Sunday, June 26, 2005

Collecting Teddy Bears

One of my passions is collecting antique teddy bears. There are sub-categories within this category: miniature bears, Steiff only, and bruins on wheels, to name a few. I wish I had the "geld" to collect only Steiff bears!

I have a few Steiff bears, including a Panda, which isn't a true teddy bear, according to some people. "True" teddy bears are ones that resemble the first teddy bear, made in 1903. To each his own, I say!

A Brief Teddy Bear Timeline

In 1902 President Theodore Roosevelt makes national news when he refuses to shoot a bear cub while hunting in Mississippi.
The Washington Post publishes a cartoon of the incident in November of 1902. An American, named Morris Michtom, sees the cartoon and his wife, Rose, designs a toy stuffed bear. Mr. Michtom writes to President Roosevelt, asking for permission to name his bear after him. The President agrees, and "Teddy's Bear", the most commercially successful toy ever, is born.

In 1903 an American toy buyer, at a German trade show, purchases 3000 upright bears made by Steiff. Strictly by coincidence, Steiff had produced a line of upright bears in 1902, which did not catch on in Germany. The Steiff bruins, which stood on all fours, were very popular there, however. As the legend goes, Steiff was ready to discontinue the upright bear line when the 3000 bears were purchased for the burgeoning American market.

In 1906 other American toy manufacturers get in on the action, including Horsman. (The Michtom's endeavor becomes The Ideal Toy Co.) In Germany, Hermann and Bing become notable competitors with Steiff, and all three companies export bears across Europe. About 1915 the Teddy Bear catches on in England, and notable firms like Farnell and Chiltern lead the way. A decade later, Chad Valley and Merrythought maufacture beautiful teddies.

This period is known as the Golden Age o

Monday, June 20, 2005

Victorian Calling Cards

In Victorian times, calling cards were used for announcing one's arrival at the home of a friend or acquaintance. The maid would bring the card to the mistress of the house. The cards for gentlemen were different than those for visiting ladies. Ladies' cards were decorated with die-cuts, embossed, or fringed. Men's were more plain.

Here is an exerpt from Harper's Bazaar, ca. 1868: "Visiting cards for the coming season are of unglazed card board, large and almost square. Tinted cards, especially buff, are fashionable. The lettering is in old English text, or in script. The expense of fifty cards is $3.50.

One corner of the card is turned down to denote the object of the visit. In different cities a different signification is attached to these broken cards. We give the custom of New York society. On the left hand upper corner the word Visite is engraved on the reverse side. This corner is turned downed, displaying the word on the front of the card to signify that an ordinary call is made. On the right hand corner is Felicitation, to be used when making a visit of congratulation on some happy event, such as a marriage, or the birth of a child. On the left lower side is Conge, or Good-by. The remaining corner is marked Condolence."

Calling cards fall into the antique category of "ephemera", or paper collectibles. Related categories are calling card cases and calling card receivers. Card receivers held cards left by visitors who called while the mistress was out or 'not receiving'.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Hi Folks,

Did you know that marble or granite countertops should be washed with distilled water, soft soap, and a bit of ammonia? Mix in a plastic container and apply. Traces of acid or iron in tap water will cause deterioration or stains.

We recently had our old formica countertops replaced with granite. I love the look! You can put hot pots on it.... Yea! And you can chop on it.... Yea, again!

I'll be adding more tips, so check back again! Or you may find them on the homepage of my website: Happy antiqing!

~ Evelyn