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Archive for Sunday, December 1, 2002

One-handed clock unattractive to some

December 1, 2002

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Ever hear of a one-hand clock? In past centuries, clocks were often designed with just one hand that indicated the hour and the minutes. By the 15th century, most clocks were made with the more familiar two hands, as seen on modern clocks. In 1913, a retired colonel formed the Warren One Hand Clock Co. USA in Warren, Pa. The hand pointed to the hour, then slowly moved to the next hour while pointing to a small indicator that told the minutes. The company made clocks in three different sizes. The public did not accept the idea of a clock with one hand, and some thought the design was unattractive. The company closed in 1923.

In the early 1970s, I purchased a Morris chair at an estate sale. The chair's arms have metal rather than wooden slats. There is a notched spring mechanism on the bottom and back of the chair that makes the back recline. The only marks on it are the patent dates Oct. 24, 1899, and May 1, 1900. Can you help identify it?

Your chair was probably made by the Royal Chair Co. of Sturgis, Mich. The two patent dates you list are found on Morris chairs made by that firm. Royal was in business from about 1899 to 1928. It manufactured reclining Morris chairs, easy chairs and rockers in hundreds of styles. The term "Morris chair" refers to a wood-framed armchair with an adjustable reclining back and loose seat and back cushions. The style seems to have been created in the 1860s by British Arts & Crafts designer Philip Webb. Webb and his partner, William Morris, owned a British furniture business, Morris & Co.

When my wife returned from a trip to Europe in 1956, she brought back two "double" Hummel figurines. One is two singing children holding a piece of sheet music. The marks on the bottom include "130, Germany" and a bumblebee inside a letter V. The other is also two children, one playing a guitar and the other a banjo. That one is marked the same, but with the number 150. We want to give them to our granddaughter this year and would like to give her an idea of their value. Can you help?

The numbers on your Hummels identify them. The singers are titled "Duet," and the musicians are "Happy Days." The bee in a V is a well-known mark used by the W. Goebel Porcelain Factory, which makes Hummel figurines. Over the years, the style of the mark has changed. The mark on your figurines is one of the "full bee" marks used during the 1950s. It shows a side view of the full body of a flying bee. Today, each of your figurines is valued at about $250.

My plastic Lone Ranger radio is priced at more than $1,000 on an Internet site. It's a small, white Airline brand electric radio with the embossed image of the Lone Ranger riding his horse, Silver. The Lone Ranger is wearing a red shirt and a black mask and tie. My radio is missing a tube and one of the two knobs on the front. Three of the six side vents have broken off. Can you tell me what my radio is worth in its current condition?

Your radio dates from 1951. It was sold by Montgomery Ward, which owned the Airline brand name. The $1,000 value you quote is a retail price for a working Lone Ranger radio in near-mint condition -- with no missing knobs, tubes or vents. A dealer might pay a seller about half that price for the same near-mint radio. The value falls precipitously for a non-working radio with missing parts. However, Lone Ranger or radio collectors might be willing to buy your radio for less than $200 if it can be repaired.

I have a piece of stoneware that belonged to my grandfather, who was born in 1891. It is shaped like a carafe, but it's flat on one side and the opening is on the front, not the top. Stamped below the stopper in the opening are the words "Henderson Foot Warmer." The bottom is marked "Dorchester Pottery Wk's, Boston." What can you tell me about it?

The Dorchester Pottery Works was founded on Victory Road in Dorchester, a section of Boston, in 1895. The original owner was George H. Henderson. Foot warmers were widely used in the days before central heating. The type you have, sometimes called a "china pig," was filled with hot water and placed under bedding for warmth overnight. Dorchester Pottery continued to make its patented "Henderson Foot Warmer" until at least 1920. Most stoneware foot warmers sell in the $100 to $200 range. Members of Henderson's family ran the pottery until it closed in the early 1980s. Dorchester Pottery Works eventually specialized in mechanically produced, high-fired, acid-proof stoneware, mostly for industrial use.

Tip

If you accidentally dust off a bit of veneer, a loose screw or a piece of metal mounting, immediately put it in an envelope in a drawer or tape or pin it to the back of the furniture. When you have time, decide if you or an expert should do the needed restoration. These small pieces should be carefully saved because they can never be exactly duplicated.

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