A little Lefton Pottery history

George Zoltan Lefton was a Hungarian-born sportswear manufacturer, and he had a big passion for collecting fine porcelain.  From 1945 through 1953, the Lefton pottery company was importing many things from postwar Japan including (but not limited to) head vases, figurines, cookie jars, and salt and pepper shakers.

These items are marked “Made In Occupied Japan,” and the figures even sport a red and gold paper label that read “Lefton’s Exclusives Japan.”

Lefton contracted pottery companies around the world to produce ceramic items for Lefton.  These items are just as diverse as what they imported.

One such item is this terrific collector plate.

This great plate is to help celebrate a 25th anniversary, and it also has a silver motif on it. Another item that shows how diverse Lefton is this great nappy.

This is a pleasant suprise to me when it comes to being a nappy–every time I see a nappy, I think that it has a floral motif on it. Not only does this have that, it also has a Victorian scene in the middle.

This is small variety of the pieces that are out there for Lefton. What have you run across?

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What exactly is opalescent glass?

It doesn’t matter exactly where you are shopping for antiques and collectibles, you will run across a type of glassware called Opalescent glass. What is it exactly?

Opalescent glass is a general term for either a clear or colored glass that has a milky white, opaque or even a translucent effect to a portion of a glass piece.  It could be limited to just the rim of the piece, but you will also see it on the body of the item.

Lalique, Sabino, Jobling (this is from England) and even Fenton are all well known for their opalescent glass production.  This type of glass has also been produced in various other countries like Italy and Czechoslovakia.

One way of creating this glassware is the slow cooling of the thicker areas of the glass.  This results in what’s called crystallization, which is the formation of the milky white layer.  Another method is used in hand blown glass.  When hand blowing the glass, you use two layers of glass—the outer layer will contain chemicals that react to heat to cause the opalescence.

Another way to create Opalescent glass is to reheat certain areas of a piece and apply chemicals to the glass.  When you reheat the piece, the chemicals you use will create the opalescence (the chemicals are heat sensitive).

Over the years, there have been quite a few different colors that have been made that sport this type of effect.  Here are some of the colors that you will run across:

Amber Opalescent

French Opalescent

Pink Opalescent

Blue Opalescent

This is just a few of the colors that have been made.  What colors have you run across?

What are some of the different types of pottery that is used in the kitchen?

When you start to go to auctions, antique malls or even flea markets, you will hear several different names for pottery that is used in a kitchen.  Here’s a couple of the names that you will run across:

Bone china—this is a type of porcelain that contains bone ash in it. Bone china is the strongest of the porcelain or china ceramics, having very high mechanical and physical strength and chip resistance, and it is also known for its high levels of whiteness and translucency.

Stoneware—this is made from unrefined clay.  This type of clay has a grittier texture than porcelain due to its higher sand content.  This is fired at a high temperature (2185 degrees Fahrenheit), and the end result is a piece of pottery that is strong and chip resistant.  This type of pottery is often used to make mugs and baking dishes, and it can also be safely heated in ovens.  Stoneware is popular for dinnerware because it’s durable—and it is also less expensive than porcelain.

Earthenware—this is fired at 1915 degrees Fahrenheit, which is quite a bit lower than stoneware.  The result of this is porous pottery that is not nearly as strong as either stoneware or porcelain.  A lot of the time, earthenware can be strengthened by glazing (glazing hardens the surface, making it non-porous and it allows earthenware pieces to be used for cooking).  This is most commonly used to make pots for plants—terracotta is a type of earthenware pottery.

Porcelain—this is made from the finest quality of white clay. It is fired at a very high temperature (2300 degrees Fahrenheit)—this results in a hard, strong and translucent piece of pottery.  This type of pottery is usually white with a very smooth surface.  It is non-stick, non-porous and even dishwasher safe that makes porcelain the safest pottery to use in a kitchen. High-end dinnerware is commonly made of porcelain, and it is the most expensive kind of pottery.

This is some of the more common names that you will run across.  What are some of the names that you have run across?

What are some of the different types of marbles that you will run across?

