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Derivatives of Meissen
A little over a hundred miles south of Berlin is the city of Dresden on the Elbe River in Saxony. Fourteen miles west and also in the Elbe Valley is the town of Meissen. Both these cities owe their fame as porcelain centers to a discovery made in Dresden which proved of great economic and social significance to the western world.
Gilt Wedding-Band China
Although rarely mentioned or illustrated in reference books on old china, I consider the design popularly known as "wedding band" one of the most interesting of those produced during the early years of the Victorian period. Yet the price range for individual dishes or entire services is considerably more moderate than that for other porcelains of the same age.
Ancestors of the Glass Hen Dish
Covered dishes modeled as hen's nests, either full of newly-hatched chicks or surmounted by a maternal fowl, have a much longer history than the Victorian period with which they are usually associated. Their origin dates back into the eighteenth century when they were made of much finer material than either the earthenware or pressed-glass examples of the Victorian years.
Ironstone China from Staffordshire
Ironstone china, the name of which well describes this hardy ware, was designed as an inexpensive substitute for the costly and fragile bone china. It was originated by Miles Mason who had been a china dealer in London. In 1780 he took over the Lane Delph pottery in Staffordshire and started making earthenware transfer-decorated dishes with designs in the Chinese manner known as "British Nankin."
Staffordshire Dog Figures
English potters, particularly those of Staffordshire, were most versatile. In addition to a wide variety of useful wares, they also produced ornamental pieces of all kinds. Among their decorative objects, figures of dogs were favorites, probably because the English have always been an animal-loving people.
Vieux Paris Porcelain
Among the potters of a century and more ago who often neglected to mark their wares, there were some thirty small porcelain factories and decorating shops in Paris that flourished from the closing years of the Napoleonic era to the Franco-Prussian War. These potters ornamented their wares in the French manner with a liberal use of gilt and colored enamel.
Ohio Potters And Potteries
This imposing industry grew out of a craft practiced long and diligently by many individuals whose products rarely moved beyond the limits of their own community. These local craftsmen came to the Middle West as settlers, bringing with them skills mastered in other sections of the nation and in Europe. Often they worked at their craft on a part-time basis, expanding their productive capacity only when the demand for their wares increased.
Blue and White Delft
When, some years before the 1890's, American collectors first became interested in antiques- blue and white Delft plates, spinning wheels, and copper kettles were the fashionable things to collect. A small spinning wheel with its neatly turned legs and spokes provided antiquarian atmosphere in the living room or hall corner, while the decor of the dining room was dominated by Delft dishes on the wall or plate-rail, with a well-polished copper kettle added for contrast.
Deming Jarves and Lacy Sandwich Glass
Among the types of glass developed in the United States during the early nineteenth century was the well-known lacy Sandwich glass. This highly decorated ware was made in quantity from carefully-cut molds and sold at popular prices. The man responsible for it was Deming Jarves whose factory was opened in 1825 at Sandwich, Massachusetts.
Mold-Blown and Pressed Glass
There seems to be considerable confusion regarding the mold-blown and pressed or pattern types of glass. Possibly this is because both types have two things in common. Both originated as inexpensive substitutes for the fine cut glass imported from England, Ireland, and the continent of Europe. Both were shaped in molds but with a drastic difference of method.
Oriental China for the Western Trade
The story of Oriental Lowestoft involves patient Chinese potters in an inland city on the Yangtze River, hard-headed Cantonese merchants, avid western traders, sailing ships and well-appointed Occidental houses, some of them located on the New England coast and built with a "widow's walk."
Stiegel and Stiegel-Type Glass
THE MAN whose name has long been synonymous with fine antique glass was born in 1729 at Cologne, one of the oldest German glass centers. When he was twenty-one he sailed for America, landed in Philadelphia, settled in Lancaster County, and by 1752 had married Elizabeth, daughter of Jacob Huber, a prosperous iron founder with whom he went into business.
Bakewell, Pears & Company, of Pittsburgh
At the turn of the nineteenth century, the Pittsburgh area was considered a part of the West. It and the Ohio Valley were thickly enough populated for several glass houses to thrive and sell their products nearby. According to a London visitor of 1817, "demand for these articles of elegant luxury lies in the western states, the inhabitants of Eastern America being still importers from the Old Country."
