Remember when handkerchiefs were fine gifts to give? Practical & pretty! This vintage one remains in its original greeting card, complete with a pocket for the hanky to sit in. Made by Treasure Masters, Boston, U.S.A.
Did you know you can get a patent for a Bible? Not a copyright, but a patent? If so, why did it take until the 1940s? These were some of the questions I had when I discovered this vintage Christmas card with a miniature Bible on it.
The small Bible, measuring 1 by 1 1/2 inches, is tied onto the card with a ribbon. Untie the ribbon, slide it out of the card, and you have a miniature Bible. According to press at the time, the miniature Bible contains 220 pages of the New Testament plus the 23d Psalm.
Made by the Sorin Bible & Card Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio, the back of the card carries the following information:
Copyright 1943 — Patent No. 136006
The use of a miniature Bible and Prayer book on a greeting card is prohibited unless by permission.
In performing searches, I’ve found various other greeting card themes with the little Bible, including this very patriotic one.
As far as I was able to ascertain, the patent lasted about three years… If anyone can add to the story, please share!
Unlike other toys which may come and go in popularity, dolls continue to connect generations.
Little girls have long played with dolls, emulating their mothers. Meanwhile, little boys played with model railroad sets. (Well, sometimes little boys watched Dad play with the model railroad; the boys themselves waiting until they were old enough to be allowed to play too!) But as less railroads criss-cross the country now, as technology advances creating remote control cars and new-fangled gadgets to play with, the generational connections once made via model trains and even other transportation toys has nearly faded into the past. Of course, parenting and caring for babies and children hasn’t become a thing of the past; so dolls remain popular and continue to connect generations.
It’s this continued shared love of dolls which keeps dolls at the top of “most popular” lists for antiques and collectibles year after year!
However, if you want your doll to survive so that it can be handed down to the next and even future generations, you’ll want to take precautions to preserve it.
Caring For Your Dolls
You know those TV commercials for dental whitening products that say, “If you aren’t whitening, you’re yellowing”? Well, dolls can be seen in the same way. The deteriorating effects of aging are breaking them down, and, if you aren’t preserving, you’re just letting the damage happen — maybe even compounding the problems.
While you can’t stop the aging (of yourself or the dolls!), you can slow it down with these eleven tips for doll care.
1) Protect your dolls from light. Sunlight, especially direct sunlight, is the worst; but florescent and incandescent lighting is also damaging. Not only will bright light fade the colors of most textiles, but it can also fade and damage various doll materials, including the vinyl and other plastics. Direct and/or bright lighting can also create a lot of heat, which can also cause a lot of problems for dolls. Use lighting and/or glass with ultra-violet filters for the best protection.
2) Protect your dolls from dust, smoke, pests, pets, and other environmental contaminants. Display your dolls in a glass cabinet (with proper lighting, that can be turned off when it’s not necessary) whenever possible. Glass shelves are non-reactive and therefore are safe for displaying dolls and their costumes.
3) Safely position dolls. Crowding dolls is dangerous. Not only does reaching for one risk knocking another over — or worse yet, a domino effect! — but you risk snags, scratches, and other damages. Crowding can also result in damage your doll outfits by crushing the textile fibers. Sleep dolls, dolls with inset eyes, and bisque dolls with eyes that move must be stored face down or displayed upright. The eye mechanisms are heavy, and if the doll is laid on its back, gravity will pull the eyes back into the doll’s head and/or break the mechanism itself. Beware doll stands. While your doll may look more presentable on a stand, the stress of her own weight against the stand can cause damage to the doll. Also, the metal of the doll stand itself may react with the doll or the doll’s costume, causing staining and tears. Support the bisque heads of dolls, even when they are sitting, as vibrations from general house activities may cause the heads to topple off the doll and break.
4) Beware of acids. Dolls should not be kept in their original boxes, as the acid in the cardboard and paper can actually damage the dolls and the costumes with a slow acid burning which appears as tanning. When storing dolls, remove the doll’s clothing or place acid-free tissue between the doll and her clothing. Unless you are using archival acid-free boxes, use more acid-free paper to protect the doll and clothing from the acid in cardboard boxes. The same is true of wooden surfaces, such as shelves, as the dangerous part of regular tissue, cardboard, or other paper is the acid from wood called lignin. A few layers of acid-free paper or unbleached muslin is enough of a barrier of protection. Dolls should not be stored wearing jewelry or clothing and shoes with metal buckles, etc., as the metal can create the dreaded “green spots” on vinyl dolls, rust on textiles, snag or scratch dolls and their outfits.
