Political fights among politicians are not new. Today, the rivalries are ridiculed in political cartoons and on TV sitcoms. In the past, political differences were shown in Staffordshire figures, slogans and drawings.
Lanterns are among the earliest Halloween collectibles – and not just jack-o’-lanterns.
The early-1900s jack-o’-lantern was made of metal. Within a few years, jack-o’-lanterns were being made of pressed paper with thin paper inserts creating see-through eyes, nose and mouth. That way, a candle inside the paper pumpkin could light a path. But it was dangerous to walk and run with a lit candle in a flammable container.
Our Victorian ancestors made many of the toys their children played with. Inexpensive printed fabrics were designed to be cut out and sewn into dolls, games or toys. The fabric usually pictured all the parts of a colorful toy. There also were printed instructions explaining how to assemble the pieces and, if necessary, how to stuff it.
Old toys are very different from those made today. Toymakers of long ago did not try to encourage creativity. A toy was made to resemble a known part of life – a house, car or pet – or perhaps a fantasy – a rocketship or robot. Or they were puzzles meant to teach the alphabet or arithmetic, or character dolls from stories that told of good behavior or gave lessons from the Bible.
The first day of autumn this year was Sept. 22. It is the day of the autumnal equinox, a term based on the journey of Earth around the sun.
On that day, day and night are each almost 12 hours long. It marks the days when air cools in the north and leaves on trees begin to change colors.
Artists for centuries have pictured colorful fall landscapes. Cameo glass artists often carved decorations from layers of glass made in the fall seasonal colors of orange and red.
Garden seats shaped like a barrel are being made today from porcelain, pottery, plastic, rattan and even plaster. They are used in a living room as a coffee table, in a powder room as a pedestal to hold towels, or inside or outside as a seat.
The first cane probably was just a strong stick, but by the 19th century, a cane was a fashion accessory and sometimes hid a tool. The heads of canes were made of wood, ivory, gold or silver, leather, pewter or porcelain, sometimes with inlay and precious gems.
About 20 years ago, two antiques experts wrote a book titled “Fantasy Furniture.” It spawned a new style based on past ones. Pedestals shaped like blackamoors, chairs with seats that look like huge shells, Victorian furniture that seems to be made from plumbing pipes, and carved wooden chairs and tables that have full-size carved bears holding up tabletops or climbing on chair backs were pictured in the book.
Some old pieces of dual-purpose furniture are so useful they should inspire new designs. One such famous design is a convertible “desk and chair” originally designed by Stephen Hedges of New York City in about 1854.
Lenci is a famous name among doll collectors. Lenci dolls were first made by Elena Konig Scavini (1886-1974). She ran away from home when she was 14 and joined a circus. A few years later, she started making dolls.
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