I ought to say ‘bless you’. Not only for belated New Year felicitations, but also as so many of us have been snorting into our hankies lately. I too have been doing much the same, and when I saw a superbly colourful collection of glass handkerchief vases on a photo shoot for a book last week, I got thinking. Pictured: A Venini Latticino glass handkerchief vase. Sold for US$ 366 (£233) Bonhams Los Angeles 2011. Image Copyright Bonhams. The handkerchief vase shape screams the 1950s to most of us, especially thinking of the examples illustrated here that are seen at fairs up and down the country. And we’re not far wrong. The form was developed by Italian artist, designer and glassmaker Fulvio Bianconi around 1948- 1949. It wasn’t necessarily a single-handed effort, as he was working with Paolo Venini of the renowned ‘Venini & Cie’ glass factory on the Venetian island of Murano at the time. The vases became known as ‘fazzoletto’ (fats-o-let-o), which quite simply is Italian for ‘handkerchief’. Pictured: 1950s Murano Venini Freeform Pink Handkerchief Vase. Sold for £395 Ebay May 2015. They were made in a huge variety of different colours and sizes, but all looking like up-turned hankies concealing something invisible, then frozen in place. The most commonly seen forms are low, transparent and contain stripes of fine spiralling threads, known as ‘zanfirico’ rods. Others are opaque, or cased in different colours. Not all these vases were made by Venini however because, as with most Murano glass, the design was widely copied by the many other factories on the island and sold less expensively to tourists. Pictured: 1960s Chance small psychedelic black and white printed pattern glass handkerchief vase. This version sold for £17.99 on ebay February 2015. Look on the bottom for a small three lined acid-etched mark reading ‘venini murano italia’ or a metallic cream on gold Murano sticky label to be sure you’re buying an authentic Venini piece. This isn’t to say that other factories’ examples aren’t worth having, but they are generally less desirable and thus less valuable. An authentic marked Venini piece may fetch around £200-800 or more, depending on size and the type of glass used. A copy can be found more easily and for under £150, quite often under £80-100. Genuine Venini, or those in large sizes or very unusual patterns have the best chance of rising in value to me. Desirable as the Italian originals are, how about a version that is more varied, more colourful and also more affordable? Chance Glass, based near Birmingham, produced handkerchief vases in their thousands from the 1950s until the late 1970s, before the factory closed in 1981. Found in many fashionable and young homes at the time, these are also the most common examples you’ll see today. They’re immediately recognisable, as for a start they often look more like real handkerchiefs with their printed patterns, and secondly they have a sharper, more angular look. They were produced by resting a thin square pane of glass on a tall cylinder, and then heating it in a kiln, causing the plate to melt a little and sag down around the cylinder when encouraged by a tool rather like a metallic spider. Although roughly the same each time, the folds are not regular, which explains why they don’t stack, or even begin to stack if you carefully try. I say carefully try as the screen-printed pattern is on the outside and tends to scratch very easily. This is one of the most important things to look for when planning a purchase as scratches, particularly on and around the base, make a piece worth considerably less. Similarly, examine the sharp edges and corners to ensure that they are not chipped as the same rings true. Talking of ringing, try tapping one. Weird as it sounds, it doesn’t create the expected high-pitched ring, but one more like the ring of a cowbell – try it when you get one home and you’ll see what I mean! To blow out a common misconception, they were produced in four, not three, different sizes. The ‘oversize’ is the rarest and is really rather large, making quite a visual impact. The next rarest is the ‘medium’ size and the two most common sizes are the ‘small’ size at around 4 inches high and the ‘large’ size at around 7 inches high. Chequered prints in all their variety are more common, and indeed ‘Gingham’ was one of the last patterns to be introduced in 1977. Polka dotted (my favourite) and broad banded examples are also often seen. More sought after are the ones with ‘funkadelic’ 60s-tastic swirls. Pinstriped examples also seem to get the winning vote, especially in acidic colours typical of the 1960s. Not all examples have printed surface patterns, instead using textured glass produced by Chance’s owner, Pilkington, the industrial glass giant. In fact, next time you open your glass panelled back door or the door to a pub loo, look at the textured glass. Remember it, as much of that was produced by Pilkington, who also used it in resonant colours on Chance’s ranges. A varied linear pattern, a bark-type effect or a gently ‘hammered’ effect are three typical examples. Regular readers will know how fond I am of collectables we can all afford to collect, and these currently fall into that category. Most fetch under £40-60, with common sizes often being under £25. Unprinted examples are currently generally less desirable unless large, usually fetching under £20 for small sizes. The exceptions to look out for are the very rare intaglio cut examples, such as the broad-banded ruby example on this page, which can sometimes go for over £100. Just as well they’re comparatively inexpensive, as the variety of patterns and sizes is truly vast and would make a superb and addictive challenge to collect. As they appeal as much to people looking for a 1950s touch for a room as to diehard collectors, prices should rise further, especially for the large examples or […]
