• 23
    Mar

Vanity, Thy Name Is . . .

In Colonial America, having a decent place to get dressed was a serious problem. Decent mirrors, or even the decent plate glass for making them, had to be imported from England or the Continent and it was very expensive. In fact, mirrors were so dear that before the 19th century they were never actually attached […]

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  • 26
    Oct

Wood Shrinkage in Antique Furniture is to be Expected

The next time you visit a genuine antique furniture shop, pay particular attention to the concept of wood shrinkage. When a tree is felled it contains at least as much water as it does solids—50 percent or more—and weighs more at that moment than it will ever weigh again. As the tree loses moisture over […]

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  • 29
    Sep

Living with Country Antiques: Fixing a Table with a Sticky Top

I received a letter from a reader, asking about a country farm table with a particular problem: “We found it at an outdoor antiques show last fall. It sat in our garage until this spring, when we finally were able to use our new room. We didn’t cover the table because the garage is clean. […]

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  • 15
    Sep

George Hunzinger’s 19th-Century ‘Patent Furniture’ is Easy to Identify

This rocking chair is an example made by the factory of Hunzinger was born in Germany in 1835 to a family that had been cabinetmakers since the 17th century. He emigrated to New York at the age of 20, already trained as a furniture maker; one of many German cabinetmakers, including the Herter Brothers, who came […]

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  • 8
    Sep

The Thrill of the Hunt: Netting a Rare Butterfly Table

A few years ago, Steve Fletcher—the lead auctioneer of Skinner Auction Gallery in Boston—had just accepted a glass of water and stepped down from the podium to take a break. Karen Keane, the president and CEO of the company, was now behind the auctioneer’s mike. “Good!” I said to myself. Keane, like Fletcher, is a […]

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  • 26
    Aug

Unique Locomotive Iron Draws Unexpectedly Rich Bid at Auction

When WorthPoint member Marilyn Detwiler decided to use WorthPoint’s Ask a Worthologist service to value and then help her sell a locomotive-shaped iron, she hoped it would be a money train. After the auction, Marilyn is extremely happy with the results. The E.B. Cosby Flat Iron, one of only two other similar examples have been […]

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  • 18
    Aug

New Haven Clock Company a Most Prolific Operation

The New Haven Clock Company was one of the most prolific of the early American New England clock companies. Some indication of the range and scope of their production is that auction listings over the years indicate more than 300 different models were produced , including shelf clocks, clocks with china cases, figural clocks and […]

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  • 13
    Aug

20th Century Casters – More Rust than Roll

One of the mysteries of the universe to me is “Why do so many 20th century pieces of furniture have wheels or casters on them?” A clue of sorts can be found in the generic name of many early 20th century items, those that are known as “Colonial Revival.” These pieces are modern replays of […]

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  • 8
    Jul

Antique Furniture Tags: What They Say and What They Should Say

One of my favorite pastimes of course is antiquing; looking at and for antique furniture. One of my second favorites is reading the tags people put on antique furniture in an effort to sell it. These can often be much more enjoyable than the furniture they are attached to. Ideally, there are several important pieces […]

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  • 1
    Jul

Collectors Shine a Light on Early Lanterns Varieties

When we see lanterns used as decorative objects, it’s hard to imagine that they were once among the only sources for lighting. As such, they were made to be hung, carried, placed on a table or applied to a wall. Each was designed for a specific use inside and out. Most also had one panel […]

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