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Brucha Junovitch 's Entries

14 blogs
  • 11 Sep 2015
    I am on a quest of sorts, to delve into a mystery. An antique pedal car was brought to my attention recently and I was asked if I could uncover its origin and details. I was given a few photos and the dimensions but little else. But I am getting ahead of myself. As with any good mystery story should begin, let’s start at the beginning. The first pedal cars was introduced by Karl Benz in the 1880’s and soon the market was flooded with a playful equivalent designed for children – the antique toy pedal car. By the early 1900s pedal cars were ubiquitous in the USA and Great Britain. One of the first companies to make three-wheel velocipedes for children was Whitney Reed, whose wooden horse pulling a sulky is a classic of the early form—the horse’s jointed legs moved when the operator pushed the pedals. Because automobiles are the main type of pedal toy sought by collectors, pedal toys like the early Whitney Reeds can be surprisingly easy to acquire. “Juvenile Steel Automobiles” were manufactured by the Butler brothers around this point. These cars boasted chassis made from sheet-steel, double-spoke wheels and open steering systems, bottoms and pedals. Models included the Scorcher, the Wizard, and the Speedwell. The pedal version of the best-selling Ford Model T was especially popular among children, and remains highly prized today. Before the outbreak of the First World War, pedal cars designed in the style of Grand Prix Peugeots were being manufactured and sold in Paris. Following the war’s end, Eureka, a French toy maker of considerable note, continues this trend, making pedal cars fashioned after Peugeots, as well as Renaults and the Citroen Rosalie. In Great Britain, Lines Bros had created lines of more than 30 different types of pedal car, which were duly advertised in its 1937/1938 catalogue. Prince, a fairly basic model was designed for younger children (2 to 4 year olds), while the Electric Rolls, which starred an electric motor – thus its name – was presumably designed for slightly older, and rather aspirant children. The impressive toy car also featured working brakes and headlights, real Dunlop tires (including a spare), and chrome-plated rims. As for its performance, it could travel 12 to 15 miles on a single charge and had a top speed of 5 mph. The interwar period proved to be an important time for pedal car manufacturers, who saw their products’ popularity grow exponentially. Pedal cars became so ubiquitous they were even fixtures in the Sears catalogues of the era. However, pedal cars could only be sent from Sears to customers who lived near railway lines because mailing a steel car, even a small one, was impossible. Other companies that made pedal cars in the ’20s and ’30s included American National Automobiles of Toledo and Steelcraft of Murray, both based in Ohio. Among other products, Steelcraft made GMC pedal trucks, as well as Mack dump trucks, Model T Roadsters, Dodge Runabouts, and a Chrysler Roadster, which had bullet-shaped headlights and rubber tires. Steelcraft’s Chrysler was 50-inches long, and could be yours for only $31.50. After World War II, the J-40 (or Junior Forty) made by Lines Bros. in Wales by retired miners and modeled after the 1949 Austin A-40 was probably the most popular pedal car in England. In the 1950s, the company offered 33 pressed-steel-body pedal cars, its heavily chromed Triang Centurion being the top of the line. By the early 1960s, the company experimented with novelty cars such as the Noddy, which was like a small go-kart, but as the decade progressed it reverted back to pedal cars based on real automobiles such as the MG Midget. Pedal cars were also popular in Australia. In fact, they have such a rich history there that the government recently issued a series of toy-theme stamps, including one with a red Cyclops pedal car from 1953. Though based in Australia, many of Cyclops’s pedal car designs were based on U.S. models and manufacturers, from Buick and Chevrolet, to Pontiac and Packard. Ok, back to the present. I exhaustively searched online for as much material and information that I could find to determine the make and model of this particular pedal car. However, the internet held little tangible information to aid me in identifying this model. So, I am asking you, the readers, to help me in this search. The pedal car is 43 inches long, 16 inches tall, and 16 inches wide. It weighs 25.6 lbs and is constructed of wood which, from my research, was uncommon in pedal car design. The car bears no manufacturing markings of any kind but does closely resemble others that I found online. At the bottom of this article I have posted a url to a site that lists images of pedal cars from various period catalogs, along with each catalog source. So here is a call out to any of you amateur or professional antique sleuths out there to help me in identifying this pedal car. You can, of course, post responses in the comments below! http://www.oldcatalogsrevisited.com/toypedc.shtml
    988 Posted by Brucha Junovitch
  • I am on a quest of sorts, to delve into a mystery. An antique pedal car was brought to my attention recently and I was asked if I could uncover its origin and details. I was given a few photos and the dimensions but little else. But I am getting ahead of myself. As with any good mystery story should begin, let’s start at the beginning. The first pedal cars was introduced by Karl Benz in the 1880’s and soon the market was flooded with a playful equivalent designed for children – the antique toy pedal car. By the early 1900s pedal cars were ubiquitous in the USA and Great Britain. One of the first companies to make three-wheel velocipedes for children was Whitney Reed, whose wooden horse pulling a sulky is a classic of the early form—the horse’s jointed legs moved when the operator pushed the pedals. Because automobiles are the main type of pedal toy sought by collectors, pedal toys like the early Whitney Reeds can be surprisingly easy to acquire. “Juvenile Steel Automobiles” were manufactured by the Butler brothers around this point. These cars boasted chassis made from sheet-steel, double-spoke wheels and open steering systems, bottoms and pedals. Models included the Scorcher, the Wizard, and the Speedwell. The pedal version of the best-selling Ford Model T was especially popular among children, and remains highly prized today. Before the outbreak of the First World War, pedal cars designed in the style of Grand Prix Peugeots were being manufactured and sold in Paris. Following the war’s end, Eureka, a French toy maker of considerable note, continues this trend, making pedal cars fashioned after Peugeots, as well as Renaults and the Citroen Rosalie. In Great Britain, Lines Bros had created lines of more than 30 different types of pedal car, which were duly advertised in its 1937/1938 catalogue. Prince, a fairly basic model was designed for younger children (2 to 4 year olds), while the Electric Rolls, which starred an electric motor – thus its name – was presumably designed for slightly older, and rather aspirant children. The impressive toy car also featured working brakes and headlights, real Dunlop tires (including a spare), and chrome-plated rims. As for its performance, it could travel 12 to 15 miles on a single charge and had a top speed of 5 mph. The interwar period proved to be an important time for pedal car manufacturers, who saw their products’ popularity grow exponentially. Pedal cars became so ubiquitous they were even fixtures in the Sears catalogues of the era. However, pedal cars could only be sent from Sears to customers who lived near railway lines because mailing a steel car, even a small one, was impossible. Other companies that made pedal cars in the ’20s and ’30s included American National Automobiles of Toledo and Steelcraft of Murray, both based in Ohio. Among other products, Steelcraft made GMC pedal trucks, as well as Mack dump trucks, Model T Roadsters, Dodge Runabouts, and a Chrysler Roadster, which had bullet-shaped headlights and rubber tires. Steelcraft’s Chrysler was 50-inches long, and could be yours for only $31.50. After World War II, the J-40 (or Junior Forty) made by Lines Bros. in Wales by retired miners and modeled after the 1949 Austin A-40 was probably the most popular pedal car in England. In the 