Thursday, May 27, 2010

Vintage Wolverine Cabinet

In 1903, Benjamin Bain founded the Wolverine Supply & Manufacturing Company based in Pittsburgh, PA. The company originally made metal tools and dies. Around 1913, a toy company contracted Wolverine to manufacture the equipment used to make toys. When the toy company went out of business, Wolverine started their own toy line and continued operations until the 1970s.

I bought this tin litho Wolverine kitchen cabinet from a woman who played with it as a child in the 1950s. Except for a little rust in the interior of the lower cabinet, she and her sister kept it in excellent condition. It's 20 1/8" tall x 17" wide x 6.75" deep. These cabinets usually sell for $40-$150 depending on the condition and the rarity of the design. Sometimes they come as counters with shelves, stoves, refrigerators, cupboards, and yes, even the kitchen sink. I've seen a tin armoire, dresser and bed. I like my particularly version because I can open the cabinet doors and drawer.

The kitchen I'm designing is based on Kit's era, which is during the 1930s Great Depression. The dainty aesthetic of the design fits better with the turn of the 20th century Art Noveau movement though. It's not until the 1940s and 1950s do you see the with streamlined white and pink refrigerators and stoves with the futuristic curves.

You can also sometimes find great kitchen miniatures suitable for 18 inch dolls on Ebay under the categories Toys & Hobbies > Vintage & Antique Toys > Kitchen Sets. Or if you want to only look at Wolverine, here's a direct link:

The majority of Wolverine kitchen designs I've seen have been sleek white backgrounds with red stenciled outlines, which fits more with the 1940s sensibility. I've also seen pink, yellow, blue, and light green which is in style with the 1950s. Sometimes they do use intricate designs that include Dutch wind mills, faux wood, Mother Goose, and floral.They are toys after all.

Here's some current auctions:

This Cabinet is more a 1930s aesthetic, especially the yellow and green.

Hutch with faux wood

Full Kitchen Set

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Etsy Watch May 16 - May 23, 2010

Oh, darnit. I was too slow. I missed out on this copy of the pink gown that Romola Garai of Emma wore in the scene at Box Hill where she outrageously flirts with Frank Churchill. I guess I will have to commission another person. Perhaps I can even get the matching spencer...

The matching spencer:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

MrsC's Blue Felicity Gown

This colonial gown with embroidered fabric was created by Donna Cotterman, also known as MrsC. The gown actually looks even more beautiful on Elizabeth, who has blue eyes. I original saw the gown on MrsC's Picasa album, and asked her if she was making copies. She wasn't at the time, but months later she gave me an opportunity to add it to my collection. So the lesson learned is that if you see something you love, it doesn't hurt to ask!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Blue Colonial Toile Gown

In the 18th century, toile patterns were floral or depicted pastoral scenes, and were colored navy, red, or black on white or cream background cotton fabric. Textile makers often lifted the patterns from book illustrations, and manufactured the fabric prints using wood blocks or copper plates with madder or indigo dye. Here's a general history of toile from Sewing Needle Work and also a more detailed article at the Quilter's Muse.

The following gown was made by Dollies' Dressmaker. I guess Chrissa here is pulling a Scarlet O'Hara, as I thought toile was usually used for room decor, but hey, it would have been expensive fabric back in the 18th century. I guess she's showing it off. The pattern is of two idyllic dancing figures, clad in classic robes.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Samantha's Ice Cream Dress

In Happy Birthday Samantha (1987), Samantha and her friends, Agatha and Agnes, make ice cream using a wooden ice cream freezer. They poured ice and salt on the outer rim and then put the ice cream ingredients in the center container and stirred with the crank handle. American Girl created a miniature replica that really makes ice cream. (I'll post photos later.) The ice cream freezer model with the crank handle was probably invented in the 1840s.

In a reprinting of Happy Birthday Samantha, American Girl editors actually changed the illustration, so there's a couple versions of the dress. You can compare at Emily's book comparison website or look at the more specific illustration from 1998.

American Girl never created Samantha's ice cream outfit from the illustration. So I bought this custom copy from Heritage4, based on the 1987 illustration. It's very well made.

Here's more about the history of ice cream.

I thought it was interesting that in the 19th century Augustus Jackson, an African American in Philadelphia, made a fortune selling ice cream and confections. I doubt he was the first person in America to make ice cream, as ice cream (or some form of it) was written about by Americans" throughout the 18th century. I would be willing to credit Jackson though for being a very successful businessman in the Philadelphia area, during a time period when African Americans could not even vote.

I wonder if anyone has seriously tried looking in the census or other official records for Augustus Jackson name. But here's an interesting article to be taken with a grain of salt...

"Augustus Jackson, a Philadelphia Negro, was the first to make America's favorite frozen confection--ice cream--according to the records in the possession of citizens living in the City of Brotherly Love. In 1832 there were five Negro confectioners in Philadelphia. One of them was Jackson, know in his day and time as 'the man who invented ice cream.' He also was a caterer. For an extended period he enjoyed a monopoly of the sale of this dessert. He demanded $1 a quart, and had no difficulty selling all he made...The Jackson establishment was in what was then known as Goodwater Street, now St. James, between Seventh and Eight streets. After his death his daughter continue the business for several years on Walnut street, near Tenth street. Members of the Jackson family, with their limited facilities, were unable to meet the public demand for ice cream, and other confectioners and caterers, principally Negroes, began making it to their financial advantage."
"Phily Citizen Was First Maker of Ice Cream," Lester A. Walton, The Pittsburgh Courier, May 19, 1928 (p. 12)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Etsy Watch April 29-May 15, 2010

Squee! It's the matching Alice in Wonderland Coat from the movie! Should I get it? Ok, I'm going to get it! It was created by the Enchanteddesigner on Etsy.

Here are some Etsy listings that I thought you might like. If you don't snatch up them, I might have to do it myself...






Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Modern White Dress Heritage4

from Heritage4! This white sundress is well made and very reasonably priced. I never buy modern custom outfits, but Heritage4's photography was so lovely, that I couldn't pass it up.