Archive for category Antique Knowledge
In 1907, American chemist Leo Hen-drik Baekeland, a Belgian immigrant and former organic chemistry professor at the University of Ghent, began his attempts to synthesize a rubber substitute in his home laboratory. He combined phenol and formaldehyde to make the first synthetic resin that could be substituted for hard rubber. He called his discovery Bakelite, and Baekeland became known as the “father of plastics.”
Once shaped under heat and pressure, Bakelite, tinted in a variety of colors, became rock solid, resisting heat, acids, and electric currents. Unlike rubber, which dried out and cracked, Bakelite endured, making the perfect synthetic polymer from which to mold bracelets, pot and pan handles, the heads of electrical plugs, and radio dials.
In 1927, the Catalin Corporation acquired Bakelite, selling the bracelets through upscale department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, B. Altman, and Bonwit Teller, but also through F. W. Woolworth and Sears. During the Depression, socialites who could no longer afford to buy jewelry at Tiffany’s and Cartier, embraced vibrantly colored Bakelite bracelets adorned with rhinestones and costing between twenty cents and three dollars. In 1942, Bakelite and Catalin stopped making colorful costume jewelry and instead concentrated their efforts on manufacturing telephones, aviator goggles, and other products for use by the military. By the end of the war, manufacturers switched to newly developed injection-molded plastics, like Lucite, Fiberglass, vinyl, and acrylic, making Bakelite obsolete. Today, Bakelite is prized solely by collectors who scour flea markets, swap meets, and antique shows.
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On many Victorian Parlor tables, a place of honor was reserved for the Bible, family album, post card album and a huge scrapbook. In the latter were lovely pasted advertising cards which were acquired by different members of the family. When members of the family went out to shop, they were given colorful trade cards with their purchases. At the local food store, many of these cards came packaged in tins of teas and coffees. Each member of the family would have been quite delighted to receive these free cards. The color cards were the most cherished. Lithography had just been introduced and any colorful bits of paper were treasured. As family members brought new cards home, everyone became excited. The family members began to go to many different stores to see if they had any cards and if they would look nice in their books.
Images of Santa Claus and other Holiday symbols were always welcome during the Christmas season. Advertisers during the Victorian period were no different than advertisers today. They wanted people to spend lots of money on their products for the Holidays. Cheerful images of Jolly Old St. Nick, Christmas trees, and happy children with toys were designed to promote the “giving spirit”. Christmas, followed by Easter, was the most popular holiday in which you will find trade cards
Although the commercial aspects of Christmas were greatly looked down upon from many of the church pulpits, merchants continued to promote Christmas. Toy stores, confectioners’ shops and German bakeries began to stay open late and to festoon their windows with red silk bunting and holly. Holiday shoppers could not resist the cakes, the smells of cinnamon kuchens and sweet almond paste. 1874 was the year of the first window displays with a Christmas theme at Macy’s. One window displayed an amphitheater of wax, rag, bisque and hand-painted porcelain dolls imported from Germany France, Austria, Switzerland and Bohemia. In another window, scenes from Uncle Tom’s Cabin were composed in a panorama with steam-driven movable parts. 1867 was the first year that Macy’s department store in New York City remained open until midnight on Christmas Eve. In 1880 Woolworths first sold manufactured Christmas tree ornaments, and they caught on very quickly.
Victorian Trade Cards were a popular way for advertisers to lure customers to purchase their products or to shop in their stores. Victorian Trade Cards featuring scenes of families celebrating Christmas give us a wonderful glimpse of what it must have been like in many Victorian homes during the Holiday season. If you look closely at many of the pictures, you will see Christmas trees lit by candles and covered with handmade decorations and fancy hand-blown glass balls. Some of the images show presents hanging from the tree branches. This was a common practice during the Victorian Era. Other cards show decorations inside the homes featuring fresh evergreens and berries.
The animal Kachinas are the advisors, doctors and assistants of the Hopi. It is through the assistance of the animals that the Hopi have overcome monsters and cured strange diseases. In fact, the greatest doctor of them all is the Badger for it is he who knows all of the roots and herbs and how to administer them. The Bear shares in this ability. Other animals are warriors and know the ways of danger and can aid the men in becoming like them.
All animals, however, share one attribute which is that they can remove their skins at will and hang them up like clothes. When they do they appear exactly as men, sitting about in their kivas. smoking and discussing serious matters. They are the Hopi’s closest neighbors and are always willing to assist if approached in a proper manner and asked for help. When prayer feathers and meal are not given they often withdraw until proper behavior is forthcoming.