1950s, the company offered 33 pressed-steel-body pedal cars, its heavily chromed Triang Centurion being the top of the line. By the early 1960s, the company experimented with novelty cars such as the Noddy, which was like a small go-kart, but as the decade progressed it reverted back to pedal cars based on real automobiles such as the MG Midget. Pedal cars were also popular in Australia. In fact, they have such a rich history there that the government recently issued a series of toy-theme stamps, including one with a red Cyclops pedal car from 1953. Though based in Australia, many of Cyclops’s pedal car designs were based on U.S. models and manufacturers, from Buick and Chevrolet, to Pontiac and Packard. Ok, back to the present. I exhaustively searched online for as much material and information that I could find to determine the make and model of this particular pedal car. However, the internet held little tangible information to aid me in identifying this model. So, I am asking you, the readers, to help me in this search. The pedal car is 43 inches long, 16 inches tall, and 16 inches wide. It weighs 25.6 lbs and is constructed of wood which, from my research, was uncommon in pedal car design. The car bears no manufacturing markings of any kind but does closely resemble others that I found online. At the bottom of this article I have posted a url to a site that lists images of pedal cars from various period catalogs, along with each catalog source. So here is a call out to any of you amateur or professional antique sleuths out there to help me in identifying this pedal car. You can, of course, post responses in the comments below! http://www.oldcatalogsrevisited.com/toypedc.shtml
    Sep 11, 2015 988
  • 25 May 2015
    by Brucha Junovitch Lovers of old or rare books like myself have formed a sort of ritual over the years out of oiling the leather bindings of their most cherished volumes. It is a treasured thing to do, to store and preserve a loved item for prosperity. However, there is a growing consensus of collectors that believe that the best method for preserving leather-bound books should not include oil at all. Some institutions have switched from the time-honored tradition of oiling books – research in the field has suggested that, not only are there few benefits, but also potential problems with oiling. For example, the New York Public Library gave up oiling books in the 1960s and conservators have followed this, recommending that private book owners do the same. The reason for this change in attitudes is because experts have found that oiling sometimes darkens leather and can create unsightly blotches if not properly applied. The oily finish can also present another dilemma: it can infiltrate the pages of a book long after the owner has returned it to the shelf. This can result in the oil seeping through the thin leather spine, when it can then bleed inside resulting in oiling the pages as much as half an inch. This, of course, can decimate a book’s value and reversing the damage is extremely difficult and costly. Oil has been traditionally applied to old leather books to prevent or stem “red rot”, a term used by bibliophiles that deteriorates leather into a red powder. The common wisdom was that drying of the leather caused this powdery deterioration - which explains why oil was prescribed. However, red rot is actually caused by a chemical deterioration of the leather, and oil is unable to stem this chemical breakdown. Other coatings, chemical treatments, and surface consolidants for leather are available on the market. Many, however, can damage the binding if applied incorrectly to the right leather, or if used on the wrong leather. Once applied, the chemicals cannot be removed. The best an owner of leather-covered books can do is slow down the inevitable deterioration using other methods and means besides oil. You cannot duplicate rare book environments in a large library, but you can avoid the extremes, thus lengthening the lifetime of the books. Leather-bound books deteriorate more quickly when they are stored in high temperatures, at extreme humidity, or in air with high concentrations of gaseous pollutants, such as those found in car exhaust. Short of donating books to libraries with air filters, little can be done at home to protect books from gaseous pollutants. But a book lover can protect leather bindings from the other two culprits. The best thing to do is to keep away from basements, damp areas and attics; high temperatures and high humidity can cause you endless problems. One option is to consider purchasing archival boxes or sleeves for valuable books. For example, the New York Public Library has boxed about 200,000 leather-bound volumes. Archival boxes, which can be bought for under $10 each from conservation supply firms, protect leather bindings from the normal wear-and-tear that comes with handling. These casings and paper sleeves also protect books from dust. Less dust means less need for dusting, which again minimizes the handling of these often fragile books.
    880 Posted by Brucha Junovitch
  • by Brucha Junovitch Lovers of old or rare books like myself have formed a sort of ritual over the years out of oiling the leather bindings of their most cherished volumes. It is a treasured thing to do, to store and preserve a loved item for prosperity. However, there is a growing consensus of collectors that believe that the best method for preserving leather-bound books should not include oil at all. Some institutions have switched from the time-honored tradition of oiling books – research in the field has suggested that, not only are there few benefits, but also potential problems with oiling. For example, the New York Public Library gave up oiling books in the 1960s and conservators have followed this, recommending that private book owners do the same. The reason for this change in attitudes is because experts have found that oiling sometimes darkens leather and can create unsightly blotches if not properly applied. The oily finish can also present another dilemma: it can infiltrate the pages of a book long after the owner has returned it to the shelf. This can result in the oil seeping through the thin leather spine, when it can then bleed inside resulting in oiling the pages as much as half an inch. This, of course, can decimate a book’s value and reversing the damage is extremely difficult and costly. Oil has been traditionally applied to old leather books to prevent or stem “red rot”, a term used by bibliophiles that deteriorates leather into a red powder. The common wisdom was that drying of the leather caused this powdery deterioration - which explains why oil was prescribed. However, red rot is actually caused by a chemical deterioration of the leather, and oil is unable to stem this chemical breakdown. Other coatings, chemical treatments, and surface consolidants for leather are available on the market. Many, however, can damage the binding if applied incorrectly to the right leather, or if used on the wrong leather. Once applied, the chemicals cannot be removed. The best an owner of leather-covered books can do is slow down the inevitable deterioration using other methods and means besides oil. You cannot duplicate rare book environments in a large library, but you can avoid the extremes, thus lengthening the lifetime of the books. Leather-bound books deteriorate more quickly when they are stored in high temperatures, at extreme humidity, or in air with high concentrations of gaseous pollutants, such as those found in car exhaust. Short of donating books to libraries with air filters, little can be done at home to protect books from gaseous pollutants. But a book lover can protect leather bindings from the other two culprits. The best thing to do is to keep away from basements, damp areas and attics; high temperatures and high humidity can cause you endless problems. One option is to consider purchasing archival boxes or sleeves for valuable books. For example, the New York Public Library has boxed about 200,000 leather-bound volumes. Archival boxes, which can be bought for under $10 each from conservation supply firms, protect leather bindings from the normal wear-and-tear that comes with handling. These casings and paper sleeves also protect books from dust. Less dust means less need for dusting, which again minimizes the handling of these often fragile books.