5) Pad cloth dolls and costumes. Use acid-free paper or unbleached muslin to support joints and other weak areas of cloth bodied dolls in storage. Parts of doll costumes, such as full sleeves and skirts, may need to be supported while in storage or on display too. Acid-free tissue paper will also help keep the garment’s shape while preventing textiles from creasing or touching, and accelerating damage.
6) Keep your dolls and their clothing clean. Even dolls in display cases can become dirty. Dust your doll collection regularly, and inspect the dolls for signs of pests or damages. For wigs, clothing, delicate trims, etc. you may use a vacuum with a nylon stocking over the hose to act as a screen which protects such light materials from the suction action.
7) Avoid water. Avoid washing your dolls, doll wigs, and clothing, as most dust and dirt becomes very acidic when mixed with water. Wooden, composition, and paper mache dolls should never be washed as water is their enemy. Caracul, mohair, wool, and wigs made of human hair do not like to be washed or wetted either. Regular dusting alleviates the need of washing.
8) Store dolls in safe places. If you have a large number of dolls, so many that you cannot display them all, beware storing them in attics, basements, closets along outside walls, and other places with temperature extremes or swings in temperatures. Similarly, humidity is a danger. Heat degrades composition and plastics (celluloid can even explode from heat!); excessive heat or too little humidity can cause dehydration of the fibers; and high heat and humidity can make the doll’s clothing bleed and stain the doll, her accessories, and other parts of her dress. Very cold temperatures can crack or craze composition and papier mache; too much humidity encourages the growth of mold, mildew, and fungus. Repeated swings and fast changes in these environmental changes exponentially hasten the damages. Thankfully, dolls do well in the same general temperatures and humidity levels we humans are comfortable with.
9) Avoid storing dolls in plastics, like rubber bins and plastic bags. These can trap in moisture, leading to mold and mildew. Plus, plastics give off gases that can damage dolls and and doll clothing alike. If you opt for plastic storage, puncture air holes to allow for circulation which allows the gasses to escape.
10) Beware the chemical reactions of mothballs. Mothballs and moth crystals contain chemical pesticides which can have bad reactions with vinyl, metal, and even feathers. If you must use mothballs or moth crystals to store dolls and fashions, be absolutely certain they do not come in contact with the dolls or textiles.
11) Don’t forget about your dolls. Think of display and storage as temporary situations. Remember to periodically take your dolls out from where they sit, dust them off, and inspect them for signs of pests or damages. Any dolls or items having — or which are suspected of having — insects or mold or fungus should be removed and isolated from the rest of the collection to avoid contaminating the rest of the collection. Regular inspection and repositioning of your dolls also gives your dolls, their clothing, and accessories time to breath, which helps avoids other decay issues.
Whether your dolls are in an old fragile state, freshly repaired, like-new, or brand new, these tips will ensure your dolls will live to connect to the next generation.
The Stall & Craft Collective is an online craft & gift marketplace, and events directory, which launched in June of this year. This October, they’ve reached over 30,000 unique visitors and …
Some vintage is allowed; currently UK only.
We’ve sold a number of these primitive antique fly traps — but none quite this large. (I forgot to measure it, but it’s at least a foot tall.)
Nor did any have their original maker tag with instructions for use.
The Wonder Fly Trap
W.P. Rose, Ayr, N.D.
Bait with cake or bread with sugar and vinegar over, or anything that attracts the flies
These taps work for hornets and bees too. No reason it wouldn’t still work today. But some continual baiting and cleaning of the trap would be required. 😉
This one was purchased at that Bonanzaville museum auction this past Fall. It is now available for purchase; available in our space at Exit 55 Antiques located on I-94 in Fergus Falls, MN. (The shop’s Facebook Page is here; our personal sales page at Facebook is here.) Also, more photos and information regarding what we have for sale right now can be seen at We Have Your Collectibles.
Whether your antiquing trips are local or you hit the road to search far and wide, there are a number of antique networks offering maps to help you discover places to haunt & hunt.
