My apologies for being so long away from the blog. Life had a way of intervening at the end of last year, and I lost someone very dear to me. I decided to ease back into the swing of things with a quick post about a very interesting little gadget that I found in my travels. Usually, I put them in my Vintage Eve’s Etsy store, however, this one was something that I found too invaluable to sell!
This thing is called a “Top Off” and it was produced by the Edlund Company out of Burlington, Vermont. This company came into being in 1928 according to UVM.edu. They were a manufacturer of can openers and other kitchen items; founded by Henry, Oscar, and Walter Edlund.
In 1931, the company had about 75 employees and “five different size can openers, ranging in price from $10 to 75 cents” (UVM.edu). I can’t imagine buying a can opener in 1938 for $10 which would now be the equivalent of $162 in today’s market! That must be a fearsome can opener! But I have to say, this one is still going strong even after all these years.
You just put this beauty on the jar, turn the top piece clockwise to open the sliding sides until the two sides fit over the jar, and then turn counter-clockwise. This simple machine uses the leverage of the handle and the steel grippers to pop the top off any jar I’ve had to open. Works like a charm! And is as solid as the day it was manufactured. This little gadget was developed sometime in the 1940s.
Turns out Edlund is still in business in Vermont, and they continue to produce high-quality kitchen and industrial items. I for one though, down to my vintage soul, will continue to love and use my 1940s Top Off. Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken!
I hope you enjoyed learning a little about this handy little gadget. It will never be in my Etsy store, unless I find another one. Then I may be convinced to sell any others I come across … maybe.
I recently added to the Vintage Eve’s shop, and quickly sold, a lovely little silver-plated toast rack. In researching how to price it, I saw so many pretty toast racks it made me wonder how far back these go? Also, when did they actually start making toast? So of course that led me to when did they decide they needed a rack to stand them up and why?
Here is a picture of the toast rack that started this short jaunt.
The top is a little squished, but it is almost 100-years old, and one must forgive some flaws in a piece that old. Here’s a unique one in Lusterware from the 40s.
According to a New York Times article, toast has been around for awhile. It comes from the Latin “Torrere” which means “to burn.” While burnt toast isn’t the ideal, they actually originally used toast to flavor alcohol. They usually used stale bread that would hold up to toasting in the fire. They had toasting forks so they could hold the toast in the fire until it was just the right color.
The first toast racks seem to have come into existence sometime in the late 1700s, that comes from a mix of different sources. They all seem to agree that the 1770s is about the right time. They were simple devices at the beginning, just wire soldered to a tray type of thing. They got more elaborate as people started using them.
They were used because it kept the toast from getting soggy and the crumbs would get caught in the tray, keeping everything neat and tidy. There are some really wonderful examples of toast racks out there.
People tend to use these as letter holders these days, or they did until email took the place of snail mail. Time marches on, you know. I’m sure we’ll find another use for these. Maybe we might even go back to using them for toast!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this foray into toast racks. Enjoy your week!
Over the course of time I have seen and heard of Flow Blue. It’s a type of transferware that was very popular in the early and mid-1800s and is still highly collectible. According to Collectors Weekly, Flow Blue pottery began showing up in the 1820s in Staffordshire England. It was created when lime or ammonia was added to the kiln during the glazing process. The chemical caused the blue transferware to run and blur which many people found desirable.
I, personally, love many of the Flow Blue patterns; I find them very pretty and unique. I didn’t, however, realize there were other colors until I ran across these amazing saucers.
In researching them, I could see they are marked “Wedgwood” and “Pearl Stone Ware.” They are also marked “Washington Vase” which turns out to be the pattern name. But these are not Flow Blue, they are Flow Black! And gorgeous!
These date back to about 1860, so they are over 150 years old. There was a bit of yellowing on a couple of them but you can see one that I believe was the original color. It was a white glaze with a black transfer that was “blurred” in the creation of the Flow Black pattern. The earliest Flow Black Washington Vase was done by a company named Podmore, Walker & Company (PW & Co.) which then became Wedgwood around the 1860s when Enoch Wedgwood became the senior partner during the acquisition of PW & Co.
You will see the PW & Co. mark on Washington Vase from the early 1800s and then around 1860 you will see it marked Wedgwood using the same backstamp, an oval and ribbon. Pearl Stone Ware, which is the other mark on these saucers, was marketed by PW & Co. as a more durable earthenware, being fired at a higher temperature. Since these particular saucers managed to hang in there for 150 years, I guess that it is pretty strong!!
