Miller's Old Stuff on Ebay
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Ron & Donna Miller - Publishers

Gaming Machine An Early Gimmick

An old trade stimulator is often confused with an old vending machine. The trade stimulators were commonly in use in the late 19th and early 20th century.

It was a coin-activated device that was really more a type of slot machine than it was a vending machine, however. A customer’s penny set the machine in motion. If a certain combination of numbers appeared, the customer would be paid two or three times the amount of the purchase he had just made. If no winning numbers appeared, the merchant had just made an additional penny and the customer had only his original merchandise.

They were commonly found in shops that sold inexpensive merchandise such as candy, gum or cigarettes.

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Unusual Doll Heads Hard To Find

Doll heads have been made of dozens of different materials. One of the more unusual kinds, and also very hard to find today, is made of leather. F.E. Darrow obtained a patent for making these in 1866 and continued with their production until 1877.

The leather was stretched over molds, dried and painted. Most of the heads were marked.

Another unusual type was patented by John B. Dane and C.S. Cannon in 1919. Their doll heads were made of a sheet metal front and bavck, permanently secured at the vertical point. Not many of these are around. They were probably only made for a brief time following World War I, until German doll heads were once again obtainable.

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Birds By The Stangl Pottery Still Popular

Stangl Birds

Johann Martin Stangl, best known today for his ceramic birds, went to work for the Fulper Pottery in 1910 as a chemist and plant superintendent. He acquired a financial interest and became president of the company in the late 1920s.

In 1929, the name of the firm was unofficially changed to Stangl Pottery; it was not officially changed from Fulper to Stangl until 1955.

In the 1930s, much of the effort was devoted to producing a high class dinnerware in an attempt to survive the Depression. The pieces were hand carved and hand painted with bright colors. The company also produced a variety of gift ware.

Around 1940, a limited edition of porcelain birds, modeled after illustrations in Audubon’s Birds of America was issued. The porcelain birds are not easy to find today.

Subsequently, Stangl began production of less expensive ceramic birds and these proved to be a popular item. (They are still popular with collectors.) Each bird was hand-painted.

The Stangl birds are well marked with impressed, painted or stamped numerals, indicating the species and size.

The Stangl Pottery eventually closed in 1978.

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