While I have enjoyed running this blog, I find I am moving in a different direction these days. I don’t want to lose all the information that I have gathered over the last few years, so I will be leaving this site up. I have closed the shop and won’t be adding any new information to this blog, and will need to turn off comments.
I know some people are looking for estimates on their pieces, this is not something that I do. My suggestion would be to speak with a vintage dealer in your area for estimates on value. I appreciate everyone visiting this website, and have enjoyed reading all the comments. Thank you for visiting over the years!
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.
There’s been a number of new things added to the shop recently. As you know by now if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, I like to find the backstories and histories on my pieces. However, now and again, there just isn’t much information on a company or a piece. That doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve a mention! So here are some honorable mentionables.
Take a look at this gorgeous copper bowl!
I’ve had this beautiful copper bowl for a bit in the store, however, there is very little information about the maker. Peter Manzoni was a metal worker back in the 1920s in Boston, Massachusetts. The bowl is beautiful, shaped like a flower with a gorgeous silver wash that complements the copper and the shape. It’s small, at only about 4 1/2″ across, but it’s got style for miles. It’s signed on the bottom, and is one of his better known shapes.
All I can find out about him, though, is that hewas part of the Boston Arts and Crafts Movement. He was a metalworker who also contributed to a book called “Metalwork for the Amateur” in 1936. He also partnered later with Angelo Martini to form Manzoni and Martini Art Metal Company. That’s about what I know of this amazing metal worker. If anyone has anymore information, please share in the comments!
Here’s another one …
This is a Dru Holland single casserole baking dish. Dru was a popular company during the 1960s due to a resurgence in enameled cast iron. This stuff is durable, although prone to chipping. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot about the company that I can find. Most of their stuff that I’ve found is either light blue or mint green with these tulip designs or other flowers. It was made from the 1930s to the 1960s. Love the look.
Finally, there’s this adorably round pitcher
It was made by Queens Art Pewter. The company was in business from the 1930s to the early 2000s. I know that the “Queens” part of their name comes from Queens, New York, which is where they were based, and that 80% of their products were pewter. They also had a silver line. But that is all I’ve been able to glean about them.
So there are three pieces that I have in the Vintage Eve’s shop that are really cool, but that I can’t seem to find much information on, one way or the other. If any of you have information on any of these pieces, please share in the comments! I love to hear from you.
I hope you have enjoyed this quick peek today. Have a great week!
Awhile ago, I found this beautiful set of silver ashtrays and lighter in its original box. Boy, they really knew how to package things back then. These are from the 1920s. Whether you smoke or not, you cannot deny the craftsmanship of this set. The glass and silver are beautiful together.
The mark on them denotes “Frank M. Whiting Sterling.” So who is this Frank M. Whiting who does such gorgeous work? When did he start working in silver? I need to know, so let’s jump into this rabbit hole together and find out a little bit about Mr. Frank M. Whiting!
According to a thesis on the Whiting Manufacturing Company by Abigail Barnes Nova, the story actually starts with his father, William Dean Whiting (1815-1891) who was a silversmith. William Dean worked his way up through different apprenticeships and firms until he helped found Whiting Manufacturing Company in 1866 in Attleboro, Mass. After an extensive fire that destroyed the operation, they rebuilt in Attleboro before they moved to New York City in 1875.
This is important information in that it shows the progression of Frank M. Whiting’s early life. He would have moved with his family as the company moved. The company excelled in lines of Japanese-inspired silver in competition with Tiffany. As a side note, Charles Osborne was also a designer for Whiting Manufacturing Company, and he was later associated with Tiffany.
In 1880 we see Frank Mortimer Whiting enter the scene. As the second son of Frank Dean Whiting, he and his dad returned to Attleboro and opened the F.M. Whiting Company. He had worked for his father’s company in both Attleboro and New York City as an assistant. He also worked the sales end of things as a traveling salesman. He wasn’t actually a designer at Whiting Manufacturing Company; which is interesting, he was a businessman.
His dad, William Dean may have actually done most of the designing with other silversmiths doing the work. Unfortunately, poor Frank M. appears to have died early. He died in 1892 about a year after his dad. His sisters ran the business under the F.M. Whiting Company after that until they had to change the name in 1895 to “Frank, M. Whiting and Company” and get a whole new trademark. This was because the Whiting Manufacturing Company didn’t want them to make any money off of the name association.
