How To Wash & Care For Antique China, Vintage Glass, Silverware & Other Fine Tableware

(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…

Source: www.ebay.com

Christmas Decorating For Collectors Who Want To Show Off Their Collections

The holidays, with all their visitors, are the perfect time for showing off our collections. And what collector doesn’t want to show off their collection?! Instead of replacing your antique and vintage treasures with holiday pieces, why not deck your collections along with decking the halls? It can be as simple as mixing in some simple holiday trims.

Here’s a collection of vintage soda pop bottles topped with simple gold and silver ball ornaments. It would make a unique centerpiece on any holiday table.

festive vintage soda pop bottle collection display

Collect breweriana, not pop? Gold balls really make vintage beer glasses come alive!

festive holiday poker display

Here I used some sparking Christmas tree balls and strings of garland to decorate some vintage pottery pieces.

vintage collectibles dressed for the holidays

Even more rustic country displays can be given some holiday glitz this way. I added some silver balls and garland to this set of vintage blue Ball canning jars.

festive primitives glass canning jars

And here, that rustic autumn centerpiece gets a bit more glamorous for the holidays. Along with the ball ornaments, I added some glittery golden picks.

rustic holiday centerpiece

Antique and vintage ornaments are nice to use, of course. And the old glass ornaments are actually much cheaper than you think right now. The kitschy vintage pipecleaner and flocked plastic ornaments, like the shelf-elves, are becoming more popular now and well out-price the vintage glass pieces. In fact, the vintage glass balls and ornaments — even those painted, frosted or otherwise decorated — can be found in antique shops in my area for as little as one dollar! (Contact me at my store page if you want me to be your personal shopper and get some for you!)

However, if you don’t have any vintage ornaments left over once you’ve decorated the Christmas tree, or if you cannot find enough old ornaments to get a color theme for your grouping, you can get extra trimmings inexpensively at the dollar store. That’s where all of these balls, picks, and garland came from.

Vintage Art Deco Glass Embalming Bottle

This is a vintage glass embalming bottle. We’ve sold a number of them — and quickly, at that.

duo-escohol embalming fluid bottle

A product of the Embalmers’ Supply Company (ESCO) of Westport, Conn. USA. (“Manufacturing Chemists to the Funeral Profession since 1886”) the label reads:

Duo-Escohol (Pre-Injection) Incarnadines the Blood! Unit No.1 of the 1-2-3 System of ESCO Distinctive Embalming ~ Incarnadining Agents ~ Synergistic Increment ~ Balsam Principles ~ Double-Base Preservatives

Embalming primarily involves the replacement of bodily fluids with chemicals to prevent putrefaction. (Pre-injection chemicals break up clots and otherwise conditions vessels & bodily tissues, making them more receptive to the embalming process.) That makes this vintage bottle a hot little funerary collectible.

art deco vintage esco embalming bottle label

But even without the label, or knowing that this is a death and funeral related item, the old glass bottle itself is beautiful. It has such great art deco style! Look at that fabulous step-pyramid top, all the embossing, all the details, the measurement guide along the side… Just gorgeous! No wonder these ESCO bottles sell so fast! (Especially so when these bottles have their original paper labels, as all of ours have had.) They have to be one of the most beautiful embalming bottles ever made.

step-pyramid top glass embalming bottle

measuring guide on art deco embalming bottle

ESCO clearly had their own specific glass bottles made. This one is marked:

2
Bottle
Made in U.S.A.
ESCO
Pat Pending

patent pending esco embalming fluid bottle

The patent pending means this particular bottle was likely an early example; Duo-Escohol was first produced by ESCO in 1926.

Such a beautiful, functional, bottle that it certainly is a great statement piece in any funerary or bottle collection. And quite the conversation piece in general.

antique vintage art deco glass funerary bottle

PS One of our bottle did not have the original cap; instead, it had the cap from bottle or step number two in the process — the Duo-Raa-Co.

vintage embalming fluid bottle cap

Vintage Old Manse & Hazle Atlas Art Deco Preserves Bottle

A few months ago I stumbled into this vintage (nearly antique) glass preservatives bottle or jar. While I love the romantic (and nearly heart-shaped) paper label for Old Manse strawberry preserves (by Oelerich & Berry Company of Chicago), it was the fluid art deco lines of the bottle itself that sealed the deal in terms of purchase. Those same lines led to a real labor of love, because this bottle became quite the cleaning restoration project. (To be honest, the shinning silver with “runs” of golden along the embossed sides were beautiful — had it not been for the incredible stink, I would have left it thus!)

old preserves bottle before after

In my attempts to discover how to clean it, however, I discovered the BLM/SHA Historic Glass Bottle ID & Information Website and Bill Lindsey.

