Category Archives: Dining and Tabletop

Is this Babar the Elephant King coffee mug vintage? Determining if your object is “vintage” for your Etsy shop

In order to sell vintage items on Etsy, the item must be over 20 years old (as of 2016,  before 1997).

Babar MugIf the item you are listing is something you have owned for over 20 years, then it is easy….or perhaps the object is a pottery or ceramic that is signed by the artist and has a date on it, like this panda mug by artist Win Ng  made in 1984 (for Taylor & Ng).

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Or maybe the object is a company with a long history, and  there is a record of when a particular factory stamp was used.

The company Arabia Finland is great at this, and it was easy to learn when this vintage casserole baker was made, based on the factory back stamp (it was made between 1964 to 1971).

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P1310163 This Arabia Finland Casserole Baker is listed on my Etsy Shop (click on photo if you want to see the listing).

You can also click here or the image below  to link to the Arabia Finland official website (with images of their factory stamps starting in 1874!).

Back Stamp Info

But what about an item that has no date, like this Babar the Elephant King cup?

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No date, but it did have the name “Nelvana Ross” on the bottom.

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My initial search led me to this page from the Worthpoint website indicating one like it sold in 2013…

Babar Cup on Worth Point

And while it is nice to know that the cup is rare, I still did not know when it was made.

So the next step was to research “Nelvana Ross’, which led to finding  out about a lawsuit in 1990.

It turns out there was a dispute over product licensing, so perhaps the products did not go out in mass quantity, resulting in making these cups rare.

So, the answer is YES, this item is vintage, and I listed it on the my Etsy vintage shop (where it sold very quickly).

Babar cup listing

And while I do not know the exact date  when the mug was made, the newspaper articles about the lawsuit at least gave me an idea of the manufacturing date  (somewhere around  early 1990 or before) to confirm that yes indeed, it was vintage.


The first Babar book was by Jean de Brunhoff and was an immediate success after its release in 1931. After the death of Jean de Brunhoff in 1937, his son, Laurent de Brunhoff (who was also an illustrator and writer) continued on with the character and the series of Babar books.

Since then, I’ve listed another Babar cup and plate set on the shop, by La Lourioux France Berry Haute Porcelaine.

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You can click on the Babar image above or below to view the listing on my Etsy shop.

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I’ll add articles as I learn more about how to date pottery and other objects.

If you have tips or links to websites with good information, please comment and share 🙂 .


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Corelle brand bowls now sold at Target

The Corelle line of tempered glass dishware and glassware was introduced by Corning in 1970.  The Corelle brand (along with Corning Ware and Pyrex) is now owned by World Kitchen.

The earlier versions of the Corelle product line can be be purchased at many Etsy vintage stores.

As of today, there are 3,423 Corelle related items for sale on Etsy.

Corelle Listings

I spotted these Corelle bowl sets at the main aisles of our local Target store recently…

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Seeing Corelle at Target made me curious if World Kitchen will also reintroduce the popular (past) designs in the Corelle line — as they did for the popular Corning Ware Blue Cornflower line.

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The Spring Blossom design — also fondly known as Crazy Daisy — was among Corelle’s most popular product line.

The bowls sold at the Target store were plain white, and the World Kitchen website — as of today — offered what looked to be completely new, modern patterns.  However, a search tag of “Corelle” on the Target.com website listed 96 items — in white and in a number of new patterns.

The newer Corelle patterns are pretty.

It seems with the ease in getting new Corelle pieces, whether at Target or other retailers, or through the Target and World Kitchen websites, it is inevitable that pricing (and desirability) of Corelle vintage objects will be affected.

New designs are great for new generation Corelle fans, but perhaps not so good for sellers of vintage Corelle items.

Just something to be mindful of if you like and sell Corelle in your Vintage Shop, in case you find your Corelle inventory sitting in the shop  longer than you anticipated.

If you use Corelle products, do you own new  or vintage patterns?

And if you have an Etsy store, have you seen a change related to selling your vintage Corelle pieces?


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Note:  If you want to know the  difference between Corelle, Corning and Pyrex,  read this article posted when I opened up my Etsy Vintage Shop.   

Heath Ceramics receives National Design Award from Cooper Hewitt – Smithsonian Design Museum

California-based Heath Ceramics, well known to many Etsy vintage sellers and mid-century design fans, received the 2015 National Design Award from the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.