The Frank M. Whiting Company ran until the 1940s when they were bought up by the Ellmore Silver Company and ceased to exist (Metropolitan Museum of Art, “In Pursuit of Beauty: Americans and the Aesthetic Movement.” p. 485). So that places my set of ashtrays and lighter as manufactured sometime between 1895 to 1940. It happens to be a 1920s design but that’s how you date your items. Frank M. Whiting & Company didn’t come into existence until 1895 and F.M. Whiting was only in business from 1880 until 1894.
So there is the story of Frank Mortimer Whiting and his silver company. I hope you have enjoyed reading! Have a great week!
I always love finding new pieces of pottery. Recently in my travels I found these pretty little bread and butter plates. They are marked Franciscan on the back. According to my Lehner’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain & Clay book, the particular mark on these dishes dates them from the late 1940s to the early 1950s. Since the Ivy pattern didn’t come into existence until 1948, it’s a good bet these were made somewhere between 1948 and 1952.
Franciscan pottery is actually part of Gladding, McBean and Company. Gladding, McBean and Company was started in 1875 to make sewer pipe (believe it or not!). How did they morph into a company that made beautiful place settings for your dinner table you might ask? Well, let’s go down this rabbit hole together shall we!
Charles Gladding, Peter McGill MCbean and George Chambers, all 3 from Chicago, traveled to California, lured by the discovery of fire clay deposits. They produced terra-cotta products, including tiles and bricks for building.
In 1923 Gladding, McBean and Company acquired Tropico Pottery which made gardenware, art ware and mixing bowls. The artware and mixing bowls became part of the Franciscan line. The name is a nod to the California history. So it all starts to come together here.
Over the next 10 years they continued to expand acquiring the Catalina Island Company which made Catalina Ware and Catalina Art Ware, American Encaustic Tiling Company, Stockton Fire Brick Company and Emsco Refractories Company. Phew! That’s a lot of acquisitions.
It was in 1934 that they began manufacturing dinnerware and art pottery under the name Franciscan Ware. Their first dinnerware was simple and colorful. They added a pastel line later in the 40s. In 1942 they began manufacturing fine china in their Glendale plant also under the Franciscan label. They had 3 distinct lines, masterpiece china, earthenware, and whitestone ware.
Their most popular “Desert Rose” pattern was done in Franciscan earthenware. That pattern was the most popular pattern ever sold in the U.S. Gladden, McBean & Company continued to make decorative tile, also.
Their tile went into the large, colorful mural at the National Broadcasting Company Building in San Francisco designed by G.J. Fitzgerald. 40′ high, it showcased 114 different colors of glazes on 6″ x 6″ tiles.
In 1963, Gladding, McBean & Company merged with Lock Joint Pipe Company to form Interpace Corporation. Then in 1979 Josiah Wedgwood & Sons negotiated to buy Gladding, McBean & Company from Lock Joint. Wedgwood ran the plant until it was closed in 1984. Wow. That was quite a run for this company; over 100 years of creating beautiful pottery and useful pieces that enhanced our lives.
I will be partying at the link parties on the right all week. Check them out – also amazing resources! Let me know if you have found and loved any great Franciscan Pottery pieces. I love hearing from all of you. Have a great week!
One of those things that I find from time to time when looking for vintage pieces to put in my shop is Bakelite. It’s pretty and comes is more forms than you would believe. It is one of the original plastics, but also a force unto itself. It is collected and loved by lots of people. I did happen to come across some in the form of a cheese spreader. This is called Butterscotch Bakelite (for the color).
In order to list it in the shop as Bakelite, I had to figure out how to test it without ruining it. One way, the way I used, is to warm it up under hot (not boiling) water. It gives off a particular smell. Some say it’s “acrid” or smells like “camphor” or “formeldehyde” I’m not sure if I would describe it as acrid, but it does have a particular smell when warmed.
Another way I’ve heard about to identify Bakelite (without destroying it) is to spray 409 cleaner – it has to be 409 (not another cleaner)- on a cotton swab. When you swipe it across real Bakelite, the cotton swab turns yellow. Just make sure the item is clean and the yellow isn’t dirt! Also be sure to wash the item off after this test so the cleaner doesn’t stay on the plastic.
