Plants were as popular in the Victorian home as they are in homes today. A large Victorian home usually had a conservatory or sun parlor where potted plants were grown.
Jardinieres and wooden or marble stands were made to hold large potted plants, particularly ferns. Wire and iron racks that resembled trees or shelves were made to hold groups of small pots. A small plant on a tall stand looked impressive.
In the 1880s, when Eastlake Victorian designs were in fashion, tall, ebonized wooden stands were popular. The painted stands usually had a tripod base--less likely to tip than stands with four legs--a center pedestal and some added supports. Bronze or gilded bronze animals, birds and chains were added as decoration. A flat round tray at the top of the stand held either a plant in a ceramic bowl or a small statue.
Pedestals were used to fill the corners of rooms, to add to the desirable clutter of Victorian decor.
Question: I found some tiles decorated with flowers and leaves. The back is marked "Kinneloa Kiln." Where were they made?
Answer: Ernest Batchelder worked at several firms in the East before he moved to California in 1904. He started a decorative tile business in Pasadena in 1916. His tiles were made with figures, borders and other typical California designs. The company was sold to Bauer Pottery in 1932.
Batchelder started another California tile works in 1938, the Kinneloa Kiln, which used native California clay.
Q My six brightly colored calendars advertise Pompeian beauty products. The calendars are 7 1/2 inches wide and 28 inches long. Each has a woman on one side and a full calendar on the back. I have the years 1916 ("Absence Cannot Hearts Divide"), 1917 (Mary Pickford), 1919 ("Liberty Girl"), 1923 (Mary Pickford), 1924 ("Honeymoon in the Alps") and 1925 ("Beauty Gained Is Love Retained"). Value?
A Your prints are called "yard-longs" even though they are 28 inches long. They were issued annually by the Pompeian Co. of Cleveland from about 1911 to 1930 as part of the cosmetics company's advertising campaign.
Pompeian advertisements ran in women's magazines and offered free product samples and a "suitable for framing" beauty panel or art panel in exchange for a dime.
Each of your prints would sell for $200 to $300.
Q My family's heirloom coverlet measures 38 by 84 inches. It is bright red, blue, gold and white and has fringe on three sides. In one corner the threads are woven to form words including "Mt Vernon. Knox County. Ohio. By Jacob and Michael Ardner. 1854." Any information?
A Jacob Ardner and his sons, Jacob and Michael, were born in Germany and settled in Mount Vernon, Ohio, by 1850. The sons became itinerant weavers who made coverlets from sheep raised on their customers' farms.
Your coverlet was woven on a Jacquard loom, a complicated device. It could create three-color floral and animal designs rather than the geometric patterns made on simpler looms. The Ardner brothers worked from about 1851 to 1859.
Q I used to play with my old tin boat in the bathtub. It's 16 inches long, 4 1/2 inches wide and 11 inches tall at the masts. The ship is called the Tacoma. It has four rotating guns, four removable lifeboats, a movable rudder and a windup propeller that still works. It was made in Germany. There is an M-over-C mark inside a shield on the boat's rudder.
A Your boat was made in about 1903. It was one of many tin lithographed boats and other windup toys made by the Marklin Co. toy factory, founded in Goppingen, Germany, in 1859.
Marklin toys--especially large windup boats and cars--are popular collectibles. The famous paddle steamer Chicago, 31 inches long, recently sold for $108,000. The battleship New York, 30 inches long, sold for $36,000.
Your smaller boat is worth about $20,000.
Q Why did the English make claret jugs? Others seem to be satisfied with decanters for red wine. My jug is made of cut glass and has a silver spout, lid and handle.
A A decanter is a decorative bottle with a stopper that is used for serving wine or other alcoholic drinks. Decanters have been made in many shapes. By gently pouring wine from its bottle into the decanter, you could keep most of the sediment in the bottle.
A claret jug has an opening in the neck plus a lid, handle and a pouring spout. Many were made in England in the late 19th century.
Wine experts suggest that claret jugs were used for cheaper, mass-produced wine--so-called jug wine--while decanters were used for better bottled wine.
For a copy of the Kovels' 1998 leaflet listing 153 books and pamphlets that are price guides for all kinds of collectibles and antiques, send $2 and a self-addressed, stamped (55 cents) No. 10 envelope to Price Guides for Antiques and Collectibles, Kovels, P.O. Box 22900, Beachwood, Ohio 44122.
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Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary because of local economic conditions.
* RCA Victor radio, Levermatic, clock, beige, 1950s: $60.
* American pillow-back child's chair, tiger and curly maple, rush seat, circa 1825, 15 inches: $325.
* Little Orphan Annie dime register bank, lithographed tin, shows Annie sitting on stool and Sandy, 1936, 3 inches: $440.
* Etagere, painted black, carved lion's head medallion on top rail, beveled mirror, canopy top, circa 1870: $1,450.
* Simon & Halbig doll, No. 1279, boy toddler, composition, jointed, blond mohair wig, 10 inches: $2,010.