Different curves, colors told where Toleware was crafted in 1700s

Tim Kovel and Kerry Kovel
Cowles Syndicate
This 19th-century 10-inch-high painted tin coffeepot sold in a Cowan auction for $544.

Toleware was popular in New England and nearby areas in the 1700s. Collectors today identify the existing pieces by similarities in the shapes and painted decorations on newly discovered pieces. 

Two paint colors were used as the base coat to protect the tin from rust; black or red was used in Pennsylvania, but only black was favored in parts of New England. 

Pennsylvania makers usually made a straight spout and a handle with an extra piece to reinforce the curve in the handle. New England makers favored a simple curved handle. The body was a lighthouse shape, and tinsmiths made a gooseneck spout. Yellow, green, red and white flowers and leaves were stenciled on as decorations. The tinware lost favor when copper and silver plate became more available because tin often rusted. But some of the small utensils, such as cookie cutters and funnels, remained in use. 

More:Aug. 22: Current prices

Question: I have two Jasper curio cabinets. I purchased them in the 1960s from Harlem Furniture Co. in Dayton, Ohio. I was hoping that you could help me out with finding new keys! Thank you.

Answer: If antique furniture collectors buying — or those inheriting — older curio cabinets or chests are lucky, their pieces will come with original keys. Check to see if the key is taped in a drawer or on the back panel. If the key is not found, first remove the lock (it may be easy to remove the door or drawer that holds the lock) and take it to an antiques store, hardware store or a locksmith. Call ahead to make sure the store has a collection of old bit keys, often called skeleton keys. If you're lucky, the store will have a key that fits. If not, a locksmith can look for a bit-key blank that's a close fit. Antique master keys can typically open every lock in a home, most commonly in Sears Craftsman and Victorian homes, as well as any home that's close to a century or more in age. The antique skeleton key is also known as a "Big and Barrel" key.

Q: I'm interested in knowing if there are any collectors of Feudal Oak pieces. I inherited several pieces and don't have room for all of them. These particular pieces were crafted in Jamestown, New York, 90 to 100 years ago.

A: Feudal Oak furniture was made by the Jamestown Lounge Co. The company was founded in Jamestown, New York, in 1888. It started out making lounges but by 1900 was making a variety of case and upholstered furniture. The Feudal Oak line was made from 1928 until the 1940s. The machine-carved pieces were made from oak trees that grew near Jamestown. The company was sold in 1978 and closed in 1983. Dark, heavy oak furniture is not in style now, so it might be hard to sell. Some Feudal Oak pieces sell for low prices, a center table about $150, chairs for $25 each at auction, some in shops. 

Q: Can you tell me the possible price of a silver cake or pie server from the 1939 New York World's Fair? It has a picture of George Washington, standing, at the top of the handle and five stars below that. The wide part of the server has seven flags above "New York World's Fair 1939." 

A: The New York World's Fair opened on April 30, 1939, the 150th anniversary of George Washington's inauguration as president of the United States. The Fair ran until the end of October 1939. It reopened in May 1940 and closed in October. Your souvenir cake server is silver plated and made by National Silver Company. The company started before 1904 but stopped making flatware in the late 1950s. The value of your World's Fair souvenir cake server is $10 to $20. 

Q: I have many fond memories of a toy clock I played with in the 1960s and was surprised recently to find that old toy in a bin from my parent's garage. It was made by Fisher-Price Toys and is called the Tick Tock Clock. How much is it worth?

A: The bright red Fisher-Price Wind-Up Teaching Clock you are talking about was made from 1964 to 1968. It was made to look like the front of a schoolhouse, complete with a teacher welcoming children in the front door and a school bell at the top of the toy, near the bright yellow handle. When you wound it up, it played the Grandfathers Clock Song. The clock face had big numbers, images of the sun and moon, and the clock hands moved around as the song played. It taught motor skills and how to tell time. In good condition, the clock sells for around $60.

Q: I'd like to know something about the maker and age of some plates I found at a resale shop. They picture a Colonial couple in the center and have fluted edges with a gilt lacy border. There is a circular mark that says "The Cronin China Co., Minerva, Ohio" and "National Brotherhood of Operative Potters."  

A: The Cronin China Co. was in business in Minerva, Ohio, from 1934 to 1956. Semi-porcelain dinnerware was made. The National Brotherhood of Operative Potters was founded in East Liverpool, Ohio, in 1890. The National Brotherhood became the International Brotherhood in 1951. This mark proves your dishes were made before 1951. 

TIP: Can't hook the catch on your bracelet? Tape one end of the bracelet to your wrist, then close the catch.

Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer readers' questions sent to the column. Send a letter with one question describing the size, material (glass, pottery) and what you know about the item. Include only two pictures, the object and a closeup of any marks or damage. Be sure your name and return address are included. By sending a question, you give full permission for use in any Kovel product. Names, addresses or email addresses will not be published. We do not guarantee the return of photographs, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. Questions that are answered will appear in Kovels Publications. Write to Kovels, (Name of this newspaper), King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803 or email us at