Alice Annglow: The definition of cottage chic.

One of the best things about spending summers at my family’s Janvier Road bungalow was being surrounded by antiques. I’m sure that’s where I found my love for all things old.

The Janvier Road bungalow, circa 1920s

The Janvier Road bungalow, circa 1920s

The bungalow was built around 1910, and I assume relatives and friends gave my grandfather cast-off glass, lamps and furniture to fill the small rooms.
But probably in the 1930s my grandmother must have purchased a set of Edwin Knowles’ “Alice Annglow” dinnerware. I distinctly remember an entire set of plates, cups, saucers and serving pieces on the oak hutch in the country kitchen.

When we closed the bungalow down in 1960, my brother gathered up as much as his van could hold—and several of the Alice Annglow pieces were among his haul.
I also remember seeing Alice Annglow pieces in our local 5 & 10 in the late 1960s, and I suppose I assumed they’d always be around.

But now, this delightful pattern seems to have disappeared, at least online. Perhaps people have held onto their set all these years, and I don’t blame them! Alice Annglow is a perfect pattern for those who love cottage chic.

In 1900 Edwin Knowles started a pottery in Chester, West Virginia, following in the footsteps of his father, who had founded Knowles, Taylor & Knowles—the world’s largest pottery. Edwin was committed to making the finest semi-vitreous tableware. “Crockery and Glass Journal” agreed, stating that the “weight is light, its finish the finest, its shapes graceful, its decorations artistic, and its body and quality most durable.”

It was during the 1930s that “Alice Annglow” was introduced. The Edwin M. Knowles China Co. used the famous ship backstamp, with the year and month of production shown underneath.

Typical 1930s Knowles backstamp. The first number is the year of manufacture; the second number is the month.

Typical 1930s Knowles backstamp. The first number is the year of manufacture; the second number is the month.

The company closed in 1962, and I guess that the pieces I saw in our local 5 &10 were the last of one of the Knowles’ classic patterns.

Alice Annglow is still affordable, and it worth seeking out at thrift shops and flea markets. I hope you like it as much as I do!

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So. Is it Cronin or Cameron?

Anyone who was alive in the 1960s must remember these pottery pieces. They were everywhere! The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P to most of us) gave them away as premiums to encourage customer loyalty. In fact, A&P was the first company to do such a thing!

The distinctive teal blue serving pieces included trays, covered handled soup bowls, tea pots and pitchers, and were produced mainly in the 1950s.

They’re almost always listed as Cronin Pottery “Blue Tulip” pattern, perhaps because the mark on the bottom was similar to a mark used by Ohio’s Cronin Pottery. But researchers now believe the pieces were made by Cameron Clay Products of West Virginia. Little is known about Cameron, but a website is being created to help collectors learn more.

Cameron Pottery tea pot, 1950s.

Cameron Pottery tea pot, 1950s.

Regardless of who made “Blue Tulip,” it’s a wonderfully retro line that has held up remarkably well. While they command higher prices than you’d find at a yard sale, “Blue Tulip” pieces are still quite affordable, making it easy to assemble a collection. And their sleek lines allow them to complement virtually any décor, from cottage chic to minimalist.

An article by Antique Trader says that Cameron Pottery pieces, especially art pottery, should be collected now.

“With most pieces selling for less than $50, and many selling for less than $20, the time is now – before it’s as well-known and sought after as McCoy, Haeger and Red Wing!”

Enjoy the hunt!

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Patrician (aka Spoke): The “everyday” Depression Glass Pattern

As with Federal’s “Petal” bowl, just about everyone owns an item in the Patrician or “Spoke” pattern, or knows someone who does.

Gene Florence says it’s so common, in fact, that people tell him they use their pieces every day. The larger diameter of the dinner plate (101/2”) could be one reason why.

Just four years – and a lot of pieces!

Federal Glass Company produced Patrician for only four years, from 1933-1937. Yet they made so many items that, in Florence’s words, they “saturated the market.” Plates were given away in sacks of flour, but Florence isn’t clear how the other pieces were sold.

Patrician is known for its distinctive central “spoke” surrounded by a lacy pattern and a triple design on the rim. The shape is pentagonal, with five sides that at first glance appear to be six!

