Monday, August 27, 2012

Vintage Jewelry

 Jewelry and Fashion

 Ever notice the jewelry and fashion going back 20 or more years to another era? 


The jewelry fad is now bold bib necklaces just as it was in the 1940-50’s and again in the 1960s-70’s. This aluminum fringe necklace from the 1940-50’s is just as fashion forward today as it was when it was made.


In the 1960’s bib necklaces were back in style and this fabulous vintage blue glass and rhinestones bib fringed necklace and matching earrings set, possibly an untagged Swarovski set, is a wonderful example from that period.


Another fashion statement from the 1940’s and 1950’s making a comeback are shoe clips to dress up those black heels!  The clips shown here are from the 1980’s.

Clothing is also going back to another era when bell bottom pants were in style, plus the more feminine look in ruffled blouses. 

Whatever your style you can make a unique fashion statement with vintage jewelry and fashions!

About the Author  

Lin is an active member of Got Vintage Shops. Please visit her shop 
Rhinestones Past where you will find "Vintage Jewelry for Every Age"

Monday, August 20, 2012

Vintage Photography

 Who was Wallace Nutting?

Attend just about any antique and collectible show, wander a brick and mortar shop, or peruse the offerings online and you’ll probably find hand tinted pictures by Wallace Nutting, David Davidson, Charles Sawyer, and others.

Wallace Nutting was born in 1861.  As a child and young man, he exhibited a strong affinity for preaching and became a Congregationalist Minister, which he enjoyed immensely.  At age 43, his health forced retirement, and he transformed his photography hobby into a successful business. 
The concept was ingeniously simple.  He would choose a photo that he had taken and create a master copy with hand painted colors referenced by his field notes.  A Head Colorist supervised a staff of colorists as they reproduced multiple copies of the photo.  At its peak, the studio employed 200 colorists and, by Wallace Nutting’s own account, they produced about ten million hand colored photographs over the years.  Although a high percentage of his photos are hand signed, it was most often an authorized signature by a Head Colorist, not Nutting’s.

The distinct style of his work and the reasonable price resulted in a huge demand for his pictures.  It has been said that Nutting photographs were a popular wedding gift in the 1920’s.  This popularity prompted other early 20th century photographers to produce similar offerings.  The most well known are David Davidson, Fred Thompson, Charles Sawyer and Charles Higgins, and each produced work that was uniquely their own.

Nutting created a revolutionary method to bring ‘art’ into modest homes and his photographs from world travels created a pictorial history of his time. 

Although most people think of Wallace Nutting as a photographer, his passions extended far beyond the popular hand-colored pictures for which he became famous.  Wallace Nutting had a deep respect for history and it led him to buy historic homes and restore them to period.  He furnished them with period furniture and eventually owned 5 antique houses.  He used these houses as backdrops and settings for many of his photos.  His quest to provide accurate surroundings and furnishings in these homes fueled an interest in manufacturing furniture.  He took a purist’s approach, crafting his furniture with the same tools and materials, and in the manner of the antiques they copied.  This attention to detail made his furniture just as collectible as the antiques they copied.

He also became a noted author.  His first book, “Old New England Pictures”, is quite rare and was published in 1913.  In 1917, he published “Windsor Chairs”.  Additionally, he authored a series of 10 States Beautiful books.  These books discuss his travels in eight U.S. states and two foreign countries.  Each book featured a large number of pictures from the corresponding location and they proved to be very popular.  He also wrote “The Clock Book” as well as a number of books about furniture and his autobiography in 1936.

Wallace Nutting died in 1941 at the age of 79.  He was a clergyman, a traveler, a craftsman, an author and artist.  But maybe most of all, Wallace Nutting loved history and historic dwellings.  He used that passion to record and share America’s history through his various pursuits, sharing his thoughts and the beauty that surrounded him, with all of us.

About the Author

Anita is an active member of Got Vintage Shops. Please visit her store Cousins Antiques on Ruby Lane where she "is pleased to help you find the treasure that speaks to you!"