Beads, Bobs And Babies – Dolls in The 1920s by Sue Brewer What a time it was! Carefree, sparkling, crazy; the 1920s was a decade for the young. It was fashionable to be youthful, with thin bodies, no busts and long legs ending in strappy-shoes. Parties were held at the slightest excuse, and dances such as the Charleston were all the rage, performed by arm-flailing, leg-kicking youngsters in fringed and beaded dresses with feathered headbands worn low across their foreheads. The Music-hall was still popular, with roguish singers such as Marie Lloyd playing to packed houses every night, while wind-up gramophones ensured that music was always available – and at least one member at every celebratory gathering was an ace piano-player. My grandmother held parties in her flat next door to the Palace Theatre in Walthamstow, and the artistes would call in after the show, dancing and singing and filling the air with laughter and love, something her children would always remember. She was one of the first so-called `flappers` in the area, rushing to get her hair bobbed as soon as she heard of the fashion. There was a feeling of optimism – the devastating Great War was over – and women were becoming much more independent. During the hostilities, they had worked in previously male-dominated occupations, and having acquired a taste for freedom and life outside the home environment, were determined not to give it up again. Naturally, not everyone was affected by this wave of euphoria. Thousands of people lived in abject poverty, and families still grieved for the men who never returned from the war. In Britain, King George V and Queen Mary were popular monarchs, and George had spent much of the War visiting the troops abroad. He wanted to fight for his country, but was not permitted as it was feared he could be captured as a prize hostage. Queen Mary was very fond of dolls and was presented with a wonderful doll`s house, exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition in 1924. It can still be viewed today at Windsor Castle. This enormous, five foot tall house, designed by Sir Edward Lutyens, contains hundreds of items made by crafts people of the time, such as tiny bottles filled with champagne, ornamental figurines, Doulton china, Cartier clocks and carved furniture. It boasts running water, electric lights and a working lift. German dolls were exceedingly popular during the 1920s, and it was during this time that Armand Marseille introduced one of his most popular lines with the `My Dream Baby` doll. This pretty baby, with a bisque porcelain head, is a favourite amongst today`s collectors. Available in several sizes, with a hard or soft body and in various `skin tones`, there was one to suit every little girl. There was even a choice of open or closed mouths. The open-mouth My Dream Baby was marked with the mould number 351 and was bald-headed with a moulded few curls. Her mouth revealed two tiny bottom teeth. These babies featured the recently-introduced bent-limbed body (as opposed to the `traditional` straight-limbed bodies jointed at knees and elbows.) The closed-mouth version, mould number 341, is particularly sought after today. She has a rather dreamy expression and sweetly-shaped lips, and is not quite so plentiful as her open-mouthed sister. My Dream Baby dolls had either flange or socket heads (indicated by a letter `K` on the back of the neck), and could be obtained as caucasian, black or oriental types, though no attempt was made to alter the features, it was just the colouring which differed. The oriental dolls had a creamy complexion, while the colour of the black dolls varied from milk-to-dark chocolate brown. In America, Grace Storey Putnam developed another top-selling baby doll, the Bye-Lo baby, which was introduced shortly before My Dream Baby – though Armand Marseille claimed he had designed his doll first but not produced it! The Bye-Lo had more realistic face-modelling than the Dream Baby, managing to achieve a `screwed-up` look with the porcelain. Apparently, it was based on a new-born baby, and little creases were put into the composition limbs. Issued in 1922, these sweet dolls became nicknamed the `million dollar babies` because they were so much in demand. They were made by various German companies, including Kestner. Many other manufacturers such as Ernst Heubach, Schoenau & Hoffmeister, Kammer & Reinhardt, Kestner and Simon & Halbig produced bisque dolls at this time, most using the new bent-limbed baby-type body, though girl dolls with multi-jointed bodies were still available. Armand Marseille made other baby types, too, including a particularly attractive character-faced 990 mould. This doll was produced in various sizes, and the larger-than-life model tended to find its way into shop windows, where it was used to model baby wear. Babies were in fashion, because a very special little girl was born