‘Go-Withs’ Enhance Kitchenalia Collections
Sad Iron: Enterprise Girl's Toy Iron #105, circa 1870s; value $75
Stove Lid Lifter: "Barstow Ranges," late 1800s; value $35
Stove Trivet: "Slow Cooking Cover," 7" diameter, late 1800s; value $45
Washboard: 18" tall Washboard with Victorian swimsuit advertising; value $65
Washing Machine Wringer: "Horseshoe Brand" wringer from 1910; value $125
What’s a “Go With?” It’s any complementary piece that adds interest to a collection. One category that comes to mind is kitchenalia, pieces of which can provide the perfect accent to many collections.
If future resale value is important to you, then select items that are identifiable. A collectible that can be traced as to manufacturer is generally more valuable, and dated items are always in higher demand. Period advertising on any item also validates its age and makes it more collectible. Keep in mind that items in better to fine condition will be the most likely to appreciate in value. And don’t forget to follow the collector’s credo: Always Buy the Best You Can Afford!
You should be able to find an old sad iron or stove lid lifter for as little as $15 to $25, with prices for those and other items escalating according to age, condition and scarcity. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Let’s start with Sad Irons. What does the word “sad” mean? Heavy! These irons were made of cast metal and increased in size according to the particular job they had to perform. Some tailor’s irons weighed more than 20 pounds! Some irons are quite valuable and end up in private collections; others that were used for the purpose intended, and show wear, are still wonderful for decorating. You can leave a sad iron “as is” or refinish it to match your decor. Larger, heavier irons make great bookends or doorstops. (In fact, that’s the term that iron collectors use for an iron that has been well used: a doorstop!) If you’re interested in learning more about antique and vintage irons and their values, I’d suggest the Dave Irons series of iron collecting books: Irons By Irons, More Irons By Irons, and Even More Irons By Irons (yes, Dave’s real last name is Irons!).
Early wood-burning stoves had round plates which, when lifted off, revealed the inner workings of the oven. Since these stoves were made of cast iron and became very hot, a special utensil
called a Stove Lid Lifter was needed to move the plates. Most lifters were made of steel or cast iron. Some were nickel- or chrome-plated, a coating that was both decorative and prevented rust. Many featured a company name, since stove companies often gave them away as advertising promotions. Others incorporated a decorative image on the handle.
Trivets are fascinating collectibles that come in all shapes and sizes. One interesting type of trivet was the Stove Trivet. It was built into the upper deck of an antique stove, hinged so it could swing down parallel to the stovetop. A Cereal Trivet, sometimes called a Simmer Cover, sat directly on the hot antique cast iron stovetop allowing the contents of a pot to simmer without being exposed to the direct heat of the burner. This prevented scorching and burning (a motto which was repeated on many trivets). One or more openings along these trivets allowed them to be moved using a stove lid lifter.
Washboards were constructed of either wood or metal, with the rubbing surface made of aluminum coated steel, brass, zinc, tin, graniteware, or glass. Collectible vintage and antique washboards date from the mid-1800s to the 1940s. As you search, be aware that modern versions are still being manufactured and sold today.
Back in the day when clothes were hand washed in a tub, as the final step each piece was fed individually through a Washing Machine Wringer to remove excess moisture. Some wringers were beautifully made of hardwood, designed to mount onto the washtub rim, and when in nice condition display beautifully.
I hope this has piqued your interest! Now … get out there and find yourself a “Go-With!”
Lynn Rosack is a Worthologist, who specializes in trivets and ironing stands
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