    May 25, 2015 880
  • 22 May 2015
    by Brucha Junovitch What is a troll doll? Some people refer to them as dolls, others not so. Whatever you may call them, Trolls are immensely popular with collectors and have been since their creation in the 1960s.  Troll dolls were originally created in 1959 by Danish fisherman and woodcutter Thomas Dam, and were aptly named Dam Trolls, or Gonk Trolls in the Uk. The maker, Dam, could not afford a Christmas gift for his young daughter Lila and instead carved the doll from his imagination. When other children in the Danish town of Gjøl saw the troll doll, they wanted one as well.Dam's company Dam Things began producing the dolls in plastic under the name Good Luck Trolls.  The dolls became popular in several European countries during the early 1960s, shortly before they were introduced in the United States. They became one of the United States' biggest toy fads from the autumn of 1963 through 1965. The originals, also called Dam dolls, were of the highest quality, featuring sheep wool hair and glass eyes. Their sudden popularity, along with an error in the copyright notice of Thomas Dam's original product, resulted in cheaper imitations and knock-offs which flooded the North American shelves. The Dam company never stopped making the trolls in Europe, where they were always a popular item. In the late 1980s the Dam trolls started making another come back in North America. The E.F.S. Marketing Associates, Inc (located in Farmingdale, New York) was one of the few corporations which were granted permission to import and market the Thomas Dam trolls for re-sale in the United States. These Dam Trolls were marketed under the trade name of Norfin Trolls, with the Adopt A Norfin Troll logo on the tags.  Trolls have gone in and out of production ever since, and they are being produced today as both playthings and as collectibles by such companies as Nyform and even Dam (only in Denmark).  You can find very tiny trolls at only 2 or 3 inches tall, up to very large trolls at 18 inches or so. Any troll at 12 inches or so is considered very large, with trolls over that considered gigantic. Large vintage trolls are generally much rarer than small vintage trolls.  Nearly all trolls are made out of hard vinyl, although they have been made out of nearly every other material you can imagine including ceramics, rubber, porcelain and even hemp. Trolls generally have jointed arms and heads (although some have un-jointed arms) and plastic or glass eyes, with a little sprout of hair on their heads.  One thing to remember, though, not all trolls are as valuable today. They were produced in the hundreds of millions, and only mint and rare trolls bring high prices. A collection of trolls, however, can fit in nicely with either a collection of dolls or a collection of toys.
    1621 Posted by Brucha Junovitch
  • by Brucha Junovitch What is a troll doll? Some people refer to them as dolls, others not so. Whatever you may call them, Trolls are immensely popular with collectors and have been since their creation in the 1960s.  Troll dolls were originally created in 1959 by Danish fisherman and woodcutter Thomas Dam, and were aptly named Dam Trolls, or Gonk Trolls in the Uk. The maker, Dam, could not afford a Christmas gift for his young daughter Lila and instead carved the doll from his imagination. When other children in the Danish town of Gjøl saw the troll doll, they wanted one as well.Dam's company Dam Things began producing the dolls in plastic under the name Good Luck Trolls.  The dolls became popular in several European countries during the early 1960s, shortly before they were introduced in the United States. They became one of the United States' biggest toy fads from the autumn of 1963 through 1965. The originals, also called Dam dolls, were of the highest quality, featuring sheep wool hair and glass eyes. Their sudden popularity, along with an error in the copyright notice of Thomas Dam's original product, resulted in cheaper imitations and knock-offs which flooded the North American shelves. The Dam company never stopped making the trolls in Europe, where they were always a popular item. In the late 1980s the Dam trolls started making another come back in North America. The E.F.S. Marketing Associates, Inc (located in Farmingdale, New York) was one of the few corporations which were granted permission to import and market the Thomas Dam trolls for re-sale in the United States. These Dam Trolls were marketed under the trade name of Norfin Trolls, with the Adopt A Norfin Troll logo on the tags.  Trolls have gone in and out of production ever since, and they are being produced today as both playthings and as collectibles by such companies as Nyform and even Dam (only in Denmark).  You can find very tiny trolls at only 2 or 3 inches tall, up to very large trolls at 18 inches or so. Any troll at 12 inches or so is considered very large, with trolls over that considered gigantic. Large vintage trolls are generally much rarer than small vintage trolls.  Nearly all trolls are made out of hard vinyl, although they have been made out of nearly every other material you can imagine including ceramics, rubber, porcelain and even hemp. Trolls generally have jointed arms and heads (although some have un-jointed arms) and plastic or glass eyes, with a little sprout of hair on their heads.  One thing to remember, though, not all trolls are as valuable today. They were produced in the hundreds of millions, and only mint and rare trolls bring high prices. A collection of trolls, however, can fit in nicely with either a collection of dolls or a collection of toys.
    May 22, 2015 1621
  • 19 May 2015
    Verifying Antique Maps by Brucha Junovitch      At many an antique store, flea market or rummage sale, you can readily come across an antique map. You may find one dated 1895 of the New England coastline as far west as Boston. It certainly does not look like a 20th-century photo-mechanical reproductions, but the price tag on it is disconcerting - $40.   Is there a way to distinguish an antique map from one of the plentiful photo-reproductions produced over the last 100 years? There is and you can learn a few things to indentify antique maps from their more contemporary copies. Distinguishing the two kinds of maps is crucial, because only antique maps have the historical and monetary value that map copies largely lack.   The first thing you should have is a magnifying glass. By examining a map this way, you can find the tell-tale signs of a photo-reproduction: a matrix of little dots that make up the image. A magnifying glass or loop is a crucial tool in detecting the modern photo-mechanical maps, especially if it is obscured behind glass or plastic.   A good thing to look for in identifying old maps is a fold down the center of the map. Most antique maps that have survived had been drawn in the use of atlases. Any map measuring larger than a standard sheet of paper would have been laid into the atlas would have been placed as a two page fold. Maps manufactured later in the 20th century were meant primarily to be mounted on a wall as decoration, and lack these folds.   Most maps made before the middle of the 19th century were copper engravings. This process creates a little ridge, called a plate mark, around the edge of the map - a result of the plate's pressing against the paper. While wood cuts and lithographs do not have plate marks, the absence of a plate mark on a pre-1840 map should raise a red flag, because of the prevalence of copper engraving during that period.   In addition, most maps made before 1800 used hand-laid paper.  This paper was made by hand rather than by machine, which came about later. It was made by pouring paper pulp into a wooden frame with a bottom of cross-hatched wire mesh, which would leave its pattern in the paper. Holding the map to the light can reveal a series of close-together thin lines crossed about every inch or so by a perpendicular line. Those are called chain marks. It looks a little like the weave of a rug. Later papers made in the 19th century by machine don't have these cross-hatches.    
    989 Posted by Brucha Junovitch
  • Verifying Antique Maps by Brucha Junovitch      At many an antique store, flea market or rummage sale, you can readily come across an antique map. You may find one dated 1895 of the New England coastline as far west as Boston. It certainly does not look like a 20th-century photo-mechanical reproductions, but the price tag on it is disconcerting - $40.   Is there a way to distinguish an antique map from one of the plentiful photo-reproductions produced over the last 100 years? There is and you can learn a few things to indentify antique maps from their more contemporary copies. Distinguishing the two kinds of maps is crucial, because only antique maps have the historical and monetary value that map copies largely lack.   The first thing you should have is a magnifying glass. By examining a map this way, you can find the tell-tale signs of a photo-reproduction: a matrix of little dots that make up the image. A magnifying glass or loop is a crucial tool in detecting the modern photo-mechanical maps, especially if it is obscured behind glass or plastic.   A good thing to look for in identifying old maps is a fold down the center of the map. Most antique maps that have survived had been drawn in the use of atlases. Any map measuring larger than a standard sheet of paper would have been laid into the atlas would have been placed as a two page fold. Maps manufactured later in the 20th century were meant primarily to be mounted on a wall as decoration, and lack these folds.   Most maps made before the middle of the 19th century were copper engravings. This process creates a little ridge, called a plate mark, around the edge of the map - a result of the plate's pressing against the paper. While wood cuts and lithographs do not have plate marks, the absence of a plate mark on a pre-1840 map should raise a red flag, because of the prevalence of copper engraving during that period.   In addition, most maps made before 1800 used hand-laid paper.  This paper was made by hand rather than by machine, which came about later. It was made by pouring paper pulp into a wooden frame with a bottom of cross-hatched wire mesh, which would leave its pattern in the paper. Holding the map to the light can reveal a series of close-together thin lines crossed about every inch or so by a perpendicular line. Those are called chain marks. It looks a little like the weave of a rug. Later papers made in the 19th century by machine don't have these cross-hatches.    
