During the 1870s, padded upholstery, springs and elaborate carved frames made from mahogany were the usual components to make fashionable chairs. But a German immigrant craftsman, George Jacob Hunzinger, had a different idea. Instead of springs, Hunzinger used flat, metal, fabric-wrapped wire and often, webbing to replace regular upholstery. His frames often had rod and ball turnings; and the straight lines make it look very current (these were eventually referred to as lollipop chairs).
Many rockers were designed by Hunzinger that had clever mechanical bases and chairs that looked like they were made of bolts and pipes. Some could be folded, while others just looked that way. A Hunzinger adjustable daybed, circa 1876, that featured fabric-wrapped wire webbing, spindles with ball finials and an adjustable back, recently sold for $7,768. Most Hunzinger pieces and designs are stamped with his name and a patent.
And according to a recent British study, attending gallery auctions, craft shows, carpentry and painting classes and lectures-and even garage sales looking for collectibles-has a positive effect on your health and well-being. (Source: “Craftsman had different idea for fashionable chair”-Antiques & Collecting by Terry Kovel-The (Sunday) Vindicator, May 3, 2015)
Vernacular Tobacco Cabinet
This is the name of a mystery furniture piece sold at a November 2014 auction for $780; few collectors know how the cabinet was actually used. At first sight, it looks like there’s two parts, but it was actually made to be one-a fitted cabinet at the bottom behind the tobacco ad depicting Old Judge Cigarettes (showing a convict held in the stocks, circa 1900) and an empty space behind the mirrored door (the mirrored section also seems to be missing a shelf or racks, perhaps pipe ones; the lower part consists of cubby holes, drawers and partitions that may have held loose tobacco, a mixing bowl, humidor, cards and pipe cleaners).
The cabinet itself is just over five feet high. The probable makers may be Goodwin & Co., an American tobacco manufacturer working before the Civil War (Old Judge was one of Goodwin’s brands; the company later merged with others, becoming part of the American Tobacco Company).
A décor tip: Keep heirloom fabrics like quilts and tablecloths away from scented candles, cigarette smoke and cooking smells. They all cause damage (Source: “Cabinet’s use is unclear to many collectors”-Antiques & Collecting by Terry Kovel-The (Sunday) Vindicator, 2015).
Rookwood may be the most popular American art pottery among collectors. It was made in Cincinnati since 1880. Not just vases, but molded bookends, art-deco figurines and commercial wares were also made by the company. And marks were used to tell a collector exactly what a piece was. Until 1886 mark was the year in numerals and the name Rookwood. In 1886 a new name was chosen-a backward capital letter R leaning against a capital letter P. A flame was added to a circle around the top of the mark each year until 1900.
After 1900, a Roman numeral for the last two numbers of the year was put under the mark. Rookwood went out of business in 1967; it was later bought and sold several times. The latest owners, as of 2011, are Martin and Marilyn Wade, Cincinnati real estate developers. And currently, there’s a new mark-the flame, with the year in Roman numerals. There are other letter marks which indicate the color and type of clay, numbers 1 to 7301 to tell the shape and initials that tell the artist’s name. For more info and details on all of these codes, there are several books and websites about Rookwood; a good place to start is www.rookwood.com.
A collector should judge a Rookwood piece by the glaze quality, decorator skill,-decorator fame-condition, size, age and how much you like it. A Rookwood vase recently sold for $5, 290 (although it was chipped and restored, the great artistic quality, the large size-14 inches high-and possibly made by the founder, Maria Longworth Nichols contributed to the bid). Always check out the bottom of a vase to identify it; if this Rookwood vase had been unmarked, it would have sold for much less (Source: “Rookwood pottery perhaps most popular”-Antiques & Collecting by Terry Kovel-The (Sunday) Vindicator, 2014).