Little boys are often terrified when they are taken for a first haircut. All those high chairs, strange men and flashing scissors. So for generations, some barbers have had special figural chairs for children. The most popular is probably a horse.
There are barber chair collectors who have enough room to display them or antique lovers who buy one adult chair and keep it in a home bar or library or even living room to use. But those who dream of having a barber’s chair must remember it weighs several hundred pounds and will be hard to move to another location, especially up or down stairs. The special large metal chairs with the hydraulic parts also may need repair.
Today, the most remembered names of barber equipment are Kokens or Belmonts, but one of the oldest is Emil J. Paidar Company from Chicago. It was the leading barber chair company from the early 1900s to the late 1950s. The company chairs were copied by other makers. In the late 1950s, Belmont merged with Takara Chair Sales Company of Japan. Takara started by 1921 and opened in New York in 1959. The new company joined Koken in 1969.
The man’s barbershop chair has changed little over the past 100 years except for the upholstery material and more streamlined metal parts, but the child’s chair today can look like a car, airplane, horse, motorcycle, spaceship and more. Cowan auctions recently sold a chair by Emil Paidar Co. of Chicago. It is an early chair marked on the foot. The front of the chair is a realistic stuffed leather horse that the child sat on for a haircut. It was estimated at $1,500 to $2,500 and sold for $1,375.
Q: My grandmother has some pieces of modern copper jewelry she bought in New York City. Most are marked “Mason.” I learned that metalsmiths made costume jewelry in shops near silversmiths who made inexpensive handmade pieces that they sold to customers and exclusive downtown shops. Is Mason a store, a company or an artist?
A: Winifred Mason (1912-1993) was an African-American jewelry designer. She graduated from New York University with a master’s degree in art education in 1936, then worked as a Works Progresss Administration teacher and a craft instructor in Harlem. Her handcrafted copper jewelry was purchased by friends. In 1940, she opened a workshop. She wouldn’t copy a piece; each piece was unique. By 1943, she had so much work that she hired other artists. Art Smith, a famous modernist jeweler, was an early apprentice and shop assistant.
Her work became popular with entertainers, actors and others looking for the modern style. There were exhibitions of her jewelry in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Haiti. Winifred won a fellowship in 1945 that enabled her to travel to Haiti. Afterward, she began to make jewelry inspired by Haitian culture.
She met and married Jean Chenet in 1948. In 1949, in Haiti, they built a jewelry manufacturing company making jewelry for tourists under the mark “Chenet d’Haiti.” Her husband was killed in the 1960s, and she moved back to New York. In later years, she was active in promoting Black women artists, was vice president in 1939 of the Brooklyn chapter of Girl Friends, a black organization, and was honored in 1990. She died in 1993.
Q: Can you give me the value of a Reco collectors plate called “Best Friends”? It pictures two girls in old-fashioned dresses with a kitten on the front. On the back, it readss “Plate #3414 FB in the limited edition of ‘Best Friends’ by Sandra Kuck, First issue in the Sugar and Spice collection.” It’s autographed by the artist. What is it worth?
A: Collector plates were popular from the 1970s to the 1990s but aren’t as popular today. This plate was made by Reco in 1993 and is based on a painting by Sandra Kuck. She is known for her prints and plates featuring pictures of children in Victorian-era settings. She has been chosen Artist of the Year several times since 1983 by the National Association of Limited Edition Dealers. Reco made collectors plates from about 1978 to 2001. Reco’s Sugar & Spice series included eight different designs made in 1993 and 1994. “Best Friends” originally sold for $45. It now sells for about $15-$26. The autograph, if it is added and not part of the plate design, makes it worth a little more, maybe $50.
Q: We’re looking for information and price for an old stove. Several names are stamped on it: “Garland Stoves and Ranges, Inland Garland Stove, Michigan Stove Co., Detroit-Chicago, Garland Aerated Oven, Patented Dec 1889.” We think a part for the back is missing.
A: The Michigan Stove Company was founded in 1873. The company made stoves, furnaces and heaters and was the world’s largest stove manufacturer by the 1890s. Over 200 models of Garland cooking and heating stoves were made. Garland Group was formed in 1995. It became part of Welbilt Company in 2008. Old stoves in good working condition sell for a few hundred dollars. Those in poor condition or with missing parts are hard to sell.
Tip: If a drawer sticks on a vintage piece of furniture, remove it and rub the runners with glide ski wax.
On the block
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.
Beatles souvenir pin, electric guitar shape, silver tone metal and black plastic, six keys, black and white portraits of John, Paul, George and Ringo on body, 1960s, 4 inches, $40.
Typewriter, Remington Rand, Model 1, black, white trim, round keys with silver metal rims, Remington Speed Mechanism, circa 1938, $90.
Cast-iron mailbox, house form, eight decorated sides, “LETTERS” and a crest on door, peaked top with acorn finial, turned tapered support, square stepped base, 44 by 13¾ inches, $160.
Paper, Mardi Gras parade bulletin, Carnival Edition, Pageant of Rex, Feb. 12, 1929, Outline of History, 20 frames with float images, printed by Searcy & Pfaff, 28 by 42½ inches, $250.
Pottery bowl, terra cotta, glazed and painted, three spotted birds, red legs and beaks, dark gray ground, red inside, ring base, Nazca style, Peru, 3¾ by 5 ⅝ inches, $485.
Toy, riding, bear, brown mohair, stuffed, glass eyes, growler ring on back, metal base, four red wheels, early 20th century, 20 by 26 inches, $530.
Clock, tall case, Gustav Becker, oak, flat overhanging top, rectangular paneled door with Arts & Crafts carving, round face, white over brass, Arabic numbers, black arrow hands, circa 1900, 80 by 21 inches, $625.
Jewelry, pin, circle, nine oval faceted amethysts, alternating with nine stylized leaves and nine diamonds, 18K yellow gold, marked Tiffany & Co., 1 inch diameter, $820.
Furniture, cupboard, step back, Scandinavian, pine, stained, painted dentil cornice, two upper paneled doors, two lower paneled doors over two paneled drawers, painted flower sprays on each, one door with initials RKS, dated 1831, 75½ by 65 by 20½ inches, $1,125.
Bottle, medicine, Leavin’s English Vermin Destroyer, aqua glass, oval form, embossed lettering, applied sloping collar, New York, 1840-1860, 7⅞ inches, $1,800.