Amber is the most common color, followed by green, then pink and crystal. According to Florence, green dinner plates are scarce, and it would be “impossible” to collect an entire set in crystal. Pink, he says, is possible.

If you decide to collect Patrician/Spoke, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The applied-handled pitcher in amber is difficult to find.
  • Check sugar lids for signs of repair – Florence says mint condition sugar lids are very difficult to come by
  • Saucers are harder to find than cups.
  • If you find a cookie jar – even without a lid – consider yourself fortunate!
  • Unlike with many other patterns, cookie jar and butter lids aren’t impossible to find.

Patrician/Spoke is a terrific pattern you can confidently use today (although it definitely does not belong in the dishwasher, and you should be careful of sudden temperature changes, since older glass was probably not tempered.) Replacements are readily available and relatively inexpensive, should one of yours come to misfortune. It’s a quaint style that would go exceptionally well in a shabby chic setting, or even with more formal “Americana” décor.

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Gold Plate. Gold Fill. Gold Wash. Confused?

I’ve always wondered about the differences in these jewelry terms, but not being a “jool,” I didn’t feel qualified to write an article about them.

Then voila! I stumbled upon this terrific article by Daye Salander of Daye Salander Antiques & Collectibles. Read and enjoy — and thanks, Daye, for allowing me to link to your blog!

Gold Plate. Gold Fill. Gold Wash. Confused?

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Help! I’ve fallen for something and I can’t identify it – UPDATED

About a year ago I came upon these pieces in my local thrift store.

A Middle Eastern salad set? I can't seem to find examples of it anywhere.

A Middle Eastern salad set? I can’t seem to find examples of it anywhere.

My first reaction was that they were spooky in a haunted house kinda way.
My second reaction was that I had to have them. I thought the set was pricey at $50, but for some reason I REALLY wanted them.

Well, they were mysterious then, and they’re even more mysterious now. I have no idea what they are, who made them, when they were made, or if they’re junk or priceless antiques.

The only clue is that a faint “Vereco” appears on the bowls. Vereco is the name of a mid-century French glass company whose pieces are collectible. But the only examples online are plain colored glass.

A faint

A faint “Vereco” can be seen at the bottom of this bowl.

Do you think I could find even one cruet like these?

Cruets

I was able to find one or two similar bowls here and there, but nobody seemed to know anything about them. And I found a bottle that was larger, with a different shape but the same filigree. I was, however, impressed with the asking and selling prices!

This bottle, with a similar filigree, came from an estate - but nothing's known about it, either. Photo courtesy of The Little Treasure Shop, Etsy

This bottle, with a similar filigree, came from an estate – but nothing’s known about it, either.
Photo courtesy of The Little Treasure Shop, Etsy

I can’t stand it when I have a mystery on my hands!

I asked an antiques appraiser. He thought the items were made by individual artisans, perhaps in India. The filigree also looks like Russian tea glass holders (Podstakannik). And a photograph on Flickr has tags that say they’re Swedish vintage items.

A perfume bottle? Vinegar, to go with the cruets? Who knows?

A perfume bottle? Vinegar, to go with the cruets? Who knows?

At one point I thought they could have been from a 1970s Pier One Imports line, so I contacted the company.

Nope. Wasn’t theirs.

I even saw a similar bottle in an eBay listing for a $1500 antique voodoo box — yikes!

So they remain a mystery — French glass with a twisted wire overlay that could be Indian, Russian, Swedish, Middle Eastern, Hippie American or Early Voodoo Priestess!

And there they sit, on display in my hutch, giving off their wonderful haunted vibe. After all this work, I’m keeping them!

UPDATE: I found a cruet similar to mine at RetroDecoShop, an Etsy seller from Greece.

Greek-made cruet or pitcher.

Greek-made cruet or pitcher. Photo courtesy of RetroDecoShop

I contacted the seller, who says that these pieces were made in Epirus, Greece in the 1950s. Apparently there has been a 300-year tradition of performing this filigree work. Since 1900 Greek artisans would use bowls, ashtrays and other items from companies around the world and add their own metalwork by hand.
Mystery solved!