You will sometimes see Flow Black referred to as Mulberry. I saw black but perhaps others see a slightly maroon tinge.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about this beautiful transferware and will be able to identify it when you see it. It’s very collectible! If you have any stories about your Flow Black or Flow Blue, leave me a comment. Have a great week!
I thought it would be interesting to look at some lovely old things that have passed through my store in the last month or so. They are a mix of vintage items that I really couldn’t dig up a lot about so I thought I’d make one post out of 5 of them.
I loved these old shot glasses from the 1940s. Let me tell you, they weren’t in the shop long before they sold! They were produced by a company named Rumpp. The 4 shot glasses are silver-plated and fit snugly in their soft leather case with a snap. The bottom of the glasses say “Made in Germany U.S. Zone.” I’d never seen that mark before. My research says this mark was used between the years of 1945 to 1950.
C.F. Rumpp & Sons was a leather manufacturer that was open from the mid-1800s to 1959. It closed in 1959 and was demolished in 1965. They were well-known while they were around.
This little puzzle wasn’t in the shop long either! By Tudor Press, it was from the 1930s and had Porky Pig and Puppy Sam. I thought it interesting that Porky Pig was named on the puzzle. The bow-tie-wearing pig I remember from the cartoons looks nothing like this but they appeared around the same time in the 1930s.
As I’ve mentioned many times, I’m a huge fan of Mid-Century Modern. This little piece is enameled cast iron by a company called Dru Holland. It’s a small trivet that goes with the butter warmer by the same company, and in the same pattern. There is little to no information about the company online. They were in business during the 1960s; out of business by the 1970s. That’s about all I know of the company, but their stuff is classic Mid-Mod.
These are highball glasses all signed by an artist by the name of Ned Smith. He was a painter born in 1919 who became a nature artist. He was known for his very detailed and accurate drawings of wildlife for books and magazines. There is a website with a short biography about him at the Ned Smith Center. He died in 1985. I’m not sure exactly when these glasses were commissioned. I can tell you they didn’t stay long in the shop!
Lastly, there is this lovely lady. This piece is from the 1970s, a covered casserole dish with vibrant flowers. I love the shape of the handles. The Sadek Company was founded in 1936 by Charles and Norman Sadek. The Andrea line was named after Charles’ granddaughter and is still in production.
I love the pieces that I sell, that’s why I sell vintage. Each one has it’s own little history. I may not always be able to find more than a paragraph, or an entry at a licence or patent site, but each piece has an origin. If they could only talk … okay, seriously that would creep me out, but it would definitely be interesting!
I hope you have enjoyed a look at some lovely old pieces and their brief histories. Thank you for sharing your time with me and have a great week!
Oh my! It has been a whirlwind month! An exchange student from Japan came to our home and for two and a half weeks, shared her culture with us as we shared ours. It was an experience that I know our family will never forget. It was an awesome 2 1/2 weeks and I was surprised how much we missed her when she left. I say all of this to explain my absence for the last few weeks. Along with other obligations the blog has been a little neglected!
But here we are, together again and I would like to take a look at a prolific importer and designer of the mid-century, Holt-Howard. Their designs, like these cat S&P shakers, started off my small S&P collection. Here are the cats …
And some more of my collection. These are not for sale in the shop, because I love them too much!
The cats actually have a meowing canister in them so when you turn them upside down they meow. They don’t meow anymore, but they would have back in the day. Holt-Howard imported, designed and sold a lot of these cute items using cats, pixies and other animals. They started back in 1949 when John and Robert Howard and Grant Holt started the company.
According to Kovels the company started selling Christmas items made and sold in the U.S. Holt-Howard was originally based in New York City and moved to Stamford, Connecticut in 1955. Over the years they were sold a couple of times before closing in the 1990s. During their heyday, though, they produced different lines that are well-known in the vintage world.
As I said, they started with U.S. made goods but soon turned to overseas manufacturing to keep costs low. Some of their U.S. made Christmas stuff included the winking Santa and Merry Whiskers beverage sets.
As their manufacturing moved overseas, they began to produce sort of cartoon type figures made into useful kitchen/household items. One of their lines was Pixieware. These are brightly colored kitchen items like the ones below.
