Friday, August 14, 2009

Iron Man

My first piece is on this wonderful cast iron hanger. It is amazingly ornate and I decided to sketch it out when my camera bateries started to die. The intracacies somehow remind me of tatoos. I wonder how a person decides to make that onate mold out of wood or plaster in order to pur that liquid iron into it and have it come out looking like it was produced from cloud or vapour. The shapes are fluid and natural and look more like the grew naturally than being fored to the point of liquidity and then let harden into the mold. I am unsure how to date this item, bit I am curious if these instricate sort of bulbous shapes are part of a "casting culture" the way skulls, dragons and mermaids are present in body art. I am not sure why, but I feel there is a real connection.

F 2.5o

This candle reflecter is a good example of the basic products being produced after the turn of the 19th century in America whan many of the 1st tin smiths began to operate. The large round backing for the candle would have reflected the light into the rest of the room. In fact, a good deal of candle is still melted into the receptacle fashinoned for it. You can tell from its alomost crisp, yet still hammered look that the larger pieces were rolled out and then hammered and snipped into wanted shapes.
The candle holder and various joinings on this item were connected with solder.
Tin is abundant in the collections and in the decoration at The Farmers' Museum. It's ease of manipulation and realtively quick turn around in terms of production time must have made it quite poular to use and produce.
The piece is clearly discolored from use and time. It may be from the 19th century, I would hope so if it is collections, but I have purchased similar items in the last five years that in ten years of use could look like this. There were many other tin items in the collection, cans, canisters and oddly shaped decorative pieces that had turend to rust. I am wondering why they were kept for so long and able to be saved?

Pwter? I hardly know her!

So this is an awesome looking item. It is marked with IPS and a date of 1824. This is one of the older items that I have worked with from the collections. It has a dull silver color but not the tarnished color of silver of mirrors. It feels as if the surface has some texture, and you can clearly see a good deal of scratches in it. It is not too heavy, and the pewter items I have at home tend to be large heavy candlesticks. I wondered if it was tin, but all the older tin items have long sense begun to rust. It looks llie it saw a good deal of use and I wondered if it may have been used in a tavern where it would see the kind of ware it seemed to show.

Tea Caddy N.143.73
This is a pewter pitcher taking a ride on an ornate silver tea cady. The cady isnot marked with any makers mark and is tarnished. There is a grape leaf motif and the bases are a porus wood that must have been used for liquid containers that tended to sweat. The wheels, the axels and all of this item is made of silver that must have been modled in these ornate shapes.
It has a wonderful shape. The mouth is irregular and the spout seems to be in estrange place. It looks almost organic rather than metal, like pottery or ceramic ratherthan metal. I don't know if this was always such a battered mess or just in the early design.
There are a other pewter items I have looked at including this next coffee urn that seems to have an iron base because my NYSHA badge stuck to it but the upper body was pewter or tin. Because it had many of the same qualities of the above item I think it is pewter. It lacked the real black dulling or rusting of tin. It had a big soldered fix it job on the side. You could tell it was a repair because it was on the messy side and the opposite side did not have the same work on the seam.'I wonder if the bottom is iron or steel based in order to conduct more heat, so it can be directly used to cook in?



At first glance seems to be a coffee pot that is a combination between silver with an iron interior.I think it may be silver plate or Britannia ware. The mark on the bottom indicates that it was Roger Smith and Co who specialized in a water pitcher. That would explain the write interior, and actually the rust.
It is dated June 13, 1869 My badge did not stick on the outside but did on the inside and you can clearly see the rust on the inside. there is a white glaze on the interior.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Gazing at Glass

The coolest thing ever. This large globe on a pedestal is a hand blown object that is one complete piece. It is seamless and of such clarity and reflection it really is hard not to lose yourself staring into it. This gazing balls were made mid 19th century by firing them with silver and Mercury. You can see the cork on the bottom that would be used to basically keep the mercury "in."
Some referred to them as "Butler's Balls." They could be used on tables or in rooms so staff could keep an eye on their employers need unobtrusively. I Imagine If this thing broke you would need a hazmat team to clean it up.
These must have fetched a pretty penny. We have those gazing balls they put in gardens today but thankfully we don't fill them with poision.
i do wonder how many rich children broke them just to chase the mercury around the parlor floor? I have destinct memories of doing that with athermometer when I was a little kid.

Less than sparkling
In contrast to my exciting "Butler Ball" I looked at a more plain Amber looking ball. This is hand blown and it looks as if it was broken on the ponti. There is a hole that is not filled with anything.
The glass is amber indicating sulfer compounds being added. Gazing balls were popular in the victorian period but have roots to the thirteenth century. Interestingly I found several on-line sources that claim "Southerners" kept them in the garden so they could see their guests coming and get the hose clean or duck out of site respectively. As a southener I only wish I had installed one in my garden back home.

Venice? Maybe

I sent my son to Italy in High School and all I got were these glass cups.

It was a sweat story that Christian had bought these cups in the Pizza Sam Marco and had accidently left them in the square. Hours later he went back to the last person he had seen, a man selling crumbs to feed the birds and when he asked him had he seen some red venitian glasses, he took them from his coat and said Theese Glasses?
I have no ilusions that these are worth a great deal of money. They are hand blown. I can see the pontil on the bottom pontil but it looks as if it has been sanded. The color of the glass is red as if gold was used in the firing to color it and there is gold leaf on the outside in an ornate floral pattern.