in 1926 to the Duke and Duchess of York, who later became Queen Elizabeth II. Little all-bisque dolls were popular, too. These could fit into a dolls` house, or neatly into a pocket to be carried around as a child`s companion. During the Great War, when German exports were discouraged, Japanese dolls made from a coarse white bisque had been introduced, but now, the finer-quality German dolls were back in the shops. Celluloid, wood and cloth dolls were also produced, with manufacturers such Dean`s issuing exquisite moulded-cotton-faced dolls, including the Princess doll from 1927, Posy dolls, boudoir dolls and a range using the newly-developed `Evripose` jointing system. Chad Valley was another company manufacturing cloth dolls at this time; these beautiful dolls featured moulded-felt faces with glass eyes. Their dolls included the Bambina series, made from felt and velvet, and a leggy Boudoir doll. Norah Wellings, originally a designer with Chad Valley, began producing her own collection of dolls during the 1920s, setting up a factory in Shropshire. Her Cora dolls featured felt faces, velveteen bodies and were dressed in pretty frilly frocks. Later she became known for her cheeky sailor dolls. The […]
Well, if your reading this you must be a collector, whether it be comics, coins or fine antiques. I’m sure that at sometime during your search for what you collect you have come across PEZ dispensers. Maybe you have read an article about PEZ collecting, seen PEZ dispensers for sale, or just have seen it on television. By your reading this you must have that urge to learn more about PEZ, maybe even start a collection of PEZ dispensers. Let me first tell you that it is habit forming and if you read further you do so at your own risk. Let me start by telling you a little about myself. I’m a “baby boomer” that started collecting pretty much like you. I heard that people collected PEZ and thought that it would be something fun to do. But I never knew I would one day be involved in PEZ collecting as I am. I started to sell PEZ to help feed my habit. I know it sounds like I have an addiction. Well, I do. My wife thought I was crazy. My family thought I was crazy. Am I crazy? No, not really. Buying PEZ to resell? Who is going to buy PEZ? I found there was plenty other collectors of PEZ out there. That was a few years ago. Now, I am the editor of “PEZ Collector’s News” and still collect PEZ. We are almost in our second year of the newsletter and we thought we would be happy with 500 subscribers. Well, I found that there are more PEZ collectors than I ever imagined. We have almost 1,500 subscribers and more sign up everyday. Enough about that, now to tell you a little about what makes PEZ so fun to collect. At any given time there are between 60 and 75 different dispensers that you can buy for about $1.00 each. Not bad, something inexpensive that’s fun to collect. I’m sure that in the current PEZ line you can find some character that you like. The current line includes some of your favorites like the Flintstones, Peanuts, Looney Tunes, Garfield and friends, Super Heroes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Disney line, Trucks, Whistles, Dinosaurs, Muppets, Holiday dispensers and the new Star Wars line. Some people only collect the currents, some people only collect one line. One thing for sure, people do collect PEZ dispensers. Current dispenser can be bought in larger chain stores such as “Toys R Us”, K-Mart or a chain drug store. Once you get into collecting PEZ and buy all of the current dispensers the next question is “Where can I buy older PEZ?”. I only have one answer and that the best place to buy PEZ is from the dealers that advertise in the newsletter. Of course you can buy PEZ at flea markets. They are getting much harder to find at reasonable prices and in good condition. One thing, make sure you know what you are buying and what it is worth. Antique dealers seem to talk a good story, but for the most part they don’t know a great PEZ from a good PEZ. Some “antique dealers” go to their corner store, buy a PEZ dispenser, open the package and place a price tag. You, the consumer must know how much a dispenser is worth before you pay for it. Yes, even I paid up to $5 for dispensers that I could have bought in a store for $1. Who knew? Another question that is commonly asked is “Should I buy PEZ dispensers that are missing parts?”. Well, it is very hard to match parts and make your own perfect dispenser. I have a pile of broken PEZ, that someday they will be whole again. Oh, one big question is “Should I keep it in the package or open it up?”. My answer is to buy two dispensers. At $1 each they are cheap enough to buy two. Open one to display and keep one in the package to increase in value. If you do decide to collect PEZ, become an educated consumer. There are several books about PEZ collecting, buy one. Read it and become aware of what every dispenser looks like. Attend a convention. This year there will be 5 convention across the U.S. Attend one, look and see what all of the talk is about. Once you see some of the PEZ dispensers, bet you say “I had that one as a kid!”. Bringing back memories and having fun is what collecting is about. Right? Related PEZ Information
The RMS Titanic left Southampton on the 10th April 1912 headed for New York. Four days later she hit an iceberg and on the 15th April she sank.
