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Fifty Years Later Roads Were Much Better

In 1916, a 1½-ton GMC truck, with a 1-ton load of Carnation Evaporated Milk, made the first Seattle-to-New-York truck run. It also completed the first transcontinental round trip shipment of freight by road, returning to Los Angeles.

The trip was sponsored by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce to promote the city’s accessibility to motor freight haulers.

A husband-and-wife team, the William Warwicks, were the drivers. They made the trek from Seattle to New York City in just 73 days! Only 31 of those were actual driving days, however, for they had numerous obstacles along the way.

The truck broke through 43 bridges and culverts and got stuck in the mud innumerable times. One one-mile stretch took them four days to cover. The Warwicks also ran afoul of bootleggers at one point.

A repeat journey was again sponsored by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce in 1966. A modern 40-foot GMC tractor-trailer rig, carrying 17 tons of Carnation food products, left the Space Needle. Following the exact route used by the Warwicks 50 years previously, the drivers made the trip in just slightly over three days. (They apparently were not slowed down by bootleggers!)

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German Silver Was Cheap, But It
Wasn’t Really Silver

German silver is an alloy of copper, zinc and nickel. These three metals combine to give a product that is silvery white in color, giving rise to the “German silver” name. It was made as an inexpensive substitute for the real thing. Occasionally, a small amount of silver itself was added to the mix, or the finished piece was given a silver wash. At the most, the true silver would account for three percent of the finished weight.

German silver was first made in Bavaria in the early 1800s. It was used for making cheap novelties and souvenirs for sale to tourists or for export, presumably in the hope that it would pass for good enough quality to last at least until the traveler got back home. By 1850, these German silver trinkets could be found worldwide.

The designation “German silver” began to be used in 1890, when a United States law was passed which required all imported merchandise to be stamped. Unethical merchants anxious to make an easy and large profit often explained to their customers that German silver was a special kind of silver made only in Europe and sold it for more than sterling.

The production of German silver was not confined to Germany, either. It has been produced worldwide for many years now. Sometimes one continues to hear it referred to as “low-grade” silver. Even this in an inaccurate term, since it is actually not silver at all.

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Transferware From England
Featured In Schiffer Book

Transferware Guglet
You might mistake this for a vase. However, it is an example of a transferware guglet.

Transferware was the major output of many English factories in the 1700s and 1800s, and much of what they produced was shipped to the United States. And while it was made in many colors, there is no doubt that the favorite color, then and still today, is the blue transferware.

A 2012 publication of Schiffer Publishing is Extraordinary British Transferware, 1780-1840. While avoiding the use of the word “rare,” it showcases pieces the authors consider uncommon, interesting or thought-provoking. This last includes some items whose use is still a mystery. Some of the pieces themselves are of interest; others are included because of their unusual pattern.

Items included are grouped by use: Chapter 1, Food Preparation & Storage, includes such items as a milk sieve and a gooseberry jar – yes, there was a special jar for storing gooseberries after harvest. Chapter 2, Dinner Ware; Chapter 3, Tea Ware; Chapter 4, Toilet & Medical Ware; Chapter 5, Child’s Ware, Miniatures and Toy Ware; Chapter 6, Commemorative and Special Order Ware; and Chapter 7, Miscellan­eous. All have interesting or unusual pieces or patterns.

I found pictured such items as suckling pots and guglets. A suckling pot was used to feed an infant. A guglet was a long-necked vessel used to store water before it was served at a dinner table. It might also have been used as a decanter for wine. There were even furniture lifts made in blue transferware. Used to raise pieces of furniture off the floor, they would keep the wooden feet of the furniture from getting wet and rotting when a stone floor was washed.

Extraordinary British Transferware, by R & R Halliday, (ISBN: 978-0-7643-3974-5), hard back, is priced at $59.99. Check with your local bookseller or see the Schiffer online catalog at www.schifferbooks.com.

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