Ads tout cure-alls, such as jolting chair

COLLECTIBLES

November 01, 1992|By Anita Gold | Anita Gold,Chicago Tribune

Q: Where can I find information on old-fashioned cure-all devices, quack machines and other gadgets that promised to restore health, libido, vigor and vitality?

A: "Ad Blasts from the Past -- An American Scrapbook," compiled by Bob Perlongo, has illustrations and descriptions of items made from 1788 to 1925. Advertisements include a Health Jolting Chair, circa 1855, which was designed to cure ailments ranging from low spirits to bad complexions; and Dr. Scott's Electric Girdle for Men, circa 1877, said to possess curative powers and life-giving properties. The book is available for $14 postpaid from the Fat Angel Press, 820 Reba Place, Evanston, Ill. 60202.

Q: What can you tell me about brides' baskets, and where can I find fancy colored glass ones with ruffled edges?

A: Brides' baskets, originally referred to as berry or fruit bowls, were made of various types of glass with ruffled, fluted or crimped edges and were set on stands or held in basketlike, silver-plated handled holders. They date from the 1880s to about 1918 and were often given as wedding gifts.

William Gamble of Souvenirs of Yesteryears specializes in Victorian colored glass; write to him at 208 W. Chicago Ave., Coldwater, Mich. 49036; phone (517) 278-8034.

Reproduction brides' baskets such as the fine New England Peachblow examples in fancy silver-plated holders, were produced in 1968 by Harold Bennett at the Guernsey Glass Co. in Cambridge, Ohio. These baskets, which look authentic, are marked with Mr. Bennett's name in script scratched into the glass. Peachblow glass is thicker and heavier than original pieces. Other brides' baskets that can confuse collectors were reproduced by Fenton. Beware of mismatched brides' bowls and holders.

Q: I'm interested in collecting Watt Pottery bowls and pitchers. Is there a book with pictures of such pieces, or a collector's club or newsletter?

A: Send for a copy of "Watt Pottery -- An Identification and Value Guide," by Dave and Sue Morris, which contains more than 350 color photos of such pieces along with their current values, marks and the history of the company. The book is available for $21.95 postpaid from Collector Books, Box 3009, Paducah, Ky. 42002-3009; phone (800) 626-5420. A Watt's News newsletter is available for $10 a year from Susan Morris and Jan Seeck, Box 708, Mason City, Iowa 50401.

L Q: Who might be interested in a 1930s glass cocktail shaker?

A: Write to collector Steve Visakay in care of Cocktail Shakers, Box 1517, West Caldwell, N.J. 07007-1517, enclosing a photo or description of the shaker along with an addressed, stamped envelope for a reply or offer. Mr. Visakay is especially interested in shakers shaped like ladies' legs and dumbbells.

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