The Animal Kachinas thus represent the relationship present between the Hopi and the kacbina spirits which some may compare to a true friendship on the human level. It involves an exchange of special favors in their interaction, accompanied by an exchange of respectful gestures.
KWEO KACHINA Wolf Kachina
The Wolf Kachina appears as a side dancer who accompanies the herbivorous animals such as the Deer Kachina and the Mountain Sheep Kachina in the Soyohim Dances. He often clasps a stick in his hands which represents the bushes and trees that he hides behind as he stalks his prey. At the end of one of these dances the Hopi cast meal upon him and offer prayer feathers that they might also secure game using his prowess as a hunter. Dolls of this kachina arc, in contemporary times, elaborated with great teeth, lolling tongues and real fur that did not adorn the older dolls. There is almost always a Wolf Kachina on the shelf for purchase.
WAKAS KACHINA Cow Kachina
The Cow or Wakas Kachina is a comparatively late kachina. It was reputedly conceived and introduced by a Harm man around the turn of the century. The kachina enjoyed a long run of popularity right after its introduction and then again in recent years. The name is derived from the Spanish word vacas for cows. The kachina is danced to bring an increase in cattle.
MOSAIRU KACHINA Buffalo Kachina
The Buffalo Kachina is not the same figure as that seen in the social dance (see White Buffalo, p. 82) that has been carved in recent years. It is a kachina and is masked. Formerly these were made with a green face as well as one in black but in recent years the former has all but disappeared. It appears in the Plaza Dance usually with the mixed kachinas.
HON KACHINA Bear Kachma
There are a number of Bear Kachinas. Some are distinguished only by color such as the Blue, White, Yellow or Black Bear Kachinas. There are others such as Ursisimu, who have become extinct, and Ketowa Bisena, who is the personage that belongs to the Bear Clan at Tewa. There are Bears fancifully dressed and Bears that are not. All Bear Kachinas are believed to be very powerful and capable of curing bad illnesses. They are also great warriors. Bear Kachinas appear most often in the Soyohim or Mixed Dances of springtime or occasionally as side dancers for the Chakwaina Kachinas.
CH6P-SOWI-ING KACHINA Antelope-Deer Kachma
This kachina points up the similarity of the Deer and Antelope Kachinas because by exchanging the antelope horns for deer antlers the doll would become a Deer Kachina. Both Antelope and Deer may wear shirts, usually in cold weather, and either may have a white or blue face. Formerly the attributes of each were more rigidly separated than today.
CHOP KACHINA Antelope Kachina
The Antelope Kachina appears in the Plaza Dances either as a group in the Line Dance or as an individual in the Mixed Dance. He, as well as all other herbivorous animals, makes the rains come and the grass grow. He usually dances with a cane held in both hands and accompanied by the Wolf Kachina as a side dancer.
PONG KACHINA Mountain Sheep Kachina
The Mountain Sheep Kachina appears in Line Dances or as an occasional figure in the Mixed Dance. It dances holding a cane in both hands to represent the forelegs as it bends over and moves through the steps. The kachina has power over the rain as do the other herbivorous animals and is able to cure spasms as well.
KAWAI-I KACHINA Horse Kachina
The Horse Kachina derives its name from the Spanish word for horse, caballo. The kachina is of recent introduction as the Hopi did not adopt the horse until quite late, preferring the burro as a beast of burden, and their own two feet if speed was desired. Early travelers through Hopi country had difficulty with Hopi guides on foot setting a pace that soon exhausted their horses. The kachina is usually seen in Mixed Dances.
HONAN KACHINA Badger Kachina
The Hopi have two distinct forms of the Badger Kachina. This form is characteristic of Second Mesa and is a Chief Kachina who appears during the Powamu and the Pachavu ceremonies. It is a curing kachina. The costume and gear are not a fancier version of the other kachina but are instead of a form which probably arrived at a different time. There is some confusion on Third Mesa with the Sio Hemis Hu. However, that kachina does not have Badger tracks on its cheeks.
HONAN KACHINA Badger Kachina
This doll, characteristic of the smaller and more rapidly manufactured effigies, is also a Honan or Badger Kachina. It is more often seen during the Mixed Dances on Third Mesa or the Water Serpent Ceremony on First Mesa than during the Powamu. It bears a superficial resemblance to the Squirrel Kachina.