The Minnesota Antique Network, along with sister state sites Illinois Antique Network.com, Iowa Antique Network, Missouri Antique Network, Nebraska Antique Network, & Wisconsin Antique Network (with plans for more states to follow), offers an easy means for you to map out your antiquing destinations. Along with maps, these sites offer a glimpse into the shops themselves, with photos and descriptions of items available, shop news & events, specialties, etc. This offers the collector, decorator, or avid junker the chance to create a travel or shopping plan that is most likely to appeal to your specific interests and tastes. It is especially helpful if they offer shop hours, so you can plan to get their when they are open.
Of course, some state travel sites and local antique dealer associations offer similar help, as do sites such as AntiqueMalls.com. And I Antique Online offers some shopping directories too. But this currently mostly Midwest network of antique shops by state often makes it easier to start. Plus, each of the state sites has a FaceBook Page as well, which is especially nice for connecting to antique shops in your area. (The shops that have FaceBook pages, anyway.)
Since the shops must pay for placement at these sites, it’s a good idea to always ask the antique store staff what other antique shops are nearby as well as grab the other literature found in the shops so that you won’t miss anything.
PS If you prefer antiquing apps, there’s also the Antique Week app; sadly, it’s only currently available for Apple products like iPhones and iPads. Though there are electronic versions of their Shop Guide directories to use with GPS devices such as Garmin & TOMTOM. The aforementioned antique networks organized by state are also working on mobile versions — fingers-crossed that tech comes soon!
A vintage Rose O'Neill holiday postcard featuring the Kewpies!
New Year’s Luck for You
At the mystic hour of midnight,
If your eyes are bright,
you’ll see the Jolly Kewpies
bringing New Year’s luck to you from me.
In February of last year, I wrote about Kewpie dolls for the Dolls By Diane newsletter; leave a comment or email me if you want me to send you a copy!
Since we went to that museum auction and got that fabulous antique folk art piece made of tintypes and seashells, I’ve been looking for more…
I found this antique frame of nine photos decorated in seashells…
And this antique folk art or tramp art “Memory Bottle” has seashells mixed in with all the other buttons and bobs.
Halloween was once steeped in the tradition of belief that the veil between this world and the next was thinnest at this time of year and so was considered a time when fortunes could be best told. Not even the Victorian era and it’s designs to clean-up the naked bonfire bawdiness could quash that Hallowe’en tradition. In fact, the Victorian notions of romance and marriage quite fed such things. Especially the romantic sort of fortune telling, predicting whom you might marry.
Included in this historical paper trail are the antique and vintage Halloween postcards. There, among the now-so-traditional Halloween fare of witches and black cats, are the romantic Halloween postcards. Sometimes these are simply postcards with romantic prose, courtship rituals, or even wistful, hopeful sentiments. But there too, along with icons or symbols of witchcraft (such as caldrons, clocks, mirrors, and potions), there are the utterly charm-ing old postcards of spell-casting or divination. These discuss the magical steps one might take to find love and bind lovers. Some are quite clearly the stuff of parlor games.
There were quite a number of fortune telling games. Some, like the postcards, provided instructions. Others were of the oral tradition. For example, among the myriad of seasonal apple traditions is the one in which single ladies peeled an entire apple and then tossed the long peel behind them. The shape the apple peeling took was said to form the first letter of the first name of their future mate.
Along with these sorts of party games, there were dolls who might help a single lady out.
In the 1800s, both France and Germany made wooden, and porcelain, dolls with skirts over paper petticoats, of sorts. It was on the paper pages of the skirting that one found one’s fortune. Much like a fancier version of the paper fortune telling games played in schools now!
This is an antique wooden Grödnertal fortune telling doll. (So-named for the Grödnertal region of Germany where the original peg wooden dolls were made.)
In French these fortune telling dolls are known as “bebe a bonne aventure” dolls.
They are often depicted as witches or gypsies, which is rather keeping in the Halloween tradition.
See also: Collecting New Age Items From Old Eras.
This past July, a fire broke-out in the historic St. John’s Lutheran Church on the grounds of Bonanzaville in West Fargo, North Dakota. Bonanzaville, a pioneer village with 12 acres, 43 historic buildings, 400,000 artifacts, “and millions of memories” is operated by the Cass County Historical Society. The church was not only a preserved historical building, but it still served as a place for many weddings. After the fire, pieces were salvaged from the church and they, along with hundreds of other items deaccessioned from the collections, were auctioned off to raise funds for the organization — including bringing in a new-but-old church to Bonanzaville.