Bakelite is a polymer. According to ASC.org, plastic comes from the Greek word plastikos meaning moldable. Plastics are in a chemical class called “polymers.” You can check out ASC.org for more of the real technical chemical makeup.
Bakelite itself was created by Leo Baekeland while looking into the properties of mixed chemicals for a moldable resin. He discovered what was to become Bakelite in 1907. It was used mostly as electric insulators because one of its properties is that it was moldable until it cured and then it kept its shape even when warmed. ASC.org actually has excerpts from his scientific notebook from the day he discovered it! How cool is that?!
By 1930, they had a 128-acre facility in New Jersey. Bakelite has the ability to be molded quickly. And as I said, holds its shape when heated, making it a thermosetting resin. Because of this property, it was really useful in the automobile business. They made bases and sockets for light bulbs, distributor caps, insulators and more (ASC.org).
This is about the time they started making jewelry and other things with it. Telephones, handles for things, radios and more. The stuff had thousands of uses! Their slogan was literally “The Material of a Thousand Uses” with the infinity sign ∞.
Collectors Weekly says that costume jewelry manufacturers liked it because it was “hard enough to be cut and polished” which lent itself to making all kinds of things. The colors had names like Butterscotch (like my piece), Egg Yolk, Mississippi Mud. There are translucent pieces which are harder to find. These are Lime Jell-O, Root Beer and Cherry Juice.
They were also able to laminate colors to each other. One Art Deco treatment was to take Ebony Bakelite and combine it with rhinestones or inlaid silver. This was to imitate jet pieces from the Victorian Era (Collectors Weekly). Bracelets were really the popular item for Bakelite. The most collectible being the Philadelphia bracelets (from an auction in 1985).
So why did they stop producing Bakelite? There is a downside of Bakelite and that is it’s brittle until infused with other fillers which makes it super tough. Many times they infused it with cellulose in the form of sawdust. The problem with this is that when they tried to color it the colors were often dull and opaque.
The actual resin is amber in color but not everyone wants amber. That is why it was eventually replaced by newer plastics that had the same moldable properties but would take color better. Ah, fashion spelled the end of Bakelite. But I have to say, it was Bakelite that really paved the way for the new age of plastics as we know it now.
Are you one of those people that love Bakelite? Have a small (or large) stash? Tell me about it! I love to hear from you. And, as always, find me partying at the link parties listed on the right. Have a great week!
I was over the moon this weekend … this was the first time ever that I was able to get to an estate sale right around the corner from me before everything got completely picked over. As a newbie, I was slightly unprepared.
People all around me had bags at the ready (ok, note to self, bring a bag next time). They were packed in a tight bunch on the porch and when the door opened, I was not ready for the rush and press of people all trying to get in at the same time. But I squeezed through the front door which then opened up into lovely old house. I had a few minutes to admire the architecture before I got down to business.
This old house had lots of rooms and LOTS of doors leading the wanderer from room to room. But you know me, I spent most of my time in the kitchen and dining room finding tons of treasures.
As I squeezed my way into the pantry you see above, I had to first admire the built in ice box. Yes, the house was that old. There were many built-ins, as there are in those old houses, but this was one I hadn’t seen before. As I was checking it out, I saw a lovely tin sitting on top of it, way, way, way back and on top of something else. It was this one below. I wish I had taken a picture of where I found it. If you look at the picture above, it was on top of that ice box at the very back.
Being resourceful, I found a chair, because there was no way 5’4″ me was going to reach the item that had caught my attention. I also managed to find a long rubber spatula with which to drag the Rubbermaid container that was under this lovely old tin. You have to be focused and completely unselfconscious to do this while people watch you. But I wanted that tin! The colors are what caught my attention. I could tell it had some age because the graphics screamed 1950s. Below are some more examples of how pretty these tins are.
I got it down, and along with a bunch of other neat stuff, stuffed it in my car (I paid first, of course) and when I got home hopped on the internet to find out where it came from. On the edge it is marked “Made in England by George W. Horner & Co. Ltd.Chester-Le-Street, County of Durham.” This is what I found out about the Horner Company.
My research led me to the Newsquest website that detailed the rise and fall of the George W. Horner Co. First you have to know that Chester-le-Street is a town in England, not a street. Before George took over the building on Front Street in Chester-le-Street, it had been among other things a general provisions shop and a fruit and vegetable shop. This was during the late 1800’s. Then during the early 1900’s, a man named J. Samuel made jams in heavy stoneware crocks out of the building until 1910 when George William Horner took over the building and began making confectioneries under the brand name “Mermaid.”
