Jumping Off A Cliff and Loving It!

Clarice Cliff Melon

One night as I was casually watching one of my favorite shows, Antiques Roadshow, a little gem went on the appraisal table that gave me that feeling I get when I find the perfect pair of shoes at a price I can afford. In other words, I was drooling. The appraisal was quite informative as they always are on the Roadshow. Actually, as I write this I am watching a rerun of the Roadshow. Anyway, this particular appraisal introduced me to an artist I had never heard of, Clarice Cliff. Above is a picture of one of her designs.

Very art deco, which is one of my favorite eras in terms of design, I love many of her pieces. Not all of her pieces are this vibrant. It depended on who she was designing for, however they are all beautiful. Look at this piece …

clarice cliff 2

This piece is a soup tureen. I love the roundness of it. Very earthy. The colors are so vibrant.

Clarice Cliff was born in 1899 in England and began working at the age of 13 (before those pesky child labor laws apparently). At the age of 17 she was hired by A.J. Wilkinson’s pottery. They eventually realized her potential and skill, giving her her own studio which is where she did some of her best work.

She created some iconic pieces for the Art Deco period. According to the Clarice Cliff website, one of her most famous designs “Bizarre” was launched in 1927.

Original Bizarre pattern tea set

The picture to the right is Clarice.story The signature that you see is what you would look for when collecting her pottery. There are a number of backstamps to keep your eye out for and you can find a good visual list of them here.

Globe Vase - note the handpainting
Globe Vase – note the hand painting
clarice vase
Geometric Vase

Take a good look at this piece. You can see that it is hand-painted. The strokes of the brush are visible under the glaze. She used vibrant colors and shapes that everyone wanted during the 1920s and 1930s.

clarice rodanthe
Teacup set in Rodanthe pattern

Items like this ask a higher price than some of her other work which can look rather bland compared to these cups.

This piece is hers also …

clarice other
Tonquin Red Transferware

Because it lacks the impact of the pieces above, it does not command the kind of prices the other pieces do. It is. however, a Clarice Cliff design and is definitely worth the asking price.

I just want you to be aware that there are other pieces out there that don’t scream Clarice Cliff but nevertheless are her work. What I really fell in love with though was her dynamic period. It was Bold. Bright. The shapes were innovative. She was an amazing designer.

clarice broth
Broth Orange

WTH Is That Thing?

There are many times I am wandering through a thrift store or an antique shop and I come across something that gives me pause. I look at it, pick it up, turn it over, all the while my brain is feverishly trying to figure out what the heck this thing was used for! It never ceases to amaze me when I find out the answer. Let me share a few oddities with you. Maybe some of you may say, “I already knew that!” but I think a few will be as stumped as me.

Let us start out slow. You can almost guess what this item was used for. Almost.  Is it a clamp? Then why does it have open grooves? It can’t be a clamp because when you separate the handle it opens and when you squeeze it, it tightens the tines. You can’t holdmanutranch 2 it together indefinitely … so it can’t be a clamp. It opens fairly wide so it was definitely made to go around something. An early hair implement? Any guesses? Take a look below. But I give fair warning, you will slap your forehead when you realize how simple this tool is and that someone felt the need for such succulent perfection.

Manutranch was this a big problem?
Manutranch was this a big problem?

Look at the multitude of meats that can be perfectly sliced!

This next picture makes me think of “War of the Worlds.” Why, you ask? Take a look at this space age thingy.

vintage juicer

Can’t you just see some little old lady, a cigarette hangs out of her mouth (before they were illegal in the work place), hunching over she pours molten metal into the cone. Pulling the lever with all her might, little metal objects extrude from the holes pinging off the bottom tray. Oh, by the way, I have a really good imagination. Because what this thing actually is (care to take a guess?) …

vintage juicer2

… is a juicer. Not what I was going for but, hey, they need juice in space. Right?! In case they run out of Tang.

Third on my list of WTH is this little number:


Anyone see that movie where all the metal spiders were attacking people? Tom Cruise or someone like that was the leading man? Oh well, either way, that is what this little item reminds me of.  Doesn’t it look like it would just walk off the counter the second you turn off the lights?  Crawl onto your bed before it bore into your ear and through your brain? Just saying. Too many “Blob” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” when I was a kid.