William Moorcroft might be said to have been born in the right place at the right time, with the benefit of an incredible ability to master all the skills needed to ensure that his business prospered no matter what the economic climate of the times. He was born in Burslem in 1872 and educated at Longport Hall School prior to becoming a student at the Burslem School of Art. His considerable artistic talent led to a move to London where, in 1896, he studied at the National Art Training School, later renamed The Royal College of Art. Young William made good use of his time in the capital by deciding to make an extensive study of both ancient and relatively contemporary ceramics displayed in the British Museum and the South Kensington Museum. We recognise the latter today as the Victoria and Albert Museum. The following year he was awarded his Art Master’s certificate which would normally attract most students towards a career teaching art. However our Mr Moorcroft had set his sights on becoming a potter and, as the fates would have it, was offered the position of designer by the china and earthenware manufacturers James Macintyre and Company of the Washington works in Burslem. He wasn’t slow to see the god sent opportunity and showed no hesitation in eagerly accepted the vacant situation. The pottery made all manner of both relatively mundane utilitarian and decorative ware including artist’s palettes, door furniture and art pottery, alongside insulators and switchgear for the emerging electrics industry. In 1893 the company had enlisted the services of Harry Barnard, the well-respected designer and modeller formerly employed at Doulton’s Lambeth studio, in a bid to introduce art pottery into their repertoire. He was given the task of developing a range of ware that made use of a pate sur pate type of decoration that involved the building up of layers of slip in low relief. The method of decoration had already been well established and perfected at the nearby Stoke factory of Minton and Co. by the former Sevres decorator Louis Solon. James Macintyre decided to name their new designs “Gesso Faience”, but regrettably for Barnard it failed to excite would-be buyers and he eventually moved down the hill to Josiah Wedgwood’s Etruria factory where he continued to develop slip decoration whilst his career underwent a renaissance. Moorcroft’s earliest designs were registered in 1898 and made use of under glaze cobalt blue complemented with iron red on glaze and gilt decoration that enhanced his new and inventive shapes, being retailed under the trade name of “Aurelian Ware”. William’s obvious childhood passion for nature and flora is evident in his treatment and choice of formalised repeated designs, which show a real synergy with the then all-important mentor of many a young art student–William Morris. Undeterred by the failure of “Gesso Ware” Moorcroft recognised the potential offered by slip-trailed decoration and set about producing Arts and Crafts’ inspired floral decoration married to imaginative organic forms. As a result his “Florian Ware”, launched in 1898, established William Moorcroft as the most exciting designer in British ceramics, able to produce in quantity contemporary designs that managed to embrace the traditional Arts and Crafts hand produced ethic. This ethic was promoted initially by Morris and later by the various Guilds that had sprung up in both Britain and the United States of America. As far as Messer’s Macintyre were concerned the most important outcome was that they had struck gold with young Moorcroft and found a highly distinctive art pottery that generated good income. William’s fertile imagination offered a regular flow of quite oftenbreathtaking designs over the next fifteen years that were not entirely limited to all things floral. In 1902 William had produced a design featuring Japanese ornamental Carp specifically for the London retailer, Osler. The firm soon became synonymous with a distinctive palette painted in tones of blue and mauve within slip trailed outlines; such vases carried a “Hesperian Ware” back stamp with other subject matter including Butterflies. That same year that saw the introduction of the first landscape design composed of a frieze of tall trees set amongst an undulating countryside and adapted to fit a variety of vases and dishes of differing size. Eventually labelled “Hazledene” the design proved especially popular through the premier retail outlet of Liberty and Co. William’s friendship with Arthur Lasenby Liberty was eventually to prove of significant importance in 1913 when Macintyre and Co. decided to concentrate upon the lucrative electrical fittings market. With space at their Washington pottery at a premium they decided to close down their art pottery concern and part company with William Moorcroft. It is a matter of debate amongst present day Moorcroft authorities as to whether or not the two parties came to an amicable separation that saw William building his own ‘state of the art’ factory in nearby Sandbach Road, Cobridge, interestingly aided and abetted by the Liberty and Co. connection. New patterns were quickly introduced including utilitarian tableware using a porcellaneous body similar to that used by Macintyre in their electrical output and referred to initially as Blue Porcelain. The speckled blue tableware was a much-needed success that soon became synonymous with Liberty and Co.’s New Tudor Tearooms where it was known as “Moorcroft Blue”. The advent of the First World War led to an increase in export trade allied with government commissions to produce shaving mugs and hospital inhalers for the war effort, thereby allowing William to retain much of his workforce. However, it was in the post war years that he was able to consolidate his position and develop his reputation for producing richly coloured wares that continued to draw upon floral, fruit and landscape inspiration. Unquestionably the most successful design of the interwar years has to be his “Pomegranate” pattern, having been initially introduced in1910. The earliest examples display distinct buff reserves that by the 1920s had given way to deep cobalt blue, and the commercial success of the company […]
We are not the only ones who celebrate Christmas – dolls do, too! Often, manufacturers issue their regular lines festively dressed in Christmas colours of red and green, or maybe silver, gold or white. They trim the costumes with white ‘fur’, tinsel, glitter or sparkly sequins – anything to make the doll look more Christmassy. Sometimes a Christmas special is dressed as a fairy, Santa or a character from a pantomime or fairy tale. Usually these dolls are made in limited numbers and, because they are sold for such a short period, eventually become very collectable. Teen dolls are often issued as Christmas Specials, such as the delightful Festive Sindy issued by Hasbro in 1997. She was dressed in a gold-flecked red gown with white fur trim, her hair covered by a fur-edged hood. More recently, Vivid Imaginations produced a Christmas Sindy, only available through Argos. Sindy was dressed in a short red Santa-style mini-dress, worn with a cap and cape, all edged in white fur. This doll is sure to become a future collectable. Barbie features in the ‘Happy Holidays’ collection which began in 1988, in a variety of gowns such as the full-skirted black & silver velvet ballgown worn with a dramatic cerise satin stole, dating from 1998. Her fabulous gowns use luxury fabrics in shades of green, scarlet, gold or white. The smaller dolls in the Barbie range, such as Maura, also often appear in festive mood. A couple of years ago, Maura was dressed as Winter in a pretty white and ice-blue dress scattered with snowflakes, and sporting a fetching pair of teddy earmuffs. Occasionally, dolls are issued in Christmas play sets. A few years ago the enchanting Madeline dolls, based on a character originally created by Ludwig Bemelmans in the 1930s, included a festive set in their range. Madeline is a pupil at a Parisienne school run by nuns, and dolls representing her and her friends were made by Eden in the 1990s, but have now been taken over by Learning Curve. The Madeline Christmas Gift set comprised a seven and a half inch tall doll wearing a santa-type outfit of a red dress edged with white fur and a matching hat, white lacy socks and black shoes. She had a felt Christmas tree and a tartan stocking. Learning Curve introduced large Holiday Madelines – soft cloth dolls dressed in red or green Christmas outfits. The German company, Zapf, makers of Baby Born, Annabell and Chou Chou, produce Christmas outfits for their dolls each year. Recent BabyBorn festive get-ups have included a dark red velour dress worn over Christmas-patterned tights, finished off with a jaunty, star-trimmed velour hat, a red long-sleeved dress with a matching flower-trimmed head band, and an unusual white and blue creation. A Christmas play set was also amongst the recently-discontinued Zapf Baby Born Miniworld series of dolls. This tiny baby doll, just four and a half inches tall, was dressed in a sweet red fleecy outfit and white bib embroidered with a Christmas motif. She wa s seated on a soft red beanbag with her teddy, beside a Christmas tree, and her box was designed to look like a festively-decorated nursery. Until recently, Zapf made excellent designer dolls, and amongst them was Rolanda Heimer’s Siggi, a nineteen inch tall baby with blonde hair. He was dressed in fleecy red hooded jacket with a knitted clown motif, and beige cord trousers. He came with a cd of Christmas carols. Anne Geddes ‘Baby Santa’ was issued a few years ago and is now quite difficult to find. Anne is famous for her photographs of babies dressed as animals, flowers and insects and a whole range of dolls based on the photos were made by Unimax, including rabbits, bears, butterflies and sunflowers. Baby Santa is a smiling, slightly podgy baby doll wearing a red Santa outfit. The box bears photographs of the real babies on