American pottery art provides information on origin, age, value


American art pottery artists often painted pictures on their vases, pitchers and other pieces. They painted bats, frogs, rabbits, birds and other animals in their natural form, as well as fantasy animals represented as well-dressed humanlike figures.

The marks on these ceramics often indicate the age, company and artist, as well as some other factory information about type of clay or glazes. What better way to suggest the origin, age and value of a piece today.

Robert Bruce Horsfall (1869-1948) was an artist at Cincinnati’s Rookwood factory in 1893 when he decorated a Standard Glaze pitcher with pictures of the Toad of Toad Hall from “The Wind in the Willows,” the 1908 children’s classic by Kenneth Grahame. The finished pitcher was then sent to Gorham Manufacturing Co., where it was given a silver overlay. The well-designed piece, with a complete history, sold for $4,375 at a March Rago Arts auction in Lambertville, N.J., even though it had some minor imperfections.

Q: I have a Lloyd Loom baby carriage that was bought for my dad when he was born in 1924. The inside has been re-covered, but everything else is original and is still in very good condition.

It has glass porthole-type windows in the side of the hood, a wooden handle, rubber tires on the wheels and a brake. A metal tag on it reads, “Lloyd Loom Products” and “Method Patented Oct. 16, 1917.”

Can you tell me approximately when it was built and the current value? It’s priceless to me because it was my dad’s.

A: Marshall B. Lloyd (1858-1927) was an inventor and manufacturer. He opened Lloyd Manufacturing Co. in Menominee, Mich., in 1907 and began making children’s wagons. In 1914 the company began making hand-woven wicker baby carriages. Then in 1917 Lloyd was granted a patent for a method of making a wicker-like material by weaving twisted brown wrapping paper around metal wires.

He also invented a loom that wove the material, making the process much faster than weaving by hand. Lloyd Loom fabric is the name of the woven material. In 1919, Lloyd sold the patent for the process to a British furniture manufacturer.

Your baby carriage was made between 1917, when the patent was issued, and 1924, the year your father was born. Today these carriages are not considered safe to use with a real baby, so they usually sell to doll collectors or decorators. It’s worth about $300.

Q: I have a Coca-Cola serving tray that matches those I have seen online. It’s from 1923 and pictures the “Flapper Girl.” How can I tell if it’s a reproduction or an original?

A: Coca-Cola’s early lithographed tin serving trays probably are the most desirable of Coke collectibles. An original 1923 Coca-Cola serving tray is rectangular and measures 13¼ inches high by 10½ inches wide. It’s worth close to $400 if it’s in near-mint condition or better.

Of course, most old trays aren’t near-mint, so even if yours is old, it probably won’t sell for that much. Reproductions of this tray have been made since the 1970s, some even by the Coca-Cola Co. Some reproductions are round or oval, some may be marked with phrases like “Reg. U.S. Patent Office,” and some may show a slightly altered image.

Q: I own a pair of barber scissors my father used to cut my hair when I was a boy back in the 1930s. Stamped on them is, “Vogel Bros., Chicago, Ill., E-Z Edge.” How old are they and what are they worth?

A: The Vogel family, founders of Vogel Bros., say that the company has been making cutlery for 300 years. Within the past couple of years, Vogel’s assets were sold, but family members are involved in the two companies that took over Vogel’s assets: Anvil Corp. and Wolfe Industries. Your scissors probably date from the 1920s or ’30s. E-Z Edge scissors sell online for $20 to $30.

Q: I have a wooden cigarette machine that once dispensed old packs of cigarettes, like Lucky Strike, for 15 cents. It doubles as a magazine rack. I know it was made sometime between 1929 and 1933. The label on it reads, “Howard Home Humidor, this humidor and its contents are the property of C.B. Howard Co., Inc.,” and includes an address in New York. What is its value?

A: Your coin-operated combination cigarette dispenser and magazine rack probably was used in hotel lobbies or other places where a smoker might sit down to read a magazine and have a cigarette. Although it’s called a “Home Humidor,” it’s unlikely someone would have a coin-operated cigarette dispenser in their home.

C.B. Howard Co. made at least one other similar dispenser, a combination cigarette machine and end table. These date from about 1931. One sold a year ago for $300.

Tip: Be careful when cleaning bronze figurines, lamp bases, bowls, etc. Never use steel wool, stiff brushes or chemicals.

Terry Kovel’s column is syndicated by King Features. Write to: Kovels, (Las Vegas Review-Journal), King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

 

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