Heath Ceramics Award NPR Story
Photo by Mandalit del Barco via NPR.Org

The award category is the Corporate and Institutional Achievement for Product Design, Industrial Design, Crafts.

From the Cooper Hewitt Museum about the National Design Awards…

The National Design Awards celebrate design as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world, and seek to increase awareness of design by educating the public and promoting excellence, innovation, and lasting achievement in American design.

Read more about Heath Ceramics and the National Design Award on this National Public Radio Report (NPR) here.

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Heath’s Sea and Sand glaze, coupe shape dinner plates. You can click on the image to view the listing in my Etsy store.

You can also listen to the radio broadcast by art desk correspondent Mandalit del Barco (featured on the program All Things Considered on 10/15/2015) here.

More about the Cooper Hewitt Museum, founded in 1897 by the granddaughters of industrialist Peter Cooper…

Cooper Hewitt Museum About

Heath Ceramics items were among my first listings when I opened up my Etsy Vintage Store this summer, and represented my 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th sale, right after the sale of vintage Dansk, Fiesta Ware and Pyrex items.

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A Heath ceramics collector who bought my Heath items left the third (and 5-star) feedback for the items and store — after taking a chance buying from a store with (then) ZERO reviews.

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I love vintage Heath objects, and can’t wait to find more to list on the store, that is, if I can resist the urge to KEEP them!

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Heath teacup in the coupe line listed in my Etsy store. Click on photo to view listing.

For more details about vintage items listed on this blog and website, please visit my shop Market Tales Vintage on Etsy.

Thank you!


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English “Transferware” Cups (and more)

My taste in cups — and most objects — tend to be simple designs using natural materials.  I am not into glitzy things, bling on my clothes or overly ornate objects.

My favorite cup at the moment is this blue-green little stoneware beauty, which came from a thrift store (I do not know the manufacturer, only that it is from Japan).

Current Favorite Cup marked from JapanNow that I have an Etsy store, it is easier to expand my appreciation for more ornate objects, since I am curating these for the store.

And although I am taking the item home, I know that my relationship with the object is short-lived… that is of course, if I am successful in selling the item.

I can love the object and know that eventually, it will go to someone who will love it even more than I do.  And if it is going to a home of an avid collector, then even better as it will have many companions!

Take this cup for instance…

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While this cup may not be something I would want to use everyday, looking at the intricate details of the image certainly gave me an appreciation for the artwork.

The image on this cup is applied via a process called  “transferware”.   Transferware also refers to a particular style of pottery and dinnerware ceramics.

The cup is made in England —- the place were transferware originated.

Cup Transferware Image Details

The beautiful image is first engraved by an artist on a copper plate.

Wet ink is then applied on the copper plate and pressed onto very thin, tissue paper.  The tissue paper is then transferred  to the blank cup (or plates and the myriad of tableware items) and then dried in a kiln to permanently set the image.

The story behind how transferware was started is nicely done on Nancy Roberts’ blog Nancy’s Daily Dish.   Here is an excerpt from Nancy’s article:

Although John Brooks, an Irish engraver is credited with having the first patent for the transferware printing technique in 1751, it was John Sadler and Guy Green of Liverpool, who independently discovered  the process, who are credited with perfecting the technique in 1756.

…Like his father, John was a kind man who showed compassion to the less fortunate. He would give extra prints he had to the children living nearby who would in turn go the local potteries and ask for the ‘wasters’ which were broken or un-saleable pots and pottery.

The children would affix the prints to the pottery and use them as decoration in doll houses and play.

When John saw the decoration he wondered, “What if pottery could receive an impression from a wet print, and then be fixed by firing afterwards”.

This thought sparked what would later come to be known as one of the greatest stories of mass production ever.

John, who had apparently developed a close relationship with Guy Green, probably like that of brothers, upon envisioning the idea of a piece of pottery with a print upon it, immediately and confidentially called on Guy Green to explore the possibilities of his new idea… (click here to read the complete article)

Here is my Etsy Store listing for this cup:

Etsy Listing Transferware
You can click on the image to see the listing at the Etsy website.

 

And actually… I had another transferware item — a plate — that I listed over a month ago (before I learned more about transferware).