    May 19, 2015 989
  • 29 Apr 2015
    by Brucha JunovitchWhen the first English settlers came to America, England was just emerging from the Middle Ages. Furniture of the time was heavy and cumbersome and constructed chiefly of oak. By 1700, furniture had become gradually more plentiful and new forms appeared to fill domestic needs. The Queen Anne style offered homeowners lighter, graceful, more comfortable furniture, and the first "period" pieces were born. Political events, economics (including prosperity at home and trade with other countries), and the freedom to travel from one country to another influenced the styles of furniture as well as the amount considered essential in a home. Every so often, also, a great furniture designer who introduced new and different-looking pieces established a style and set a period. Between 1700 and 1800, five distinctly different furniture styles prevailed in England and America. The names attached to these styles or periods were sometimes those of the reigning monarchs, sometimes of a furniture designer. The Queen Anne style was, of course, named after Queen Anne of England. Though the style had become popular in England by 1705, it took another 20 years for it to become popular in America. Queen Anne furniture was lighter in appearance and much more graceful looking than the ponderous 17th-century pieces. Furniture remained functional, however, and also became comfortable. Lines were simple, with emphasis on the curvilinear. The single most important decoration of Queen Anne furniture was the carved cockle or scallop shell. Often, one large shell was carved on the slant top of a desk or on the front of a highboy, lowboy, or chest. A smaller shell sometimes was carved on the knee of a leg and-with or without carving on the legs-to top the splat of a chair or daybed. The shell motif emphasized the curvilinear element. On some pieces, this carved motif is more clearly recognizable as a fan or a sunburst. Cabinetmakers replaced the straight, turned legs on chairs, tables, and cupboards, with more graceful, curving ones called cabriole; that is, the leg had an out-curved knee and an incurved ankle. Feet were likely to be the simple pad or Dutch foot, occasionally the drake foot, which was carved with three toes, or the Spanish foot, which curved gracefully and showed rectangular lines of carving. Stretchers were omitted or else not particularly noticeable. The kettle or bombe base, which swelled outward at sides and front, appeared on cupboards and some other case pieces. Oak was still widely used in England but walnut became the preferred wood in both England and America. After walnut, cherry and maple rather than oak were the choices in this country. Regardless of the wood, a small amount of Queen Anne furniture was painted white and gilded. The drop-leaf table, either oval, round, or rectangular, replaced the trestle table for dining. Dropping the leaves, of course, saved space when they weren't in use. Rectangular tables with marble tops were made for dining rooms because, so far, no one had thought of making a sideboard. Card or gaming tables were another Queen Anne innovation that continued to be popular for more than a century. By the mid-18th century in America, it wasn't uncommon for a household to own a half-dozen or more fine examples of card tables. Each one was well made of selected hardwood and was handsome, for it was part of the furniture of the room at all times. No comparison is possible between this style of table, which has become a classic, and the collapsible bridge (card) table so common today. All of these card tables, now certainly antiques, had tops consisting of two leaves that were hinged so that one could be folded on top of the other or be supported against a wall when the table was not in use. Of the four or occasionally five legs, one was movable to support the folding leaf when the table was opened to full size. The square table with a top 36 to 38 inches when opened flat usually had rounded corners to hold candlesticks to light the gaming. Some tables also had four oval saucers, one at each player's left, for coins. Occasionally there was a drawer under the top.  
    1128 Posted by Brucha Junovitch
  • by Brucha JunovitchWhen the first English settlers came to America, England was just emerging from the Middle Ages. Furniture of the time was heavy and cumbersome and constructed chiefly of oak. By 1700, furniture had become gradually more plentiful and new forms appeared to fill domestic needs. The Queen Anne style offered homeowners lighter, graceful, more comfortable furniture, and the first "period" pieces were born. Political events, economics (including prosperity at home and trade with other countries), and the freedom to travel from one country to another influenced the styles of furniture as well as the amount considered essential in a home. Every so often, also, a great furniture designer who introduced new and different-looking pieces established a style and set a period. Between 1700 and 1800, five distinctly different furniture styles prevailed in England and America. The names attached to these styles or periods were sometimes those of the reigning monarchs, sometimes of a furniture designer. The Queen Anne style was, of course, named after Queen Anne of England. Though the style had become popular in England by 1705, it took another 20 years for it to become popular in America. Queen Anne furniture was lighter in appearance and much more graceful looking than the ponderous 17th-century pieces. Furniture remained functional, however, and also became comfortable. Lines were simple, with emphasis on the curvilinear. The single most important decoration of Queen Anne furniture was the carved cockle or scallop shell. Often, one large shell was carved on the slant top of a desk or on the front of a highboy, lowboy, or chest. A smaller shell sometimes was carved on the knee of a leg and-with or without carving on the legs-to top the splat of a chair or daybed. The shell motif emphasized the curvilinear element. On some pieces, this carved motif is more clearly recognizable as a fan or a sunburst. Cabinetmakers replaced the straight, turned legs on chairs, tables, and cupboards, with more graceful, curving ones called cabriole; that is, the leg had an out-curved knee and an incurved ankle. Feet were likely to be the simple pad or Dutch foot, occasionally the drake foot, which was carved with three toes, or the Spanish foot, which curved gracefully and showed rectangular lines of carving. Stretchers were omitted or else not particularly noticeable. The kettle or bombe base, which swelled outward at sides and front, appeared on cupboards and some other case pieces. Oak was still widely used in England but walnut became the preferred wood in both England and America. After walnut, cherry and maple rather than oak were the choices in this country. Regardless of the wood, a small amount of Queen Anne furniture was painted white and gilded. The drop-leaf table, either oval, round, or rectangular, replaced the trestle table for dining. Dropping the leaves, of course, saved space when they weren't in use. Rectangular tables with marble tops were made for dining rooms because, so far, no one had thought of making a sideboard. Card or gaming tables were another Queen Anne innovation that continued to be popular for more than a century. By the mid-18th century in America, it wasn't uncommon for a household to own a half-dozen or more fine examples of card tables. Each one was well made of selected hardwood and was handsome, for it was part of the furniture of the room at all times. No comparison is possible between this style of table, which has become a classic, and the collapsible bridge (card) table so common today. All of these card tables, now certainly antiques, had tops consisting of two leaves that were hinged so that one could be folded on top of the other or be supported against a wall when the table was not in use. Of the four or occasionally five legs, one was movable to support the folding leaf when the table was opened to full size. The square table with a top 36 to 38 inches when opened flat usually had rounded corners to hold candlesticks to light the gaming. Some tables also had four oval saucers, one at each player's left, for coins. Occasionally there was a drawer under the top.  
