’ll be sure to get the full story after we blow out some candles on my father-in-law’s cake.

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Lunaofthenest (She/they)
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It sure is in good condition! That's kind of a neat little piece of history & seems to work well!

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#14

Authentic 1910 Singer Sewing Machine Inherited From My Great-Grandmother. Still Works

Authentic 1910 Singer Sewing Machine Inherited From My Great-Grandmother. Still Works

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#15

My Best Friend Passed Away Unexpectedly A Few Months Ago. We Were Both Hardcore Gamers And I Inherited His Tangible Collection And Added It To My Much Smaller One And Made A Tribute To Him

My Best Friend Passed Away Unexpectedly A Few Months Ago. We Were Both Hardcore Gamers And I Inherited His Tangible Collection And Added It To My Much Smaller One And Made A Tribute To Him

Some of these things he had since he was barely out of diapers. There are so many gems here.

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AARP suggests going through your family photo albums one at a time to figure out which pictures your relatives may want to keep in the future. From our perspective, all photos are valuable. However, from a practical standpoint, you need to prioritize what you leave behind if you have dozens and dozens of albums.

The same goes for toys, furniture, artwork, etc.: ideally, you sort out what’s worth keeping from what you have a superficial attachment to. It really helps if you have someone you care about by your side as you’re doing some spring cleaning. Another perspective is often helpful. 

#16

I Just Inherited This Moon Globe From My Late Grandmother. The Far Side Has A Blank Area As It Was Still Unknown When The Globe Was Made

I Just Inherited This Moon Globe From My Late Grandmother. The Far Side Has A Blank Area As It Was Still Unknown When The Globe Was Made

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#17

Great-Great-Grandmother's Necklace

Great-Great-Grandmother's Necklace

By request, here is the other piece of jewelry from my great-great-grandmother!  Unfortunately, there are no maker marks on this one or that's the case, either.

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#18

A Massive Wrench I Inherited. Weighs Over 30 Pounds. Novelty Or Functional?

A Massive Wrench I Inherited. Weighs Over 30 Pounds. Novelty Or Functional?

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At the end of the day, you choose what to do with your inheritance. If you’ve been handed down a gorgeous signet ring, massive family photo album, gilded spellbook, stylish car, high-quality tools, or a magical sword, then everything’s pretty clear: you take good care of these items until you can pass them on to the next generation.

In this case, it’s very obvious that these items have a long and storied history that’s worth preserving.

#20

A Masonic Ball That My Grandma Handed Down To Me After Passing

A Masonic Ball That My Grandma Handed Down To Me After Passing

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#21

First I Inherited An Awesome Tankard. Now I Get This Cocktail Shaker With An Awesome Twist

First I Inherited An Awesome Tankard. Now I Get This Cocktail Shaker With An Awesome Twist

It allows you to select which cocktail you want to make, and it even tells you which ingredients and quantities you need.

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It can be a huge help if the person leaving behind their things mentions what is and isn’t important and why in their will. It’s easy to assume that absolutely everyone will know not to throw away a respected family heirloom, but not everyone might know their own history in such detail.

If the heirloom is slightly unusual (like a vintage toaster, quality iron waffle maker, or old-timey radio), you might need some guidance and a gentle reminder that what you have is genuinely good, even if it doesn’t glitter like gold.

#22

I Inherited This Toaster From The 1920s Around 10 Years Ago And It Has Worked Great Every Single Day

I Inherited This Toaster From The 1920s Around 10 Years Ago And It Has Worked Great Every Single Day

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martymcmatrix
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That's a handy design, because I could use my index finger to monitor the toasting process by applying a gentle pressure on the bread, but that requires a lot of dexterity...👉🏽 🍞 👈🏽

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#23

I Just Inherited This From My Late Grandfather And I've Not Smiled This Much Since He Left

I Just Inherited This From My Late Grandfather And I've Not Smiled This Much Since He Left

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#24

I Inherited This Handmade Gold Ring After My Father Passed. My Mom Told Me It's Been Passed Through The Family For 400 Years. I've Never Known What It Says, Nor Did He

I Inherited This Handmade Gold Ring After My Father Passed. My Mom Told Me It's Been Passed Through The Family For 400 Years. I've Never Known What It Says, Nor Did He

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All that being said, it’s a reminder that you shouldn’t rely just on your will to remind everyone that your family has an important legacy to preserve. It’s very important to maintain this living knowledge throughout your life. A big part of that is doing research into your family’s roots, recounting stories from the past, and maintaining family traditions.

#25

I Inherited A Century-Old Cast Iron Waffle Maker This Christmas. It Still Cooks Amazing Waffles

I Inherited A Century-Old Cast Iron Waffle Maker This Christmas. It Still Cooks Amazing Waffles

It’s not quite 100, but it will be in the next year. My great-grandfather purchased it new. I remember eating waffles fresh out of it at my grandmother’s house thirty years ago. My mom has had it for the past fifteen years and decided to gift it to me this Christmas, as she knows I love cast iron cookery.

