For its rabid followers, Michael Williams' blog, A Continuous Lean, is the preeminent guide to classic Americana. A publicist by day and an avid collector of stuff, Williams started the blog a year and a half ago as an experiment, and it stuck. "A lot of what ends up on the site isn't really thought out, it's just stuff that I'm into," he says. "I have just always been naturally curious and I've always been really interested in where things were made and how they developed. Products, especially old ones, were all born out of necessity, and people are starting to appreciate the history of things." A few weeks ago, Williams paid a visit to our offices, so we returned the favor (or more like invited ourselves) and dropped by his pad, which looks out over a sea of World Trade Center construction in Manhattan. He served us drinks in Springer Spaniel glasses, and made us feel right at home. Photographed by Mike Vorrasi
Click a photo to view
"This is just the crap that is sitting on my table."
"This was my college collection. I have the largest collection of plaid thermoses of any straight man on the planet. I would buy these on eBay and it was a fucking huge problem. I got obsessed. People would laugh when they saw all of it, so I knew I had to stop."
"These are called bullet pencils. They're from the Midwest, and all farmers used to use them. They're made to be put in your pocket. Everyone used to make them as souvenirs, but not anymore. Look how many I have, and I always still want to buy them."
"I have thermos issues. I don't even really use them."
"The flag was a total steal. It's from the 1940s. It only has 48 states. I bought it at flea market for $10. The rule is that it is worth it to get up early and go to the flea market."
"This is from Andy Beach, who does the blog Reference Library, from the show that he did for Kiosk. It's from Workers from Japan. I'm going to frame it. Andy's like my blog mentor."
"I hate plastic and I always say I want to live in a world with out plastic, but you can't. Or I love the old romantic idea of going to a store and leaving with a package wrapped in brown paper, but I still love my iPhone, too."
"I had a dream about these name plates, then woke up at three in the morning and got on the computer and found a company in Ft. Worth that makes them. I had them made for some of my cousins and friends."
"These are like $10 bucks and you buy them at the hardware store. I'm coming out with a bag line, with bags similar to this made from waxed canvas and Harris Tweed."
"Proof of my corduroy club membership. They're in Brooklyn and have meetings where you have to wear corduroy. I only went once. We got really drunk, and I was wearing head to toe corduroy: a corduroy suite and a corduroy tie. Their symbol is a whale."
"Nobody really knows about this, maybe I shouldn't even talk about it. These are reminders, you write a note, like a to-do list, and when you're done you just tear it off. These things come up on eBay like once a year."
"I update the blog about once a day, if I ever could do it more, I would. It started as a hobby, it's very personal but it's not about my life. I don't think people would give a shit about my life. I wouldn't give a shit about my life."
"I like it down here because it doesn't feel like New York. If you go over to Battery Park, it's like suburbia over there, and there's a giant movie theatre that no one's ever at."
"I bought that on eBay, but I get most of my stuff from flea markets. People on eBay know about that kind of stuff."
"A friend gave Lancey to me, because I'd had a puppy that died at seven months old. My friend lives in Texas and her dog had puppies, so she literally sent Lancey to me on Continental. She called me and was like 'Go to Newark, I got something for you.'"