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Waltham Dial Co. Did Enamel Work

In 1890, Edwin D. Wetherbee and Daniel O’Hara, both experienced jewelers and skilled in the making of fine watch cases, formed a partnership under the name of Waltham Dial Co. The name was changed to the O’Hara Dial Co., shortened to O’Hara Co., and finally incorporated in 1913 as the O’Hara Waltham Dial Co., Inc.

The basic line was always enameled watch cases, but several other enameled articles were also produced over the years. These included dials for clocks, telephones, radios, meters, compasses, auto name plates, pin boxes, ashtrays, hatpins, and buttons.

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Cinderella Would Have Had Too Many
Choices Of Glass Slippers

Glass Slippers
A glass boot, slipper and bootie, all made in the Daisy and Button pattern.

Cinderella might have been dismayed by the number and variety of glass slippers and shoes that appeared in the United States toward the end of the Victorian era. They were made in almost all of the styles of Victorian ladies’ shoes. There were high button shoes, low-laced slippers and slippers with buckles and bows. There was even a slipper on skates and another high-topped shoe with a spur.

Not only were there all those styles, but they came in a variety of patterns and colors. Slippers were blue, amber, yellow, crystal, milk glass, opaque black, slag and more, and they came in such patterns as Daisy and Button or Diamond Block.

Cinderella would have found glass slippers being used in many ways. Some were made as holders for scent bottles. Some were filled with a stuffing to be used as pincushions; and others appeared on the dining table as salt and pepper shakers.

Glass slippers continued to be made throughout the 20th century, with the Westmoreland Glass Co. and the Fenton Art Glass Co. among the glass companies who made them in multiple colors and styles.

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Portable Writing Desks
Much Heavier Than Laptops

Travelling desks, also called lap desks or portable writing boxes, were almost a necessity in the 18th and 19th centuries for men in those professions that required a great deal of traveling. Preachers, lawyers, judges and ship masters all needed a way in which they could write while away from home.

Although there were many variations in size and shape, they were all boxlike affairs with a hinged wooden writing surface. The surface was covered with a cloth material, usually felt or velvet. The bottom or front of the box contained a space for paper, pens, ink bottles, sand (used like a blotter,) and whatever else the traveler chose to tuck in. A lock and key kept the contents private. (No need for passwords, though!)

The boxes tended to range from 10 to 18 inches in length and 4 to 8 inches in depth. The deeper ones had room for a “secret compartment,” which could be opened by a device on the inside of the desk.

Even though designed for traveling, the desks were not as easily portable as today’s laptop computers; they ranged in weight from 10 to 40 pounds.

Some of the boxes were plain, but many were quite elegant. Some had tops with designs made of inlaid wood. Brass around the edges not only gave a decorative touch, but also offered protection. Frequently, a metal plate with the owner’s name engraved on it was attached to the top of the box.

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