For furniture, the industrial look is in

Antiques and design shows today often have attractive pieces of furniture that have been transformed by painting, decorating or removing the original finish.

In the 1980s, the transformed look often was created with a layer of white paint encouraged to peel to look old. Today, the industrial look is “in,” and shows have old workbenches, industrial tools attached to wooden tables, lamps made of old gears and gym lockers stripped of their original paint. All have been given a modern look by exposing the original silvery finish of the metal parts.

InCollect, the upscale website that sells expensive antiques, offered a long rectangular desk with a polished aluminum finish. The desk had been used during World War II. It is made of the aluminum used in airplanes in the 1930s and ’40s. It was originally painted green (some of the paint is left in a drawer as a part of its history). The desk was hand-stripped and polished for about 80 hours. It is more than a desk – it can fold into a box to be moved, which was a war-time necessity.

Look at some of the used metal furniture selling for offices or workshops, or scrap metal that can be changed in a do-it-yourself project into unique “modern” furniture.

Q. I got a Casige toy sewing machine for Christmas in the late 1940s or early SSRq50s. It’s in excellent condition with the original box. It was made in West Germany. Is this of any value other than sentimental?

A. Casige made toy sewing machines from 1902 until 1975. The company was founded in 1852 by Carl Sieper of Gevelsberg, Germany. It originally made locks for pianos and other furniture. The name of the company came from the combination of the first two letters of his first and last names and the town. His grandson, Carl Sieper II, began making small sewing machines for schools in 1902. Eighty three models were made between 1902 and 1975. Sewing machines marked “West Germany” were made between 1949 and 1975. The value of your toy sewing machine is about $50.

Q. My grandchild is named Sarah, a nice old-fashioned name. I wanted to buy an antique child’s cup with her name on it, but after looking at antiques shows for months, I have found lots of other names. Was a “Sarah” cup made in the 1800s?

A. Mugs and small plates for children were popular in England but not in America during the 19th century. Many ceramic factories made them. Some were decorated with names such as Hannah, Louisa, Sophie and, yes, Sarah. But children’s tablewares also had sayings such as “A Birth Day Gift,” “For my dear boy,” “For a good girl” or other phrases so the mugs could be given as rewards or gifts. Pictures from children’s books, educational decorations such as the alphabet or pictures and names of animals also were popular. Some had messages such as “Make hay while the sun shines.” The cups helped children learn manners and moral character. You might be lucky enough to find Sarah through an Internet search, but the odds are against you.

Q. I have an old typewriter made by a company called Blickensderfer of Stamford, Conn. On the side of the frame is a shield with patent numbers from July 15, 1890, to April 12, 1892. The typewriter’s letters and numbers are on a cylinder that rotates to the desired key when pressed. Is this of value? Is there a market for something like this?

A. In 1891 George Blickensderfer invented a small, portable writing machine that used a cylinder instead of striker keys to print letters. It had a keyboard, but the order of letters was different from the “qwerty” keyboard used today. The machine was lighter, less expensive and designed to avoid the key “hang up” of other typewriters. The user could change type styles by changing the cylinder without using a tool. The idea was similar to the IBM Selectric, which came along almost 75 years later. The first models probably were made in very limited numbers since none have been found. The Model 5, nicknamed the “Blick,” was introduced at the Columbian Exposition in 1893 and was made for many years. Later models were deluxe versions of that design, though qwerty keyboards became available. Blickenderfer’s company was successful, but he was hit by a car and died in New York City in 1917. Attempts to run his company failed, and the company went bankrupt. In 1927, Remington bought the inventory and the intellectual rights and introduced the Rem-Blick, which was similar to the Blick 5. Blickensderfer typewriters sell between $300 and $400.


If there are raised, applied decorations on your art glass, be careful when cleaning it. Gold or silver accents, painted enamel decoration and beads must be kept in fine condition to maintain the value.

Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer questions sent to the column. By sending a letter with a question, you give full permission for use in the column or any other Kovel forum. Names, addresses or email addresses will not be published. We cannot guarantee the return of photographs, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The amount of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, The Vindicator, King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

2016 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.

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