which the doll was modelled. Woolworths often produce dolls in Christmas themed outfits, recently they were selling Christmas Holly, under their Chad Valley label, a sweet-faced sixteen inch baby dressed in a red dress, Santa hat, green bag and with adorable crocheted red shoes. Cabbage Patch Kids have featured in several Christmas issues over the years, including a 1990s Special Edition set of Holiday Babies by Mattel. Dressed in various outfits, such as a red needlecord dress trimmed with lace, a delightful white satin dress with a net overlay sprinkled with gold stars, or green corduroy shorts and a red tartan waistcoat, these are an excellent addition to a festive collection. Mattel also produced Christmas Cabbage Patch dolls in their Garden Fairies series, including some Wal-Mart exclusives. Poinsettia, Winter Holly and Winter Lily were obtainable in the UK, but the Wal-Mart versions were sold in the US, so aren’t often seen in Britain. These sweet dolls are ‘Holiday Scented’! Soft dolls by companies such as Ty and JellyCat are often found, and many stores and supermarkets sell Christmas specials, such as the cloth dolls sometimes sold by Tesco at Christmas. Ty’s Beanie-Boppers, with names such as Jolly Janie, Holiday Heidi, Merry Margaret and Christmas Carol, wear festive outfits. Carol has a green long-pile jacket over a gold-spotted red velour mini-dress trimmed with long-pile ‘fur’ and thigh-length boots. Her blonde hair is crimped and curled, and she has a Santa hat to match her dress. A similar range are the smiley eight inch character dolls from Jellycat, such as Princess Icecapade, obviously ready for the winter freeze with her ice-skates, and Holly Blooming Babe (wearing a holly-leaf skirt with a red berry belt). Toys ‘R’ Us have featured Christmas specials in their line of eleven and a half inch Jessica teen dolls. She has appeared in a long red gown with gold panels and a white fur cape, or a sophisticated white satin dress with a black bodice and stole. Vivid Imaginations have produced Holiday Bratz dolls, in both large and the ‘Baby Bratz’ versions, dressed in beautiful, frothy […]
The term “American Stoneware” refers to the predominant houseware of nineteenth century America–stoneware pottery usually covered in a salt glaze and often decorated using cobalt oxide to produce bright blue decorations. Pictured right: Fenton & Hancock Water Cooler sold at auction for $88,000 in Nov 2006 at Crocker Farm Inc auctions The vernacular term “crocks” is often used to describe this type of pottery, though the term “crock” is not seen in period documents describing the ware. Additionally, while other types of stoneware were produced in America concurrently with it–for instance, ironstone, yellowware, and various types of china–in common usage of the term, “American Stoneware” refers to this specific type of pottery. Pictured left: Baltimore Stoneware, (H. Myers) Water Cooler, Made By Henry Remmey, Sr. Water Cooler sold at auction for $72,600 in July 2004 at Crocker Farm Inc auctions Stoneware is pottery made out of clay of the stoneware category, fired to a high temperature (about 1200°C to 1315°C). The pottery becomes, essentially, stone. Salt-glazed pottery is a type of pottery produced by adding salt to a kiln to create a glass-like coating on the pottery. At just over 900°C, the salt (sodium chloride) vaporizes and bonds with the clay body. The sodium in the salt bonds with the silica in the clay, creating sodium silicate, or glass. A very commonly employed technique seen on American Stoneware is the use of cobalt decoration, where a dark gray mixture of clay, water and the expensive mineral cobalt oxide is painted onto the unfired vessels. In the firing process, the cobalt reacts to produce a vibrant blue decoration that has become the trademark of these wares. While this type of salt-glazed stoneware probably originated in the Rhineland area of Germany circa 1400’s, it became the dominant houseware of the United States of America circa 1780-1890. Pictured right: Early NY Figural, Stoneware Jar, Inscribed “Bill Remey” sold at auction for $63,250 in March 2008 at Crocker Farm Inc auctions Americans began producing salt-glazed stoneware circa 1720 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Yorktown, Virginia. By the 1770’s, the art of salt-glazed stoneware production had spread to many centers throughout the United States, most notably Manhattan, New York. There the Crolius and Remmey families (two of the most important families in the history of American pottery production) would, by the turn of the nineteenth century, set the standard for expertly crafted and aesthetically pleasing American stoneware. By 1820, stoneware was being produced in virtually every American urban center, with potters from Baltimore, Maryl and, in particular raising the craft to its pinnacle. While salt-glazing is the typical glaze technique seen on American Stoneware, other glaze methods were employed by the potters. For instance, vessels were often