Tuesday, May 26, 2009
A: Jesse Shwayder founded Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing in Denver, Colorado, in 1910. His brothers Ben, Mark, Maurice and Sol joined the business between 1912 and 1923. The name "Samson" on your card table label was based on the character in the Bible known for his great strength. It was first used on Shwayder's suitcases in 1916. The company began making folding tables and other products when sales of suitcases declined during the Depression. The five men pictured standing on a board balanced on the table are the Shwayder brothers. The company advertised its suitcases and tables as "Strong Enough to Stand On." The name of the company was changed to Shwayder Brothers, Inc., in 1931. A patent listed on your label was issued in 1934, so your table must have been made after that. The company name was changed to Samsonite in 1965. After several changes of ownership, it now operates as Samsonite Corporation, with headquarters in Massachusetts.
A: The mark on your dish looks like the inside of a Sevres mark used from 1834 to 1845. The Sevres mark had the crown, the monogram and the name of the pottery enclosed in a double circle. Many potteries used marks that looked like Sevres or other well-known pottery marks in the hope that people would think they had a more expensive piece. Pottery imported into the United States had to be marked with the country of origin after the passage of the McKinley Tariff Act in 1891. Your soap dish was probably made before 1915. Does anyone recognize this mark?
Children under 6 are being injured more frequently these days by overturned shelf units, desks, chests of drawers, and other tall furniture. Children try climbing to reach something at the top of the unit. Look at your furniture. If the shelves are spaced close enough to work as a climbing ladder or if you can make a "ladder" by pulling out drawers, do something to keep children from crawling up and perhaps falling down. Drawers can be locked with locks that open with a magnet or key. Don't put children's toys or enticing objects at the top of a tall piece. Also watch out for folding screens that could fall. And people who live in earthquake regions should be sure all tall furniture is screwed or tied to a wall, a stud or another strong support.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
There still are treasures to be found. A decorated yellow Chinese porcelain vase bought at a Florida yard sale years ago looked like a good copy of an 18th-century piece. It was put into a Brunk auction (Asheville, N.C.) as a modern copy, but the surprising final price was $1,236,250. At least two bidders thought it was real. Another Chinese jar decorated with dragons, thought to be a copy of a 16th-century piece, sold for $69,000 at the same auction.
Where is the president's head? It disappeared this weekend just before the Hiram College commencement ceremonies in Hiram, Ohio. The college was recently given an 8-foot-tall 1914 carved sandstone statue of President James Garfield. Garfield, an Ohioan, was president of Hiram College before he was president of the United States. The statue was installed Thursday in front of the restored Greek Revival college building that had once been a church. By Friday morning he was headless, looking like an ancient Grecian artifact. But please, if anyone has seen Garfield's head (with full beard and mustache), let the Hiram police know at 330-569-3236. No reward, but as a trustee of the college I would be most grateful.
A: Painted boxes like this were made in Scandinavian countries. The two pieces that stick up on either side of your box are called lid latches and help hold the lid in place. Your box is probably a Norwegian picnic box or a bride's box. A Norwegian picnic box was price $495 at a recent show.
A: Homer and Shakespeare Laughlin, two brothers, began making pottery in East Liverpool, Ohio, in 1871. The pottery became Ohio Valley Pottery in 1874. Later it became Homer Laughlin China Company. In 1897 William Edwin Wells and Louis I. Aaron became the owners of the pottery. Members of their families still operate the company. The headquarters moved to Newell, West Virginia, in 1907. Homer Laughlin China Company is one of the most prolific producers of dinnerware in the United States. The company estimates that between 25,000 and 30,000 different patterns have been made. The peacock mark was used on the Wells shape and on some Century, Jade and Orleans shape dishes from 1930 to the 1940s. Your dishes are Century shape, which was made from 1931 to c.1951. The pattern is Briar Rose. Many Homer Laughlin dishes were sold in Montgomery Ward catalogs in the 1930s.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
A: Dr. David Jayne (b.1798-d.1866) was a doctor in New Jersey who began making patent medicines in the 1830s. He moved the business to Philadelphia in 1850, where he built the tallest building in the United States. Dr. D. Jayne & Sons was founded in 1855 by Dr. Jayne, one of his sons, a nephew, and his brother-in-law. After Dr. Jayne died in 1866, the company was called Dr. D. Jayne's Family Medicines. The original medicines continued to be sold until at least the 1930s, though some of the names were changed and the ingredients modified to comply with the 1906 Food and Drug Act. Your self-framed picture on tin of Robert E. Lee in his Confederate General uniform is similar to several other versions that were made about 1863 and distributed as ads in drugstores. The 24-by-36-inch size is worth more than $800.
A: A piece of Franciscan Ware was given to each girl graduating from high school in the Los Angeles area in the 1940s-50s, probably marked like yours. We have seen an Apple mug with the "this is my first" marking. Franciscan dinnerware was made by Gladding, McBean and Company of Glendale, California. Gladding, McBean was founded in 1875 and began selling dinnerware and art pottery under the name Franciscan Ware in 1934. Two of the most popular Franciscan patterns are Apple, introduced in 1940, and Desert Rose, introduced in 1941. They are both still being made. Franciscan became part of the Wedgwood Group in 1979 and production was moved to Staffordshire, England.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Email comment from C.G. about the Siam jewelry mentioned in the April 15 and 22 Kovels Komments: "Siamese jewelry has been made since the 1930s. It comes in at least 12 different colors." Now we're wondering if anyone can prove when Siam jewelry was first made. We have seen the 1930s, '40s, and '60s given as the decade when the jewelry was introduced. We know it was available in the 1960s.
Q: This roulette wheel was given to my father in 1965. The tag on it said it came from the Hotel Detroiter. The chrome piece in the middle is imprinted "B.C. Wills & Co. Detroit." Value?
A: B.C. Wills & Co. was owned by George Weinbrenner, who discovered a method of curing celluloid so that "square" dice cubes could be made. Before his discovery, dice were not perfect cubes, which affected the outcome of the game. When Weinbrenner bought the building formerly occupied by B.C. Wills & Co., a tool and die manufacturer, he kept the name B.C. Wills & Co. The company was known for making quality dice. Other gambling equipment, cabinets and furniture were also made. Clay Hathaway bought the gaming supply division in the 1980s and the company went bankrupt shortly after. The Detroiter Hotel was built in 1926 and was later demolished. Your 1930s Wills roulette wheel could bring as much as $2,000. For more information about B.C. Wills & Co., visit http://cctn.ccgtcc.com/wills.pdf.
Q: My neighbor bought a cookie jar for me at a yard sale because she knows that I collect cookie jars. I haven't been able to find any information about the jar. This is the mark on the bottom. Can you tell me who made the jar and how old it is?
A: Your jar was made in China for Burton & Burton, a giftware company based in Bogart, Georgia. The company was originally called "Flowers, Inc. Balloons," which is why "fib" is part of the mark. Flowers, Inc. Balloons was founded by Maxine Burton in 1982 to supply balloons to florists. Burton & Burton was founded later as a giftwares division with products that included vases, baskets, containers, cookie jars, and other items. The two divisions merged in 2006 to form "burton + BURTON." Your jar is probably not more than 25 years old.