    Apr 29, 2015 1128
  • 29 Apr 2015
    By Brucha JunovitchCollecting china can be as challenging as collecting glassware. The myriad varieties of china, as well as the huge number of companies that produce it, make for some confusing times for collectors who try to judge its age. The Chinese first produced porcelain during the 14th century, but it wasn’t until 300 years later in 1604 that a Dutch ship captured a Portuguese carrack, the Catharina, returning from a voyage to China loaded with 100,000 pieces of porcelain. The Dutch East India Company auctioned them off in Amsterdam, calling them “Chinese porcelains,” which, over time, became shortened to just “china.” In china as in glass, a collector must know the characteristics of the old wares in order to avoid mistakes. A collector of porcelain has to learn, for his or her own protection, when factories made hard-paste and when they made soft-paste porcelains if he or she is to be fairly sure that a piece is the age claimed for it. This information is equally important to anyone who has a piece of china to sell. The type and quantity of decoration, as well as the colors that were used and the changes that took place from time to time, are essential knowledge for judging the age of porcelain and pottery. Using Marks for I.D.Potters' marks may be helpful, but aren’t necessarily conclusive. They can, and have been known to, be erased or altered. Crossed swords have been incorporated into the Meissen mark since that factory first made porcelain in the 1740's. From time to time the overall appearance of the Meissen mark was changed somewhat, although the company retained the two swords. But crossed swords, or what seems to be crossed swords, at first glance have been used by other factories for their marks. If the intention was to fool buyers into thinking they were getting porcelain of Meissen quality, it probably succeeded some of the time. A collector who likes Haviland china should become familiar with the various marks used by this firm during the 1800's so that he or she can date a piece fairly accurately. Some patterns of tableware have been made continuously or intermittently for 100 to 200 years. In the case of Meissen Onion, a popular pattern among collectors, it has been made by the same factory. However, the basic pattern differed slightly from time to time, as did the mark of the factory. Awareness of changes and of what they were is essential to identifying early and late-19th-century examples. The Willow pattern was made by many different potteries. Here again, the mark-or lack of one-can be important in judging the antiquity of the piece. Graniteware, often called ironstone china, was popular in the United States between 1850 and 1890. Reproductions of many of the pieces that made up a set of tableware have been made during the last decade. The collector who comes across some pieces and would like to sell them cannot determine a fair price without consulting someone expert enough to decide whether they are antiques or reproductions. The collector also needs to learn enough about graniteware to be reasonably certain of buying 19th-century pieces. Copies of CopiesGenerally copied in china are the old figures, flowers, vegetables, and fruits, and tureens in the form of birds or animals. Sometimes the reproductions are made from old molds and the decoration done by modern methods. Antique gilding, for example, is a rich gold color, not brassy or bright. The hand-painting on antique pieces is so skillful that details appear sharp when they're looked at under a magnifying glass. Reproductions of figures and other ornaments are one thing; imitations something else again. The Delft of Holland has been imitated in other countries, and the copies may be almost impossible to recognize unless a collector checks the potter's mark or unless the country of origin is stated under the potter's mark. Perhaps no kind of pottery has been more widely imitated than jasperware. The finest examples always have been made by the Wedgwood pottery in England, where this ware was perfected. The quality excels even that of jasperware made by European potteries during the 18th century, and, of course, the blue and white unglazed stoneware from Japan in this century is in no way comparable.
    689 Posted by Brucha Junovitch
  • By Brucha JunovitchCollecting china can be as challenging as collecting glassware. The myriad varieties of china, as well as the huge number of companies that produce it, make for some confusing times for collectors who try to judge its age. The Chinese first produced porcelain during the 14th century, but it wasn’t until 300 years later in 1604 that a Dutch ship captured a Portuguese carrack, the Catharina, returning from a voyage to China loaded with 100,000 pieces of porcelain. The Dutch East India Company auctioned them off in Amsterdam, calling them “Chinese porcelains,” which, over time, became shortened to just “china.” In china as in glass, a collector must know the characteristics of the old wares in order to avoid mistakes. A collector of porcelain has to learn, for his or her own protection, when factories made hard-paste and when they made soft-paste porcelains if he or she is to be fairly sure that a piece is the age claimed for it. This information is equally important to anyone who has a piece of china to sell. The type and quantity of decoration, as well as the colors that were used and the changes that took place from time to time, are essential knowledge for judging the age of porcelain and pottery. Using Marks for I.D.Potters' marks may be helpful, but aren’t necessarily conclusive. They can, and have been known to, be erased or altered. Crossed swords have been incorporated into the Meissen mark since that factory first made porcelain in the 1740's. From time to time the overall appearance of the Meissen mark was changed somewhat, although the company retained the two swords. But crossed swords, or what seems to be crossed swords, at first glance have been used by other factories for their marks. If the intention was to fool buyers into thinking they were getting porcelain of Meissen quality, it probably succeeded some of the time. A collector who likes Haviland china should become familiar with the various marks used by this firm during the 1800's so that he or she can date a piece fairly accurately. Some patterns of tableware have been made continuously or intermittently for 100 to 200 years. In the case of Meissen Onion, a popular pattern among collectors, it has been made by the same factory. However, the basic pattern differed slightly from time to time, as did the mark of the factory. Awareness of changes and of what they were is essential to identifying early and late-19th-century examples. The Willow pattern was made by many different potteries. Here again, the mark-or lack of one-can be important in judging the antiquity of the piece. Graniteware, often called ironstone china, was popular in the United States between 1850 and 1890. Reproductions of many of the pieces that made up a set of tableware have been made during the last decade. The collector who comes across some pieces and would like to sell them cannot determine a fair price without consulting someone expert enough to decide whether they are antiques or reproductions. The collector also needs to learn enough about graniteware to be reasonably certain of buying 19th-century pieces. Copies of CopiesGenerally copied in china are the old figures, flowers, vegetables, and fruits, and tureens in the form of birds or animals. Sometimes the reproductions are made from old molds and the decoration done by modern methods. Antique gilding, for example, is a rich gold color, not brassy or bright. The hand-painting on antique pieces is so skillful that details appear sharp when they're looked at under a magnifying glass. Reproductions of figures and other ornaments are one thing; imitations something else again. The Delft of Holland has been imitated in other countries, and the copies may be almost impossible to recognize unless a collector checks the potter's mark or unless the country of origin is stated under the potter's mark. Perhaps no kind of pottery has been more widely imitated than jasperware. The finest examples always have been made by the Wedgwood pottery in England, where this ware was perfected. The quality excels even that of jasperware made by European potteries during the 18th century, and, of course, the blue and white unglazed stoneware from Japan in this century is in no way comparable.