While my email conversations with Lindsey were a bit disjointed (because I was dealing with a bottle soaking in bleach & therefore had forgotten all about looking for any marks on the bottom of the glass jar — sheesh!), Lindsey did confirm my thoughts that this was an authentic art deco food bottle from the 1920s.

Lindsey also added

The lid on the bottle you have is probably not original to the bottle as it appears in the images to be a zinc “Mason’s” jar lid that would have been used on a Mason jar.

The jar itself is a “art deco” style food jar popular in the late 1910s to 1930s (maybe a bit later). It almost certainly would not be of exclusive use to any one company but one of a number of standard designs sold to any purchaser by many different glass companies.

The “5623” is a mold index code and the “8” could be related to a date but we’ve not published our article on that company yet – and I don’t have a copy – so not sure. Still dates as you estimated.

I eagerly await the article!

Meanwhile, other collectors should note that this is a Hazel Atlas piece, marked 5623 – 8, stands about 10 and 1/4 inches tall.  Personally, I’d love to know if anyone else knows anything about this vintage glass bottle or the Oelerich & Berry Company… (UPDATE: Now listed for sale!)

hazel atlas bottle 5623 8

 

The Early Gay Fad Years Provide Clues For Glassware Collectors

Always wanting to learn more, I contacted Kitty Hanson of the Santa Fe Trading Post about my suspected Gay Fad juice set.

Miss Kitty, as she is most known, is co-author of the new and incredibly, exhaustively, researched two-volume encyclopedia set about Fran Taylor and Gay Fad Studios, Gay Fad: Fran Taylor’s Extraordinary Legacy. She was gracious enough to write back with a great deal of information:

Hi Deanna,

I went to your site and enjoyed the article and photo of your Anchor Hocking juice set with the hand-painted oranges. My opinion is that you may well have an early Gay Fad orange design, but that’s going to be difficult to definitively prove. However, I can add a few more clues.

We know for sure that Fran often painted her GF designs on Anchor Hocking blanks, and I, too, have found what seems to be authoritative information that AH’s Manhattan pattern was produced from 1938-1943. So if your set is by Gay Fad, that would mean that Fran produced it in Detroit before moving Gay Fad Studios to Lancaster, OH in 1945. As we say in “The Fran Taylor Story” chapter of our book (page 5, volume 1), we have yet to discover a newspaper article about Fran or Gay Fad or a Gay Fad ad dated prior to 1945. But we do know that all of her Detroit work was done with “cold painting” because she didn’t have the ceramic paints or equipment necessary to do fired designs until moving to Lancaster and installing a lehr in her new production facility. Obviously your set is “cold painted” and that accounts for the flaking paint on your juice set.

Interestingly enough, Red Burn (Fran’s first husband and GF vice president) wrote an article for the July, 1949 issue of Crockery and Glass Journal where he explained the difference between cold painting and fired painting and the fact that cold painting has durability issues. That article is reproduced in the “Gay Fad Articles” chapter (page 180, Volume 2).

We also know that Gay Fad produced a variety of Orange designs over the years, and we show pictures of 10 of them in the “Gay Fad Designs – Identified” chapter (page 103 of Volume 1). Our earliest example is from a GF ad in the February, 1947 edition of Crockery & Glass Journal.

Your design is different from any of the ones we show, but again, we have only three pre-1945 examples of Fran’s work: a Rose design lamp she gave to her brother as a wedding present in 1941 (page 4, volume 1), a Fruit design recipe box she gave to his wife during the early 40’s (page 5, volume 1), and one of the wastebaskets that “started it all” (page 3, volume 1) cut from a photo in the “Beauty and the Baskets” article in the June, 1947 edition of American Magazine (full article on page 169, volume 2).

Another reason why I think your orange design is probably an early GF piece is because of the squiggly stem on the bottom of the orange on your carafe. The fruits (apple, pear, grapes) on Fran’s early 40’s recipe box clearly have squiggly stems, as do many of GF’s various fruit designs, including some of the various Orange designs.

