May 2005

  This month Mike McLeod takes a look at Steins, Carousels, Zane Grey, and Furniture Styles. Mike, who lives with his family near Atlanta, has written about a broad range of antiques and collectibles –  from Sumida pottery to Gutenburg Bible pages. Readers who would like to share interesting websites with Mike may contact him via email at mikemcl@mindspring.com

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Mettlach Villeroy & Boch stein in relief.

Stein Collectors
www.steincollectors.org

      Before the Big Gulp, there were the big beer steins that held half a liter and sometimes much more.

The “stein,” which means “stone” in German, was so named because most steins were originally made of stoneware. Since then, steins have been made of glass, porcelain, pewter, pottery, gold, silver, wood, leather, ivory, horn and even ostrich egg. Today, a stein must have a hinged lid to qualify for the title. Otherwise, it is just a mug.

This website has an extensive library, which includes articles on: early stoneware steins, faience steins, Mettlach steins, regimental steins, occupations steins, relief pottery steins, character steins and more.

You have to respect an organization that has produced a quarterly journal for the past 38 years. Prosit, the Stein Collectors International’s publication, features articles on beer steins (of course), photos, news, free ads for members, meeting information, etc.

The website has much of the same information and features a “stein of the month” with photos and an article about it. There are 60 steins from past months posted there. Also, you can post questions about steins, and list steins you are seeking or trying to sell. Stein collectors has about 26 chapters around the nation and in Europe, which are all listed on the website.

 

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1909 Looff carousel tiger, Spokane, WA.

(Photo by Gary Nance.)

National Carousel Association
www.nca-usa.org/

           Carousels bring back happy memories for just about all of us, and they are still loved by kids today in our hi-tech world. Carousel-type rides have been around since the early centuries AD, if you count people riding in baskets suspended from ropes attached to a pole or the Mayan ceremonies where they hung upside down on a rope tied to their ankles while revolving around a pole. Riding carved animals on poles dates to the late 1600s when young aristocrats practiced their jousting on their wooden steeds. Carousels, as we imagine them, began to pop up across Europe in the 1700s, and then they spread across the continent and around the world.

The National Carousel Association is dedicated to the “…conservation, appreciation, knowledge and enjoyment of the art of the classic wooden carousel, and especially the preservation of complete wooden carousels.”

On their website are excellent photos of some of the great old carousels and some of their histories. For instance, the Ferry County Fair Merry-Go-Round in Republic, WA, was built by the Armitage Herschell Spillman Companies between 1895-1900. It was purchased in 1958 by a group of ranchers for $2,000 and is still the main attraction at the fair.

As it reports on the website, “Of the 3,000 to 4,000 carousels carved around the turn of the century, approximately 150 remain operational in the United States today.” This fact inspired the NCA to start a photography project to preserve as many old carousels as possible. Currently, ten carousels are featured with dozens of individual photos of carousel animals. NCA welcomes  donations of photos of carousels and information about them from anyone and everyone.

NCA also holds an annual technical assistance conference for carousel owners and others to provide information and assistance in preserving their carousels.

You can increase your knowledge and appreciation of carousels by visiting the website and reading the in-depth article on the styles of carousels and profiles of famous carvers. (Click on “Styles of Carousels” on the left bar on the home page to access that article.)

Keep an eye out and your camera handy the next time you go the county fair or old amusement parks. When you find one of these grand old carousels, photograph it and preserve the fun for everyone.

 

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Zane Grey
(Photo, courtesy Terry Bolinger,

 Zane Grey’s Western Society.)

Zane Grey

www.zanegreysws.org

Everyone knows Zane Grey, the famous author of about 90 books, but few know the man himself. For instance, he was an avid fisherman in lakes, streams and oceans around the world, and he caught many record fish and set many records (see insert) in his day. Like the characters in the Old West that he wrote about, Zane Grey’s adventures became part of the great tales that he told around the campfire and around the world.