A couple of Selections from The Cupboard

Two smal glasses from the China cabinet reveal the diffrences between glass and crystal.
One is a desert dish and the other is a port glass. Emphasis on the glass. The desert dish is heavy and refracts the light with almost sharp diamond and triangle shapes that surround the glass. It is heavy for such a small glass. It makes a wonderful variety of high pitched tones when struck on the rim and near the stem.
The sherry glass is a duller color and while it picks up the light it doesn't have the same clarity. It also has the hollow tink of a coke bottle o matter where you hit it. It's slightly dull and while it is comprable in ize it is lighter.There are seams on both sides of the glass indicating that it must be pressed glass.
Both of these items a probably 20th century and there is a good chance they were made in Asia as my father was in the Navy and much of our "Chin"a is from his travels.

Swirly Glass
Not the technical material culture name and yet-swirly glass. This ornate bowl is blown glass and probably of New York origin. This aqua marine blue is indicative of glassware made in shops on the glass makers own time. The swirly flower Patel pa tern and color are tell tale signs of glass work done in the mi to middle of the 19Th century.
Clearly on the bottom is the pontil marking where it was broken away after firing and cooling.
This looks like an item that a glass maker made for the pure pleasure of it. It is over sized and of no formal use other than a decorative bowl. It looks like the kind of piece where they were testing their ability to make large hand wrought pieces without having them fall apart due to their size.

Not China and Tin Glazed weird Vase John's Jug and Lusterware!

N 322.56
This plate with its cornflower blue foliage and fake pagodas was clearly an attempt to imitate the early ceramics from China. It is heavy and not translucent. It has some marks that real china would not have and their was a bit of staining around the interior which real china would also resist.
It is earth ware and has the under glazing of these types of plates. There is a potters or ceramics mark on the back

This oddly shaped stoneware vase looks to be thrown on a wheel with the very dark brown found in some of the stove ware. It has a very curious shape with an almost enclosed top with an indentation that has a small hole with a second hole on the side. The highly glossy glaze suggests a tin glaze. It isn't a sanitary ware or certainly wouldn't be practical as such so I am chalking it up to a curious vase. There are no potters mark on this item so I am wondering if it might be made by a local potter for local use in the mid 19Th century? It seems to be produced with a measure of skill but I am unclear on its function

This is an stoneware jug with a salt glaze. It has no formal kind of markings but on the bottom we cab see John ? Esq. Has thrown and formed this jug in 1867. It has an interesting dual spout that would let the air in for easy pouring and drinking. The handle must have been attached with the slip but the color is so consistent . I wonder if John was inclined to enjoy a pull from the jug and wanted one that didn't back fire on him when he drew it to his lips, or did he just want an easy pour solution for his wife?

Lusterware sounds like a modern miracle but it goes way back to the Egyptians. There are many types with an iridescent finish achieved by adding metallic oxides into an overlaid glaze finish. This sweet teapot looks all the world like silver at first until you get the lid open and you see a deep brown slip. There is no tarnishing on this item so I am thinking that this could be mercury as well.
They really threw mercury into everything in the 19Th century century. I am surprised there weren't shinny mercury baby bottles. It does seem to demonstrate how that century wasn't one of simple brown grey blue wool and understated old timely colors. They liked their flashy space age looking stuff as well. The moniker Lusterware smacks of 50's space age so interesting to see that a similar sensibility for the shiny was present in a century that was also seeing so much innovation and change. I do wonder if this was embraced by lower middle class who could not afford silver. It seems a good substitute.

The Clarks of Athen's Town??

This Earthenware Jug is a wonderful example of stoneware from the potter from Athens New York that utilized the wonderful clays of New Jersey and Long Island to produce beuautiful buff colored objects that would have ranged from this simple utilitarian jugs to later pieces that would be more ornate.

The lighter color and slight pocking have the tell tale signs of a slat glazed earthenware. And As Ipeered in to see the dark slip I thought about the name and of cousre thought of the Clark's of Cooperstown, but there was another piece that I looked at next that was also listed as Clark and Co., but I had no idea why Athens?
The next piece on the shelf is a milk bowl, I think. It has a pouring spout and looks like similar objects I have seen at the Buttery in The Farmers' Museum. It has the name of Clark and Co. Thanks to the internets I found out about the founding of the potter businesses of The Clark's that started in the Athens and then as the Erie Canal opened, the & Co was added when they opened a new shop in Lyons New York.
Knowing a general timeline of when they added the Co, I would put the jug at the earlier of the two. Nathan Clark took over in 1819 and sold his wares all over New York and even into the Southern United States. I think the jug is very early 19th but the later could be 1830's to 1850.
The milk bowl has the classic cobalt blue in the form of a single ear of corn but also around the handles on the sides. This looks to have been thrown and I believe the handles would have been simply pinched or hand formed not fixed with a slip. It has the dark Albany slip inside and is salt glazed.

I have IIKEA plates is this the same as that or is it nicer. Just a few questions.

Albany Slip and other fun stuff

This simple large bowl, possibly from the Albany area has the traditional materials, the dark choclate looking clay and glaze with lighter slip mixture used for decoration.

Gosh it has been a long time, but again I am delving into the world of Stuff

Looking at Ceramics and I will start with a really fabulous bowl that is a very basic earthenware bowl which is almost a good 24 inches in diameter and looks to be hand formed from clay. It is covered in the deep chocolaty color of Albany slip that reminds me of a Mole' sauce in color. The top is glazed and then bottom is not.

There are a series of much lighter lines in irregular patterns scraped into the surface of the slip that create the look to early 19Th century poetry.

This has no marking of a potter and there is a large crack that may have happened when it was fired? I am wondering the kinds of foods that would be prepared in this bowl and would it be designed specifically this was to accommodate a particular regional dish? It could be used for a variety of uses but I am seeing breading or crumbs and rolling stuff in it.

I am thinking this is early nineteenth century, maybe even from Albany as the clay underneath and the slip and slurry is dead on for the materials and techniques used there with its wonderful clay.