Football hard on players human and mechanical Antiques: Cast-iron bank depicted a tackle, but only a few are left.

October 12, 1997|By Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel | Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel,KING FEATURES SYNDICATE

American football, which evolved from soccer and rugby, was developed on college campuses in the Northeast beginning in 1880. The first intercollegiate "football" game, between Rutgers and Princeton in 1869, actually was a soccer match.

The early games were violent, filled with pushing and shoving.

James Bowen, a mechanical-bank designer for J&E Stevens of Cromwell, Conn., created a cast-iron football bank named "A Calamity," which featured three players. The ball carrier moved forward when a coin was placed in the slot. At the same time, the two defenders moved, and the three figures' heads clashed. Few of the banks have survived. The bumping probably damaged the figures.

What is the difference between solid gold and 14-karat gold?

The terms used on jewelry to explain gold content are covered by several laws. Pure gold is "24-karat gold." If an item is "14-karat gold," it is 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts other metal.

"Solid gold" means it is not hollow. The piece also should include a karat mark. "Gold filled," "gold overlay," "rolled gold" and "electroplated gold" are terms that indicate the metal object has been covered with a thin layer of gold. "Gold wash" or "gold flash" means an even thinner coating of gold.

Can you use ultraviolet light to date old Vaseline glass?

Greenish-yellow Vaseline glass was made with uranium in the 19th century. Under an ultraviolet lamp it fluoresces yellow-green.

New Vaseline glass also might contain uranium, though, so the light test does not always tell the glass' age. The new glass is not as radioactive as the old glass because the U-235 has been removed. A Geiger counter would help you date the glass. Don't worry about the radioactivity. It is at such a low level it is safe.

The Kovels welcome letters and answer as many as possible through the column. Write to Kovels, The Sun, King Features Syndicate Inc., 235 E. 45th St., New York, N.Y. 10017.

Pub Date: 10/12/97

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