It wasn’t until 1914 that he began to market the “Dainty Dinah” line of toffee candy. They were sold in tins depicting a dark haired girl in a bonnet as their spokes model. The Newsquest website says that although no one can say for sure who the model was, they attribute her to a girl named Alice Scott, who lied about her age to become Mr. Horner’s chauffeur at the age of 16.
The Dainty Dinah line turned out to be very successful. There are a number of tin variations on her. During the 1920s they expanded quite a bit, opening shops in London and Edinburgh, Scotland. At one point the company was said to have 770 women and 107 men working for them.
It was during that time a chimney was added to the facility. It was 106 feet high and bore the name of their famous “Dainty Dinah Toffee” and the name “Horner.” On top of the chimney sat the bust of Dainty Dinah herself (Newsquest website). When that chimney came down in the 60’s they preserved the bust.
The company continued to thrive during the 1920’s, 30’s and early 40’s adding other confections to their lines. It was in 1947, when Mr. Horner passed away, that their troubles began.
The company was taken over by George’s son, Kenneth, but he wasn’t the problem. During the 1950s the market started to become glutted with chocolate factories and Kenneth turned to exporting. Unfortunately, this did not save the company and they closed in 1960.
They did leave behind a legacy, though. These highly collectible tins are still around and can be found in great shape even 100 years after their creation. I hope I look this good at 100!
Well, that is a brief history of George W. Horner and his confectionery treasures. I hope you learned something new today, I know I did!
Oh, on a side note, I went back to that estate sale, since it was so close, an hour before they closed and got some more awesome deals!
Can’t believe I missed these the first time! Have a great week everyone … I’ll be busy all week putting my awesome finds up in the Vintage Eve’s Shop.
Many of us have at least heard of Wedgwood (yep, there is no second “e” in Wedgwood). We may even have admired a piece of it without knowing that it was Wedgwood.
Why is it famous? What is it about Wedgwood that makes it so collectible? Come on along and let’s find out.
First, Wedgwood is British. The company is named after its founder Josiah Wedgwood. According to the Wedgwood Company the company started in 1759 when Josiah became an independent potter out of Burslem, Staffordshire, England. He was 29 years old at the time.
He liked to experiment with different types of clay and developed three of Wedgwood’s most distinct forms; Queen’s Ware in 1762, Black Basalt in 1768 and Jasper in 1774. People still love to collect these types of Wedgwood.
He is called the “Father of English Potters” as his experiments led to an explosion of English pottery and put it in the mainstream.
Queen’s Ware is called such because it was literally a design of cream-colored earthenware that was commissioned by Queen Charlotte. She loved it.
Catherine the Great of Russia wanted some, too. So much so that she requested a set of 952 hand-painted pieces with English scenery (Wedgwood.co.uk).
Jasperware is an interesting form.
It was created in 1774 after quite a few failed experiments. It is easily identifiable on sight. The Wedgwood website says it is an unglazed vitreous fine stoneware that was made in blue, green, lilac, yellow black or white. On top of which there were reliefs or 3D pieces in classical or modern themes.
Black Basalt is from reddish brown clay that turns black when fired. Noted by the Wedgwood Museum, it had manganese added to the clay which gave it a rich black color. It is also unglazed like the Jasperware.
Why is Wedgwood so collectible? From the very beginning, Wedgwood designs and innovations were synonymous with quality. That has not changed. Wedgwood is still in production and it commands higher-end prices.
There are a number of other types of Wedgwood than just the three mentioned. There is Caneware which is pale yellow, Rosso Antico which is a type of red ware, Pearl Ware which is more white than the Cream Ware and is glazed.
All of them are beautiful and worth collecting. Check out the Wedgwood Society for more detail about all of these forms.
Thank you for taking a quick look at Wedgwood with me. If you want to find out more, the three websites referenced in this post will help you. There is a wealth of information still to unearth!
I hope you enjoyed this post. Come visit me at Vintage Eve’s and take a look around my shop for some old Wedgwood and more vintage treasures.