Elaborate dresses, lavish balls, a beautiful countryside and images straight from the canvas of the great artists come to my mind when I think about the Victorian era. The Victorian period or the Victorian era can be termed as the period under the reign of Queen Victoria. This period was between the year-1837 to 1901. I am sure many women would love to slip back into time and fulfill their dream of wearing bustle skirts with some fancy feathered hats at some point in their lives! Rich fabrics and genteel women attending fancy dos with cultured men are some of the glimpses of the life back then! Here’s a look at the kind of fashion followed in the Victorian Era. Victorian fashion has many interesting things to note and you can delve into the depths of Victorian fashion, right here!
The term Victorian fashion is generally used only with regard to the United Kingdom. There were certain clothing styles and mannerisms that were observed during this period. In the early period of the Victorian Era, the silhouette for the woman was more of the demure kind. Women wore pointed bodice, which were long and had fitting waists. The bodice was designed to enhance the waist. In the early period, Victorian clothing for women was about restriction of arm movements. Another interesting feature were the detachable collars! The colors used in the early period of the Victorian fashion were soft, pastel shades. Patterns were delicate and fashionable, all designed to maintain the femininity of the woman.
Beehive shaped skirts was another characteristic feature of Victorian fashion. Here, garments were stiffened to give a particular appearance. Crin also known as horsehair, was used for a particular portion of a garment so that it stiffens in that particular area. Crin was used for hem linings and sleeve heads of the dresses.
Although cloth was manufactured in the mills, Victorian clothing in 1837 was generally designed and assembled by tailors and other such specialized people who were into designing clothes and hats. These people catered to only a specific few of the society who could afford this service; others stitched their clothes at home.
Bell shaped skirts also became a rage and these became wider in the 1830s. The bell shape soon became dome shaped. As these skirts became bigger and flared out, they also needed support from the inside. Victorian dresses therefore needed to be worn with a lot of petticoats. The lower portion was also supported by horsehair, which were woven into the pattern for the stiffened look.
The cashmere shawl was also a prominent feature of Victorian fashion. It was particularly noticed in 1840. By then, the shawl was used as wrap over the dresses. Women also wore heavy fabrics such as satins and silks and there was also a time when fabric dictated the status of the person in the society as well.
Slowly these huge ballooned Victorian skirts gave way to the hobble skirts. Hobble skirts brought into fashion narrow skirts, where in knee length corsets were combined with the entire ensemble. Hobble skirts often restricted movement, which is probably why they have been given this name. These slim skirts created a problem for women in the comfort factor yet they gained popularity with time. Today, the slim pencil skirt can still be witnessed in the fashion scenario in many modified ways.
Apart from horsehair, bustles were also used to increase the fullness of the skirts. Bustles were used to make the waist look smaller. Many times, the fullness of the fashion was spread out towards the back and this often fanned out in the shape of a train. Bustles were also seen in different shapes. Sometimes, these also created a hump below the waist area on the backside, which was considered to be a fashion statement in the Victorian era. The bustle therefore, can be considered to be yet another typical feature of Victorian fashion.
Victorian fashion for men was about Norfolk jackets and the sack suits. Men preferred to don themselves in casual attire.
Victorian fashion was thus quite elaborate as far as women’s clothing was concerned. Victorian clothing is still very much popular and the basics have been woven into new modern designs to create contemporary attire!
THESE BOOTS ARE MADE NOT ONLY FOR WALKING but for working in all kinds of weather—and looking smart, too. They were introduced in 1817 by Hoby of St. James’s Street, London, the personal shoemaker of Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington, famous for defeating Napoleon at Waterloo. Wellingtons were initially designed to look good with the newfangled men’s fashion of wearing long trousers instead of knee breeches.
The boot’s predecessor, the Hessian, had a curvy folded-down top and heavy braid.The duke wanted something simpler, made from soft calfskin and cut closer to the leg. Sturdy enough to be battle-hardy yet stylish enough to be worn in the evening, the Wellington allowed the British gentry to look like their favorite war hero while standing tall in polished boots.
However, it was an American named Henry Lee Norris who came up with the idea of producing the Wellington in rubber. (Charles Goodyear had recently patented the process of vulcanizing.) The British Isles had a wet, muddy climate, so Norris headed to Scotland and, in 1856, founded the North British Rubber Company to produce the weather-resistant boots that were to become famous.