This line was produced from about 1958 to the early 1960s. Many of the condiment jars are pretty easy to find but some of them are rarer than others. Those ones are the honey or chili sauce jars and there is also one for instant coffee (ahh can’t you just smell the Sanka!).
The Pixieware line also included Spoofy Spoons, liquor decanters, salt and pepper sets, teapots and more. Another line was the Cozy Cats and Kittens line. That’s where my S&P shakers come in. In this line there were all sorts of things from string holders to ashtrays, spice sets and grease crocks.
They also produced the Exotic Rooster Line. I personally love roosters and during the 50’s and 60s they were very popular for decoration. Holt-Howard’s Red Rooster Coq Rouge dinnerware line, introduced in the 1960s, was designed by Bob Howard. This line was carried through the 1970s in finer department stores.
Holt-Howard was copied by any number of copy cats. ThoughtCo., another blog, has a list of these copy cats and how to tell the difference between the knock offs and the real HH.
As the years wore on, Holt-Howard was bought by General Housewares Corporation in 1968. By 1974 the Howard brothers and Holt had left to follow other dreams. The company was then again sold to Kay Dee Designs of Rhode Island in 1990. In fact Grant Holt and John Howard formed another company called Grant-Howard Associates which produced Pixieware pieces but nothing from the original Holt-Howard Pixieware line.
I love the Holt-Howard pieces myself. Whimsical and fun but with a definite mid-century look. The pieces today just don’t capture the same look. Well, I hope you have enjoyed this post. Have a great week and look for me at the link parties on the right all week!
Over the years I have seen many pieces of pottery. As you all know, I love pottery, especially kitchen stuff like bowls. There’s probably some psychological stuff about all that, but I choose not to delve too deep into it. Suffice it to say, pottery catches my eye. One company that is a name to look for in pottery is McCoy. Just watch Antiques Roadshow, one of my favorite shows, and once in a while you will see some McCoy come up.
I have these pieces in the shop which are McCoy but they are also marked LCC which I will get into further down into this post. They are still McCoy — but not before it was bought out by Lancaster. Let’s take a look at where McCoy started as I wait out this snow storm that is supposed to drop about 14″ of snow on my small NH town.
According to the McCoy Pottery website, The Nelson McCoy Sanitary Stoneware Company in Roseville, Ohio was formed in 1910 by Nelson McCoy and his father J.W. McCoy. This company made functional and decorative stoneware. They also provided clay to lots of potteries in their area as well, mining and selling it as part of their business.
After 15 years, in 1925, they began to expand the company. They increased their production and added more modern equipment to their facility. They were the first in their area to install a tunnel kiln which was over 300 feet long. It allowed them to increase their production considerably and expand into specialty art pottery.
On a side note, there was Brush-McCoy Pottery which really didn’t involve Nelson McCoy. In 1911 George Brush and J.W. McCoy Pottery joined forces until 1918 which is a completely separate story with some of the same players. The McCoy name in Brush-McCoy was not dropped until 1925, however.
So back to Nelson McCoy and his 300 foot tunnel kiln. This kiln allowed them to make more and bigger pieces which included pieces such as Jardinieres and their pedestals, umbrella stands, vases and other pieces for a more affluent customer. With this increase is more art pottery pieces they hired more designers and artisans. However, we haven’t reached the Great Depression era yet. This was during the early to mid 1920s.
As the Depression loomed McCoy had to scale back slightly. They did a lot of blended glazes and earth tones. Lots of green which seemed to be the most inexpensive. Their motifs during this time were a lot of leaf and berry designs. Made in mass during the 1930s, they were back to functional but attractive.
The Depression took its toll in the 1930s. An alliance of potteries formed in order to stay in business. The co-op was called American Clay Products Company. It included among others the Nelson McCoy Sanitary Stoneware Co., Burley Pottery Co., Crooksville Pottery Co., Muskingum Pottery Co., Star Stoneware Co. and Logan Pottery Co.
The way it worked was that they had one marketing and sales program that all funneled through the same sales force. At this time these companies all produced many similar products and designs. The Co-op eventually lost its usefulness as the economy picked up and McCoy went on.
As a need for sanitary wares decreased in the 1930s the name was eventually changed to Nelson McCoy Pottery Co. Apparently, they didn’t use any marks prior to the 1930s so you just have to know what they made to identify early pieces. Their first mark was a large M superimposed on a small n that was used from 1934 to the late 1930s (Lehner, 1988, p. 287). They had a few marks through the years but not too many.