Bellflower Pattern Glass
American glass factories produced almost five hundred different glass patterns between 1850 and 1890. Collectors, therefore, have a wide choice. Some prefer the early designs of the 1850's pressed in the resonant flint glass which Sand wich and other New England houses favored. Others concentrate on patterns reflecting contemporary American life, such as the Liberty Bell, Westward Ho, and Horseshoe patterns, which were inspired by the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
Birds and Beasts of Glass
Bird and animal motifs were common throughout the Victorian period and appeared in various forms, from the cast-iron deer on well-kept lawns to the embroidered antimacassars on the armchairs inside the house. Among the articles most popular at the time and prized today by collectors were covered glass dishes in the shape of birds and animals. These date from the latter part of the Victorian era and were for the most part made in and around Pittsburgh.
The Centennial and Pattern Glass
The Centennial Exposition, commemorating the one-hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, exerted a far-reaching influence on the industrial arts of the United States. After it was announced in 1873 that the financing of this first World's Fair in America had been assured through the sale of one million ten-dollar shares, manufacturers of all kinds began to plan their displays.
Milk Glass versus Porcelain
Knowledge of milk glass goes back to the days of ancient Egypt when it was used for cups and ointment jars as a substitute for alabaster. Roman craftsmen worked with it as early as the beginning of the Christian era, obtain ing whiteness by the use of oxide of tin. Sometimes they added a white outer layer to blown colored glass and by cutting through achieved such beautiful cameo effects as in the famous Portland vase.
American Blown Glass oF the Nineteenth Century
Glassware of a century ago was not all of the pressed-pattern type. Pressed glass was the ordinary ware for everyday use; for special occasions, the ware chosen was apt to be blown glass.
Favrile Glass
Unusual coloring and finish were characteristics of ornamental or "art glass" production in the United States between 1880 and 1930. Fashioning of such decorative pieces as bowls, vases, and candlesticks called for superior glass making skills. Outstanding among these late art forms of glass is that known as Favrile, a name chosen by its inventor, Louis Comfort Tiffany, from an old Saxon word meaning "hand wrought."
Irish Cut Glass
The art of glass cutting came to England from the Continent about 1720. However, it did not flourish as an Act of Parliament of 1746 taxed glass according to weight of metal. This duty did not hold in Ireland but the Act forbade exportation of glass from there. Consequently, glass heavy enough to stand cutting was not made extensively in either country. The Act was partially tax for English glass but none for that made in repealed in 1780, leaving a Ireland.
Buffalo Pottery And The Larkin Company
The genesis of the Buffalo Pottery lies in a cake of Larkin's Creme Oatmeal Soap. John Durrant Larkin (1845-1926) created the soap, and his brother-in-law and partner, Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915), created the merchandising schemes that led to the establishment of the pottery.
Clutha And Cluthra Glass
Shortly before the turn of the century, about 1895, James Couper & Sons of Glasgow, Scotland, produced a glassware which they marketed under the trade name "Clutha." The name was derived from an old Scotch word meaning "cloudy."
Mid-Victorian Jewelry For The Lady
Milady's jewelry and accessories of the 1860s and 1870s were rather ornate and truly diversified. Most popular were pieces that dangled and jingled. Charm bracelets, long earrings and pendants, brooches with chains attached were high style.
Coins Of The European Dark Ages
Rome fell. The barbarians sacked and burnt it. Thus ended the Civilization that for hundreds of years had ruled the known world.
Bitters In Bottles
In the era of the facile street corner "pitchman", over 110,000 different tonic bitters were made and dispensed in America. The medicine show, run by itinerant hucksters with fancy wagons, gave the bottled bitters, usually a murky substance concealed by dark amber glass, its first sales impetus.
The Rarest Faience In The World
There is one kind of pottery which is rarer than anything else of its kind, and moreover, it has never been copied with anything like accuracy.
Baxter Prints
Baxter prints are objects of considerable beauty and charm. They represent a particular historic epoch, and, moreover, are steadily increasing in value, but their collection is a somewhat sore subject with me because I have a clear recollection of how many of them have been destroyed in my own childhood and, I am afraid, by myself.
Curious Old Wine
A well-known collector, who has been for years engaged in purchasing fine porcelain, pictures, drawings and other things of similar character, has now turned his attention to quite a different branch of collecting, and part of his museum is contained in two rooms in his cellar.
Egyptian Antiquities
There have always been able collectors in England interested in Egyptian archaeology, and the great national collection is largely indebted for its treasures to the efforts of private collectors.
Diamonds With A History
In June, 1909 I had the high privilege of having in my hands two or three very famous stones, one of which was unique in its value and importance.
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