In addition, several of the GF Orange designs are painted in orange and yellow similar to yours. Donna has a similarly-shaped carafe/pitcher (NOT the ribbed Manhattan pattern) with a double orange design in orange and yellow, plus a squiggly bottom stem (page 103, volume 1), all of which looks very much like your single orange.

So again, my opinion is that your set may well be an early Gay Fad orange design, but that’s going to be almost impossible to prove – at least at this point in time.

Hope this helps!

Best wishes,
Miss Kitty

This information is exciting!

I was pretty sure the vintage glass was cold-painted, but honestly, the texture and flakes had me confused… All the cold-paint pieces I have are vintage ceramic pieces, and there the paint appears more “slipped off” and not something that you can feel like you can on this set. (But then again, who knows how it was taken care of? An idiot putting the vintage glassware in a dishwasher back in the 1980s?! I’ve seen damages from dumber things.) I didn’t think the art glass was decorated with decals; there’s no film or lines surrounding the fruits and leaves; and you can see paint strokes and layers, especially behind the clear glass. But there are transfer processes too…  Glassware can be so confusing!

But Miss Kitty’s information makes sense.  The dates of the vintage Depression glass coincide with Fran Taylor and Gay Fad’s early years during which the cold painting was done. Likely there was some experimentation with different paints and processes. Conditions, like on this set, will be an issue. But I’m rather charmed by signs of use and the notion of a woman starting her business.

I don’t really collect glass. Partly because of the confusion about the different process involved; partly because glassware doesn’t speak to me. However, there’s something about Gay Fad Studio’s designs, and, especially, Fran Taylor herself that speaks to me… I do also have a ballerina shaker that I’ve since come to believe was a Gay Fad Studios piece too. So maybe I’ll have to pluck this vintage juice set out of the case and just accept the fact that I’m now collecting Gay Fad glassware. I don’t think I’ll be able to stop myself from looking for her early pieces anyway. *wink*

Now, about the Gay Fad books by Miss Kitty and Gay Fad collector Donna McGrady…

I want them in the worst way. The price of the two-volume set (a total of 610 pages, 1,549 photographs, and 745 scans) is $149.95 (buying both together saves you 25% off list price and gets you free priority shipping to anywhere in the USA). That’s pricey; but this information isn’t anywhere else (she softly whined). So it’s on my wishlist. If you care to gift me the books, or donate towards them, just let me know. *wink*

Cheery Depression Glass Oranges

I’ve held onto this vintage glass juice set for years, hoping I could confirm the oranges were indeed hand-painted oranges from Gay Fad Studios. My set has a clear glass ribbed carafe or water jug and two small clear glass juice glasses — each painted with a cheery orange in shades of yellow and orange, and leaves of greens. The pitcher or carafe also has bands of yellow, orange and green painted on it. There probably were at least two more glasses in the set originally, and the paint has flaking; all of which I (oddly) find more charming. The wear is proof of its age and service, and juice for two provides a cozy breakfast scene!

In all these years, I’ve never seen another set quite like it — but I’m still rather certain it is a Gay Fad breakfast juice set.

The first clue lies in the story of Gay Fad Studios. Fran Taylor, founder of Gay Fad, began her business in 1938. With just a $30 investment, she began painting on glass “blanks” from the major glass companies of the day (such as Anchor Hocking, Federal Glass, Hazel Atlas, and others). By the 1940s, and throughout the 1950s, she and her staff of decorators would make Gay Fad Studios a major glassware design company whose pieces are heavily collected today.

The second clue lies in the glassware itself. While the little clear juice glasses bear no markings, the ribbed juice carafe or water jug does. It has the Anchor Hocking mark on the bottom, and is readily identified as a piece from the Anchor Hocking Manhattan pattern of clear Depression glass. (It does not have the matching circular ribbed lid, if it ever did.)

Production of the Manhattan pattern began in 1938 — the same year Taylor began her glassware painting. The pattern was retired in 1943, making it a true Depression era pattern, and soundly keeping the piece within the Gay Fad Studios lifetime.

So even though I’ve never seen another set like this — not by Gay Fad, Anchor Hocking, or anyone else — I’m fairly certain this is a vintage Gay Fad glass juice set.

…Of course, it could be hand-painted by anyone too. So any help is appreciated!

(PS The Depression glass juice set is currently available for sale in my case at Antiques On Broadway!)