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fused Art Glass

 Fused Art Glass by Sydenstricker

In the mid-1960s, Bill Sydenstricker developed and perfected the art of creating fused glass objects at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He combined his knowledge of Egyptian Art with an understated artistic sense and his training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).   Today, the company that he founded continues in operation, despite his passing in 1994.

This style of glass has been copied, but Sydenstricker was the first to perfect and produce it.  Items are produced in a mold and a stenciled design of fine glass particles is positioned between 2 layers of glass.  As one can imagine, it requires a great deal of skill to stencil multiple colors on a piece!  During kiln firing, the 2 layers of glass and the design all fuse together, sealing the design between the layers.

The resulting glassware has a unique handcrafted look and feel with a distinct texture, sometimes exhibiting air bubbles between the layers.  Although a stencil is used to create multiple pieces of the same pattern, each piece will have slight variations that result from being handmade.

Sydenstricker has made several patterns that have remained popular for many years.  Many patterns are based on flowers and plants, although their lacy Embassy pattern is a notable exception.  

Sydenstricker Glass is marked with an etched, cursive signature that can sometimes be hard to find.  It shows up as a white ‘scribble’ on the underside of the item.

Although they are designed to be used, these unique pieces of art should not be used in a microwave or washed in a dishwasher.

Sydenstricker Glass, sometimes referred to as “Cape Cod Glass” continues to gain popularity among aficionados of art glass as well as collectibles.  Please visit our shop to see a nice assortment of Sydenstricker Glass, and Happy Collecting!
About the Author
Anita is an active member of Got Vintage Shops. Please visit her store Cousins Antiques on Ruby Lane where she "is pleased to help you find the treasure that speaks to you!"

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Elegant Era Glassware

A Glass Riddle

Newport Creamer

When is glass made during the Great Depression not Depression Glass?

When it's happy? 


No, when it's Elegant Glass.
In other words all Depression Glass was made during the Great Depression but not all glass made during the Great Depression is Depression glass.
An example of  seams & bubbles in Depression Glass



There were two main types of glass made in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century.  Depression Glass was totally machine made and therefore much cheaper to produce. This glass was made in a variety of colors and patterns and was often sold in Dime Stores or even given away as promotional items. Due to the way it was manufactured Depression Glass (DG) almost always has visible seams, straw marks and bubbles in the glass.  These are not flaws but a typical characteristic of DG and considered by many collectors as adding to the charm of the glass.
Duncan Miller Teardrop Console Bowl






  But what if I don’t find flaws charming?  


Well, if you want perfect don’t buy Depression Glass
           – buy Elegant Glass!
Elegant glass always was at least partially hand made by skilled craftsmen resulting in a much higher quality glass which although not "perfect" had far fewer flaws. 

Fostoria Console Set

Companies such as Heisey, Fostoria, Duncan Miller, Cambrige and other early glass makers employed skilled workers to hand craft their glassware.
Elegant glassware was frequently sold in jewelry stores and was used by the upper middle class for dinner parties and other special occasions. 
It would have been what was called “the good glassware”. 
Vaseline Glass Plates with ground and polished bottoms

 Although molds were used by elegant glassware companies they were hand pressed meaning that a glass maker would gather the molten glass, place it in the mold, swish it around and then bring down the plunger to compress the glass into the shape of the mold. 
Due to the skill of the glass maker this method resulted in fewer bubbles and a finer product than machine made glass.
Fry Glass Diamond Optic

Another method used by elegant glass companies was mold blown glass where the glass was mouth blow into a mold, requiring a high level of skill.  This produced a thinner glass and was often used for stemware.  
Elegant glass is also fire polished which means that the glass is finished by direct application of flames which eliminates straw marks and obvious mold marks to produce a smooth and brilliant surface.
In addition, the bases of plates, cups and the like are always ground and polished.
Fostoria Baroque w Shirley Etch









Wow that’s a lot of work! 

