Early 20th-century farms and households had many unusual appliances with identities and purposes that have been lost to time. Look at this device with toothed wheels and a hand crank that sold for $266 at Conestoga Auction Company in Pennsylvania. Is it a kitchen gadget—perhaps a fruit or vegetable peeler? Some kind of grinder or chopper? In fact, it’s a mechanical rope twister.
In the early 1900s, farmers made their own rope. Most people buy it ready-made today. The buyer probably intended to keep this rope twister as an antique instead of using it as a tool. Someone crafty, curious, or very dedicated to do-it-yourself can buy modern, usable rope twisters or kits online.
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Q: I bought a vase shaped like a goose at a garage sale 20 years ago for 25 cents. It’s about 12 inches tall and the back is open like a vase. It’s marked HB Quimper. It looks hand painted. What can you tell me about it and what, if anything, is it worth?
A: It’s worth more than 25 cents. Pottery was made by three different factories in Quimper, France, beginning in the late 17th century. Pierre Bousquet founded the first factory in 1708. It became the HB Factory (Hubaudiere-Bousquet) in 1782, after Antoine de la Hubaudiere became the factory manager. HB merged with two other factories in 1968. After more changes in ownership, the factory became Henriot-Quimper in 2011. Variations of the HB Quimper mark were used from 1895 to 1984. Your goose vase with an open back is a planter. One sold recently for $40, although some sellers are asking higher prices.
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