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Antiques and Collecting: Edison lamp shed light on phonographs |

Antiques and Collecting: Edison lamp shed light on phonographs

Phonographs were invented in 1877.


The early versions had one needle for recording and another needle for playing.

The music was recorded on tinfoil-coated cylinders using a needle to make tiny lines that, when played with the other needle, made sounds.

Thomas Edison, the inventor, founded his own company to make phonographs. He also invented movies, the light bulb and many other things, but failed to create a cement that could be used to make a case for the phonograph.

His phonograph company was successful for a while, and he even designed a combination phonograph-lamp in about 1920. The lamp was made to be kept on a table in the living room so the whole family could listen.

Many versions were made in the popular styles of the day. A design called a Phonolamp was made about 1920. It had an electric motor, metal case and an embroidered lampshade. These combination lamps soon went out of style but are treasured by phonograph collectors. A rare, working Phonolamp recently was sold in a German auction for $1,967.

Q: I have a print by Maude Goodman and I’m wondering about its age and value.

A: Maude Goodman (1860-1938) was born in Manchester, England, and moved to London. She did sentimental paintings of women and children in Victorian settings. Her work was relatively unknown until the 1880s.

Several of her paintings were exhibited in the Royal Academy of Arts in London in the late 1800s. Artwork has to be seen by an expert to determine the value. An original lithograph of one of her works sold at auction for $177, but many online sites sell reproductions of original works of art for $10 or less.

Q: I have a set of dishes marked “Stetson China Rio.” The dinner plates all have the stamped mark, but the platters, bowls and cups and saucer are not marked. Are these knockoffs?

A: Stetson started as a decorating and distributing company in 1919 in Illinois.

By 1946, Stetson China Co. was making ceramic and Melmac (plastic) dinnerware. The company closed in 1966. Pieces often were not marked. The word “Rio” is the shape name.

Your set probably was made about 1950. Many patterns were hand-painted on this shape. Stetson dinner plates sell for about $20 from matching services.

CURRENT PRICES

Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

• Vase: pottery, flared collar, white-and-blue glaze, lizard handles, pink eyes, circa 1882; 11¼ inches; $370

• Bowl: center, gilt, enamel, military scenes, putto and dolphin supports, Sevres style, porcelain, 22 1/2 x 15 inches, $375.

• Game table: Louis XV, cherry, inlay, green, cabriole legs, hoof feet; 28½ by 32½ inches; $400

• Window: leaded, slag glass, red-and-white flowers, urn, lavender border, frame; 22¾ by 22¾ inches; pair, $500

• De Vez cracker jar: tricolor, peach to aqua, Venetian boaters, sailors, city, columns; 7 by 4¼ inches; $1,405

• Jade fan: pierced, two battling dragons, scrolled handle, Lu symbol, bats, clouds; 12½ inches; $2,000

• Bowl: glass liner, writhing dragon, clutching flaming pearl, hammered, silver, Japan, circa 1900; 8 inches; $2,125

Terry and Kim Kovel, authorities on collectibles, write for the King Features Syndicate. Visit www.kovels.com.

Category: Dinnerware  Tags: ,  Comments off
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