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You can click on the image if you want to see the listing on my Etsy Shop

The castle image is what attracted me to this particular piece.

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You can click on the image if you want to see the listing on my Etsy Shop

The plate is by Johnson Brothers of England, in the Old Britain Castle Series .

This particular plate is the Blarney Castle 1792, with stamps on back and “Stoke-on-Trent England”.

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The city of Stoke-on-Trent is located in the county of Staffordshire, England — and Staffordshire is known as the area where the transferware technique was developed.

Interestingly, the famed English potter Josiah Wedgwood — founder of Wedgwood — was born in this area.

Because the Staffordshire area has an abundance of fine clay, a pottery industry has existed in this region since the 12th century.  Wow!

Though with so much manufacturing going to the Asia region these days, I do wonder if the pottery  industry will continue in this area, in this century.  Will we see less and less “Made in England” pottery?


So at least now, when I see this type of pottery and ceramic images, I will know a bit more about its history.

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Informative Links:

The Transferware Collectors Club is a forum for sharing information and interests between archaeologists, collectors, curators, dealers, historians, scholars,

Vernon Kilns and the early California “Big 5” Pottery Companies

If you sell items on Etsy or EBay, sooner or later, you will run into pottery objects from California — and especially one originating from what is known as the “Big 5” California potteries.

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Franciscan — by Gladding McBean Co. — footed cup and saucer in the “Jamoca” pattern

I’ve posted about Gladding McBean — one of the “Big 5’s” — as I owned and listed Franciscan  dinnerware items in the Jamoca pattern.

I recently listed a pair of hand-painted “Vernonware” / Vernon Kiln salad plates  manufactured between 1937 and 1958.

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You can click on the photo of the Vernonware handpainted “Organdie” pattern plates to view the Etsy listing.

 

Founded in 1931, Vernon Kilns was based in Vernon, California (about 5 miles south of downtown Los Angeles) and created many ceramic tableware patterns, as well as art ware, figurines and gift ware.

In 1940, they signed a contract with Walt Disney to produce film-related figurines based on characters from the films Dumbo, Fantasia and the Reluctant Dragon.

Especially because of their association with Walt Disney, it it safe to say you will run into not only tableware made by Vernon Kilns, but also collectible figurines (though I have not, as of yet… but then my pottery interest are more related to dining, cookware, garden pots and vases and not figurines).

As of September, 2015, if you type in “Vernonware” in the Etsy search box, you will get 18 pages of listings for over 700 objects!

Here is an image of the 1st page.  So many choices…

Vernonware on Etsy

It seems the hand-painted  “Organdie” pattern was popular and available in many shapes, so it would be easier to collect items in this pattern.

The Organdie pattern was designed by Gale Turnbull, who was hired by Vernon Kilns as their art director in 1935.

Vernon Kilns closed in 1958 due to increasing manufacturing and labor costs, as well as competition from foreign-made ceramic tableware and figurine manufacturers.

Besides Gladding, McBean & Co. and Vernon Kilns, the other “Big 5” were:

  • Pacific Clay Products
  • J.A. Bauer Potteries
  • and the Metlox Manufacturing Company — who, interestingly,  purchased Vernon Kilns and continued to make some of the Vernon Kiln items, until Metlox also closed down in the late 1980s.

Here is a Vernonware pitcher listed in the shop (in the “Sherwood” pattern – and San Clemente shape) that continued to be made by Metlox (manufactured between 1958 to 1965).

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Updated 2016 with this listing — You can click on the pitcher photo to see the listing in my Etsy Vintage shop.

Please comment about your own California pottery finds — I’d like to know more about about companies beyond the “Big 5” as well.


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Related links:

Thor Bjørklund – inventor of the cheese slicer

P1290489I like cheese — especially Danish Havarti and Spanish queso manchego, made from the milk of manchega sheep.  For snacking, cooking and melting, its hard to beat the  Extra Sharp Cheddar from the farmer-owned, Oregon-based Tilamook, which we usually have on hand.

I’ve sliced plenty of cheese over the years, but never gave much thought to the tool that I use to slice my cheese.  Well… at least not until I found the Bjørklund cheese slicers from Norway.

Before I listed these on my Etsy Store, the research — as it often does — revealed interesting information.