There doesn’t seem to be any particular reason why they were sold when they were doing great; in the 1960s they were known all over the world, with over 300 employees, facility covered over 150,000 square feet. But sold they were to David T. Chase and Chase Enterprises in 1967. They in turn sold it to Lancaster Colony Company (where the LCC mark comes from) in 1974. It was sold again in the 1980s.
McCoy is one of the most well-known names in the pottery business. It managed to outlive the Great Depression and other economic downturns. Due to their lack of markings on their pieces, knowing which pieces they made will take some research and just getting to know what you are looking for.
Thanks for sharing your time with me today. Join me at the link parties on the right and have a great week!
Look at this adorable little cat figurine I unearthed the other day for the shop!
Look at that happy face! The kitty has lost its original foil sticker but has some numbers on the bottom that helped identify it as a piece of Napco pottery. Napco has been around for awhile. According to my favorite source for ceramic and pottery, “Lehner’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain & Clay” by Lois Lehner, they started in 1938.
Their whole name is National Potteries Corporation and they were located in Bedford, OH. They were actually distributors of pottery and glass. They manufactured only a few pieces themselves. Mainly they imported and distributed.
The original founders of Napco were Irwin Garber, a guy named Payner, and David Rein. Garber eventually left to start his own company, Inarco (which you may have heard of) in the 1960s. At first Napco manufactured planters and utilitarian items.
They eventually moved to importing from their Asian factories in Seto and Nagoya, Japan. From these factories came those famous lady-head vases, figurines like mine above, and other decorative items.
During the early 1980s they moved from Ohio to Florida to be closer to a new distribution facility and ocean ports. I do not believe they are still in business from what I am able to see. It seems as if their last annual report came from 1989. In 1990 they filed for admin dissolution, which says to me that they closed.
Napco was a prolific distributor during the 20th century. They, along with Lefton, gave us some of our favorite knick knacks, kitschkies, and collectibles. If you have a story about one of your favorite Napco pieces, let me know. I love to hear your stories! Also, join me at the link parties listed on the right this week.
I found this lovely little cup in a box the other day.
It’s just one of those cute little demitasse cups you would pick up in a souvenir shop. This one has a picture of the White House in Washington, D.C. On the bottom is a foil sticker marked “A Capsco Product.” It’s a pretty retro collectible from the late 1960s.
Capsco actually stands for Capitol Souvenir Company and it has a longer history than I thought. My original thought was that this company was a pop up in the 1950s but it actually started in the early 1920s. In 1922 a man named Jacob Goozh opened Empire Photo Studio at 917 Pennsylvania Avenue.
He was someone with a lot of drive. He grew his business by going out onto the streets of Washington and photographing soldiers returning from WWI. He used “tin-type” photography so within minutes, the soldiers could take home their souvenir.
By 1930 Jacob had relocated the business, which was by then Capitol Souvenir Company, to 105 Pennsylvania Avenue. The move allowed the company to catch the tourists visiting Washington D.C. by train and sell them souvenirs. This new location was minutes from Union Station. Location! Location! Location! Am I right?!
I have to say, he knew what he was doing and really worked hard to make this life in America, where he had moved to in the early 1900s from Europe, be his dream.
As time went on, Jacob branched out his business into Virginia and Maryland. He hired more salesmen and opened a retail shop. He also began visiting the Asian markets to import the souvenirs directly. In the 1940s his son, Joseph, took over the business which was growing into a national company.
Then during the 1960s Joseph’s sons, Jay and Martin joined the business and Capsco became one of the most well-known names in souvenirs. They are still in business, actually. Under Jacob’s great-grandson, Capsco is still running out of Washington D.C. They also provide souvenirs at historic sites, museums, zoos, aquariums and more.
It’s always amazing to me how people can make their own destinies. An interesting company for sure.I got most of this information from Capsco-inc.weebly.com in case you want more in depth info.
If you have any memories of a Capsco souvenir, share it with me. I love to hear from all of you! I will be partying at the link parties listed on the right this week. Great blogs, all of them. Have a great week!
What a week! I’ve just had to do a complete reset of my computer and reload a bunch of stuff. I can only thank the powers that be for cloud-based programs. All I had to do was log back in to Google and all my bookmarks and everything showed back up! My computer kept freezing and wouldn’t load — what a pain. Well, now that I’m up and running again, it’s time to investigate another vintage company. I’m choosing Fenton this week because I see it a lot. Take a look at these pieces I have in the shop.
