Scrap metal led to new firm Antiques: Detroit company that made stamped body parts for cars used leftover material to make children's pedal cars. After World War I, the firm's owner created another company, in Ohio, to make toys.


November 17, 1996|By Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel | Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel,KING FEATURES SYNDICATE

A successful company learns to manufacture efficiently and to cut waste. Sometimes the company uses its waste materials to create a product that's unrelated to its main source of income.

The J. W. Murray Manufacturing Co. of Detroit started making stamped metal body parts for automobiles in 1908. Murray realized that the leftover scrap metal could be made into a profitable product, and in 1914 he started to make toy pedal cars.

World War I ended Murray's toy production, but in 1919 he started Murray Products, a toy manufacturing company, in Cleveland. The company first made educational toys, including the Drawing Master, which could duplicate a drawing.

By 1923 the company made a 26-inch-long steel model of a full-size White truck plus a line of toys and trucks known as "Steelcraft."

The company also made pedal cars, pull trucks, airplanes, buses, construction toys, tricycles and bicycles.

After World War II, the firm stopped making the smaller toys and concentrated on pedal cars and bikes.

Collectors desire all large steel toys made in the 1920s and '30s. Some, in excellent condition with original paint, sell for thousands of dollars.

A metal label on the back of my Oriental-type chair says, "From Studios of David Zork, Chicago." Can you date the chair?

David Zork worked as a salesman and general manager for several Chicago-area furniture companies before he founded his own company in 1914. The Zork Manufacturing Co. made reproductions of antique furniture. Zork stayed in business until he died in 1957.

We have a 1921 advertising calendar for Chero-Cola. It pictures a young woman holding a bottle of the drink. All of the calendar's monthly pages are intact. What can you tell me about Chero-Cola and the value of this calendar?

The Union Bottling Works began making Chero-Cola in 1905 in Columbus, Ga.. The company became the Cherry-Cola Co. in 1912. It became the Nehi Corp. in 1928. Chero-Cola lost favor by 1933.

Chero-Cola advertising pieces are hard to find. If your calendar is in good condition, it could sell for as much as $600.

What can you tell me about Maling Potteries?

Maling Potteries worked from 1762 until 1963 in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England. The company, which made some dinnerware in the late 1880s, is best known for its commercial ware and product packages. Maling made tea caddies, biscuit jars, tea pots and vases used by the Rington Tea Co. as premiums and packaging.

My mother saved dozens of hats from the 1930s, '40s and '50s. Are they worth anything?

Clothing and accessories from that era are becoming more popular with collectors -- and with people who like to wear them.

The value depends on the hat's design. A mink hat from the '50s would sell for about $35. Feather hats sell for $25 to $50. Wool hats with ribbon and netting sell for $15 to $45.

My parents brought back a pair of wall hangings from China. The hangings are made entirely of iron and have no back. When they're hung, the color of the wall becomes the background. The "picture" depicts some kind of flowers and branches. What can you tell me about them.

Hammered-iron wall hangings, called "tiehua," date to 17th-century China. They were meant to be hung on white walls of a scholar's study. The black-on-white effect resembled ink paintings.

Tiehua became popular souvenirs for travelers to China. They are still being made.

Pub Date: 11/17/96

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