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Tooling Along With Toy Tin Lizzies

February 03, 2001|RALPH KOVEL and TERRY KOVEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Toys of any kind are popular collectibles, and among the most popular are automobiles. Toy makers realized that children liked to play with copies of adult items, and toy cars were made almost as soon as full-size cars were.

The iron or lithographed tin toy cars of the very early 1900s sell today for thousands of dollars. Some are exact replicas; some are "fantasy" cars that do not copy real cars.

The most desirable have passengers, usually made of iron. Rubber tires and moving parts, like a steering wheel that turns or a trunk lid or car door that opens, add to the value. Having the original box could double the value.

Collectors do not often find toys made earlier than 50 years ago, but many of those made since 1950 also have value if they are in good condition.

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Question: My son gave me a plain, solid, wooden side chair that he said is an antique. The Pennsylvania dealer who sold it to him said he bought it in Florida. A label on the bottom reads, "No. 332-1, Heywood Brothers & Wakefield Co., Chicago, Ill., USA."

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Answer: Heywood Brothers & Co. merged with the Wakefield Co. in 1897. The merged company's name became Heywood Brothers & Wakefield Co. In 1921, the company's name changed again, to Heywood-Wakefield Co.

Your chair was made between 1897 and about 1921--probably after 1906. Heywood Brothers & Wakefield Co., based in Gardner, Mass., operated a factory in Chicago where rattan furniture was made. The Chicago factory also made baby carriages and wooden chairs after 1906.

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QMy old toaster was used by my parents for as long as I can remember. I am now 73. The toaster is square. On each side of the toaster is a door-shaped holder for a slice of bread. When the bread is toasted on one side, you grasp a handle and rotate all four slices. The toaster still works. A plaque on it reads "Estate Electric Toaster." Who made it and when?

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AYour toaster was introduced in 1922 by the Estate Stove Co. of Hamilton, Ohio. It is said to be the first four-slice electric toaster. It was manufactured for a few years. The Estate brand name dates back to 1842. The name was purchased in 1955 by Whirlpool Corp., which continues to make Estate-brand appliances.

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Q I collect Bakelite bracelets--the simple, bangle kind. Can you tell me what "end-of-day" Bakelite is?

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A The term "end-of-day" is used to describe Bakelite bracelets or other items made using four or more distinct colors. The various colors of plastic were presumably left over near the end of a production day. They were then swirled together and cast into rods, sheets or bracelet tubes to cut down on waste. "End-of-day" is also used to refer to art glass made with leftover batches of colored glass.

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Q My mother bought a 10-inch mauve-and-blue vase at a rummage sale. On the bottom are the words, "Stangl, Terra Rose, Made in Trenton, USA, 3675." Can you tell me its value and age?

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A Fulper Pottery of Trenton, N.J., hired Johann Martin Stangl as a ceramic engineer about 1910. By 1926, Stangl was president of the pottery, and in 1929 he became its owner.

Eventually, the company's name was changed to Stangl Pottery.

Stangl Pottery is best known for its dinnerware and a line of bird figurines. Terra Rose, a Stangl pattern, was introduced in 1941. The number 3675 refers to its shape. Your vase is worth $65.

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Q My hammered-aluminum tray is marked "Arthur Armour." Do you know when it was made?

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A Arthur Armour had his own forge in Grove City, Pa., from 1933 to 1982. He made hammered-aluminum items, some with an anodized-gold finish.

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Q I recently bought a physician's cabinet from a shop in Minnesota. The dark wooden cabinet is 70 inches high and 20 inches wide, with three glass shelves on top and a set of 14 drawers of various sizes on the bottom. The center section includes a built-in metal holder for 25 square bottles.

What can you tell me about the cabinet?

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A Your physician's cabinet might date from the late 1800s. Most cabinets seen today at shows are priced at more than $1,500. Collectors are buying the cabinets to use as pieces of furniture in their homes.

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Q My silver-and-copper coffee set is marked with a deer's head and the words "Buck Silver Co." Can you tell me when and where it was made?

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A Buck Silver Co. worked in Killbuck and Salamanca, N.Y., from about 1900 to 1914. It made plated hollowware like your coffee set. The company's name was changed to Buck Plating Co. in 1914.

By 1922, it was out of business.

For a listing of helpful books and publications, include a self-addressed, stamped (55 cents) envelope to Kovels, Los Angeles Times, King Features Syndicate, 235 E. 45th St., New York, NY 10017.

Current Prices

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

* Jerri Lee Cowboy doll; Gene Autry tag on shirt and pants; plastic head, brown eyes, gold plastic gun, holster, boots, hat; 16 inches, $600.

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