Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.
¢ Girl Scout camera, Jem Jr. 120, art deco design, aluminum, 1940s, 5 x 5 in., $40.
¢ Pillsbury 2nd Grand National 100 Prize Winning Recipes Cook Book, 1951, 100 pages, $55.
¢ Crackle glass vase, chartreuse, goblet shape, tapered sides, ball base, 1930s, 13 in., $125.
¢ American treenware firkin, staven construction, 3-finger lapped bands, cover, c.1855, 24 x 14 1/2 in., $180.
¢ Majolica pitcher, Trunk & Floral pattern, turquoise ground, pink flowers on tree branch, tree-trunk handle, 1930s, 8 1/2 x 4 in., $275.
Houses in America were originally heated by open fires in a fireplace. By the mid-1700s, cast-iron heating stoves were introduced. Many were "five plate" stoves made of five iron plates assembled as an open box. The stove was put in an opening in the wall of a room adjacent to the kitchen. Live coals were put inside it from the kitchen fireplace. This heated the room without carrying the smoke from the kitchen. Other styles of stoves were made, many with elaborate designs cast in the iron plates.
Stove improvements could be patented after 1793, and new designs after 1842. In 1843, Alonzo Blanchard of Albany, N.Y., patented a stove design he called "Washington." It was, he said, a "radiator or an ornament." A statue of George Washington was set on top of a small stove. Some of the Washington statues were sold as garden ornaments. Blanchard included the patent date on his Washington statues. When central heating for homes was perfected, heating stoves were not needed and many of the heavy cast-iron relics were scrapped or stored. Today some houses, especially in Europe, still use heating stoves of a more modern, efficient design. Collectors buy old iron stoves for prices ranging up from $500 on up.
Q: I recently bought an old rocking chair and then found a magazine ad attached to the bottom. The ad is from the October 1911 issue of The Housekeeper Magazine. It shows a picture of the rocker and explains that it's a premium for purchasing Larkin Household Supplies. Would a company offer premiums as large as a chair?
A: The Larkin Soap Co. was founded in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1875. It started as a small soap factory, but revolutionized its marketing approach when it started contacting consumers directly by mail and offering small gift premiums with its expanding line of products. These early premiums included handkerchiefs, towels and even Buffalo Pottery dinner sets. Eventually, Larkin inserted gift certificates into its product packages. The certificates could be saved and mailed in for larger premiums, including furniture made at a factory owned by Larkin. Your chair is one of those larger premiums. A rocking chair like yours sells for about $300.
Q: I have an unusual toy animal that has been in my family for years. I'm hoping you can identify it. The animal appears to be made of wood - at least it's hard. He is yellow with a big red nose and stands 12 inches high on his hind legs. Right under his neck there's a red decal with yellow letters that spell "Jeep."
A: You have a "Eugene the Jeep" toy that's probably made of composition, not wood. Composition is a concoction of sawdust or wood pulp and glue that can be easily molded. It was used to make dolls from about 1910 into the early 1950s. Eugene the Jeep - otherwise known simply as Jeep - was introduced in E.C. Segar's "Thimble Theatre" comic strip in 1936. The strip, which started running in 1919, is now titled "Popeye," after its most famous character (who didn't appear until 1929). Jeep toys were made in several sizes, but yours is the tallest. If it's in good condition, it could be worth $250 or more.