1. Archive

Leftover plumbing parts created a design momement

Industrial design is an idea that started in the 20th century.

A group of men and women designed or redesigned commercial products to make them work better and look more attractive. Train locomotives, chairs, electric fans, kitchenware and lamps were improved or created. Chase Brass and Copper Co. hired a number of designers to help create housewares using leftovers from copper and brass plumbing parts and pipes.

Lurelle Guild, Russel Wright, Walter van Nessen and others designed pieces using these recycled leftovers. A round sprinkling can and a lamp with a round base were made using a round copper toilet-float. Candlesticks, bookends and lamps were manufactured from copper tubing. The clever designers were able to suggest inexpensive ways to make attractive, high-style pieces. Chase chrome wares are collected today to display and to use.

1913 "Titanic' painting

Question: I inherited a huge reverse-glass painting showing the Titanic approaching several large icebergs. My aunt bought it from a door-to-door salesman in 1913, a year after the ocean liner sank. The painting cost her about $20. She paid the salesman $1 a week until it was paid off. The gold-colored frame appears to be made from plaster over wood. With the frame, the painting is 50 inches wide and 28 inches high. What is it worth?

Answer: Your painting is one of many Titanic souvenirs sold immediately after the tragedy. Several sizes and styles of reverse paintings on glass were produced. If your large painting is not chipped or damaged, it could sell for more than $400.

Blanket is a copy

Question: My parents purchased a blanket in Wyoming 60 years ago. It looks like a traditional Hudson's Bay blanket with red, green, yellow and black stripes on an off-white background. But the label on it reads "Baron Woolen Mills, Brigham City, Utah." Can you explain?

Answer: The Hudson's Bay Co. was Canada's first trading company. It was founded about 1670 and is still in business. The company's traditional striped blankets have been made since the 1700s. Other blanket-manufacturing firms have copied the style. Baron Woolen Mills opened in 1870. It closed a few years ago but was reorganized and is open again. Your blanket was machine-woven during the early 20th century. If it is in unworn condition, it would sell for about $100.

Candlesticks weren't old

Question: I bought a pair of glass candlesticks from a Vermont antiques dealer in 1967. The glass is swirled in shades of brown. The dealer told me that the glass is called Caramel Slag or End-of-Day. The base of each candlestick is shaped like a dolphin and is marked on the bottom with the etched and superimposed initials "IG." Who made the candlesticks?

Answer: Your candlesticks were manufactured by the Imperial Glass Corp. of Bellaire, Ohio. The firm was in business from about 1904 until 1984. Your candlesticks were new when you bought them. Imperial introduced its Caramel Slag line in 1964. The glass is a mixture of opaque-brown and milk glass. The line was produced until the mid 1970s, then was reintroduced about 1981. Your candlesticks are valued at about $50.

Finally, a pitcher history

Question: About 75 years ago, my father gave his mother a cream-colored pottery pitcher that looks like a rooster. It is painted bright red and black. The mark on the bottom is an oval with the letters "ER" to its left and "Phila" inside. Above the oval is the word "handpainted" and below it is "Czechoslovakia." No one has been able to tell me anything about the pitcher or the mark.

Answer: Your pitcher is a piece of Czechoslovakian pottery. It is one of several similar 1920s-era pitchers made in the shapes of birds and other animals. The mark is nicknamed "Erphila" by collectors. The "ER" refers to Ebeling & Reuss, an American importing company. "Phila" is an abbreviation for Philadelphia, where the importer was located. Ebeling & Reuss used the mark as early as 1920. The firm is still in business in Allentown, Pa. Your rooster pitcher, in excellent condition, could sell for $200.

Chair is from the '30s

Question: We found a Mission-style oak chair in a hunting camp in Michigan. The back of the chair is very tall, with a black-leather padded back. The seat has a cushion covered with the same black leather. A name tag on the chair is hard to read. All we can make out is "Moulin Bros." Can you help?

Answer: Your chair was manufactured by DeMoulin Bros. & Co. of Greenville, Ill. The factory opened in 1892 and specialized in furniture for churches and fraternal lodges. Your tall-backed chair is pictured in a 1930s company catalog.

Klondike bar history

Question: I saved several old Klondike ice cream bar wrappers from my childhood. They say "Isaly's Klondike chocolate-covered ice cream." What was Isaly's? The name is not on new wrappers.

Answer: William Isaly was the grandson of Swiss immigrants. Isaly bought a milk plant and several milk delivery routes in northeast Ohio in the early 1900s. He opened his first retail store, Isaly's Dairy Store, in Youngstown in 1918. By 1950, Isaly's operated 11 dairy plants and almost 400 retail stores. Isaly's was best-known nationally for its Klondike ice cream bar, introduced in 1922. The Isaly family sold the company in 1972. The Klondike bar was marketed as "Isaly's Klondike bar" until 1993. That year, Unilever bought the Klondike brand name and took the word Isaly's off the bar. You can find Isaly's advertising collectibles for sale at shows and on the Internet. There are still a few Isaly's Dairy Stores, and the Isaly's brand name is used on some deli products.

Current prices

Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary by location because of economic conditions.

Telephone, Model 302, designed in 1937 by Henry Dreyfus, $130.

Columbian Exposition pocketknife, Uncle Sam on one side, Miss Liberty on the other, 1893, 3 inches, $210.

Man's silk waistcoat, embroidered, flowers, vines, 2 pockets, late 18th century, size large, $255.

Spirit of St. Louis model kit, makes more than 250 airplanes, instructions, Lyonsport Aero Club registration, Metalcraft, $330.

The Little Volunteer Military board game, Teddy Roosevelt on cover, 1898, McLoughlin Bros., $575.

Spalding hockey sign, die-cut, young goalie wearing equipment, 1940s, 18 by 25 inches, $775.

Madame Alexander Tommy Bangs doll, hard plastic, sleep eyes, synthetic wig, original clothing, 15 inches, $825.

D'Argental French cameo-glass vase, carved irises, dark brown over yellow ground, c. 1919, 6 inches, $875.

Bevel tool, St. Johnsbury Tool Co., rosewood and steel, Pat. June 14, 1870, 15 inches, $930.

Cast-iron bench, arched end rails, full-bodied casting of cats fighting on picket fence, spiral-turned legs, paw feet, 21\ inches, pair, $1,645.

Send questions to Antiques, Ralph and Terry Kovel, c/o the St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122.

2003 Cowles Syndicate Inc.