All posts by Putnam & Speedwell

Historian. Collector. Curator.

Ohio Valley Pottery: A Bowl is a Bowl is a . . .

Ohio Valley Pottery: A Bowl is a Bowl is a . . .

Russel Wright, White Salad Bowl, Steubenville Pottery ca. 1950s

Not a true statement. In my mind, there are bowls – and then there are bowls. Sometimes, bowls take on very interesting shapes. Even production pieces like those made at Steubenville Pottery for the American Modern line of dinnerware designed by Russel Wright. This bowl is a vessel that seems to cradle all that it holds. Sometimes it looks like an open hand …it is a curve that does not stop…

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Bailey-Walker China: Blue and White Ironstone

Bailey-Walker China: Blue and White Ironstone

Blue and White Ironstone, Bailey-Walker China, ca. 1930s

Sometimes I look through a stack of plates with amazement. Really? Seventy-five years old? These plates are really that old? How in the world did they produce millions of plates, literally in the case of Bailey-Walker China Company and at the end of the day, have a quality product. As one writer has put it, the plates are “bullet proof.”   I believe it might have something to do with the fact…

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Vintage Restaurant Ware: A Sentimental Journey

Vintage Restaurant Ware: A Sentimental Journey

Hotel Lafayette, Warwick China

Certainly restaurant ware was not produced to fill emotional needs. In fact these wares fulfilled highly practical needs for commercial accounts such as durability including chip resistance and heat resistance. The rounded edges of restaurant ware resisted chipping unlike dinnerware produced for homes. Later, large manufacturers like Syracuse developed dinnerware that saved space as kitchens…

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Spring Cleaning Tip: How to Clean Rugs

Spring Cleaning Tip: How to Clean Rugs

Household Discoveries and Mrs. Curtis's Cook Book

Last week, I rolled up a rug in the dining room. I was appalled at all of the dust and dirt under the rug. Really shocked … As luck would have it, I had been reading an old book of household hints that predates Hints from Heloise by fifty years. I remembered the section,  “How to Clean a Rug.” Notice that it is a man swinging that rug beater. No wonder  … there is no advice on how to find…

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April Showers, Spring Flowers and Dandelion Bouquets

April Showers, Spring Flowers and Dandelion Bouquets

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Already April. Spring. Since the last post describing the world as our marketplace, we have been a little overwhelmed with the response. Such an honor it is.  The wares produced here in the Ohio Valley that once moved up and down the mighty Ohio River are now making their way across the globe via our little post office and then onto planes and trucks. Already it is spring. It is raining – April…

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Cozy Up to Vintage Handwoven Textiles

Is there a better way to add bright beautiful color to a corner or a sofa or a bed then with a colorful handwoven textiles? From hand crocheted afghans to hand woven Saltillo blankets – it seems like their color and beautiful details add so much to any environment. Especially since no two pieces are exactly alike.

In the winter or a chilly night in any season, a pile of blankets is comforting. On one of those nights, when hibernating seems like part of the natural rhythm of life . . . grab an afghan or a blanket, pick up that book or maybe even, watch the final season of Downton Abbey.

A stack of vintage textiles - runners, rugs, afghan and Saltillo blankets.

A stack of vintage textiles – runners, rugs, afghan and Saltillo blankets.

Read more…

Plain Old White Ironstone Bowls – Perfect for Chili

Plain Old White Ironstone Bowls – Perfect for Chili

Plain Old White Chili Bowl, Buffalo China

A good chili bowl should hold chili. A better than good bowl for chili should not be too wide  – leave the wide bowl for cereal. A wide bowl holds the contents certainly but the narrower width means that the chili will cool down quicker. Maybe a small thing. But early pottery manufacturers in Ohio recognized these small yet critical differences for the food service industry – restaurants, hotels,…

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Cookbooks in the Internet Age

Cook Books

  I am a historian and so, I truly understand that the internet is the greatest tool for any kind of research – including recipes. I was delighted to actually find a recipe for authentic Italian Roast Beef á la Marnell’s (Chicago Heights, Illinois). Italian Roast Beef is such an extraordinary culinary treat that an Italian grocer in Little Italy (Cleveland) had tears in his eyes when he informed…

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Vintage Ephemera: Christmas Cards

They do not make cards like this anymore. . . they are utterly beguiling in simplicity and color.

Simple graphics in this Art Deco Era card are extraordinary – and the typography is striking. The message, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, comes to life.

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The graphics in postcards in the 1950s are definitive. Indeed, they are historical artifacts . . . like this one.

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Greetings From Hollywood Beach, Florida

 

All are one of a kind – choose one for a friend who is one of a kind.

A delightfully happy Saint Nick.

A delightfully happy Saint Nick.