Amethyst Top Hat
Amber Tea Light Holder
I love the colors of their glass. The above pattern is Daisy and Button. Fenton Art Glass Company is actually the largest manufacturer of handmade colored glass in the U.S. According to the Fenton Art Glass website they began in 1905 founded by brothers Frank L. and John W. Fenton.
They started in Martins Ferry, Ohio and originally painted on glassware made by other manufacturers. The brothers decided, though, to make their own glass. They opened their art glass factory in Williamstown, West Virginia in 1907.
One of their popular glasswares, Carnival Glass, orignally called “Iridill” was produced later that year; a “poor man’s Tiffany” (Collectors Weekly). Carnival Glass is a very popular collectible still. But even more popular was a milk glass pattern called Hobnail. That pattern eclipsed even Iridill’s best.
Hobnail was actually an old Victorian Pattern. Collectors Weekly says that a combination of this hobnail pattern and another pattern called Diamond Lace became really popular, as well.
As much as they liked making glass art, during the Depression and the war years, they produced more practical items like mixing bowls and perfume bottles (Fentonartglass.com). During the 40s, the original founders had retired and Frank M. and Wilmer C. Fenton took the helm. They oversaw significant growth over the next 30 years.
Some of their popular early patterns were based on nature according to Collectors Weekly. Waterlily and Cattails, Butterfly and Berries, Peacock Tail, Wreath of Roses and Thistle.
In 1986, George W. Fenton, Frank’s son became president. They ceased their production of traditional glass making in 2011 and currently make glass jewelry. They have continued to adapt to carry on the Fenton name and sometimes that’s what it takes to stay in business. Fenton has definitely given us some highly collectible pieces over the years. Happy collecting!
That’s a wrap on another wonderful glass company! As always, I will be partying at the link parties on the right this week. Check them out, they are great resources. Have a great week!
Look at this lovely little kitty paperweight I picked up one day while picking up stuff for the shop! It’s got the sweetest little face!
I was really excited when I turned it over and saw the “Baccarat” crystal name and insignia etched on the bottom. Baccarat is an old name in fine crystal. Originally known as Baccarat Glass, the company was founded in 1765 by the Bishop of Metz. According to Crystal Art USA the Bishop wanted to “encourage industry” in the village of Baccarat which is about 250 miles east of Paris, France.
The primary industry in the village was making utility glassware like windows, bottles, tableware, etc. and they did well for a long time. The business survived through the French Revolution (1789) but Crystal Art USA says the company struggled through the Napoleonic Wars (1812-1815).
When Aime-Gabriel D’Artiques, the owner of Vonech glassworks, suddenly found his company outside of France in the newly formed Belgium after the Napoleonic Wars, he bought Baccarat so he could have his company in France again. He didn’t want to pay heavy import taxes so this worked for his French customers.
The new Voneche-Baccarat company did well focussing on high-quality lead-crystal glass. D’Artiques sold the glassworks in 1822 and the Compagnie des Cristalleries de Baccarat came into existence. Crystal Art USA says that the name Voneche was left attached to the company until 1843.
It became and has stayed one of the foremost makers of glass in France winning medals in Paris from 1823 up. Baccarat is particularly known for their crystal paperweights (like my little kitty). They are well-known for their beautiful decanters and bottles, also for figurines. According to the New York Times, Baccarat crystal completed its first royal commission of crystal glasses for Louis XVIII in 1823. This commission, it is said, started the fashion for using different glasses for different beverages.
Baccarat has continued since that time to become innovators in their field. They have perfected techniques and have a reputation for creating beautiful crystal glassware, as well as for being excellent, caring employers. The town of Baccarat depends on this glasswork company as their major source of business and jobs.
Believe it or not, the company is now under the leadership of an American investment firm, Starwood Capital and Catterton Partners. It’s amazing how small the world is in this global market place! That is the way the world is changing, to which this company that started as a small village industry can attest. I always find this stuff so interesting!
I hope you learned something you didn’t know before and take this with you. I love learning and find something each week that I didn’t know before. Leave me a comment if you get a chance! I will be partying at the great blogs on the right side of the screen this week. Check them out, there’s so much to learn from each of them. Have a great week!