The Wellington has gone through many changes since its schizoid days as a foppish combat boot. In the 1860s, it was worn by soldiers in the American Civil War. And the cowboy boot was modeled after the full V- Wellington, so called because the whole front and whole Q£ back are each made from a single piece.
Production took off during both World Wars, when the military requested sturdy rubber footwear that would keep soldiers’ feet dry in the flooded trenches and provide civilians with long-lasting boots during wartime rationing. Introduced to Wellingtons in a time of great hardship, British men, women, and children have never given them up, and their appeal has spread far beyond the home turf.
In New Zealand,Wellies—or gumboots, as they’re known Down Under—come in white for doctors and nurses in rural hospitals. Green is a favorite with the Brits (Lady Diana Spencer was a green girl long before she married her prince), while black ones with brick-red soles can often be seen on fishermen up and down the U.S. East Coast and into Canada’s Maritime Provinces.
Today, children the world over splash through puddles in Wellies styled to look like ladybugs, ducks, and frogs. And, thanks to designers such as Paul Smith and Karl Lagerfeld, the streets of many a rainy fashion capital are a riot of Wellies decorated in candy colors, wild stripes, and funky prints.
Q: At a recent yard sale, I purchased a radio with a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs design. The radio still plays and has a good tone. Any information you can give me will be appreciated.
A: Your radio was manufactured by Emerson in 1939. The tuning and volume knobs, if original, are acorn designs and a jewel on Snow White’s dress lights up when the unit is turned on. According to the Official Price Guide to Disney Collectibles by Ted Hake, your radio is valued in the $825 to $3 250 range, depending on condition.
Q: I am getting older and would like to liquidate some of my older expensive collectibles and antiques. How do I go about finding a reputable dealer?
A: You should first find and identify dealers who buy and sell the items like those that you have. Don’t contact a furniture store if you have mostly collectible glass. Your next step is to ask for references and credentials. How long has the dealer been in business? Have there been any complaints filed at the Better Business Bureau? Most importantly, follow up on those references. Get informed.
The Victorian era spanned the years from the 1830s to 1900, when Queen Victoria was on the British throne. Interior design styles focused on the ornate and the historical, drawing on revivals of past eras of design. Furniture was considered a status symbol, and rooms were filled with many pieces, often not all the same design style.
- Furniture production took a huge jump in Victorian times, with the advent of mass manufacture of many types of furniture. This made Victorian furniture more readily available to the middle class, and often these “reproduction” type pieces of furniture were not well made. Victorian furniture abounds in today’s antique shops because of this burst in production.
- Victorian furniture designers took their designs from earlier fashions, particularly the Gothic style and the Rococo style. Tudor and Elizabethan furniture was also reimagined and modified in Victorian designs. Furniture in Renaissance and Neo-Classical styles also were seen in Victorian-era decorating. English, French and Italian Rococo revival furniture pieces were among the most popular in homes, while artistically, the Gothic revival designs became the most influential to later generations, as they are now considered to be hallmarks of Victorian design.
- In England, the Victorian styles of furniture were all the rage as they came out, and the trend in design was focused on England, as its queen gave her name to the age. “Englishness” was a quality prized in furniture. For that reason, the English oak became a popular furniture wood at this time, although it was not the most widely available wood. Revivals of classic English designers like Thomas Chippendale and Robert Adam became popular in the late Victorian furniture designs, resulting in many reproductions of their work produced for the large middle-class market.
- Though America was no longer a colony of England, English culture and designs still had an enormous impact on American home design in the Victorian age, including furniture. Corresponding with the early Victorian designs in England was the so-called Eclectic period in American furniture, which drew on all the different types of revivals and influences that English furniture designers used in Victorian times, and combined them with simpler, colonial styles as well. In the last two decades of the century, when English furniture was progressing through its late Victorian phase, American furniture was turning more toward the Arts and Crafts ethos.
- The interior design and art style that preceded the Victorian age was the Regency style, a simpler style drawing on Grecian and classic lines. Early Victorian furniture shows a transition from these designs to more ornate, more highly decorated pieces of furniture, also called the “high Victorian” style. Furniture was designed for its location in the house and children’s furniture retained more simplicity. Classic, heavy Tudor-like furniture was to be found in men’s rooms and dining rooms. Designers mixed several styles in this time period, with no one style predominating the furniture market. Shoddy craftsmanship accompanied the rise of mass-market furniture, with lots of ornate decoration and veneers added to disguise poor joins and low-quality woods. The style that emerged was more heavily Gothic and Rococo with the added decorations. Furniture was carved intricately and upholstered in velvet fabrics for an expensive look. Ironwork furniture also came onto the market and was especially popular in bedrooms.