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Multa Nocte
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Truly awesome! I would so love to have breakfast from something like this!

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#27

My 100-Year-Old Grandma Died In January And I Inherited Her Recipes. We Were Really Close, Shared A Love Of Cooking And I Am Excited To Try Them Out! First Up Is Her Coffee Cake Recipe

My 100-Year-Old Grandma Died In January And I Inherited Her Recipes. We Were Really Close, Shared A Love Of Cooking And I Am Excited To Try Them Out! First Up Is Her Coffee Cake Recipe

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HI, I'M A SHOUTY MAN
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That's one of my projects to do - print out, write, cut out, whatever, just make a big folder of all my favourite recipes.

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Now, the family traditions themselves don’t have to be anything overly elaborate—though they can be! What’s important is that your family has traditions and you all get together, not the specific details of how you do things. Getting together for a meal every Sunday can be a wonderful tradition.

It might even eventually turn your pancake pan or waffle maker into veterans of a thousand brunches and highly coveted heirlooms. However, keep in mind that the items themselves have to be made of quality materials and with excellent craftsmanship to stand the test of time.

#28

My Grandmother Gifted Me With This Ring A Few Years Before She Passed Away. I Loved It Because It Was From Her, And Because It Was Totally Strange

My Grandmother Gifted Me With This Ring A Few Years Before She Passed Away. I Loved It Because It Was From Her, And Because It Was Totally Strange

Recently, I showed my mom and aunt (her daughters), and neither had ever seen it before. I'm guessing it's a treasure my grandfather brought home from his Navy or Merchant Marine adventures. Initially, I thought it was costume jewelry, goldtone cloisonne. However, I recently discovered it's 22k solid gold, enamel-painted, made in Spain in the 1940s or 1950s, which is why I think my grandfather had a hand in this. My grandmother likely gifted it to me because I'm a total water, beach, boat, and fish lover! I've never seen anything like it, but I'm hoping someone else has. Isn't he funky and fierce? Look at those teeth!

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#29

Inherited My Great-Grandmother's Crystal Ball

Inherited My Great-Grandmother's Crystal Ball

This crystal ball was passed down from my great-grandmother to my nana and now to me. It’s my most prized possession that I can’t stop looking at. I also love the stand that my nana got - three meerkats!

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#30

I Inherited This Perfume Bottle Necklace When My Mom Passed Away. I Think She Wore It In The 70s. And I Just Found Out It Has A Secret - This Pointy, Mini Arrow-Looking Thing Comes Out

I Inherited This Perfume Bottle Necklace When My Mom Passed Away. I Think She Wore It In The 70s. And I Just Found Out It Has A Secret - This Pointy, Mini Arrow-Looking Thing Comes Out

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River Daski
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

i clicked through to the original post, and it's a perfume bottle :3 the arrow bit is a dipper

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Which of the heirlooms that we’ve featured in this post impressed you the most, dear Pandas? What are the most interesting things that you’ve inherited from your family? What are the coolest things you hope to leave behind for your kids? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

#31

When My Grandfather Passed Away I Inherited This. Needs Some Work But My Grandpa Had Good Taste

When My Grandfather Passed Away I Inherited This. Needs Some Work But My Grandpa Had Good Taste

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Jrog
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

1969 Ford Mustang in lime gold/lime green. The (fake) hood scoop was exclusive to the Mach 1 line, but AFAIK the Mach 1 also came with distinctive paint job (a black stripe for the lime color)

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#32

I Inherited These Vintage Drawing Tools From My Grandpa. It Probably Belonged To My Great-Grandpa. It Came With A Vintage "How To Sketch" Book

I Inherited These Vintage Drawing Tools From My Grandpa. It Probably Belonged To My Great-Grandpa. It Came With A Vintage "How To Sketch" Book

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#33

This Lovely Vintage Pendant Was Just Passed Down To Me From My Grandmother. Rose Quartz And Amethyst. It Has A Secret Compartment

This Lovely Vintage Pendant Was Just Passed Down To Me From My Grandmother. Rose Quartz And Amethyst. It Has A Secret Compartment

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#34

I Inherited A Neat Lion's Head Cane With A Secret Compartment Containing A Glass Vial For... Storage

I Inherited A Neat Lion's Head Cane With A Secret Compartment Containing A Glass Vial For... Storage

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#35

Today Is My Daughter's 5th Birthday, And Today She Inherited My Beloved Childhood Dollhouse

Today Is My Daughter's 5th Birthday, And Today She Inherited My Beloved Childhood Dollhouse

All ready for the birthday girl! I've been fixing up all the furniture and making new bits for it for the last few weeks. Kitchen, as a surprise for me, my amazing brother carefully dismantled the whole house, packed it up, and shipped it over to our UK home from Canada where it had been in storage. Master, still have to fix up the baby's cot which will go with the rocker. My sister-in-law made the tufted rug. In the living room, the rug is a squirrel skin my mother was gifted in the 5th grade from a boy who had a crush on her. Bathroom! the majority of the furniture (and the house itself) was purchased in Germany in the early '90s when my military dad was posted there (we lived there for 5 years.) In the kids' room, my mum has made the bunks new bedding since this photo was taken. The cars for the car mat are buttons. And in the entryway, the lights are strings of fairy lights with the battery packs strategically hidden. I didn't want to do anything too permanent, so they're just taped up for now.

