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Ceramic Agates

Agateware is a ceramic product so named because it imitated the stone agate.

It was made by kneading and folding several thin layers of clay, each colored with a different metallilc oxide. The mjlti-layered mixture was then molded and fired.

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Little Statuette Symbol Of Luck

Billiken started out as a stiff little statuette, so ugly it was appealing. It was immediately taken up as a good luck symbol and appeared in all sorts of articles.

He was a special protector of automobiles, and models were made to fit over radiator caps.

In 1909, E. I. Horsman announced he had been granted sole rights to manufacture a Billiken doll, which then appeared with a “Can’t Break ‘Em” head and cloth body. The doll eventually appeared in a variety of costumes, one of which was a Japanese kimono.

Billiken still banks were pictured in a 1913 catalog. One was described as being 4 inches high, of heavy casting, gilted with red hair, and having the word Billiken embossed in the base. It sold for 85¢ a dozen.

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Philadelphia Importers Marked
Items As Erphila

This porcelain Scottie dog, marked Erphila, was an import from Czechoslovakia.
This porcelain Scottie dog, marked Erphila, was an import from Czechoslovakia.

Ceramic pieces marked Erphila were products sold by the Eberling and Ruess importing company of Philadelphia. (The word is a combination of the founders’ names and the first part of their city.) It began operations in 1886.

Items were imported from factories such as Goebel, Villeroy and Boch, Keramos and Schumann, among others. Figurines, art pottery and also some utilitarian items can be found with the Erphila mark, although they are not common.

A variety of German marks were used prior to World War I; they frequently contain the word “Fayence” in black ink. After the turn of the century, a rectangular mark in green ink was used.

From 1918 to the late 1930s, porcelain items were also imported from Czechoslovakia. These were often marked with gold and silver labels.

A variety of other marks were used in the 1930s and 1940s, sometimes in ink and sometimes on paper labels.

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