Sofa bed has been around since early this century Peter Kroehler developed two types of foldable beds in 1909.

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February 04, 1996|By Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel | Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel,KING FEATURES

On the bottom of my old sofa bed are the words "Kroehler, Highest Award, Panama-Pacific Exposition." Who was Kroehler, and how old is my sofa bed?

Peter Kroehler worked for the Naperville Lounge Co. in Naperville, Ill., during the 1890s. He eventually bought the company and sold half of it to Sears, Roebuck & Co.

In 1909, Kroehler developed two types of foldable beds. Each had a removable mattress beneath the seat of a sofa. One extended lengthwise and was called the "Unifold." The other extended sideways and was called the "Duofold."

He also bought four companies that held patents on sofa beds. By 1915, the year of the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, Kroehler had bought back Sears' interest in his company and renamed the company the "Kroehler Manufacturing Co." The company continued in business until it became part of the ATR Group in 1981.

I was talking with a lighter collector who kept talking about mushroom tinder. What did he mean?

Before matches, "tinder" was the name used for any fuel that could help people light a fire. A certain kind of German mushroom, the Fomes fomentarius, was found to be a great form of tinder. The flammable mushroom was harvested and used until about 1840, when matches became readily available.

The bottom of an old pottery vase I have is marked "Glidden." Just how old is the vase?

Glidden Pottery worked in Alfred, N.Y., between 1940 and 1957. It was founded by Glidden Parker. The pottery was noted for its use of unusual streamlined shapes.

The Kovels welcome letters from readers and answer as many as possible through the column. Unfortunately, the volume of mail makes personal answers impossible. Write to the Kovels in care of The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.

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