At a local flea market, I ran across a box of spoons not too long ago. When I started looking through them, I found quite a few utensils that really got my interest. The Victorian Era was pretty interesting when it came to the serving pieces that were made, and one of those serving pieces was in that box I bought.
That piece is a red tomato server and is marked WM ROGERS MFG ORIGINAL ROGERS. The server has the LA FRANCE pattern and dates to the early 1900’s.
Here’s the kicker—there are two different types of tomato servers. There’s one for red tomatoes and for green.
There’s a big difference to the server, and it’s that the spade on the green tomato server is not perforated. The red tomatoes can be juicy, so the perforations lets the juice drip through. Green tomatoes are not nearly as messy so you don’t have to worry as much about spilling tomato juice on the table cloth.
A modern twist on this type of server is that you could use the green tomato server to serve fried green tomatoes. You can see the red tomato server in my Etsy store here.
What kinds of Victorian serving pieces have you run across?
Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer in the United States, bringing thoughts of family vacations in packed cars, picnics, days at the beach, trips to the lake and fun in the sun! Here are some fun finds for summer from the Etsy Vintage Team…
When I began collecting vintage towels, I was drawn to the beautifully colored, intricate designs of the 1950s and 60s, when the screen printing process was very sophisticated and elaborate designs were the norm. As my foray into collecting continued, I discovered that I was equally attracted to the simple one and two-color designs of the 1920s and 30s from the Art Deco period. Their charm is in their simplicity and ability to paint a complete picture with little color.
Linen tea towels made their appearance in Victorian England in the second half of the 19th century in service of tea, hence the name “tea towel”. They were used as tray liners, covers to keep tea hot and, of course, utilized to dry precious ceramic teapots without scratching or leaving behind lint. Often these towels were elaborately embroidered by ladies of the household, becoming an integral part of the tea service itself which was passed down through generations.
When household linens began to be mass produced, block printing by hand was utilized to decorate towels. The monochromatic nature of these early printed tea towels often created striking designs. One-color, tonal variations of one color and then two-color towels were produced with successful results. They have a lot of character and depth even with the lack of detail and simple color scheme.
As time went on, towel designs were machine printed using more sophisticated methods producing multicolored and intricate designs. However, I’ve discovered that early printed tea towels deserve as much attention as their fancy successors.
If I had to choose a favorite, I would pick the lanky maid in yellow.
This is a special Sunday edition of Fun Finds Friday because it’s May Day! When I was in elementary school, we made little paper baskets and filled them with paper (or real) flowers to hang on people’s doors for May Day. This friendly activity may have gone away, but May Day still is a celebration that spring has arrived.
Enjoy these sweet May Day finds from the Etsy Vintage Team…
In the bookselling world, ex-library books are often maligned and scorned as being worthless or beneath the highfalutin standards of many antiquarian booksellers. While it’s true ex-library books are marked by the library (some would say defaced) – with stamps, stickers, bar codes, pockets, and the like, I find these very markings and institutional traces to be charming and sometimes beautiful.
I’m talking mostly about older, specially bound, library books in this regard. (Modern library books are often simply regular books straight from the publisher with the dust jacket encased or laminated in a plastic cover, taped to the boards, with stamps and a pocket for the due-date card added, though now even the pockets are obsolete and absent. These do not particularly appeal to me unless the dust jacket itself is a nice example of vintage dust jacket art.)
Many library books have been specially bound in a library binding of sturdy buckram cloth. These are the books that are often embellished with the binder’s metallic label inside the front or back cover. Buckram is a sturdy, shiny coated cotton or part-cotton cloth that is used for library bindings. The cloth can be a solid color or a multi-colored pattern and is easy to wipe clean after marred by borrowers’ dirty hands with a damp cloth. Often children’s library books previous to the seventies had an illustration printed on the buckram cover.
Some even older library books I’ve come across have cloth or leather spines and corners, but decorated paper covered boards – perhaps marbelized paper, or paper printed to look like wood.
Some of the library markings that have their own special appeal are the perforated stamp, spelling out the library name in tiny holes, the stickers from the maker of library bindings – often in a metallic paper, with cool names like “Bound to Stay Bound,” notices and warnings of fines to the library borrower, and instructions on the proper treatment of books.
Depression glass is a colored glassware that was distributed either free or at a very low cost in the United States and Canada around the time of the Great Depression.
The great thing about Depression glass is that it comes in a wide varieties of both colors and shapes. They are even very functional, like this green kerosene lamp from the circaonetsy shop:
While not in use, you can have this on the corner of your retro desk or on a bookshelf. You can see the lamp on Etsy here. Another terrific Depression glass item that would be great to use or display is this black glass serving bowl with an Art Deco design on it.
The great thing about it is that it could be used to hold fruit on a kitchen table or even potpourri on a side table. You can see it in the shop of KitschyVintage here.
As you can tell from the few examples, there are so many different examples of Depression glass on the market today. You can see all of the great examples that the Etsy Vintage Team has to offer here.
What kinds of Depression glass have you run across?