dunked in Albany Slip, a mixture made from a clay peculiar to the Upper Hudson Region of New York, and fired, producing a dark brown glaze. Albany Slip was also sometimes used as a glaze to coat the inside surface of salt-glazed ware. Pictured left: Taunton, MA, Stoneware Figural Cooler, 1834 sold at auction for $34,500 in March 2008 at Crocker Farm Inc auctions While decorated ware was usually adorned using cobalt oxide, American Stoneware potters used other decorative techniques. Incising, a method in which a design of flowering plants, birds, or some other decoration was cut into the leather-hard clay using a stylus, produced detailed, recessed images on the vessels; these were usually also highlighted in cobalt. Stamped or coggled designs were sometimes impressed into the leather-hard clay, as well. Potters occasionally substituted manganese or iron oxide for cobalt oxide to produce brown, instead of blue, decorations on the pottery. In the last half of the nineteenth century, potters in New England and New York state began producing stoneware with elaborate figural designs such as deer, dogs, birds, houses, people, historical scenes and other fanciful motifs including elephants and “bathing beauties.” A significant percentage of American Stoneware was signed using maker’s marks and, much more rarely, incised signatures. Many pieces can be attributed to particular makers based on the cobalt decoration, clay body, form, etc. The gallon capacity of the vessels was often denoted using numeral stamps or incised or cobalt oxide numbers or hash marks applied in freehand. Pictured right: John W. Bell, Waynesboro, PA, Redware Figure of a Whippet Dog sold at auction for $41,800 in May 2005 at Crocker Farm Inc auctions American Stoneware was valued as not only a durable, decorative houseware but as a safer alternative to lead-glazed earthenware pottery produced in America before and during its production there. This earthenware, commonly referred to today as American Redware, was often produced by the same potters making American Stoneware. Pictured left: “Anthony W. Bacher / 1879”, VA Redware Wall pocket sold at auction for $35,650 in March 2008 at Crocker Farm Inc auctions Stoneware was used for anything we might use glass jars or tupperware for today. It held everything from water, soda, and beer to meat, grain, jelly, and pickled vegetables, and was produced in a very wide variety of forms. These ranged from common jars and jugs to more specialized items like pitchers, water coolers, spittoons, and butter pots, to much rarer banks and poultry waterers and exceptionally unusual pieces like bird houses, animal figures, and grave markers. With the proliferation of mass production techniques and machinery throughout the century, in particular the breakthrough of John Landis Mason’s glass jar (see Mason jar), the production of what had been one of America’s most vital handcrafts gradually ground to a halt. By the turn of the twentieth century, some companies mass-produced stoneware with a white, non-salt glaze (commonly referred to as “bristol slip”), but these later wares lacked, for instance, the elaborate decorations common to the earlier, salt-glazed stoneware. 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As with much of tobacciana the growth of decorative cigar cases relates to rise of smoking. The first use in this country of the word ” cigar” (or ” segar ” as it was often written and pronounced) is ascribed by the Oxford Dictionary to the year 1735. The date is curious when one considers the use of tobacco in its various forms during the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, for the Georgian era was the golden age of snuff-taking the equipment for which lent itself admirably to the characteristic extravagance and ornamentation of the period. The studied code of mannerisms associated with the taking of snuff stems equally from eighteenth century etiquette. It must, therefore, be assumed that the cigar was introduced to England by a traveller from abroad, probably Spain. The making of cigars was practised in the West Indies at the time of Columbus’ voyage there in 1492, and had reached Spain by way of the Spanish colonies in South America. Cigar smoking remained an exclusively Spanish characteristic until the end of the eighteenth century, when a factory was opened at Hamburg in 1788; the habit spread rapidly through most of Europe, but was slow in reaching England, largely on account of a heavy duty on tobacco which had been instigated by James I nearly two hundred years before. This duty was considerably reduced in 1829, and cigar smoking rapidly became popular— except among the female members of Victorian society. Indeed, the novelty of smoking was such that Hints on Etiquette, published as late as 1834, roundly condemned the practice in these words :”If you are so unfortunate as to have contracted the low habit of smoking, be careful to practise it under certain restrictions; at least so long as you are desirous of