Hubby and I attended the auction yesterday and stood among all the others in the cold morning air. (It was so cold, objects had frost on them!) We did purchase a number of things (Stay tuned here — and here — for more details!), but we didn’t purchase anything from the church. We did, however, take lots of photos. You can view them below. (Photos of other items from this auction can be seen here, here, here, here, and here.)
(It’s More That “Just A Tradition!”) At holiday time, we all bring out the fancy china and silverware — the old china and silverware if we are lucky enough to have it. Age, material, and condition issues…
I found this vintage bronzeware set while helping my parents, Antiquips, of No Egrets Antiques, with their latest estate sale. (Details and photos of this latest sale can be found on their Facebook page as well as here.) I became rather fascinated with this set of vintage flatware!
It was obtained by a man in the air force about 1961 or so, when he was stationed in Thailand (officially known as “Siam” until 1939) — and the set clearly remained a prized possession (as you’ll see below).
These are some of the original brochures from the bronzeware purchase:
Included with the set were some other papers that explained more about the flatware:
What is Bronzeware?
Bronzeware is a unique tableware handmade by skilled craftsmen in Thailand, perhaps better known as Siam. Cast individually from glowing red molten bronze, each piece is then ground to the proper shape and then polished to a mirror finish by these patient craftsmen. The rosewood handles are carefully shaped with the simplest of tools, and joined with care to the bronze stem.
What is Rosewood?
Rosewood is a brownish-red hardwood native to the steaming tropical jungles of Southeast Asia, so called because the fragrance of roses permeates the air when the tree is hewn to the ground. Naturally water resistant because of the resinous content of the fibers, rosewood is also exceptionally hard to nick or dent. In addition to these qualities rosewood is perhaps one of the world’s most beautifully grained woods and has long been used in the finest and most expensive furniture and musical instruments.
As of right now, this vintage flatware set is available in a very fine rosewood cabinet, made specifically for holding flatware. It has dragons carved onto the drawers and matches not only a large china hutch or breakfront but a dining room table and chairs.
But the vintage bronzewear originally came in a wooden box — with an eye-blazing fuschia felt liner, just like this one (and other sets found at eBay). We have the case too, but it looks much nicer in the cabinet!
This set of Bronzeware, like others often sold as bronze or bronze alloy pieces, was most likely made of a nickel-bronze alloy. To the best of my knowledge, and research, bronzewear is safe to eat off of. Caring for bronzewear is similar to that of silver plate. As a general rule, I never advise using the dishwasher. Most especially for antique and vintage pieces. And with the rosewood handles, I wouldn’t dare do anything else!
The following is some more of the original literature that accompanied the flatware purchase, or was obtained during the same period. I thought it was proper to include it here.
We love typewriters; we sell a few of them too. So naturally I noticed this news article about The Times adding the sound of typewriters back into the newsroom. But it isn’t quite what you think…
To the surprise of Times journalists, a tall speaker on a stand has been erected in the newsroom to pump out typewriter sounds, to increase energy levels and help reporters to hit deadlines. The audio begins with the gentle patter of a single typewriter and slowly builds to a crescendo, with the keys of ranks of machines hammering down as the paper’s print edition is due to go to press.
This is only a test, so who knows how it will fare?
Tom Hanks has developed the Hanx Writer app, which simulates the sound of an old-fashioned typewriter and has gone to the top of the iTunes app store in the US. Hanks, it noted, can tell the difference between the sounds of an Olivetti, a Remington and a Royal typewriter model.
Viva la typewriter!
PS More on the Hanx Writer at Mashable.
Sophie began her fashion design work as a young girl making clothing for her dolls and grew into an adult who hired as a stylist for Saks. She was hired by none other than Adam Gimbel, whose grandfather was the founder Gimbels. (Kind of ironic, hey?) In 1929, at the age of 31, she was lead fashion designer and manager of the Salon Moderne of Saks Fifth Avenue; by 1931, she would marry Adam Gimbel. Her designs, originally sold under the “Sophie Gimbel” label were so fabulous, she became recognized as an innovator in New Look fashion. By the 1940s, the label was changed to “Sophie of Saks”, and, on September 29, 1947, Sophie would become the first American fashion designer to grace the cover of Time magazine. (Elsa Schiaparelli was the first fashion designer in the world to be on the cover of Time in 1934.) So by the time this news article I’m going to share was published, Sophie was firmly established as a leading force of mid-century American fashion.
