Archive for Sunday, May 19, 2002

Doll depicts women in military

May 19, 2002


In 1917, during World War I, the British Army established the first Women's Auxiliary Army Corps. The women served as clerks, cooks or waitresses. They also held other service jobs, replacing male soldiers who were needed at the front.

They were not given commissions, or even the same titles as the men. The women did wear uniforms and were required to exercise each day. Since WAAC members served in dangerous areas, some were killed by enemy fire.

This composition doll depicts a WAAC, or a Women's Auxiliary Army
Corps member. It was made in the early 1940s. The 18-inch doll sold
last year for $250.

This composition doll depicts a WAAC, or a Women's Auxiliary Army Corps member. It was made in the early 1940s. The 18-inch doll sold last year for $250.

Women have served as combat support in wars in America since the Revolutionary War. It is estimated that 100,000 women were associated with the Army during the Revolution. Most did cooking, mending and nursing. It was not until 1901 that a nurse corps was created here.

Congress finally allowed women into the Army in 1942, when the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps was created. The name changed to the Women's Army Corps, or WACS, in 1943. That name was used until 1978.

A few dolls representing WACS were made during the war years. The dolls were made with the appropriate short hair, adult features and authentic replicas of WAC dress uniforms, including a hat and necktie. The best-known WAC doll was made by Freundlich Novelty Co. of New York in the early 1940s.

I inherited a spinet desk from my mother. The cubbyholes in the desk include an inkwell that swings out, small drawers and a pull-out writing shelf. The label on it reads "Colonial Mfg. Co." Can you tell me anything about the company?

The Colonial Manufacturing Co. worked in Zeeland and Grand Rapids, Mich., from about 1906 to 1947. The company made clocks as well as reproductions of furniture owned by the Henry Ford Museum.

Is the chemical composition of the glass used for antique cut glass different from the glass used to make, for instance, Waterford? Does the composition change the quality of the glass' sparkle?

Yes and no. The percentage of lead in glass and the quality of the cutting and polishing combine to increase the sparkle in a piece of glass. A century ago, high-quality cut glass was made using glass with lead content that ranged from 10 percent to 28 percent. So if you compare a large selection of antique glass, you'll see differences in how much the pieces sparkle. Today's best lead crystal has a lead content of about 24 percent.

I have a collection of more than 100 aspirin tins dating from the 1920s to the 1980s. I can't find any reference books that list these tins. Can you help? I am looking for history, value and any other information.

Aspirin is a synthetic chemical compound whose scientific name is acetylsalicylic acid. It was first synthesized in 1893. It has since been used to treat fever, mild pain and inflammation. Aspirin, like many other medicinal and cosmetic products, was sold in small tin containers that were easy to carry in a pocket or purse. The containers were also a kind of advertising for the product brand.

Today these containers are collectible. You can find them listed and pictured in books on advertising tins. Aspirin tins in excellent condition from the first half of the 20th century sell for $8 to $15 each.

My mother's old, light-blue pottery pitcher says "Coors Mello Tone Pottery" on the bottom. We are originally from Denver and wonder if the pottery is connected with Coors Brewing Co.

Your mother's pitcher was made in the late 1930s by the Coors Porcelain Co., a subsidiary of the famous brewing company. Mello Tone was one of a handful of dinnerware lines made by the pottery during the Depression.

Adolph Coors, who founded his brewing company in 1873, helped found the Herold China and Pottery Co. in Golden, Colo., in 1910. About 1920, the pottery's name became Coors Porcelain Co. The company produced chemical and industrial wares before and after the Depression. It is still in business. Your pitcher is worth about $25.

In 1993, I bought a five-piece bedroom set from a relative who had bought it from a woman in the antiques business. The wood appears to be a mahogany veneer. The twin bedposts are carved with pineapple and acanthus leaves. A bronze medallion pressed into the inside of a drawer is embossed with a man's face and the words "Royal Furniture Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan."

Can you tell me something about the maker?

The Royal Furniture Co. worked in Grand Rapids from 1892 to 1931. The company marked its furniture with the medallion you describe from the mid-1910s until 1919. Your set was made during those years. The man depicted on the medallion is George Washington. Royal specialized in making period-style dining-room, living-room, library and bedroom furniture.


Watch out for exploding antiques! Guns, shells, powder cans, nitrate movie film and some chemicals left in old bottles or cans are dangerous. If you don't know about these items, contact your local police or fire department for help.

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