being considered fit for civilised society.” By this time, however, cigar-smoking was firmly entrenched, at all events among the large proportion of the population who had no thought of being considered a part of ” civilised society.” Eighteen-fifteen was the year of change, for the unaccustomed state of peace produced by the victory at Waterloo in that year brought home a horde of soldiers who had spent many years in continuous service in Spain, where the cigar was a universal form of relaxation. The cigars smoked at this time were small, hard and strong. They were, in fact, what we should now call cheroots; the Havana cigar, fat and expensive, was a considerably later importation. As the habit of smoking rose, as it inevitably did, through the strata of society, smokers began to feel that carrying their cigars loose in their pocket was good neither for the cigars nor their clothes. In about 1840 there began to be produced a form of case which became popular among the middle-classes. This was made from two leaves of papier-mache, joined at the sides by means of leather gussets, usually with a separate internal case of thin leather or stiff paper. The vogue for papier-mâché was then at its height, although it had first been made in France before 1770. These cases would be of little interest to the collector but for the decorations which were usually applied to the outer leaves (and very occasionally to the inner case as well). A wide range of subject matter was used for the pictorial decorations on the cigar cases. As well as papier-mache, cigar cases were created in metal, silver, tortoiseshell, mother of pearl and wood. Related Tobacciana Tobacco Colleting
The Rollieflex TLR camera revolutionized photographic history by making high-quality photography more accessible to the general public. Prior to its release, cameras were bulky, expensive, and difficult to use, limiting their use to professional photographers or wealthy hobbyists. The Rollieflex’s simple design and affordable price made photography available to a much wider audience, sparking a lasting interest in the art form. The Rollieflex TLR camera was prototyped in 1927 and 1928 and first introduced in 1929 by the German company, Rollei. The TLR design (Twin Lens Reflex) was not new, but the Rollieflex was the first to offer high quality construction and a compact size. The Rollieflex quickly became popular with professional photographers and amateurs alike. Its simple design and rugged construction made it ideal for travel and outdoor photography. The Rollieflex remained in production until the early 1970s, when it was discontinued in favor of newer SLR models. Franke & Heidecke At the turn of the 20th century, Franke & Heidecke was one of the leading camera manufacturers in Germany. With a strong commitment to innovation and quality, they began to experiment with new types of cameras that could meet the growing demand for high-end photography equipment. One of their most successful designs was the Rollieflex TLR camera, which revolutionized the world of professional photography. Using cutting-edge technologies like precision gears and precise mechanics, Franke & Heidecke designed and built a sleek and sturdy camera that quickly gained the favor of professional photographers around the world. The Rolliefleix TLR camera offered a high level of control and flexibility, allowing photographers to capture stunning images with exceptional clarity and accuracy. It quickly became known as one of the most reliable, versatile, and effective cameras on the market, setting new standards for modern photography. Today, the Rollieflex is considered a classic camera, and its unique design continues to inspire photographers around the world.
Post-war ceramics arrived in an explosion of style and colour, creating contemporary ‘new look’ that is so desirable among collectors today. One of the most innovative potteries was Midwinter Pottery, largely due to one of its most celebrated designers – Jessie Tait. She was the only full time in-house designer to work for Midwinter, and her simple yet stunning designs are keenly appreciated by collectors. Her early 1950s designs such as the black and white Festival, Zambesi, Red Domino and Toadstool are among her most well known. Her later 1960s designs such as Mexicana and Spanish Garden are much easier to find and collect. Her style was often detailed and geometric, making an effective transition to transfer printed wares. Jessie Tait was in Stoke-on-Trent in 1928 – 14 January 2010 and studied at the Burslem School of Art. She first worked as a junior designer to Charlotte Rhead, and then as designer for the Midwinter Pottery between 1946 and 1974. The Midwinter Pottery was taken over by J. & G. Meakin in 1968, and again by Wedgwood in 1970. She moved from Midwinter to Johnson Brothers, another part of the Wedgwood group, and retired in the early 1990s. More Designs Related Charlotte Rhead Pottery Jessie Tait designs on ebay Jessie Tait at Catawiki auctions