    Apr 29, 2015 689
  • 29 Apr 2015
    By Brucha Junovitch Toy cars are not for children only. Some people collect cars because they are automotive enthusiasts with interest in a particular model of car or era of car design. Others find that collecting cars is a fun way to reconnect with their childhood. Some collectors use model car as investments as rare or special toy cars are often quite expensive, resulting in profits for collectors with a keen eye. Whether for fun or for profit, collecting toy cars is a rewarding activity for any enthusiast.  History of Toy Cars Toy cars have been popular for just as long as real cars. Metal diecast cars were originally produced by car companies in the early days of the automotive industry. Scale models of their products were used as a way to promote their product and get a whole new generation excited about cars. As diecast cars proved incredibly popular, new types of toy cars were introduced to the market from plastic model kits to slot card and radio controlled cars. Diecast cars became increasingly realistic and accurate, often matching their real-life counterpart to perfection. While many original diecast metal toy car brands are discontinued and available only on the resale market, Matchbox cars and Hot Wheels are still going strong with many new toy cars released every year. Hot Wheels were originally developed in 1968, with sixteen castings released, eleven of them designed by Harry Bentley Bradley. The first one produced was a dark blue Custom Camaro. Bradley was from the car industry and had designed the body for the (full-sized) Dodge Deora concept car and the Custom Fleetside, (based on his own customized 1968 Chevrolet C10 Fleetside). Age, Condition and Value With any collectible item, there are some basic truths. The older it is, the rarer it probably is. The rarer it is, the more value it probably has (so long as there’s a demand for it). And finally, the better condition the item is in, the more valuable it is. What is mint condition? If the item is in the same condition as it was when it was brand-new -- or close to it -- then it is considered mint or near-mint condition. With Hot Wheels cars, this means there is no fade in the paint color, no chips or scratches in the finish, all the wheels are there and are not bent, no cracks in the windshields. The best way to be sure of mint condition is to acquire an item in a never-been-opened package - but that will cost extra, because, like the product , the package itself will add value if it is in good condition. Condition ranges all the way from mint to what we collectors like to call “beaters.” A “beater” is an old beat-up car, lots of scratches, faded finish, missing wheels, etc. Some collectors like to get these and use them for customization, refurbish them, or cannibalize them -- meaning to use the parts that are still good with other parts that are still good and create a good whole. A quick note of warning: As with anything, you have to beware of unscrupulous dealers who proffer “authentic” Redline era Hot Wheels products at maximum value -- but which are not as authentic as they appear. Sometimes, missing parts are reproduced and attached, finishes are re-done, etc. There is nothing wrong with this practice if you want a product that looks like the original without paying a premium price. But it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the signs of non-authentic tampering so that you don’t get fooled, or accidentally fool someone else, into paying significantly more than a piece is worth.
    687 Posted by Brucha Junovitch
  • By Brucha Junovitch Toy cars are not for children only. Some people collect cars because they are automotive enthusiasts with interest in a particular model of car or era of car design. Others find that collecting cars is a fun way to reconnect with their childhood. Some collectors use model car as investments as rare or special toy cars are often quite expensive, resulting in profits for collectors with a keen eye. Whether for fun or for profit, collecting toy cars is a rewarding activity for any enthusiast.  History of Toy Cars Toy cars have been popular for just as long as real cars. Metal diecast cars were originally produced by car companies in the early days of the automotive industry. Scale models of their products were used as a way to promote their product and get a whole new generation excited about cars. As diecast cars proved incredibly popular, new types of toy cars were introduced to the market from plastic model kits to slot card and radio controlled cars. Diecast cars became increasingly realistic and accurate, often matching their real-life counterpart to perfection. While many original diecast metal toy car brands are discontinued and available only on the resale market, Matchbox cars and Hot Wheels are still going strong with many new toy cars released every year. Hot Wheels were originally developed in 1968, with sixteen castings released, eleven of them designed by Harry Bentley Bradley. The first one produced was a dark blue Custom Camaro. Bradley was from the car industry and had designed the body for the (full-sized) Dodge Deora concept car and the Custom Fleetside, (based on his own customized 1968 Chevrolet C10 Fleetside). Age, Condition and Value With any collectible item, there are some basic truths. The older it is, the rarer it probably is. The rarer it is, the more value it probably has (so long as there’s a demand for it). And finally, the better condition the item is in, the more valuable it is. What is mint condition? If the item is in the same condition as it was when it was brand-new -- or close to it -- then it is considered mint or near-mint condition. With Hot Wheels cars, this means there is no fade in the paint color, no chips or scratches in the finish, all the wheels are there and are not bent, no cracks in the windshields. The best way to be sure of mint condition is to acquire an item in a never-been-opened package - but that will cost extra, because, like the product , the package itself will add value if it is in good condition. Condition ranges all the way from mint to what we collectors like to call “beaters.” A “beater” is an old beat-up car, lots of scratches, faded finish, missing wheels, etc. Some collectors like to get these and use them for customization, refurbish them, or cannibalize them -- meaning to use the parts that are still good with other parts that are still good and create a good whole. A quick note of warning: As with anything, you have to beware of unscrupulous dealers who proffer “authentic” Redline era Hot Wheels products at maximum value -- but which are not as authentic as they appear. Sometimes, missing parts are reproduced and attached, finishes are re-done, etc. There is nothing wrong with this practice if you want a product that looks like the original without paying a premium price. But it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the signs of non-authentic tampering so that you don’t get fooled, or accidentally fool someone else, into paying significantly more than a piece is worth.
    Apr 29, 2015 687
  • 17 Mar 2015
    By Brucha Junovitch For many book collectors, the value of their antique books is more than a specific monetary value. Often these collectors search out antique books to add to their collections based on their love for a particular subject, author or style of literature. For these individuals, the intrinsic worth of an antique book lies in the special meaning the book holds for them. 1. Dust Jackets, Spines and Covers If there is one single thing that can raise or lower the value of a book, it is the dust jacket. The value of a first edition copy of Bram Stoker’s Dracula can diminish by as much as 5% the full value. The price drop of books can often times be solely due to the dust jacket having been destroyed or heavily damaged, either deliberately or due to their fragile nature. If you have one on a good book, treasure it. Also, be sure to protect it with a plastic sleeve. 2. Who is the Author? A book is more likely to appeal to collectors, and therefore be worth more, if you have actually heard of the book or its author. Additionally, some books by famous authors are better than others. A first edition of John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath in good condition is worth far more than say his Travels with Charley. 3. Where was it Published? The location of publication is an often overlooked but important detail in a list of information about a collection of books. Many titles were published virtually simultaneously in two places; for example, London and New York. Whichever hits the shops first is the “true” first edition while the other becomes the “first American edition” or “first English edition.” The value of a “true” first is typically always greater. 4. Publishing Mistakes When certain books are evaluated, the number of “mistakes” that occur in the printing process will elevate their value. Thrifty printers will not throw out a batch of sheets simply because there was a mistake on the page. They will correct it and move on. Those first sheets now form an “issue point” that collectors use to determine how early in the printing process the sheet was printed. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has over seven documented (and corrected) mistakes during the printing process. If you have all of them (or many of them) in your copy, it can greatly raise the value of the book. Other copies with a few mistakes are usually much less. These “issue points” can be found in online references to bibliographical information gathered on each book. 5. Missing Pages Completeness in a book is critical. Even simple pages that have no printing on them, called blanks, are critical to the value of the book. Make certain that there are no loose pages or gatherings of leaves that have come out or are in danger of falling out. One lost page can be devastating to a rare book’s value. 6. Ownership Look for ownership inscriptions on books. With luck, they will not be on the title-page, as this diminishes value; they should ideally be located on blank pages before the title page. An owner inscription or signature from a member of your own family is always interesting to find, and if he or she was a well-known person, could add to value. 7. Signed Copies Always look for author signed books. An author signature can mean an increase in value of ten times or more the ordinary value of the book in most cases. 8. Decorative Appeal Decorative visual appeal can increase a book’s value. A beautifully leather bound book or one with a pictorial gold leaf cover can form the basis for a really eye-catching shelf; these antique books are usually quite collectible. Simple beauty in a cover or binding can raise its value depending upon the complexity and execution of the design.  
