ANTIQUES: Vintage bells difficult to find
The bells are difficult to find because many have been sold as scrap and melted, and others are too heavy to be moved for a reasonable price. But a vintage bell often is less expensive than a new one.
A bronze bell that sold a few years ago had the name “Vanduzen and Tift” molded into the metal. It identifies a Cincinnati maker, a partnership founded in 1837. The partners made top-quality bells during the 19th century. The bell that sold also was molded with a date, which was worn but appeared to be 1864. A four-digit number on a cast-bronze bell indicates the year of the casting.
The mold for a cast bell can be used only once.
The mold is broken to get the bell out after it cools.
If a small bell is marked with a date, it probably is a design patent, because the mold can be reused.
Vintage bells of all sizes often need to be cleaned or restored. A cast-bronze bell should not be painted. Once it’s cleaned, it should be left to develop its natural patina.
Q. I have a Windsor chair that my parents bought in the early 1930s. It is 44 inches high and has a fan back with nine straight spindles and two brace spindles. The chair is black with gilt striping.
On the bottom there is a metal medallion that reads “The Simonds Furniture Co., Syracuse.” Can you tell me more about my chair?
A. Elgin A. Simonds was a business partner of Gustav Stickley in the late 1890s in Syracuse. In 1898, Stickley bought out Simonds, who then bought the Hayden & Couch Chair Manufacturing Co.
of Rochester, N.Y., and formed the Brown & Simonds Co. That company was renamed the Elgin A. Simonds Co. in 1901 and became part of a consortium of furniture manufacturers. The Simonds company made faithful reproductions of traditional furniture.
Windsor chairs made by Simonds sell for $100 to $350.
Q. The white sailboats on my cobalt-blue tumblers are discolored. Is there any way I can clean them without losing the sailboats? I also have some tumblers with white windmills that have the same problem.
A. Your tumblers are part of the Sportsman Series, made by the Hazel Atlas Glass Co. in the 1940s.
Designs featured sailboats, golf, hunting, angelfish and windmills. The pattern was made in amethyst, cobalt blue and clear glass, with fired-on decorations. The sailboats and windmills are being removed by the very hot water and detergents used in a dishwasher. Wash the tumblers by hand.
Q. I have an old Cuff ‘n’ Collar Maker with original patterns and attachments.
It was made by Wheeler & Wilson of Bridgeport, Conn., and lists patent dates in 1850, 1851, 1852 and 1865. It is not a regular sewing machine. No one I talk to knows what it is.
A. Wheeler, Wilson & Co. was founded by Allen B.
Wilson and Nathaniel Wheeler in Watertown, Mass., in about 1851. Wilson was a cabinetmaker who patented his first sewing machine in 1850. The company became Wheeler & Wilson Manufacturing Co. in 1853 and moved to Bridgeport in 1856. At one point, it was the largest manufacturer of sewing machines in the world.