Making Wedding Gifts Heirlooms

We don’t discuss a lot of new things here at Inherited Values, but today we make an exception…

One of my friends is helping a friend with her wedding plans and the subject of wedding gifts came up. Specifically those wedding gifts the bride and groom give to those in the bridal party, the groomsmen, the parents, etc.  As lovers of vintage and antiques, we naturally gravitated to the idea of an excuse to scour antique malls and online stores for just the right gifts. But not everyone loves old things.

Personalized Teddy Message Bear

Since weddings are special occasions, when families grow and joint memories begin, you want to give pieces which will be saved — you want to give things which will become heirlooms.

Heirlooms are those items saved and passed along within a family for generations. They all have to begin somewhere. But in order to become an heirloom, they must be special enough to be saved by the first person they are given to. This means they should be special from the start, carrying not just the weight of the special occasion itself, but the warmth and significance of the relationship itself as well as offering some sort of practicality or use that make the items more than jut dust collectors. (If that “practicality” notion bothers you, please see the history and origins of the word!)

When selecting gifts to mark the occasion of a wedding, consider who the item is for, their role in the special day, and what sentiments are likely to be attached to that day. Drinking glasses and flasks are popular for men because items associated with drinking are reminders of the wedding toasts made. Jewelry and jewelry boxes are popular for female attendants because they are reminders of special days in the past as well as more to come. Personalized teddy bears are great options for children because they are playmates for that day, and toys that sit proudly on display to remind kids of the special day they took part in.

Of course, the more weddings a person has participated in, the more glassware and jewelry they are likely to have, but it just requires a bit more thinking…

There really aren’t any wrong gifts to give, but thinking about the future use of items helps ensure that they will be saved — and on their way to becoming heirlooms!

Ever Wonder Where Those Elvgren Pinup Girl Glasses Came From?

Believe it or not, they were free promotional give away drinking glasses. I’d heard that, but until I found this vintage matchbook, I was still suspicious of the legend.

This vintage matchbook featuring Gil Elvgren’s “Sports Model” pinup on the cover was from Trackside Super Gasoline (2004 Calumet Dr., Sheboygan, Wisconsin). At the bottom “free glassware” is mentioned, and when you open the empty matchbook completely, you see Trackside continues the promotion: “This cover is but one of a series of the famous Elvgren Girls. Bring in a set of all five covers — the five different girls, and receive a set of 5 beautiful Glasses absolutely free.”

Not dated per se; but inside the matchbook it reads “This Offer Expired Jan. 1, 1943.”

This gas station also said they saved you two cents per gallon — savings, free girlie matchbooks, and free pinup drinking glasses?! Today, do we get any of that? No. …With today’s gas prices, we ought to get a free date with a pin up model! lol

I’m selling it on eBay; my other auctions are here.

Sweet Vintage Glass Storage Jars For The Nursery

I spotted this charming set of glass storage jars with lids at a Minnesota antique mall. Obviously for the nursery, the frosted glass jars have white bunny rabbits. The jars are labeled with common-for-the-day items for baby: “Boric Acid,” “Baby Oil,” “Nipples,” and “Cotton.”

Vintage Glass Chef S&Ps

There are a lot of vintage shaker sets with chef designs, but I’ve never seen these clear glass ones with the chef’s face printed on them in black.

Cute little salt and peppers — I wonder if they might even have been from a restaurant?

As they were for sale in an antique shop (and I wasn’t going to buy them), I didn’t handle them; but I’m pretty sure the tops were plastic.

If you know anything about these charmers, please let us know by leaving a comment.

The Stuff Collectors Nightmares Are Made Of

Picture it… A vending machine filled with glassware, china, and porcelain figurines… You insert a coin, a piece of fragile china slowly moves forward — only to fall into the bottom of the machine, breaking.

Calm down — it’s only art!

A set of three interactive sculptural pieces by Yarisal and Kublitz. Called Passive/Aggressive Anger Release Machine, the artists claim that once you deposit the coin and shatter the breakable the experience leaves you “happy and relieved of anger.”

I doubt that it works for collectors of glassware, ceramics, pottery, etc.

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Mortuary Blood Jars and Other Collectibles To Die For.

Pick & Grin from Antiquips brings you bizarre finds.

Part of the joy in collecting or selling antiques and collectibles is the people you meet. Sharing the stories of the hunt, the success in finding a super item at a great price or selling one for a king’s ransom. Mistakes are forgotten, and the next great find is only a matter of time.