Most know Zane Grey for his 60 western novels, many of which were made into more than 100 movies, including the 1990 movie, “Riders of the Purple Sage” starring Ed Harris and Amy Madigan. But his talent for writing was not limited to one genre or locale. He also wrote a biography on George Washington as a young man, juvenile fiction, baseball stories and  books on fishing.

But it is for his love of the West, of course, that Zane Grey is best known. He would go on expeditions for several months, and then return home to his family and write for the rest of the year. His insights and experiences became the fabric of his stories. But much credit must be given to his wife, Dolly, because she edited his manuscripts and was his business manager, in addition to holding down the fort while he was away seeking inspiration.

Zane and Dolly had three children. Both were originally from the East, Zane being born in Zanesville, OH, in 1872. But the success of his book, “Heritage of the Desert,” allowed them to take up residence in California, which facilitated his explorations and adventures. As this website details, “His ancestors had been vigorous, illustrious pioneers in America’s ‘First West,’ the historic Ohio Valley, and his boyhood thrill at their adventures would eventually motivate Grey to novelize both his family’s own story and the stories of many others: pioneer homesteader, farm wife, rancher, cowhand, naive Eastern belle, camp follower, miner, Indian youth, trail driver, railroad man, desperado, buffalo hunter, soldier, gambler, wanderer and poor wayfaring stranger….”

The website has collector information under the “FAQ” button for determining authentic first editions, the value dust jackets add to a ZG book, etc. The website also includes information on movie posters from Zane Grey movies, a biography, and links to ZG-related museums.

Zane Grey is the Ansel Adams of Western literature. His love for the beauty and life of the West created masterpieces in words. Take a look at the website and read one of his classics sometime.


(Some of Zane Grey’s fishing records

Bluefin Tuna, 758 lbs. Nova Scotia, Canada 1924; Yellowfin Tuna, 318 lbs., Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, 1924; Pacific Sailfish, 132 lbs., Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Broadbill Swordfish, 582 lbs., Catalina Island, California, 1926; Giant Tahitian Striped Marlin (Pacific Blue Marlin), 1,040 lbs, Vairao, Tahiti, 1930; Silver Marlin, 618 lbs., Vairao, Tahiti, 1933; Silver Marlin, 710 lbs.,  Vairao, Tahiti, 1933; and Striped Marlin, 450 lbs., Bora Bora, Tahiti.)

 

 

Furniture Styles

http://restorations.net/mainstyl.htm

http://www.collectingnetwork.com/furnitureguide.htm

Okay, here’s a little antique test for you:

What style of furniture does this describe? “The period from 1715 to 1774, also known as the ‘Regence,’ marked a shift from the weighty character of earlier Rococo styles to embrace a more light-hearted, somewhat simpler feel. Carvings and marquetry were simplified and contributed more to the overall motif of the piece than in the prior period.”

Is it:  a. Italian Renaissance      b. Jacobean      c. Louis XV      d. Greek

If you are a little rusty on the descriptions of the 60 or so styles of antique furniture, these two websites provide good explanations, and they include some photos. They are a handy reference.

If you knew Louis XV was the correct answer to the above question, you should be on “Jeopardy.”

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A circa

1745-1747 Faience stein (called a Pilasterkrug because of the pilasters in the design) made by the Bayreuth

factory.

 

 

 

 

Some of Zane Grey’s

fishing records

Bluefin Tuna, 758 lbs. Nova Scotia, Canada 1924; Yellowfin Tuna, 318 lbs., Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, 1924; Pacific Sailfish, 132 lbs., Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Broadbill Swordfish, 582 lbs., Catalina Island, California, 1926; Giant Tahitian Striped Marlin (Pacific Blue Marlin), 1,040 lbs, Vairao, Tahiti, 1930; Silver Marlin, 618 lbs., Vairao, Tahiti, 1933; Silver Marlin, 710 lbs.,  Vairao, Tahiti, 1933; and Striped Marlin, 450 lbs., Bora Bora, Tahiti.

 

A horse from the Ferry County merry-go-round in Republic, WA., built by the Armitage Herschell Spillman Companies between

1895-1900. (Photo by Gary Nance.)