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THE KOVELS | Antiques and Collecting Oak furniture sits well with stylish buyers



Published: Sun, August 11, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Oak furniture from the early 1900s is back in style again.

It is selling well at flea markets and shows.

Oak and golden-oak furniture was popular from the late 1870s to the early 1930s.

Furniture manufacturers were having problems buying walnut because the supply in local forests had dwindled.

Oak is hard and has an attractive grain.

The newly invented power saws made it possible to make a new type of mass-produced furniture.

Carvings, turned spindles, a different style of dovetailing for the drawers, cut-out decorations and pressed designs were possible.

Designers created special pieces and unfamiliar shapes and decorated them with carved animals and trim. They also developed several new finishes, including golden oak, weathered oak, antique oak and fumed oak.

The furniture was imaginative and borrowed from the designs of earlier periods. So it is not unusual to see a William and Mary foot, Chippendale hardware and a totally new form, all in one piece.

Oak furniture, scorned in the 1950s, is now considered so stylish that reproductions are being made. Old examples at antiques shows are often less expensive.

Q. My chalkware bulldog is about 18 inches tall and weighs more than 15 pounds. The name "Dr. Daniels" is printed on the dog's collar. I've had this figure for 50 years, and it wasn't new when I got it. Can you tell me anything about it?

A. Your bulldog is a piece of antique advertising for a line of veterinary products. Dr. A.C. Daniels founded his veterinary medicine company in Boston in 1878. He sold medicines for horses, dogs, sheep, cows, poultry and cats. By the turn of the century, he was also selling catnip and other cat playthings. Dr. Daniels used promotional items like calendars and thermometers to promote his business. Your dog probably sat in a veterinarian's office. The Dr. Daniels business was sold in 1914, and then again in the 1950s. Dr. A.C. Daniels Inc. is still in business in Webster, Mass.

Q. My mother gave me her 6-inch cowgirl doll. The doll is wearing a western hat, a holster and chaps. "Ken Murray, Glamour Cowboy" is printed on a tag attached to the doll. A signature, "Laurie Anders," is printed on the hat, and the phrase "I like the wide open spaces" is on the back of the doll's belt. Who are Murray and Anders? Is the doll a collector's item?

A. Ken Murray hosted his own TV comedy-variety series on CBS from 1950 to 1953. He had previously worked in vaudeville and in radio. Laurie Anders was a regular entertainer on the show, appearing as a cowgirl character. Her trademark phrase was the one printed on your doll's belt. Your doll was made by the A & amp;H Doll Manufacturing Co., which made other dolls that look much like Vogue's Ginny doll. If your doll is in excellent condition, it is worth about $50. If you have the original box, it's worth twice that.

Q. My portable kerosene lamp has a long, straight, glass handle. At the end of the handle, mounted in a brass fitting, is a glass ball that swivels within a gimbal ring. The ball rotates when the lamp is carried. The burner is attached to one side of the ball. We have not been able to find any information about how this lamp was used.

A. Your lamp might be a sophisticated version of a parade or campaign torch. It probably dates from the mid- to late 1800s. These torches were used at outdoor political gatherings and community parades. Campaign torches made more simply than yours were sometimes carried by lumber men to light their way in the winter. The pole (handle) could be pushed into a pile of snow while the men worked.

Q. We bought seven identical ceramic tiles at an antiques shop in London in 1969. The tiles are 6 inches square with a teal-blue Art Nouveau floral design. The backs are marked "England, Rd 384652 No." Does the mark help date the tile?

A. The English Registry number dates the design of your tiles to late in 1901. That doesn't necessarily mean your tiles were manufactured that year. But the Art Nouveau style of the decoration suggests that they were made during the first decade of the 20th century. The word "England" was printed to comply with export regulations in effect after 1891.

Tip

Put your children's old, worn, cotton socks on your hands when you're cleaning silver.

XThe Kovels answer as many questions as possible through the column. By sending a letter with a question, you give full permission for its use in the column or any other Kovel forum. Names and addresses will not be published. We cannot guarantee the return of any photograph, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The volume of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, The Vindicator, King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019.

& copy; 2002 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.




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