What this gadget actually does is it makes (insert drum roll here) …


French Fries – or any other veggie you want to make into a french fry shape.


What do you think this would be?

Would you believe a hole maker for belts when you need to add a new one? So would I … but that’s not it. How about a medieval torture device? Could be, it does look painful, but nope. Looks terrifying doesn’t it! That must mean it’s a dental instrument… no, not a dental tool.

What it is …


A cherry pitter or stoner much like this one. Beats working it around with your teeth until you “elegantly” spit the cherry and part of the pulp into your hand. Definitely a useful little gadget!


Lastly, I have to add this one because it begs the question why. WTH is this?

Unless you’ve actually used one of these (and I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from wondering about you), you would never in a million years guess what this is.

It’s a square bottle looking thing with a round top that screws down and moves the platform inside downwards.

Did you guess? I bet you still didn’t come close to guessing that this is …


It pretty much speaks for itself, doesn’t it. Why, oh why, someone decided they needed their hard boiled eggs in the shape of a square is beyond me. What I find even more amazing is that a company felt there was real merit in the idea and marketed it. Who knew?!

Well, that is all I have for this week. I hope you have learned something and enjoyed my blog. Keep coming back for more. If you get a chance, check out my vintage store at Vintage Eve’s at Etsy. You never know what you’ll find. Have a great week!

Fun with Hoosiers

Hoosier cabinets, once the staple of the 1920s American kitchen are amazing pieces of architecture. They came in many shapes, sizes and colors but they all had one thing in common, they were incredibly efficient pieces of furniture.

An advertisement for the Hoosier cabinet circa 1930s
An advertisement for the Hoosier cabinet circa 1920s

The name Hoosier came from the Hoosier Manufacturing Company based in Indiana, which is the Hoosier state. Why Indiana is called that is another story which maybe someone from Indiana can enlighten me about; but for our purposes, we are talking about the name that became synonymous with an all-purpose cabinet that had everything the “modern” housewife of the post-civil war household would need at her fingertips. As houses became smaller and servants became more scarce, the housewife of the early 1900’s needed storage. During that time in our history, built-in cabinets were not plentiful. Many preserved items were kept in cellars or pantries which necessitated walking all over the place to get the job of cooking done. That is when the Hoosier cabinet began its climb in popularity.

Old wooden Hoosier with lower bins
Old wooden Hoosier with lower bins

According to Indiana Public Media, the Hoosier cabinet was generally 6 feet tall,  made of wood, usually oak or pine, until the enameled version came out and had a range of gadgets that proved useful. Based on a baker’s bench, there were upper and lower storage areas that held a multitude of kitchen items all at your fingertips. There was usually a flour bin, a place for pots and pans, pull out bins for various spices and more. There was usually a counter-top that bisected the top and bottom storage areas which would extend your counter space. Some of these counters were fixed but some were able to be pulled out or pushed in when you were done.

I have always wanted one of these amazing pieces of American history. I haven’t managed to find the one I want just yet but I will. They come in so many shapes, sizes and materials that it is hard for me to pinpoint exactly what I want. I am partial to the red and white ones, though. Look at how streamlined these pieces were. Take a look at this old advertisement –

Hoosier cabinets

Aqua painted Hoosier with Pyrex bowls
Aqua painted Hoosier with Pyrex bowls

That cabinet has space for pots and pans, flour, a spice rack, dishes and a ton more. That is why they became so popular. But as people began to “modernize” during the thirties and forties, these cabinets began to fall out of favor. People were able to buy canned and prepared foods. They didn’t can as much as they used to. It wasn’t necessary for a woman to be in the kitchen all day baking bread so the need for this piece of efficiency began to wane.

As women began to move into the work force, the Hoosier cabinet became a relic of a past era. But you can’t deny the beauty of the concept itself. Although I can understand not wanting the flour and sugar exposed to bugs and whatnot, as not all of these canisters were airtight; having always lived where counter space was at a premium, I would love one of these in my kitchen. There were lots of items that were made for these cabinets, too which are highly sought after. There were jars and bins, canister sets and much more. You could make your Hoosier cabinet look very put together. Look here for a bunch of different items that you could outfit your Hoosier cabinet with. clambroth

As noted in this shout out to the Washington Post, as the Depression got into full swing, the production of these great workstations fell off and the materials that they were made from were needed for the war effort. By the 1950s some were made but lacked the innovations that made the Hoosier what it was.