The article was in the Montreal Gazette, June 17, 1950, and was about a Sophie fashion show which had been held the day prior at Saks Fifth Avenue. She had designed not only doll clothing for Wanda but a series of matching doll and children’s fashions!
The costumes, which were presented simultaneously on dolls and little girls, are available in children’s sizes three to six and seven to fourteen. They include a pink organdy party frock, a gray flannel jumper suit, a plaid cotton dress, and a blue reefer coat.
I suspect this Sophie’s Original’s For Saks doll outfit may be one of these ensembles, despite being sold as a set for composition dolls. (Wanda Walker and her doll companions were rather pudgy in the tummy in order to accomodate the walker mechanics.)
Here’s an ad from Christmas 1950 promoting some other fashions made for the Wanda Walker doll (by Advance Doll & Toy Corporation and/or Walkalon; that’s a long story I’m covering in the doll articles!): “Organdy hat and dress in pink, yellow, or blue are designed by S.F.A.’s own Sophie!”
This is quite possibly one of those Sophie’s Originals for Saks dresses mentioned in the ad, which was made for, and shown here on, a Wanda Walker doll.
Of course, Sophie continued to design high fashion for adult human females long after this (including creating the red coat and dress Lady Bird wore to LBJ’s 1965 inauguration); but it is more than fitting to include Sophie’s fashion costumes for dolls in her story. After all, Sophie Gimbel began her design work making clothing for her own dolls.
Additional Image Credits:
1950s photo of Sophie Gimbel with models via Patricksmercy.
The first-ever Auction at Elvis’ Graceland is taking place August 14, at 7:00 p.m. at the Graceland Archive Studio — and online.
While none of the 72 items are from the official Graceland collection (the collection, Graceland Archives, etc. continue to be owned by Lisa Marie Presley and are not for sale), there are some very cool items.
This auction includes Elvis’ own copy of the original movie script for Love Me Tender. Love Me Tender (with Debra Paget and Richard Egan) was Elvis’ first movie. Originally, the role was a small one; but the part was revised to accommodate the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s rabid fan base.
Book lovers as well as Elvis Presley fans will like the library card. This library card from Tupelo has one of the earliest known signatures of Elvis. The signature is so early, that even the Graceland Archives has none pre-dating it — and the auction lot includes a letter from the Graceland Archives stating that the archives has no full Elvis Presley signature pre-dating the one on the library card.
Speaking of kings… This 18-karat gold lion’s head (with two emerald eyes, a ruby mouth, and diamond eyebrows whiskers) was designed specifically for Elvis. It is one of those pendant-brooch jewelry pieces. Elvis wore it as a pendant for his meeting with President Nixon, among other places.
Of course, when it comes to Elvis, it’s mainly about the music. So why not grab his Martin D-28 guitar?
Looking for something bigger? The 1977 burgundy and silver Cadillac Seville V8 automatic being offered was not only the last Cadillac Elvis purchased for his personal use, but the very vehicle driven by Elvis himself on the day prior to his death.
Elvis fans and collectors can register & bid online online here.
A stunning vintage Vanity Fair nightgown with lots of lovely details! Buy it here.
Billie the Brownie was a character that Schuster’s Department Store introduced in 1927 to promote their annual Christmas Parade in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I spotted this large plastic version of Billie (likely used in a story display) at DJ’s Antiques (also on Facebook). He was there last week, but you’ll have to contact the shop to see if he’s still there. The number is (414) 282-0447. (And tell them Val & Dean’s daughter from Fargo sent ya!)
Off limits to the general public, the collection was created after the Bolsheviks came to power to house materials confiscated from aristocratic libraries
Repurposing old windows and doors in the garden is a brilliant idea! Why throw something away when it can be given a second chance at life? Empress of Dirt has collected some terrific ideas and pictures on how the garden.
add your insight…
Just finished my doll articles for the Dolls By Diane newsletter. This time, I write about a large doll I literally was shocked to find — Slumped like that on the floor, I thought she was a person…