    1511 Posted by Brucha Junovitch
  • By Brucha Junovitch For many book collectors, the value of their antique books is more than a specific monetary value. Often these collectors search out antique books to add to their collections based on their love for a particular subject, author or style of literature. For these individuals, the intrinsic worth of an antique book lies in the special meaning the book holds for them. 1. Dust Jackets, Spines and Covers If there is one single thing that can raise or lower the value of a book, it is the dust jacket. The value of a first edition copy of Bram Stoker’s Dracula can diminish by as much as 5% the full value. The price drop of books can often times be solely due to the dust jacket having been destroyed or heavily damaged, either deliberately or due to their fragile nature. If you have one on a good book, treasure it. Also, be sure to protect it with a plastic sleeve. 2. Who is the Author? A book is more likely to appeal to collectors, and therefore be worth more, if you have actually heard of the book or its author. Additionally, some books by famous authors are better than others. A first edition of John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath in good condition is worth far more than say his Travels with Charley. 3. Where was it Published? The location of publication is an often overlooked but important detail in a list of information about a collection of books. Many titles were published virtually simultaneously in two places; for example, London and New York. Whichever hits the shops first is the “true” first edition while the other becomes the “first American edition” or “first English edition.” The value of a “true” first is typically always greater. 4. Publishing Mistakes When certain books are evaluated, the number of “mistakes” that occur in the printing process will elevate their value. Thrifty printers will not throw out a batch of sheets simply because there was a mistake on the page. They will correct it and move on. Those first sheets now form an “issue point” that collectors use to determine how early in the printing process the sheet was printed. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has over seven documented (and corrected) mistakes during the printing process. If you have all of them (or many of them) in your copy, it can greatly raise the value of the book. Other copies with a few mistakes are usually much less. These “issue points” can be found in online references to bibliographical information gathered on each book. 5. Missing Pages Completeness in a book is critical. Even simple pages that have no printing on them, called blanks, are critical to the value of the book. Make certain that there are no loose pages or gatherings of leaves that have come out or are in danger of falling out. One lost page can be devastating to a rare book’s value. 6. Ownership Look for ownership inscriptions on books. With luck, they will not be on the title-page, as this diminishes value; they should ideally be located on blank pages before the title page. An owner inscription or signature from a member of your own family is always interesting to find, and if he or she was a well-known person, could add to value. 7. Signed Copies Always look for author signed books. An author signature can mean an increase in value of ten times or more the ordinary value of the book in most cases. 8. Decorative Appeal Decorative visual appeal can increase a book’s value. A beautifully leather bound book or one with a pictorial gold leaf cover can form the basis for a really eye-catching shelf; these antique books are usually quite collectible. Simple beauty in a cover or binding can raise its value depending upon the complexity and execution of the design.  
    Mar 17, 2015 1511
  • 13 Mar 2015
    By Brucha Junovitch American furniture is a mix of various styles that resulted from the blending of furniture brought to America by it many immigrant populations over the years. The earliest style brought to its shores came with the Pilgrims in 1620 and most were crafted in the style now known as the Jacobean style. Of course, this was little more than the most meager of possessions at first – oh, perhaps an armchair, a small table, a desk.   Jacobean furniture came from the English Renaissance architecture begun in the Elizabethan age. Early Jacobean furniture was somewhat inward-looking, not fully embracing exotic influences. A similar style brought to the Americas was the William and Mary style, also known as early Baroque in museum circles, of antique furniture dates from about 1690 through the mid-1720s. It is named for the king and queen who reigned together over England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1689-1694. Jacobean and William and Mary furniture tended to be heavy, almost ponderous. It was made in both England and this country of solid wood, especially oak, although walnut became quite fashionable for William and Mary pieces. Simplicity of structure, straight lines, and squat proportions were typical, and legs were firmly braced with stretchers. Carving was preferred to inlay and veneer for decoration. Many a Jacobean piece appeared weighted down by its carving. Typical additions were panels, as on the doors of chests, carved in geometric designs. A variation was strap-work consisting of thin, flat pieces of wood. The backs of chairs were often of solid wood and carved. However, seats might be upholstered with leather or woven pads in England. In this country, rush seats were more common. Early American beds were monstrous, although how much of this effect was due to the bedstead and how much to the hangings is a debated question. Never before or since were beds so high as between 1600 and 1660. Hangings were important, and could be drawn to cover the four sides of a bed. Their purpose was to shut out the cold. Truckle, or trundle beds, which were low and on wheels so they could be pushed under a bedstead, were made for children and servants. Daybeds were quite another thing and were the forerunners of reclining couches.  Tables were often long in size and length. The trestle, which is the oldest style of table and goes back to Medieval times, began to have some competition. The gate-leg table, a style still popular today, was made first during the Jacobean period. Cricket tables with three legs were also new to the period. Stools were even more common than chairs in early American furniture. They were made in great numbers and doubled as seats and tables. They were about the height of a chair seat. Side chairs and armchairs, which were really side chairs with wood arms attached, offered little choice when it came to comfort. In addition to solid-backs, there were slat-back chairs, which had three or more wide and usually shaped wooden pieces horizontally across the back. The banister-back chair had fairly wide vertical slats surmounted by a crest or top rail. Some of these top rails, as well as the banisters, were more richly carved than others. The latter part of the seventeenth century, technically known as the Restoration period in England, followed by William and Mary, brought lighter and more adaptable furniture. Special turnings, scrolled and more elaborate stretchers, became fashionable. Decorations were later expanded to include lacquer, marquetry, and some inlay.  
    1085 Posted by Brucha Junovitch
  • By Brucha Junovitch American furniture is a mix of various styles that resulted from the blending of furniture brought to America by it many immigrant populations over the years. The earliest style brought to its shores came with the Pilgrims in 1620 and most were crafted in the style now known as the Jacobean style. Of course, this was little more than the most meager of possessions at first – oh, perhaps an armchair, a small table, a desk.   Jacobean furniture came from the English Renaissance architecture begun in the Elizabethan age. Early Jacobean furniture was somewhat inward-looking, not fully embracing exotic influences. A similar style brought to the Americas was the William and Mary style, also known as early Baroque in museum circles, of antique furniture dates from about 1690 through the mid-1720s. It is named for the king and queen who reigned together over England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1689-1694. Jacobean and William and Mary furniture tended to be heavy, almost ponderous. It was made in both England and this country of solid wood, especially oak, although walnut became quite fashionable for William and Mary pieces. Simplicity of structure, straight lines, and squat proportions were typical, and legs were firmly braced with stretchers. Carving was preferred to inlay and veneer for decoration. Many a Jacobean piece appeared weighted down by its carving. Typical additions were panels, as on the doors of chests, carved in geometric designs. A variation was strap-work consisting of thin, flat pieces of wood. The backs of chairs were often of solid wood and carved. However, seats might be upholstered with leather or woven pads in England. In this country, rush seats were more common. Early American beds were monstrous, although how much of this effect was due to the bedstead and how much to the hangings is a debated question. Never before or since were beds so high as between 1600 and 1660. Hangings were important, and could be drawn to cover the four sides of a bed. Their purpose was to shut out the cold. Truckle, or trundle beds, which were low and on wheels so they could be pushed under a bedstead, were made for children and servants. Daybeds were quite another thing and were the forerunners of reclining couches.  Tables were often long in size and length. The trestle, which is the oldest style of table and goes back to Medieval times, began to have some competition. The gate-leg table, a style still popular today, was made first during the Jacobean period. Cricket tables with three legs were also new to the period. Stools were even more common than chairs in early American furniture. They were made in great numbers and doubled as seats and tables. They were about the height of a chair seat. Side chairs and armchairs, which were really side chairs with wood arms attached, offered little choice when it came to comfort. In addition to solid-backs, there were slat-back chairs, which had three or more wide and usually shaped wooden pieces horizontally across the back. The banister-back chair had fairly wide vertical slats surmounted by a crest or top rail. Some of these top rails, as well as the banisters, were more richly carved than others. The latter part of the seventeenth century, technically known as the Restoration period in England, followed by William and Mary, brought lighter and more adaptable furniture. Special turnings, scrolled and more elaborate stretchers, became fashionable. Decorations were later expanded to include lacquer, marquetry, and some inlay.  