                  ...but what about the patterns?

I was just getting to that!
At this point in the manufacturing process some pieces are complete but others have another step. Many patterns have etched designs where the piece of glassware, called a blank at this point, is passed along to the decorating department. 

An example of Needle Etching

The most common decorating method on Elegant Glass is needle etching. This method involves coating the glass with a film or wax then using a machine that activates needles which remove the protective layer from the portion of the glass where the design is desired. Next the glass is placed in contact with acid, which eats into the unprotected surface of the glass. The wax or film is then removed leaving a precise pattern.

Cambridge Carmen Dinner Plate


Is there still Elegant Glass being made today?


Sadly the majority of the well known Elegant Glass companies closed their doors in the 1950’s due to high production costs and the onslaught of cheap imported glassware.

Fortunately much of this beautiful glass remains and is highly sought after by collectors either to add to or start their own sets of this truly elegant glass.

About the Author

 Karen Mantone-Pillar is one of the founders and admin of Got Vintage Shops. She currently owns and operates two online shops; Charmings Collectibles on Etsy, and a stand alone web store

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Vintage Stainless Steel Flatware

Stainless Steel Flatware...

The Workhorse of the Kitchen Table

Mid Century Modern Stainless Steel Steak Knife and Carving Set 

Nasco Astro

Tom and I shop many estate sales....I had never looked at the kitchen silverware drawers.  I was more interested in those lovely sets of sterling and silverplated flatware.  I love them and I love finding matches for my customers and I have received countless notes and letters telling me how thrilled a family was to be able to once again use mom's or grandma's silverware at the holiday dinner. 

Then, a sharp liquidator pointed me into the kitchen.  She said "you know, this stainless is quite valuable".  She showed me a set of Dansk Fjord.  It was service for 8 with serving pieces.  I immediately said no, I couldn't sell that!  She talked me into it.   At the time I was selling on that on line auction site.  My set of stainless flatware got over 20 bids and I made a nice profit  from the purchase.  Well, let me tell you, I was hooked.

Vintage Oneida Stainless Steel Flatware Melissa Pattern

Many young people today don't want the chore of caring and maintaining a set of sterling or silverplate.  They love the easy care and casual feel of stainless steel.  Many have rescued or in inherited mom's or grandmothers set.  Of course, since it was the every day set, it was not treated so kindly.  Pieces were lost, went missing at the potluck, got scraped into the garbage or ended up in the backyard sandbox.  Now the hunt is on for those missing pieces.  I'm always on the lookout for quality sets.  Oneida was one of the biggest manufacturers of quality American made stainless steel for the latter part of the 20th century. 

Reference material is limited on stainless steel and I've learned by trial and error.  In 1998 Replacements published a comprehensive pattern guide to stainless steel flatware.  To the best of my knowledge it is no longer being published.  I'm guessing Replacements would have some copies to sell.  It has been an invaluable source for me as I've matched 100's of patterns and sold 1,000's of pieces. 

Oneida Betty Crocker Patrick Henry 11 Seafood Cocktail Forks

Now, at the estate sales while I'm looking at the silverplate and sterling, Tom is out in the kitchen digging through the drawers looking for the stainless steel.  Sometimes we're lucky enough to find brand new sets, never used.   Many times, I find a set in the good silverware drawer in the dining room.  Many families had two sets of stainless, one for everyday and one for company.

Stainless steel is sturdy and it can go in the dishwasher.  It polishes nicely using a quality stainless polish.  Most patterns had many serving pieces and lots of extras like ice tea spoons, butter knives and demitasse spoons.

And, if you think about it, stainless steel is what most of us grew up with.  It's what brings back great memories of mealtime and conversations around the kitchen table.

About the Author

Carolyn O'Bayley is one of the founders and an active member of Got Vintage Shops. She and her husband Tom have two wonderful shops:
Cobayley Plaza on Ruby Plaza.