Even so, there are a number of these old pieces still out there and some are in great shape. They are not cheap but are well worth the price if you find one in good condition and have the space. Hoosier cabinets are one of those marvels of architecture. Most have good bones, and are genuinely worth their weight in gold just being what they are. As we move into smaller and smaller places, and there are just not enough cabinets, we end up running all around the kitchen looking for this pan and that spice. At least I do. I would love to have it all right there where I can find it.

Wooden Hoosier
Wooden Hoosier

Bowl Me Over

Zephyr RRP
Zephyr RRP

I love bowls. I am not sure why or where it started but when I am in an antique shop or thrift store, I am immediately drawn to kitchen stuff, especially bowls. I have quite a collection. I really love the pottery bowls like the ones shown above. These were a find that I couldn’t pass up, although I did until they suddenly went on sale for half price. I talked the buyer down another $10 and got them for a song. The ones above have an amazing relief of Viking ships being blown by the wind. It is sometimes called the “Zephyr” pattern. They were produced by the Robinson-Ransbottom Pottery Company out of Roseville, Ohio. There are no marks so I had to do a bit of research to find the maker.

One great reference is Cajunc.com. This website helps to identify pottery in a variety of ways. Of course just Googling what marks you can find will begin your search nicely, until the point when you just can’t find what you are looking for.

Close up of relief on Zephyr mixing bowl
Close up of relief on Zephyr mixing bowl

Another bowl that I fell in love with was this one:

McCoy mixing bowl
McCoy Mixing Bowl 1920s

This one I found sitting quietly on a shelf at a favorite antique store. I didn’t really know what it was when I bought it. I have since found out it is a mixing bowl (it’s a baking thing) from the 1920’s made by McCoy. It isn’t marked McCoy on the bottom but “166 USA.” Had I realized what it was when I bought it, I wouldn’t have hemmed and hawed about it. I bought it for $7, it’s worth a lot more than that! Google “girl with watering can McCoy” someday.

The thing is, I use these bowls. I hand wash them when I do but they are just perfect for baking. Go figure. I love it when I can find a use for them.

According to Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles (2011), McCoy is a pottery company that was in business from 1899 when it was established in Roseville, Ohio under the name J.W. McCoy Pottery Co. They produced stoneware and some art pottery. Over time, there was a merger with 2 other potteries which created the Brush-McCoy Pottery Company. Many of the early pottery pieces are not marked. In 1910, the Nelson McCoy Sanitary Stoneware Co. was formed when J.W. McCoy and his son, Nelson, left the Brush-McCoy Company. Most of the pieces marked “McCoy” fall under the Nelson McCoy Company line.¹

Another of my favorites is Pyrex. Almost everyone knows what Pyrex is. The website Pyrexlove.com is a good resource for all things Pyrex. According to Pyrexlove.com, Corning Glass Works introduced Pyrex in 1915. This was the clear Pyrex. Pyrex Flameware for use on the stove top (think coffee pots and sauce pans), was introduced in 1936 and was still being produced in the 70s. The colored Pyrex did not come along until 1947. Here is part of my collection of colored Pyrex bowls. They are all fairly common but I love them and the colors never fail to cheer me up.

Pyrex Colored BowlsThe orange one has a pattern called Butterfly Gold made in the 60s and 70s. The yellow one has a clear bottom embossed Pyrex and was made during the mid-80s. The blue one is from an earlier primary color set manufactured during the 1940s.

I have a few more that I haven’t photographed yet but that doesn’t mean they aren’t loved and used. I am sure I will continue to add to my collection; it is inevitable. The call of all things vintage and kitchen continues to lure me. Just think of all the cakes, cookies, pancakes and eggs that were beaten and stirred to feed families long since changed by time. Amazing.

¹Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles 45th Edition. Ed. Mark Moran. Iola: Krause Publications, 2011. 184-185. Print.