Probably the most popular areas of collecting today are pottery and porcelain.
One of the most popular is Roseville pottery. The company opened a plant in Roseville, Ohio, in 1890. It was so successful that they added another plant in Zanesville, Ohio, in 1898. The firm continued making pottery until 1954.
Twenty years ago, collectors searched for early wares like the brown glazed pieces that were similar to Rookwood and the hand-decorated graffito made about 1906. Collectors now favor the later molded-pottery lines that featured raised flowers. Most patterns were used for vases, jardinieres, planters and, perhaps, matching candlesticks. They were sold to florists and gift shops.
Well-known patterns that picture flowers include Apple Blossom (1948), Bittersweet (1951), Cherry Blossom (1932), Dogwood (1916-1919), Fuchsia (1938), Iris (1939), Magnolia (1943), Sunflower (1930), Water Lily (1943), White Rose (1940) and Wisteria (1937). The patterns are easy to identify because the flowers are realistic.
Most pieces are marked with the name Roseville. Be careful, as many copies are being made.
How long have they been making swizzle sticks? I collect them and have some unusual plastic and glass sticks that my father saved.
Tradition says the Swizzle Inn in Hamilton, Bermuda, served a tall drink called a "Rum Swizzle." It was served with a wooden stick that was later called a "swizzle stick." Another tradition says the name came from the German word for beating or stirring. The "naming" was about 100 years ago.
My old brush looks like it has an ivory handle. It is marked "Zylonite." When was it made?
The American Zylonite Co. was started in 1881 in Adams, Mass. Cylonite was an English plastic like Celluloid. It was renamed Zylonite when the rights were purchased in the United States. The company made dresser sets, collar and cuff boxes, rattles, piano keys and other products. It was purchased by the Celluloid Manufacturing Co. in 1890.
My old wooden rocker is made out of tree limbs with the bark still intact. The only mark we can find is partially worn off. All we can read is "Hickory , insville, Ind." Can you tell where and when the chair was made?
The Old Hickory Chair Co. was founded in Martinsville, Ind., about 1892. Its name was changed to Old Hickory Furniture Co. in 1921. The company made furniture from the limbs of hickory trees until 1968.
This style was called "Indiana hickory," and it is part of the rustic or Adirondack furniture tradition in America. It was especially popular at mountain and lakeside resorts during the first half of the 20th century.
Several other companies, including Rustic Hickory Furniture Co. of La Porte, Ind., and Indiana Hickory Furniture Co. of Colfax, Ind., made furniture in the same style.
When my husband was stationed in England in 1952, we purchased an unusual whiskey decanter set at a flea market. I want to give the set to our son, but I'd like to tell him more about it. There are three crystal decanters in the set. They are in a wooden-and-brass holder that's open on one side. It can be locked so the bottles can't be removed. Engraved on the brass are the words "The Tantalus, Benetfink & Co., Cheapside, London."
A tantalus is a liquor case with visible contents and a lock. It was named for a mythical king who was condemned to stand up to his chin in water that receded whenever he stooped to drink. Benetfink & Co. was probably the retailer who sold the tantalus.
Liquor was often kept under lock and key in Victorian times. This kept the household help from drinking it.
Do not store liquor in crystal bottles for a long time. The lead in the crystal can leach into the liquid, so drink and be merry.
I have been collecting odd paper clips since I was a child. I recently noticed some large, ornate brass or silver clips at the antiques shows that the dealers call "paper clips" or "letter clips." When were they used?
Victorians called the large, fancy clips "paper clips" or "bill clips." They were kept on the desk, and they helped keep the clutter organized. Bills, letters and notes were clipped together. Imagination went into creating the clips. They were popular in the late 1800s. Some were shaped like a hand or elaborately decorated oblongs or ovals, while others depicted faces or animals. The best clips were made of sterling silver, while others were silver-plated, brass, copper or white metal. A few were decorated with enameling, gold plating or even "jewels."
You might be able to remove salt spots from your silver-plated salt shakers with olive oil. Rub it on the spots, let it stand a few days, then wipe it off.
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"Kovels' New Dictionary of Marks Pottery and Porcelain: 1850 to the Present." More than 3,500 marks for 19th- and 20th-century American, European and Oriental pottery and porcelain are illustrated. Factory dates, locations, other needed information listed. Marks are sorted by shape. Send $19 plus $3 postage to Kovel, Box 22900, Beachwood, Ohio, 44122 or call (800) 571-1555.