Marbles are a fun area to collect with a wide variety of them to find.  There are so many different names out there, it can make your head spin.  Here’s a few of the names that you will run across:

Bennington—this type of marble got their name from Bennington pottery in Vermont.  They made some spotted pottery that looks like this type of marble.  Bennington marbles have a blue or even brown glaze, and the marbles aren’t completely round.  This is because Benningtons have a circular unglazed spot on them that is a result from it touching another marble while still wet with glaze.

Steelies—this is actually a ball bearing that is being used as a marble.

Peewees—these are very small marbles that measure less than a 1/2 inch wide.

Onion Skins—these are End of the day marbles in which colored flecks of glass are stretched while these are being made.  This is so the core has may swirls that resembles an onion.

This is just a handful of the names that you will run across when you are dealing with marbles.  What names have you run across?

What are some odd utensils for the kitchen that you might run across?

It does not take long in the world of antiques and collectibles for you to run across a weird utensil for the kitchen.  Here are some of the oddities that you might run across:

Cake Breaker—this is a multi-pronged metal serving piece that looks like a large comb.  It was primarily marketed as a way to slice a delicate cake without putting any undue pressure on it.  Items like Angel Food Cake are one of the items that you would use this on.

Oyster Server—this has an edge that looks like a circular saw edge.  Items like fried oysters were extremely popular at the turn of the 20th century, and this popularity demanded that this type of food get its own server. The Oyster Server’s jagged flared edge helps to gather small, lightweight food.

Lemon Forks—these tiny forks were usually used for lemons that were served with seafood or tea. The tines are sharp and splayed outwards to grip the tough lemon rind.

Victorian Folding Fruit Knife—in the Victorian era, fruit was considered a luxury because shipping it was very hard if not impossible in some cases. Men carried these fruit pocket knives to display their economic stature.  These have a small blade that is the perfect length to cut fruit.

This is only a few of the odd utensils that you will run across for the kitchen.  What have you run across?

What are some key aspects that you need consider when you are buying antiques?

When buying antiques and collectibles, there are some key aspects that you need to keep in mind.  Here are a couple to remember:

Try to keep within your budget.  You wouldn’t want to spend an entire month’s budget on just one item.

Buy what you love.  It can be anything from pottery to advertising items.

Quality of the piece.  You might think this as the condition of the piece, but it is actually down a totally different road.  With this, you need to look at how well each piece in the item is made and how well the item is put together.

Keep an eye on the condition.  Chips, cracks and even missing paint will more often than not take away from the value of the item.

Ask plenty of questions.  Any reputable dealer will be more than glad to take the time to answer any question you might have about the piece.

This is just a couple of the things to keep in mind when you are buying antiques or collectibles.  What are some that you know of?

What are some of the different types of glass that I could run across?

When you are out and about shopping, you will run across a wide variety of glassware.  Satin glass, Depression glass and Burmese glass—there are more than enough types of glassware to make your head spin.  Here are some of the types of glass that you could run across at our favorite place to shop:

Peachblow glass—this is a late 19th century glassware that can be found either opaque and more often satinized.  This type of art glass is graduated in color from shades of red or rose to a white color at the bottom.  This glass is It is also never lined.

Glass etching—this type of glass comprises the techniques of creating art on the surface of the glass by applying an acidic, caustic, or even an abrasive substance.  Traditionally, this is done after the glass is blown or cast (although the mold-etching form has replaced some forms of surface etching).

Cameo glass—this is a luxury form of glass that is produced by etching and carving through fused layers of differently colored glass.  This will produce designs (one being a white opaque figure and motifs on a dark-colored background).  Highly coveted pieces are examples that have more that three colors on them.

Peking glass—this is an overlay carved glass created by layering material around a core that is very similar to Cameo glass. This glass was created in Peking, China (hence the name).  Peking glass is more often than not made with different colored layers of glass.  This creates a contrasting look when the outer layers are carved away.  In the late 19th century, glass companies in Czechoslovakia produced imitation Peking glass beads for them to use as costume jewelry pieces.

What other different types of glass have you run across?