    Mar 13, 2015 1085
  • 10 Mar 2015
    By Brucha Junovitch Antique furniture of many sorts and types are, and can be, readily found at local garage sales, flea markets, and antique stores. Of these, a person may find some items of less-than-perfect condition that, to many shoppers, bring with them more work and effort than it is worth. Yet, that can be a great find, especially once you know a bit more of how to restore and maintain antiques. Your perfect find might be a Victorian chair in need of a new seat, or an old American trunk that has seen far better days. The most important thing to maintaining or restoring antique furniture is keeping it clean. The following tips will help you do just that without damaging it: 1. Avoid using any of the popular spray dusting helpers. These tend to leave an unsightly buildup on furniture that’s hard to remove later on. Instead, use a soft cloth to gently wipe away the dust. You can also slightly dampen the cloth with liquid glass cleaner. 2. Avoid using any of the popular oil-based liquid furniture polishers. These leave an oily residue that attracts dust. Lemon oil is one of the worst because it doesn’t sink into the wood like commonly believed but lays on the surface acting as a dust magnet. 3. If there’s oily dirt or grease, such as may get on pieces in a kitchen, remove it with a mild dish detergent and water solution. Work on small areas at a time and dry immediately with a soft cloth. 4. Be extra careful when cleaning any wood that has been gilded. The gilt is usually applied with a water-soluble adhesive which can be removed by detergent cleaners. 5. To clean uneven or carved surfaces, use a soft-bristled brush or your vacuum cleaner with the brush attachment. Be careful not to hit the furniture in any way with the vacuum cleaner, itself. 6. Do not use feather dusters. They move the dust around and can scratch the surface. 7. Before using any cleaner on the surface of your furniture, test an inconspicuous area towards the back first. 8. Always avoid using too much liquid directly on your furniture’s surface. 9. You can get long-term protection by using a good paste wax, such as Minwax. This is a petroleum-based product that comes in both natural and dark shades for light and dark-stained furniture, respectively. The hard surface it produces can be dusted more easily and without the danger of scratching because its smoother. Waxing once or twice a year is sufficient for table tops and chair arms. For less used areas of furniture, such as chair legs and case pieces, wax only every four years. 10. Try not to polish hardware while it’s attached to the furniture. The polish will damage the furniture’s finish. Instead, remove the hardware and polish separately, being sure to rinse or wipe it thoroughly before reattaching it to your pieces. If you can’t remove the hardware from your piece, be sure to mask it from the furniture’s surface to prevent damage. For ornate hardware, use a cotton swab dipped in the detergent solution. 11. Do not polish ormolu, which really isn’t brass but bronze. Instead, wash it with a soft cloth soaked with a mild dish detergent. 12. To remove the musty odor from an antique cabinet or drawers of a chest, spray with Fabreeze and let dry. To keep it fresh, place a new drier sheet inside each cabinet or drawer. 13. If mold or mildew forms on a piece of antique furniture, dampen a soft cloth with a very mild bleach solution (two tablespoons of bleach to a quart of water) and wipe the affected area. Dry immediately with a soft cloth, then wax as stated above. 14. Heat dries out the wood of antique furniture, loosening joints. Keep your house at a comfortable level but not excessively hot in the winter. If you must keep the temperature up, put pans of water around to humidify the air or use a humidifier. The air will be healthier for you, too.
    2234 Posted by Brucha Junovitch
  • By Brucha Junovitch Antique furniture of many sorts and types are, and can be, readily found at local garage sales, flea markets, and antique stores. Of these, a person may find some items of less-than-perfect condition that, to many shoppers, bring with them more work and effort than it is worth. Yet, that can be a great find, especially once you know a bit more of how to restore and maintain antiques. Your perfect find might be a Victorian chair in need of a new seat, or an old American trunk that has seen far better days. The most important thing to maintaining or restoring antique furniture is keeping it clean. The following tips will help you do just that without damaging it: 1. Avoid using any of the popular spray dusting helpers. These tend to leave an unsightly buildup on furniture that’s hard to remove later on. Instead, use a soft cloth to gently wipe away the dust. You can also slightly dampen the cloth with liquid glass cleaner. 2. Avoid using any of the popular oil-based liquid furniture polishers. These leave an oily residue that attracts dust. Lemon oil is one of the worst because it doesn’t sink into the wood like commonly believed but lays on the surface acting as a dust magnet. 3. If there’s oily dirt or grease, such as may get on pieces in a kitchen, remove it with a mild dish detergent and water solution. Work on small areas at a time and dry immediately with a soft cloth. 4. Be extra careful when cleaning any wood that has been gilded. The gilt is usually applied with a water-soluble adhesive which can be removed by detergent cleaners. 5. To clean uneven or carved surfaces, use a soft-bristled brush or your vacuum cleaner with the brush attachment. Be careful not to hit the furniture in any way with the vacuum cleaner, itself. 6. Do not use feather dusters. They move the dust around and can scratch the surface. 7. Before using any cleaner on the surface of your furniture, test an inconspicuous area towards the back first. 8. Always avoid using too much liquid directly on your furniture’s surface. 9. You can get long-term protection by using a good paste wax, such as Minwax. This is a petroleum-based product that comes in both natural and dark shades for light and dark-stained furniture, respectively. The hard surface it produces can be dusted more easily and without the danger of scratching because its smoother. Waxing once or twice a year is sufficient for table tops and chair arms. For less used areas of furniture, such as chair legs and case pieces, wax only every four years. 10. Try not to polish hardware while it’s attached to the furniture. The polish will damage the furniture’s finish. Instead, remove the hardware and polish separately, being sure to rinse or wipe it thoroughly before reattaching it to your pieces. If you can’t remove the hardware from your piece, be sure to mask it from the furniture’s surface to prevent damage. For ornate hardware, use a cotton swab dipped in the detergent solution. 11. Do not polish ormolu, which really isn’t brass but bronze. Instead, wash it with a soft cloth soaked with a mild dish detergent. 12. To remove the musty odor from an antique cabinet or drawers of a chest, spray with Fabreeze and let dry. To keep it fresh, place a new drier sheet inside each cabinet or drawer. 13. If mold or mildew forms on a piece of antique furniture, dampen a soft cloth with a very mild bleach solution (two tablespoons of bleach to a quart of water) and wipe the affected area. Dry immediately with a soft cloth, then wax as stated above. 14. Heat dries out the wood of antique furniture, loosening joints. Keep your house at a comfortable level but not excessively hot in the winter. If you must keep the temperature up, put pans of water around to humidify the air or use a humidifier. The air will be healthier for you, too.
    Mar 10, 2015 2234