Archive for Sunday, September 9, 2001

Queen Anne furniture an American classic

Curved forms, simple decorations provide graceful and practical pieces

September 9, 2001


Queen Anne ruled England from 1702 to 1714, but the furniture made in America in the "Queen Anne" style was not made until about 1725 to 1750.

The desks and other wooden pieces were shades lighter than furniture made earlier. Pieces were made with curved forms and simple decorations.

The best-known feature of a Queen Anne table, desk or chair is the cabriole leg. The S-shaped leg is graceful and practical. The slight bend and the knee made it possible for a slim leg to support heavy pieces.

The slant-front desk was a popular Queen Anne form. The desk resembled a chest of drawers topped by a series of smaller drawers that were, in turn, covered by a long, slanting board that could be flipped open to form a writing surface.

While I was cleaning out my grandfather's apartment, I found an old postcard. It pictures a black ship sinking in blue water. The sky is red. Large white and yellow letters on the postcard read "Loose Lips Might Sink Ships." The name "Goff" is printed near the water.

Along the bottom of the card in small print is the phrase "This poster is published by the House of Seagram as part of its contribution to the national victory effort." Can you explain?

After Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the United States entered World War II. German U-boats routinely sank Allied ships along the Eastern seaboard.

The U.S. Office of War Information and the House of Seagram-Distillers Corp. of New York joined together during the early years of World War II. They created a set of four anti-espionage posters designed by artist Henry Sharp Goff Jr.

They were hung in East Coast bars to discourage seamen and civilians from talking in public about ships' movements, schedules and destinations. Seagram decided to transfer the brightly colored print images onto postcards.

The postcards were sold at U.S. military bases and in bars. Your postcard is worth less than $10.

My mother-in-law's aunt gave us a 16-inch covered urn with two handles. A classical scene is painted on the urn. The mark on the bottom is a blue letter N with a crown above it.

The mark you describe was first used about 1820 by the Capo-di-Monte factory in Ginori, Italy. But during the 19th and 20th centuries, the mark was copied by many other factories.

One of my grandmother's antique pottery vases has an "ND Clay" mark and the word "Ferock." She lived in North Dakota, so I assume ND refers to the state. What is Ferock?

Earl (also spelled Earle) J. Babcock was the dean of the School of Mines at the University of North Dakota around the turn of the 20th century. He was eager to publicize the high quality of North Dakota clay to help spur the establishment of a ceramics department at the university.

Babcock shipped some of the state's clay to Zanesville, Ohio. Zanesville was a center of American art-pottery production, and artists from the Roseville Pottery and J.B. Owens used North Dakota clay for pieces that were shown at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair and the 1909 National Corn Exposition in Omaha, Neb.

Researchers believe that pieces marked "Ferock" were made by a short-lived concern called Ferock Studios. It was most likely run by and named for Frank Ferrell, who went on to become Roseville's art director, and Maude Pollock, a businesswoman.

When was the first can opener made? Was it at the same time cans were made?

The idea of preserving food in sealed containers began about 1800. Tin-plated steel was being used in England by 1810.

At first, the heavy "tins" of food were mainly used by the military. Soldiers opened the tins using whatever tool was handy a knife, a chisel or even a bayonet.

An American named Ezra Warner invented the first hand tool designed to open metal cans. It was a hook with a short blade attached to the handle.

The manual cutting-wheel opener, which is still available today, was patented in 1870. The first electric can opener was available in 1931.

I have a strange old bottle that reads "Soda Water, Property of Coca-Cola 1923." Could this be an old Coke bottle?

Yes. The Coca-Cola Co. has made many types of bottles since it was founded in 1886. Any bottle that has the name Coca-Cola printed or embossed on it was used by the company.

Any item that is connected with the company ads, trays, bottles, thermometers, even gum wrappers is worth money because there are many collectors of Coca-Cola memorabilia.

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