- Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 June 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 02 June 2010 05:00
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An old Northern Neck family has owned this armoire for several generations. It was from their family home, and had been stored in an area without climate control. The result was a heavily aligatored finish that the owners did not want in their immaculate home. Before the restoration they could not be certain as to what wood it was, the finish had deteriorated so badly. It turned out to be a naturally dark oak. They had a refinisher do the piece over, and today it is the closet in their guest room.
This armoire dates from the 1880s, and is an excellent example of its genre. Happily this one has not been converted into an entertainment center, a process that often can reduce the value. The veneering on the door panels is quite good, and the cornice has fine architectural features. The sides are paneled, not solid, and the hardware may not be original. I cannot tell from the photograph.
The likelihood that the piece is from a Baltimore furniture factory is high. It dates from the heyday of the steamboat era, and well could have come to the Northern Neck disassembled by boat on order from one of the ancestors. Almost all Victorian armoires of this type can be disassembled and packed in a crate.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 May 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 26 May 2010 05:00
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A young couple in Lancaster County inherited this late Empire sofa from his family. It was in poor condition, and they undertook its restoration and re-upholstery. Tradition holds that it was saved from the family’s Ante Bellum home when a Union Army gunboat went up Dymer Creek firing on the houses. Today the sofa is in excellent condition, the wood being mahogany and mahogany veneer over pine.
The appearance of the sofa and the family tradition are completely in sync. This sofa dates from 1840, the end of the Empire Period and the beginning of the Victorian. By the 1860s the sofa would have been a prized piece of furniture in the family seat, well worthy of saving while the home was under fire.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 05:00
- Hits: 663
A gentleman in Lancaster recently purchased this antique telephone at an estate sale for $175. It is an oak box, and the metal work is in excellent condition, showing no signs of rust or deterioration. The piece came to the Northern Neck many years ago from a home in New Jersey. The label reads “Western Electric”, and the finish, although somewhat alligatored, is original. The bells are operable manually, and have good tone to them.
Antique telephones have retained their popularity through the years, and this one is especially fine. In this case I recommend against refinishing the oak, which is the most common wood used in such telephones. If the alligatored finish is bothersome, applying Kotton Klenser should smooth it without removing the original varnish. If not available locally, it is on the Internet, and the company has a web site. A quart costs less than $10. In the past The Burgess House at Burgess regularly stocked Kotton Klenser.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 May 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 12 May 2010 05:00
- Hits: 737
A couple in Lancaster County acquired this Sheraton washstand at an estate sale about six years ago. The marble is in excellent condition, and the wood of the base is mahogany, the legs being veneered. They question whether the top and bottom are married.
This piece combines two distinct periods of American furniture making. The base is pure Sheraton, dating from the period 1820 –1840. The top is equally pure, but Victorian, not Sheraton, and dates from the period 1840 – 1860. The two have been united in furniture matrimony, probably as the result of the original top of the base having been lost or destroyed. Most likely, that top was mahogany, and not marble, unless it had been a pier table. I suggest looking at the back to see if evidence of a mirrored back exists. If it does, restoration to that form, although costly, could be justifiable.
- Last Updated on Saturday, 05 January 2013 19:45
- Published on Wednesday, 05 May 2010 05:00
- Hits: 662
A writer from Northumberland County asks about her Fenton carnival glass hexagonal dish, which she acquired at an estate sale. It is deep purplish blue with a flower motif in the center and surrounding the edge, and is in perfect condition. It bears the raised mark, “Fenton” on the bottom.
Fenton is the oldest continuously manufactured glass in America. The company began in Ohio in 1905, and produced its first pieces in 1907. Its longevity and success have resulted from its ability to produce a very wide range of products, in short, something for everyone. That tradition continues today, and all major antiques and collectibles price guides cover Fenton in detail.
Carnival glass became popular in the early twentieth century, when pieces often were prizes at carnivals, thus the colloquial name. Because of the company’s long tenure during which it manufactured the ever-popular pieces, dating individual items is difficult without seeing them in person. By examining the amount of wear on the bottom one can get a better picture than merely by seeing a photograph.
That much said, this piece appears to date since 1970, the year the company began using a trademark in the form of an embossed oval with “Fenton” inscripted in the center. The hexagonal shape is particularly popular, as is the purplish blue coloring.