Arts and Crafts furniture was in style from the late 19th to the early 20th century. It was very different from the ornate styles of the earlier Victorian era. It had the advantage of new tools and mass production. The Arts and Crafts movement promoted skilled craftsmanship, quality work, and simple, sturdy shapes.
Iconic Arts and Crafts and Mission workshops, like Stickley and Roycroft, are known for their simple furniture made in dark oak with little ornamentation. This doesn’t mean that every Arts and Crafts piece is a plain, heavy box!
This umbrella stand, which sold for $300 at a Selkirk auction in St. Louis has a light, intricate look. However, its design uses straight lines and simple geometric shapes. Its ball feet create a sturdy look; and, as an umbrella stand, it was made with use in mind.
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Q: I found an old electric toaster from the 1920s at a flea market. I am using it as a decoration in my kitchen. What is the history of toasters?
A: Toasting bread with electricity and not over a fire was made possible in 1905, when American metallurgist Albert L. Marsh developed a nickel-chromium alloy he called Chromel. It was low in electrical conductivity, infusible, and re- sistant to oxidation, which made it the perfect metal to shape into filament wires and coils for heating elements. In 1908, General Electric patented its own nickel-chromium alloy that contained iron. It was called calorite. In 1909, GE introduced its D-12 bread toaster, in-vented by Frank Shailor, which was a commercial success, 19 years before the invention of bread-slicing machines in 1928.
Over the next 100 years, toasters were made of metal, wood, porcelain, and Bakelite. The value of a vintage toaster depends on its rarity, aesthetics, and the design of its electrical and mechanical works. We are amused by a toaster twice as long as others that toasts the bread by sending it through the long toaster instead of popping up.
Tip: Save your broken dishes, vases, and other decorative china to make mosaic stepping stones or tabletops for your garden. Chipped vases can still be used for flowers or turned upside down to make toad homes.