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Pressed and Cut Glass Were Never Meant to be Shabby Chic.

The year was 1907.
Oklahoma was about to become a state.
World War I hadn’t even begun.
Women weren’t allowed to vote.
The Titanic was nothing more than a design.
“School Days (When We Were a Couple of Kids)” was the #1 popular music hit.

And this bowl, in the “Homestead” pattern (technically #63), was made by Duncan & Miller.

Pattern #63 aka "Homestead" by Duncan & Miller, circa 1907

Pattern #63 aka “Homestead” by Duncan & Miller, circa 1907

It’s a glorious example of Early American Pattern Glass, which graced the tables of those who wanted the look of American Brilliant Cut Glass without the expense.

It’s a miracle that so many pieces like this have survived butterfingers, wars, earthquakes, fires, and countless household moves. Collectors eagerly seek them out and care for them to ensure that they’ll last another 106 years.

So you can imagine how we feel when we see these lovely antiques are presented as “shabby chic” décor, their stunning beauty covered over by “distressed paint” in trendy cottage colors.
They can be very pretty. But they’re no longer able to sparkle in the light, their bevels, stars, shells and buttons hidden behind garish makeup. There’s no acknowledgement of their noble history. Their pattern names and makers are ignored.

Imagine this 106-year-old Imperial Glass sugar, pattern #212, covered in green "distressed" paint and offered for sale as "shabby chic."

Imagine this 106-year-old Imperial Glass sugar, pattern #212, covered in green “distressed” paint and offered for sale as “shabby chic.”

I’d love to post a photo as an example, but I want to make an appeal, not embarrass any individual. 
Sadly, you can find plenty of examples if you do a search.

There is a lot of modern dreck that could be dressed up in similar fashion, and actually improved in the process.
The dollar store has countless “pressed glass” creamers, sugars, vases, cups and plates that might look nice gussied up in paint and gilt — and you can satisfy your inner crafter for a lot less money, as well!

But there is absolutely no reason to destroy a precious remnant of another, more elegant, time for the sake of a passing fancy. Like purpled glass or “refinished” furniture, far too many EAPG treasures are being treated like yesterday’s trash.

One day, sadly, they will become tomorrow’s trash. Removing the paint may not restore the original sparkle, and serious collectors want originals that are as perfect as possible.

There’s nothing wrong with “distressing” an object to create your own artistic statement. But please do some research before you begin, to make sure that you aren’t permanently destroying the work of another artist — one whose work has already stood the test of time.

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Go vintage for a truly fun, old-fashioned holiday!

It’s getting to be that time of year again.
The endless search for that special gift for that special person. You know, the one who already has everything.

Another sweater? A fondue set? A candle – again?
Can you take another trip to the mall?

Why not go vintage this year instead?
For the right person, an antique or vintage item can prove that it really is the thought that counts.

Add to their collection.
Does a friend already collect Carnival glass or pink Depression glass?
When you add to their collection you tell your friend that you share their enthusiasm.

Encourage a new collection.
Has someone recently moved into their first apartment? Inexpensive vintage glassware (especially the kind that will survive a dishwasher, such as Anchor Hocking’s “Wexford”) looks terrific and could encourage that someone to have fun hunting for additional pieces.

Enhance someone’s pleasures.
Maybe a relative loves exotic teas. Or another adores expensive perfumes. Perhaps a friend displays dried flowers, while another prefers funky tribal décor.

A vintage tea set will make that rooibos taste even better, and a genuine 1930s perfume bottle can be filled with a contemporary favorite scent. Dried flowers just seem to look better in antique vases or baskets – and tribal items are nicer when they’re truly old and one-of-a-kind. Vintage jewelry and even clothing can also add a dash of uniqueness for a friend who loves to look different!

And, of course, there’s vintage holiday decorating and hostess gifts, as well.

There’s something about older ornaments, candle holders and fabrics that brings back warm memories.
Whether you treat yourself to an old-fashioned Christmas or know someone who loves vintage charm, you’ll find a wealth of ideas at your local antique shop or online venue such as Etsy, eBay, or Ruby Lane.

This year, get out of the mall mindset. And enjoy the hunt!

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