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Quality Varied On Doll Heads Of China

Dolls and doll heads have been made of pottery since Roman times; ;however, after that period, there was little use of this medium for dolls until the middle of the 1800s.

The German toymakers were probably the first to get into quantity production of china heads for dolls although other European countries were also beginning to make them at about the same time. England is not known to have produced china doll heads until about the time of World War I.

American doll makers did not join the competition for this type of doll head until World War I. The first ones to be made in this country that were commercially successful were made by the Fulper Pottery Company. Fulper actually used the molds of a German company; however, although the molds were the same, the dolls can be distinguished today on the basis of quality. Those made in America were form a coarser clay, had a harder finish and were more crudely painted. None were made after 1920.

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Painted Furniture Gave Elegant Look

Our ancestors in early America did not always have access to mahogany and other rare woods that were used in making the finest furniture. They turned to paint to help make their furniture look more elegant.

In England, for example, Sheraton styles were made of satinwood and intricate inlay. In America, this style of chair was made with bright paint and elaborately painted detail. Decorations, both free-hand and stenciled, were added to every available space. Gold was used in the designs in place of the gilded brass hardware used on the other side of the Atlantic.

In the early 1800s, chairs made in this fashion were painted with great care and attention to detail and could be found in the most fashionable homes. Later makers copied the designs, but tended to be less skilled or less careful. The colors were gaudier, the brush strokes were larger and the designs of the chairs themselves were simpler.

By the end of the century, the painted wooden chairs had become common and inexpensive, and were found in the average middle-class homes.

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Builder Of Potential Governor’s
Mansion Overly Optimistic

A note from history…

The residents of Ellensburg, Washington, were so sure in 1880 that their centrally located city would be the capital of Washington that they built a governor’s mansion there.

The building was a 3-story structure, with the most up-to-date features available at the time. There was a spiral staircase, brick chimneys and the best heating, lighting and plumbing known.

Tragedy struck Ellensburg in 1889 when a big fire swept the city, and at the same time, the decision was made to make Olympia the state capital. The potential governor’s mansion escaped the fire but it didn’t have an occupant. The builders were left with a huge dwelling of grandeur on their hands. There was no one wealthy enough in the area to want to buy such a mansion.

When the mortgage came due on April 1, 1892, a sheriff’s sale was ordered. Nathan Cushing bought the property for $4,300. He died soon after the purchase, leaving the property to heirs in the East. They had no interest whatsoever in what was considered to be a white elephant and the building began to decay. Instead of governors, it was inhabited by owls and bats.

In 1904, the 15-year-old building was sold for $800. The new owner sold it again the same day for $950. This owner made a few repairs and restored some of the building to a habitable condition. In 1914, it was converted to an apartment house and, as far as is known, no governors ever lived there.

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