To answer my title question, the answer is … there is no company named California Pottery. What?! Never was. Then why are there so many pieces marked California Pottery? Or Calif. U.S.A. or some variation of this name? No surprise here, the name basically tells us where the pottery was made. Now isn’t that helpful? No? Yeah, I get that.
Apparently, there were any number of potters in California during the early to mid part of the 20th century. Many of them marked their pottery California pottery.
Some of those companies you may or may not have heard of. McCoy and Bauer, California Originals, Metlox, Weil and a host of others. You can see an extensive list at Calpotteries.com.
So you have a piece that is marked California U.S.A. and you want to know which pottery house made it. It may actually be near to impossible to figure that out. There are a few things you can do to narrow down the maker of your piece, though. According to Cajunc there are a few ways to figure out where your piece originated.
The first way is to look for a name along with the California mark. If you had a name, however, that would be waaaaay too easy. You would not even need to read this post. However, in the event you are not given this very helpful information, you can keep reading.
The next thing you should look for is the clay.
Usually, on the bottom there are parts of unglazed clay. Whether they used firing pins in the kiln and there are 3 exposed dots of clay or there is a rim that is not glazed, that is where you would see the color of the clay. Red clay, pink clay, white, beige and sandy clay; they all come from different places.
After you figure out the color of the clay, you can look at the way the underside is glazed.
Some companies chose to leave an unglazed rim, others have bars across the bottom, still others completely covered the bottom in glaze. Again these all help to narrow down which company made your piece. You can also get information from the glazes used. Certain colors were unique to specific pottery companies; whether they used a drip glaze such as the Hull brown drip that is very popular and very identifiable or another technique.
Finally, there are miscellaneous identifiers such as the numbers and tools used that may have left marks behind.
The Cajunc website goes into much more detail and is a valuable resource in figuring out where your pottery originated.
This is such an interesting subject that has so many more layers. We have just scratched the surface as I have only given you a brief overview of how to begin finding information on a piece of pottery. The two websites mentioned in this post are great resources. Definitely sites that you should bookmark.
Good luck and leave me a note if this has helped you in any way. I hope you all have a great week and enjoy the upcoming holidays! If you are looking for more vintage treasures, stop by my shop and take a look around at Vintage Eve’s.
Most people have heard of Dresden porcelain china. They know it is a high-end porcelain, it’s pretty and collectible. That is about what most people know about it, me included until I became curious when I ran into this little number below that I listed in my shop recently. It is quite pretty, hand-decorated and over a hundred years old. I hope I look this good at 100!
I love this little chocolate pot. I dug around and this is what I found out about Dresden porcelain. According to Kovel’s, Dresden refers to the place the porcelain is made not the type of porcelain it is.
Collector’s Weekly states that Dresden, Germany is where the factory of an alchemist by the name of Johann Friedrich Böttger was founded in 1708. Although porcelain had been discovered by the Chinese as early as 100 B.C., the western world had still not been able to recreate the delicate white substance. Böttger finally discovered a way to make a hard-paste porcelain made from a local mud mix of “Kaolin and Clay” (marks4antiques.com) which he began to produce in Meissen, Germany around 1710, where the factory had moved.
So the actual Dresden porcelain was produced in Meissen and these two names get mixed up. You will see the Meissen porcelain mark (crossed swords) and Dresden porcelain mark (crown) but both will be called Dresden. Since its creation, it began to be loved and desired by collectors. Once people knew the “recipe” it began to be made in other places. You will see West Germany, Bavaria, even Ireland Dresden.
During the war, most of the porcelain producers were completely destroyed in Germany and needed to be rebuilt. Collector’s Weekly says that Dresden kept over 200 porcelain-decorating shops busy during World War II.
One of the more famous techniques that Dresden created was dipping real lace into liquid porcelain. They would then attach it to a figure and fire it. The real lace would burn up but leave behind an intricate and delicate porcelain lace. Dresses and clothing were imitated in this way making the pieces very detailed although a bit fragile.
Dresden porcelain is still highly collectible. It commands high prices as it has been synonymous with quality since its creation.
Unfortunately, when you are good, there are many forgers waiting to capitalize on your name.
Dresden is no exception. The crossed swords and AR mark have been among the most forged marks in the world. You need to check all the marks on your pieces to be sure you have Dresden porcelain.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about Dresden porcelain this week. Stop by Vintage Eve’s and enjoy a little look into the past and say hi.