Most 19th-century American cut glass was clear. Some rare and expensive pieces of colored glass were made.
The first colored pieces were probably made in the early 1880s. Factories continued making cut pieces until the early 1900s.
The most popular colored cut glass is known as colored-cut-to-clear. A clear glass piece was blown, then the worker coated it with a layer of colored glass. A close inspection will show the division of the layers of glass at any exposed edge.
There were also a few small pieces, like knife rests, that were made from solid colored glass.
Decorations were sometimes painted on the glass with colored enamel.
In the 1920s, a few glass companies made engraved solid-colored glass pieces.
In recent years, reproductions of the early colored-cut-to-clear pieces have been made.
Most of the American 19th-century colored glass was green, red, blue, amethyst or amber.
Q. Before she died, my grandmother gave me a pocketbook that she used only once -- at my parents' wedding, in 1950. It's made of hard, white plastic with a clear-plastic loop handle. The tag inside reads "Patricia of Miami." Does the purse have any value?
A. Lucite purses were big sellers during the 1950s. They have become big sellers again. Acrylic plastics, like Dupont's Lucite, were introduced in the 1930s. The war prevented their use for consumer products until the late 1940s.
Patricia and Morty Edelstein, a husband-and-wife team, owned Patricia of Miami. The company was one of several in New York and Florida that made purses like yours. Your purse would sell for about $150.
Q. I am 75, and I still have toys I played with as a child. One is an electric stove made of plated metal. It's about 10 inches long. It has a single burner, two small ovens and an electric cord that still works. The metal tag on the front of the stove reads "Little Cook Electric Range, Sears Roebuck & amp; Co. Distributors." I have the little pots and pans that came with the stove, too. Is this stove worth much?
A. We assume that you were given these toys during the 1930s. Similar stoves were offered for sale in a 1930s Sears catalog. They were priced at $1 to $3. Toy electric stoves like yours were made only for a short time. Perhaps too many children were burned trying to bake a 1-inch cake. Today your stove could sell for $300 or more.
Q. I am trying to find the value of a 10-inch porcelain "goddess" figurine given to my grandmother by a German friend. The figurine is of a blond woman with her arms upraised. She is partially dressed in white and is wearing gold shoes and a gold bracelet. The mark on the bottom is green. It's a crown with the initials VW, plus the date 1764 and the word Germany. Was my figurine made in the 1700s?
A. No. Your figurine was made within the past 40 years. The mark was used by the VEB Wallendorfer Porcelain Factory of Wallendorf, Thuringia, Germany, beginning in 1964. After reunification, the company's name changed, but it still uses the same mark. The year 1764 is part of the mark because the company traces its history back to that date.
Q. Twenty years ago, a friend gave me a doll that is a mystery to me. It is 10 inches tall, with a rubber head and limbs and a hard-plastic torso. The back of the doll's head is marked "M.I. Hummel, W. Goebel." One side of the torso is marked with a bee over a V, "W. Germany" and the number 1700. The same number is stamped on the bottom of both feet. I have only been able to find information on Hummel figurines. Can you help?
A. Not much has been written about Hummel dolls. Like the famous figurines, the dolls were based on the drawings of Berta Hummel and were made by the W. Goebel Porcelain Factory in Rodenthal, Germany. Goebel used "W. Germany" in its figurine marks from 1960 to 1990. The 1700 series of dolls dates from about 1960 or perhaps earlier. Each one originally came with a wrist tag identifying the doll by name. They came in three sizes: 10, 12 and 16 inches tall. Value: $100 to $200.
Q. My brother left me an antique table lamp with a brass base and a glass shade enclosed in a pierced metal frame. The metal on the shade is cast in a woodland scene, and the pastel-painted glass makes the scene look like a sunset. I found the lampshade pictured in a book on art glass. It was made by the H.J. Peters Co. Can you tell me when the company worked and what the lamp is worth?
A. The H.J. Peters Co. made brushed-brass lamps and lighting fixtures in Chicago around 1914. A lamp like yours sold for about $40 at the time -- a considerable amount. Today, the lamp is worth $1,000 or more.
You can clean the inside of a silver teapot by filling it with warm water and adding a five-minute denture-cleaning tablet for every 2 cups of water. Rinse after 10 minutes. If a residue remains, use a brush to clean it off.
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