“What do you collect?”, can start an hour of conversation.  So it is when we stop at a consignment shop called DJ’s Antique’s in Greenfield, Wisconsin and engage in a bit of chit-chat with Don the owner and Trisha, whose claim to fame is properly displaying the latest “must haves”. Her own passion in collecting is rather unusual, funeral or death related items. Now any old collector/seller has something in that category or at least Pick had some large ornate casket handles, a casket plate and some cabinet photos of funerals.

Pick: I purchased the handles in the last century to be used as a towel bar, but!!!

Grin: I know that “but”, I just never got around to getting them up.

Pick: That better be the only thing you don’t get up.

Grin: I know!!

Pick: I decided to offer that stuff to Trisha for her collection. That’s why your recent purchase of blood jars came as a surprise. I couldn’t tell if you were a serious bidder when the pair of red amber mortuary bleeding jars came up for auction at our last visit to Bailey’s Honor Auctions held in Wisconsin.

Grin: I had looked at them during preview when auctioneer Carol Miller was explaining that they came from an estate and were called “mortuary bleeding jars.” Their cone shape, and old rusty wire hangers drew my attention. I spotted the pair and considered the shape to be unusual even without the provenance. The color was also unique. They first appeared amber, but holding them up, the color looked redder. The only markings are on the rim and it reads “Klip Kup, Patn. Applied For.”  And on the flattened bottom end, it has the initials MP.

Pick: I can’t find one single item or any reference to these two glass containers on line or in books.

Grin: Nor can I. But when the bidding was still within reason and the other bidder dropped out I was the owner of two used blood bowls.

We had discussed our strategy before the auction trying to curb our enthusiasm for only the most unusual items to fill our antique mall case and on-line stores. Now what could be more interesting than mortuary jars?

Pick: The Jaguar Hearse used in the movie Harold & Maude.

Grin: You’ve got me there.

Vintage Gay Fad Florals

A pretty pair of vintage glassware spotted at the thrift store. I believe the sweet pink flowers with unusual black leaves and stems was hand-painted onto clear glass creamer and handled sugar bowl at Fran Taylor’s Gay Fad Studios (located first in Detroit, Michigan, later in Lancaster, Ohio). Neither glass piece was marked, so I don’t know where the glass ‘blanks’ were from.

Had I deeper pockets, I would have bought them and really started a Gay Fad collection. (I have three pieces now; I do love the floral pieces and fruit designs — but there’s a lot to choose from!) Or maybe a pink and black glassware collection. (I have a few random single glasses with pink and black designs.) But you need to be more in the black to really start new collections, even at thrift store prices. *sigh*

Appreciating Vintage Glass Punch Bowl Sets

I know some collectors will find this inherently evil, but I like to use my collectibles. In fact, one of my favorite things about the holidays is using my vintage glassware.

One of our family traditions is to stay home with the kids on New Year’s Eve and have a party. A geeky party, filled with nerdy retro boardgames, vintage vinyl playing on the record player, and party food, of course. Most commonly our party snacks consist of cheese, sausage, crackers and whatever holiday cookies we have left over. And then there’s my punch — simple mix of orange juice and white soda — served in my vintage Anchor Hocking punch bowl set.

vintage-holiday-punch-setThis vintage milk glass set, a punch bowl with its misleading red and green proclamation of egg nog and cups falsely declaring individual spiked Tom & Jerry servings, is something special that marks the occasion — and hopefully adds to the memories.

I know that using such glassware has it’s risks. Every glassware does, and vintage pieces would be even more difficult to replace. But I treat the vintage glass set well.

I carefully wash and dry each piece by hand — caressing it clean, anticipating the fun of using it. I carefully fill the punch bowl and serve the punch into each vintage milk glass cup, and as I place them into hands that eagerly await them I, like all mothers, remind even those with large strong man-hands to be careful with our special old friends. When all is done, I caress clean each piece in the vintage holiday punch bowl set again, slowly saying thank you and goodbye… Then I place the set carefully up above the kitchen cabinets, where it awaits next year’s use.

The set is visible above the cabinets — should someone want to crane their necks to look — but I find that’s not enough adoration and attention for such cool vintage pieces.

Plus, my vintage punch bowl set is much more likely to find a home after my passing if each of the kids have memories of its use. In that way, using vintage glassware actually increases the odds of its survival. *wink*