Chinese Made Inferior Export Enamelware
Enameled ware was made first in France in the middle of the 17th century, and the idea was copied in other parts of Europe. Jesuit missionaries then took a few pieces into China in the late 17th century; the emperor, Kan H’si, encouraged the technique to be copied. In China, the pieces were known as “foreign porcelain,” since the procedure had been imported.
Chinese painted enamels had a base of bronze or copper, which was coated with a white enamel, fired at a low temperature, and then decorated with colored glaze. Gold and black were added later, but were not fired. The enameled pieces were considered gaudy and were not favored by the scholars who dictated tastes.
Nevertheless, the painted enamels were made in Beijing for the court. There were vases, covered containers, plates, trays, candleholders and square wine cups. Subject matter varied. Birds, peaches, figures, floral designs and even some European subjects were used. Very few items were marked in any way.
Enamelware was also made around Canton in the south for export, and most of the pieces found today are those known as Cantonese enamels. The quality of the export items was definitely inferior to that of pieces made for use in China. Cigarette boxes, napkin rings, ashtrays and matchboxes were common export items. Those from the 1930s are still easily found.
Enamelware for export has continued to be made for export, although the quality of recently made items has deteriorated even more, and contemporary designs are less detailed, have thinner coats of enamel and more gaudy colors.
The outer surface of enamelware is quite fragile, and most pieces one finds on the market show some damage. They can be repaired or restored, and this may be a worthwhile task if one is dealing with quality older pieces.
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Bissell Sweeper Popular In Homes
The carpet sweeper was a tremendous boon to housewives when it was invented in 1876. Melvin Bissell’s basic apparatus consisted of a brush which was fitted inside a metal box. As the sweeper was rolled backwards and forwards over the carpet, the brush inside rotated, sweeping dirt into the box.
Some of the early designs also had small rotary brushes on the side to clean along the edges of baseboards and furniture.
The sweeper had a knob that enabled one to adjust the height of the carpet sweeper’s box off the floor, to allow for different carpet levels, and the box was easily emptied by simply pressing a lever.
The sweepers quickly became very popular, and are still just as practical today for quick clean-up jobs.
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Lum & Abner Offered An
‘Accent’ed Version Of Calendar
I found an interesting? peculiar? fun? old book recently. It’s called the Got ‘em Down Store Catalogue and Calendar, by Lum and Abner.
When radio was the primary means of mass communication, Lum and Abner brought their observations to millions of listeners every week (with the help of their creators, Chester Lauck and Norris Goff.)
I share with you here the calendar/almanac for April, 1939, along with a couple of items from their catalogue:
1. Sat. They’s a million dollars under your pillow.
2. Sun. April Fool yesterday. Guess we had you.
3. Mon. 1860 - Pony Expres started. Had 80 riders. Been books writ by 430 of them.
4. Tues. Good day fer luck.
5. Wed. 1935 - 4 billion relief bill signed.
6. Thurs. 1909 - Adm. Peary got to North Pole. Ida picked July becus warmer.
7. Fri. Squire Skimp says good day fer recoopin investments.
8. Sat. 1854 - Ganges Canal opened.
9. Sun. Easter Sunday.
10. Mon. Arbor Day.
11.Tues. First April shower about now. Or else last Sunday.
12. Wed. 1777 - Henry Clay borned.
13. Thurs. 1743 - Thomas Jefferson borned.
14. Fri. 1865 - A. Lincoln shot.
15. Sat. - A. Lincoln died day after.
16. Sun. About time fer spring fever.
17. Mon. 1790 - Ben Franklin who flew kites died.
18. Tues. Nothin doin today.
19. Wed. 1775 - Paul Revere finished makin dust fly early this a.m.
20. Thurs. 1892 - Theyre tryin to quiet horses scared yesterday when first horseless carriage driv in Chicago.
21. Fri. Spring fever definit. Sulpher and mollases.
22. Sat. Nother dull day.
23.Sun. 1616 - Shakespeare dead. He wrote about unhappy fellers.
24. Mon. Look fer steady rains.
25. Tues. 1854 - Men buyin new style paper collars.
26. Wed. 1936 - Town of Waters, Ark., becomes Pine Ridge by state decree. Hooray.
27. Thurs. Cedric borned. Ferget the year.
28. Fri. 1936 - Lum and Abner leave for Louisville and Kentucky Derby.
29. Sat. First May flowers about now.
30. Sun. G. Washington inaugurated.
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