- In the later Victorian period, from the 1860s to the turn of the century, two major art and design movements began, influencing the end of the period and the development of other late Victorian styles. The Arts and Crafts movement and the aesthetic movement began to gain ground, both of which considered furniture as an art form. The extravagance of the early Victorian furniture came to be seen as wasteful, and painting furniture rather than carving it became fashionable. The amount of upholstering done decreased, and straight lines predominated over the flares and curves popular in furniture of the early Victorian age. Japanese designs were brought in to some furniture, and other designers were influenced by antique styles, including Etruscan and Egyptian.
Some people make the mistake of storing antique dolls in plastic boxes. This can lead to problems if moisture finds its way into the box and causes mold to grow on the doll’s clothes. The best place to store antique dolls is in a chest or cupboard. For added protection, you should wrap acid free paper around each doll. Also, you should never lay dolls down on their back for lengthy periods of time. Lay them face down to prevent their eyes from falling out.
Wooden antique dolls should never be exposed to water as this can leave a stain on them. For other types of dolls, you should only use distilled water and a soft cloth to to clean them. If you make the mistake of using soap, the residue can cause the doll to become discolored. Antique dolls made of cloth can be vacuumed safely by putting a layer of nylon netting on the end of the vacuum hose.
Many people choose to display their antique dolls around their homes for decorations. If you do this, you should be sure to dust them whenever you dust your home. You should never put them in a place where they are exposed to excessive sunlight. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can fade the paint on the doll and also fade the colors of the clothes.
If you have wooden antique dolls, you should check them occasionally for insects. Insects can easily destroy wooden dolls. Once they have infected one of the dolls, they can quickly move on to the other dolls in your collection.
It is common for people to leave their antique dolls in the basement or attic. This is not the ideal place for these dolls because of the fluctuating temperatures from season to season. Antique dolls should be stored at a constant room temperature.
Antique dolls should always be taken care of properly, especially when they may be sold in the future. If you take good care of them, you can be assured that your investment will pay off in the future.
How old does an item have to be to be an antique?
There is a great debate about how old an item has to be to be considered an antique. The standard is 100 or more years. There are some antique dealers out there that like to say 50 years. This is so they can sell more items as antiques and charge higher values.
Just because the item is an antique does not mean it has a high value. Age is one of the many factors in determining an antique value. Here is a short list of factors that make an antique valuable:
- The age of the antique
- The condition of the antique
- Rarity of the antique
- Market demand for the antique
- Maker of the antique
- Quality of the antique
How can I tell if my antique is real?
Trying to determine the authenticity of an antique can be very hard. Most popular antiques went into reproduction as soon as they hit the market.Â Even if the item is from the correct time period it can still be a reproduction. Most of the time the term period piece is used to represent this. Research is one of the best tools you can use to determine the authenticity of an antique. If you have any uncertainty about the authenticity of an antique I would suggest finding a specialist in that field to help.
How does the condition of an item affect its value?
There are many answers to this question. Damage can have a dramatic effect on the value of an antique. If an antique is very rare, minor damage is going to have less of an effect on the value than if the same damage was on a mass produced antique that can be found rather easily. With common antiques minor damage usually has about a 25-50% effect on the value.
We get our information from many sources. Here are some of the resources we use:
- Comparable sales over the last 5 years
- Past auctions
- Antique retail dealers
- Antique trade magazines
- A network of appraisers and specialist
Should I clean my antique?
Cleaning an antique can cause damage. This damage may not be seen right away. Before cleaning an antique make sure you research the best method you should use to clean your antique. The recommended way to do this is to have your antique cleaned professionally or to ask a specialist. Many cleaners today can have harsh affects on antiques. Dusting your antiques and general cleaning will help protect your antique items and their values.
What is the best way to sell my antique collection?
The answer to this question varies a lot depending on the situation of the sale. When selling antiques you have many options. Depending on your situation and the amount of work you want to do will determine what your best option is. Here is a list of places to sell your antiques:
- Auction houses
- Consignment with an antique store
- Private sale
- Newspaper or online ad service such as craigslist
When collecting antiques your best tool is knowledge. Doing some research can save you time and money.