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It turns out that the inventor of the modern cheese slicer was a Norwegian man named Thor Bjørklund.  Yes, the same name that is on this cheese slicer.

Mr. Bjørklunde was a master carpenter and attended the Arts and Crafts School in Oslo, Norway.  He reportedly created the design after becoming frustrated with cutting into the cheese in his lunch pack.

Being a carpenter, he modeled his cheese slicer after a  plane – a tool used to shape and smooth out pieces of lumber.

“Ostehovel” Image via Wikipedia Commons

Bjorklund’s invention was patented in 1925.  The cheese slicer was a huge export product for Norway and  became a staple kitchen item in many Nordic households (and beyond!).

These days, cheese slicers are made by a number of manufacturers, but you can still purchase the original ones made by Bjørklund — because they continue to produce cheese slicers modeled after the one invented by Mr. Thor Bjorklund.

Ah yes… the things you learn when you have a blog AND an Etsy Vintage Shop!

Here is a link to the Etsy Listing for the Bjorklund Cheese Slicer (or click on the Etsy post image below).

Etsy Listing


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Update — I’ve also listed another cheese slicer on the store, this one designed by Swedish master jeweler and silversmith Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe for Dansk.

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You can click on the photo to see the listing for this Dansk cheese slicer on my Estsy shop.

The Lonborg Denmark cast iron / blue enamel item — a “Brutalist” bowl?

When I purchased these beautiful Dansk 1960’s era casseroles in the Fluted Flamestone line, it came with  bonus piece.

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Dansk1960’s fluted flamestone 3 quart casserole (click on photo to see the listing on Etsy)
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Dansk1960’s fluted flamestone 2 quart casserole with a tagine-like dome top (click on photo to see the listing on Etsy)

The bonus piece was a cast iron “bowl”.

The prior owner thought the bowl was a Dansk piece and part of the set.

It was not.P1250659In fact, it wasn’t  a Dansk item at all but it could have possibly been purchased with the casseroles in mind.

The bottom of this lovely cast iron piece had  nice clear stamp — so it was easy enough to get preliminary information.

P1250657Within Etsy’s search box, I found  a listing for the item from  an Etsy seller in the United Kingdom:

UK ListingI do my best to research the objects that I list on my store, so it was interesting to see this listing and the title.

The listing title included the words “Brutalist” and Space Age.

A quick search yielded this Wikipedia article about the term Brutalist — a term not yet familiar to me.

Brutalist architecture is a movement in architecture that flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, descending from the modernist architectural movement of the early 20th century.

The term originates from the French word for “raw” in the term used by Le Corbusier to describe his choice of material béton brut (raw concrete).

British architectural critic Reyner Banham adapted the term into “brutalism” (originally “New Brutalism”) to identify the emerging style.

I have seen sculptures described as Brutalist — like this steel and brass piece from the Etsy Store Luola.

Brutalist Sculpture
Vintage mid century free standing brass and Steel Sculpture from the Etsy Store LUOLA (click on image to visit store and listing) PHOTO BY LUOLA and description: A lovely modern / Brutalist interpretation of birds in flight. Carefully crafted from steel and brass. In great vintage condition.

 

So I suppose the term can also be used to describe objects, like the Lonborg Denmark cast enamel item?

A search on EBay yielded this Lonborg listing and an answer to this item’s original use:

Lonborg piece EBay Listing

Ah… so it’s a piece that was part of a warming trivet pack to keep food warm.  Clever, right?

Before I listed the item on my shop, another Etsy “Lonborg” search yielded this listing:

Buffet Warmer

Wow — it seems like my item would be a great match for this buffet warmer (and Lauride Lonborg) listing .

I’ve added the link to my listing page in case someone needs both in their mid-century modern dining collection.

How awesome would it be to have this vintage set to keep food contained in oven to table casseroles nice and warm for a buffet style party…

Here is my listing (you can click on the image to see the item on my Etsy store):

Lonborg Piece as Listed on Etsy


I’m posting this information so that if someone runs into this particular object in the future, they will at least have this blog post to learn what it was used for / or sold as.

And too… I suppose it is to avoid misnaming items.

Let me know if you have seen or are familiar with this piece.  Have you used one?

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Related: Another item listing with a link to an Etsy Seller – The Meaning of Handgemalt