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Antiques Considered - July 29, 2009

altThis antique icebox comes from an estate in the Lower Northern Neck. The wood appears to be chestnut, and the original hardware has been painted shiny black. The interior is in good condition with the original enamel paint and no signs of rust. The wood has been refinished and the label is missing.
The copper drain is intact, but there is no drip pan.
This icebox dates from the early 20th century. From the photographs, it looks to be by Arctic, one of the preeminent manufacturers of iceboxes.

The present finish might have been necessary because of mold or mildew damage, and is of less concern than the painting of the hardware.
I suggest removing all of the hardware and having each piece stripped down to its original finish.
 A replacement drip pan might be available on the Internet, as might a label if there is an impression of the size and shape of the missing one at the base in the front. I suggest checking for “Arctic” to see.
Iceboxes were great inventions in their day, and every community had an icehouse for the sale of block ice, which patrons bought each morning to take home to put in the iceboxes to keep food cold through the day. Colonial Beach had a large icehouse on Monroe Bay.
In the 1940s, Mr. Osterman, an employee of the icehouse, dredged up an unexploded artillery shell from the Potomac River. Obviously, it had been fired from the Naval Proving Ground at Dahlgren. He attempted to dismantle it in order to make a lamp for his wife, but it exploded in the process, killing him and blowing up the icehouse.
His widow continued to live at the Beach, until moving to Fredericksburg where she spent her last years.
This icebox is a good example, which can be made better. At present it is worth $200. Properly restored, the figure would double.
Happy antiquing …
• Lisa  and Henry Lane Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont  Hwy. (P.O.Box 35) Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579, a firm which he founded in 1973.  The appraisal service began in 1976.  Write to him there, or by e-mail at comantqu@ crosslink.net, with pictures and descriptions of items you wish to have him treat in “Antiques Considered.” Please include a stamped, addressed envelope if you wish a personal acknowledgement.

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