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Kitchen Collectibles Offer Nostalgic Decorating |

Kitchen Collectibles Offer Nostalgic Decorating

I first learned about the value of antique kitchen tools from my mother who educated me on the superiority of antique rolling pins. I remember her explaining to me that the old ones were usually one piece of wood, hand crafted from a quality wood. She owned several so I could get a firsthand look at just what she meant.

I’ve kept my antique rolling pin handy in my kitchen for many years now and enjoy the feel of the solid wooden tool with the aged patina and smooth well-used grips. I use it often and I made sure I found an antique rolling pin for each of my daughters.

Wooden spoons are also great for cooking and stirring and offer the same solid feel and easy to maintain advantages. I have several antique ones that only get better with age.

Durable well-made kitchen tools are not just a plus for cooking, they are fashionable in today’s kitchens. Even something as simple as measuring spoons were often of better quality several generations back. Because of their solid design and construction, these old tools enhance the modern look of kitchens and offer visual interest if displayed.

Many collectors get started with one type of kitchen gadget like rolling pins and are captured by the variety of kitchen gadgets and expand into many more. Rolling pins are surprisingly plentiful, with a variety of sizes made for different dough.

Auctions and estate sales are a great way to find kitchen collectibles. Kitchen items are often boxed up and sold as a group, so it’s easy to end up with surprises that expand your collection without really trying.

Linens, tablecloths and aprons are other kitchen items that have grown in popularity recently. Today’s manufacturers are reproducing many vintage designs, and lots of young women are posting cute designs on Pinterest.

A great reference book is “300 Years of Kitchen Collectibles” by Linda Campbell Franklin, published by Krause Publications. The fifth edition (April 2003) includes an amazing 300 years of the most avidly collected domestic tools of the trade. Collectors will love the 7,000 antique items that dice, measure, filter or whirr in the kitchen arranged by function from preparation and cooking to housekeeping and gardening.

Franklin also includes classic recipes, helpful hints and kitchen trivia from 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century trade catalogs and advertisements. Her book includes pricing, information on collecting, buying and selling on the Internet, and more than 1,600 photographs and illustrations. I found it on Amazon.

If you like kitchen treasures, plan on attending the June 10 Secret Kitchens of Wheeling Tour and Gourmet Market at the Mansion Museum. As an antique lover, you’ll feel good about supporting the Museums of Oglebay Institute, plus you will get a close look at five surprise kitchens right here in the area. I’ve seen them already, so I guarantee there is something for everyone!

The fundraiser is sponsored by Shutler Cabinets, and the locations of the showplace kitchens will not be revealed until you receive a detailed map on tour day with descriptions and addresses of the homes. I’m sworn to secrecy, so all I can say is there is lots to see, with open floor plans, apartment living, big family homes and elegance on the tour. These kitchens are delicious!

Plus, the Gourmet Market includes artisan booths selling kitchen accessories, artwork, baskets, gourmet foods and so much more!

So make plans now to visit the Mansion on June 10, between the hours of 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and pick up your map to visit the secret kitchens, then shop the market and have a great adventure.

For comments or suggestions on local treasures to be featured in Antique of the Week, Maureen Zambito can be reached via email at: zambitomaureen@hotmail. com or by writing in care of this newspaper.

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