The Adirondack style started with a chair in 1903. Many wealthy folks from the East Coast wanted a cool place to live for the summer, so they started building homes in the Adirondack mountain area.
Thomas Lee was vacationing in the Adirondack town of Westport, New York, and he wanted comfortable outdoor chairs for his house. He made the chair from 11 pieces of wood and finally decided on the reclining chair with wide armrests now known as the Adirondack or Westport chair.
He had a local carpenter friend, named Harry Bunnell, who made the chairs to sell. Bunnell patented the design in 1905. Lee never received any of the profit.
The homeowners in the Adirondacks had other pieces of furniture created that were made of local wood, twigs and carving as decoration. The style was very much like Western or Rustic style today. It originally was all handmade of local wood by nearby carpenters. Sometimes there was added paint, or cut out and applied figures like stars or animal profiles. Pieces are heavy looking and since they are made of logs, they are heavy to move.
An Adirondack bookcase and cabinet was in a Skinner auction and sold for $6,150. It had carved diagonal lines on the trim around the two lower cabinet doors, two upper glass doors, plus a decorated center on each cabinet door and some applied burl decoration. Inside are three drawers and two shelves. It’s definitely homemade and one-of-a-kind.
Q: Can these be sold? I have a pair of Royal Purple nylons, with back seam, in their original box. It reads “10½ style 704/4 nutria ¼” on the end of the box. Are they of value, or should I just give them away?
A: Collectors of vintage clothing are interested in vintage stockings. Royal Purple was a trademark of Sears &Roebuck. Silk stockings were fashionable until nylon was invented. Nylon stockings were introduced at the 1939 New York World’s Fair and were first sold in 1940. Stockings went out of fashion when pantyhose became popular in the 1960s. Royal Purple stockings have sold online for $6 to $35 a pair. The empty box has sold for $4.50.
Q: My painting, I was told, was taken from a museum in Hungary. When the townspeople heard the Germans were coming, they broke into the museum so they could hide the paintings. This painting was hidden in my mother’s cousin’s house for several years and brought to the U.S. when she came to visit in the 1960s. The cousin planned to give it to the Jewish family she helped to escape during the war, but gave it to my mother instead. We can’t find a signature on the painting. What should we do with it?
A: Thousands of paintings and other works of art were taken during World War II. Most artwork was taken by the Nazis, but soldiers took some as “souvenirs,” and townspeople took some to hide. There are several databases for stolen or missing artworks. Scotland Yard, Interpol and the FBI maintain databases, but the largest database is The Art Loss Register (artloss.com). Contact them to see if your painting is one that has been reported as missing. They probably can find the original owner.
Q: I recently found a bunch of old bottles. Several of them are common, but the one that grabbed my attention has “Royal Magnesian Spring Water Co. Louisville KY” on the bottle. I’ve searched archives and called the libraries in Louisville, but found nothing. Can you give me any information about this bottle?
A: Royal Magnesian Spring Water Co. sold bottled spring water, carbonated water and soft drinks made using water from a spring located a few miles from Louisville, Kentucky. Spring water contains magnesium and other minerals thought to promote good health. A 1906 ad for Royal Magnesian Spring Water claimed it was good “for health, strength and nerve” and was also a “uric acid solvent … good for Rheumatisms and for Kidney and Stomach troubles.”
In 1915, the business was taken over by Merchants Ice and Cold Storage Co., which continued to sell products under the Royal Magnesian name. That company went out of business about 1980.
Tip: You can wash an iron pot by hand with dish detergent. When iron pans were first used, soap was made with lye and it washed the seasoning off the pan. Re-season with a few drops of vegetable oil, then wipe again.
Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.
Bottle, Dabler’s Flavors For Ice Cream, Desserts, Cakes, etc., vanilla caramel, paper label, 1920s, 8 ounces, $15.
Sugar bowl, turquoise-blue milk glass, relief grapevines with bunches of grapes, footed, dome lid, grape cluster finial, 1920s, 6 inches, $60.
Scent bottle, ruby-red glass and silver plate, tubular with hinged lid on one end and screw cap on other, engraved July 4th 1880, Victorian, $215.
Bonbon, raspberries and flowers, handpainted, scalloped with gold rim, Oscar &Edgar Gutherz Porcelain Co., Austria, circa 1900, 8-inch diameter, $320.
Bronze bookends, big rig truck, molded, protruding from arched plaque, flaired rounded base, hammered, 1930s, 6 x 6 inches, $405.
Match holder and striker, pig-shaped, yellow with black slip, striations for striking and hole for matches, Yellowware, circa 1880, 3 x 5 inches, $570.
American flag, cotton on wooden stick, hourglass pattern of 44 stars, mounted on fabric and board, gilt frame, circa 1895, 27 x 24 inches, $850.
Hot chocolate pot, pear-shape, copper with turned wood handle, curved L-shape feet, pivoting stopper and lid, France, 1700s, 8 inches, $1,025.
Friendship Quilt, red and white pinwheels, 450 embroidered names, made by women of a church in Iowa, circa 1910, 76 x 92 inches, $2,550.
Cheval mirror, mahogany, renaissance style, carved pillar supports and scrolling skirt, arched paw feet, Horner, circa 1870, 73 x 41 inches, $3,495.