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#37

My Grandfather Was Stationed In Italy During World War II. He Picked This Up For My Grandmother. I Was Lucky To Inherit This From Them After They Passed Away

My Grandfather Was Stationed In Italy During World War II. He Picked This Up For My Grandmother. I Was Lucky To Inherit This From Them After They Passed Away

My birthstone is sapphire as well, so this is extra special to me. 
We even had our house robbed, but they missed it, thank goodness.

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#38

Today We Inherited My Boyfriend's Grandfather’s Vinyl Collection

Today We Inherited My Boyfriend's Grandfather’s Vinyl Collection

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#39

My New Keystone Olympic Standard 8 Mm Film Video Camera, Inherited From My Great-Grandfather

My New Keystone Olympic Standard 8 Mm Film Video Camera, Inherited From My Great-Grandfather

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#40

This 1985 Spirit Of St. Louis Field Radio Was Passed Down To Me From My Grandpa

This 1985 Spirit Of St. Louis Field Radio Was Passed Down To Me From My Grandpa

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#41

Inherited A Vanity Desk Built In 1870, Previously Owned By My Great-Grandmother, Grandmother, And Mother. I Am Grateful

Inherited A Vanity Desk Built In 1870, Previously Owned By My Great-Grandmother, Grandmother, And Mother. I Am Grateful

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Alicia M
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I would love to inherit something like that. Hope you enjoy it.

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#42

This Tiny Pocket Knife I Inherited From My Grandfather

This Tiny Pocket Knife I Inherited From My Grandfather

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User# 6
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Handy if you ever find yourself in a position where you need to peel a grape.

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#43

My Friend Showed Me An Envelope Of Photographs He Inherited From His Father Who Worked On The Bomb

My Friend Showed Me An Envelope Of Photographs He Inherited From His Father Who Worked On The Bomb

His father was not the photographer - the photographs were mailed to him from the infamous "PO Box 1663" in Santa Fe and were taken at Bikini Atoll.

His dad went to Notre Dame, MIT, and USC, and had degrees in chemical engineering, architectural engineering, and nuclear physics.

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#44

My Grandpa's Razor I Inherited. Used To Shave With Him (Without Razor In) When Little. 25 Years Later, I'm Here, Cleaned It Up And Threw a New Razor In. 1940s Gold Plated DE

My Grandpa's Razor I Inherited. Used To Shave With Him (Without Razor In) When Little. 25 Years Later, I'm Here, Cleaned It Up And Threw a New Razor In. 1940s Gold Plated DE

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nm (he/him)
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If I remember well you open the blade protector, to change the blade, by turning the bottom of the handle.

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#45

Just Inherited My Great-Grandmother's Kitchen Aid (Hobart) A-9 Coffee Grinder. This Model Was Discontinued In 1947, But It Still Helped Make A Great Cup Of Coffee This Morning

Just Inherited My Great-Grandmother's Kitchen Aid (Hobart) A-9 Coffee Grinder. This Model Was Discontinued In 1947, But It Still Helped Make A Great Cup Of Coffee This Morning

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#48

I Inherited David Clark Headsets After My Dad Passed Away. My Dad Used Them Flying Helicopters In The Army

I Inherited David Clark Headsets After My Dad Passed Away. My Dad Used Them Flying Helicopters In The Army

My dad used them while flying helicopters in the Army, then in the National Guard. I adapted them for use when I maintenance taxi commercial aircraft for a major airline. They still sound great and will probably outlast me as well.

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Stephanie A Mutti
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I had to turn mine back in to the Air Force and I wish I had just paid the cost of "losing" them because Dave Clarks are AMAZING

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#49

This Is A Polaroid 800 Land Camera From The Late 1950s. I Inherited It From My Aunt In 2007

This Is A Polaroid 800 Land Camera From The Late 1950s. I Inherited It From My Aunt In 2007

I used it decoratively until I realized that it accepted 4x5 sheet film without modification. Now, it's my go-to, large-format film camera.

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#50

I Inherited My Grandmother's Pencil Sharpener From My Aunt About Five Years Ago And This Beast Has Been Tirelessly Working In My Classroom For Three Years

I Inherited My Grandmother's Pencil Sharpener From My Aunt About Five Years Ago And This Beast Has Been Tirelessly Working In My Classroom For Three Years

I teach 5th and 6th grade math.
I have no idea how old it is, but it's certainly older than all the students and even some of the teachers.

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Upstaged75
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My mom was an art teacher and she still has an old crank type pencil sharpener mounted in her house. It's made of cast iron and is a total beast. :)

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