An Andiron is the horizontal bar in which logs are laid on for burning in open fires. Usually used in pairs to build up a fire dog. In older eras (16th to 18th Century) andirons were also used as a rest for a roasting spit or were cup shaped to hold the porridge.
Andirons hold the the firewood up so that air can pass around, allowing the logs to burn properly and minimising the smoke. Typically supported on short legs and with an upright guard. This guard keeps the logs from rolling our of the fireplace. The guards may be made of iron, copper, steel bronze or even silver and can be elaborately decorated, some in the form of a dog which plays on the dual meaning of fire-dogs.
Fire dogs with no or little decoration were made of metal or ceramic and we also used in kitchens with ratcheted uprights for the spits. Very often these uprights branched out into arms or hobs for stewing or keeping food hot.
A National cash register in a family-run jewellery store is still giving perfect service a century after it was made
The family has been running its jewellery business in Muncie, Indiana, since 1895. Five generations later, the glass-fronted antique cabinets and Victorian oak partners desks have been replaced by more modern retail furnishings. One important feature remains the same – the store’s ornate 100 year old cash register, which was installed in the 1920s and is still used every day.
The gleaming brass machine, with the company name displayed in ornate lettering, was made in 1912 by the National Cash Register Company of Dayton, Ohio – inventors of the first ever cash till. Totally at home in its diamond-studded environment, the machine is manually operated through punch keys and a hand-cranked side lever which, when pulled, produces the familiar “ker-ching” sound which opens the drawer. The compartments are notably larger than those of modern tills, reflecting the size of Edwardian bank notes. Another interesting point is that the maximum which can be rung up in any one transaction is $89.99 – which was worth considerably more back in 1912. The family gets around this by making a note of the difference and popping it in the drawer.
An antique till was used to humorous effect in the comedy series “Open All Hours”, but these days a museum is the most likely place to find one. However, antique dealers in Lancashire sometimes have them – just look among the antique desks and Victorian dining chairs .
The golden chandelier symbol displayed in a window or at a fair, is the sign of membership of LAPADA, the Association of Art & Antiques Dealers. Since its inception in 1974, LAPADA’s membership has grown to over 600 members making it the largest association of professional art and antiques dealers in the United Kingdom. Although the majority of its membership is UK based, LAPADA also currently has 50 members in 16 other countries. Membership is only open to those who meet the Association’s requirements as to experience, quality of stock and knowledge of their subject. Between them, members cover virtually every discipline from antiquities to contemporary fine art.
LAPADA was the first antiques trade association to introduce a Code of Practice, the purpose of which is to reassure the public and give them confidence when they make a purchase from a member. All members have agreed to abide by this strict Code of Practice and in the unlikely event of a dispute, the Association’s free Conciliation Service.
In addition to the protection afforded by the Code of Practice, all art and antiques dealers (unlike auctioneers whose Conditions of Sale protect them) must comply with consumer protection laws. The LAPADA Code of Practice also ensures that all items for sale in a member’s shop or at a fair must be clearly and correctly labelled including the price: LAPADA members are not permitted to use confusing codes.
When you buy from a LAPADA member you will be given a written invoice stating their trading name, address and telephone number, date of sale, brief description of the item(s) – including the approximate date, any major restoration or alteration to the item since original manufacture – and the price paid.
Biedermeier was an influential style of furniture design from Germany during the years 1815–1848
Biedermeier Style was a simple interpretation of the French Empire Style of Napoleon I which introduced Roman Empire styles to modern early 19th century houses. Biedermeier furniture was usually made from local available timbers like ash, cherry and oak rather than expensive imported mahogany as it was heavily taxed at the trading ports nearby such as Antwerp and Hamburg. Stylistically the furniture was simple but elegant and its construction utilised the ideal of truth through material, something that later influenced the Bauhaus and Art Deco Periods.
Biedermeier lifestyle and furniture was focused at exhibitions held at the Vienna applied Arts museum in 1896. Many visitors to the exhibition were influenced by the elegance and fantasy style so much that a revival period became popular amongst many European cabinet makers. The revival lasted until the Art Deco Period began.
Examples of Biedermeier furniture
Thomas Chippendale was a master of his craft whose work is of enduring significance – and on two counts. As the author of the oddly titled “The Gentleman and cabinet makers Director “(first published in 1754), he produced the first substantial collection of furniture designs. Apart from demonstrating his genius, this provided clients and craftsmen throughout the century with a superlative pattern-book from which furniture could be chosen and made. In this way Chippendale’s work did much to improve standards of both craftsmanship and taste, while also initiating a new genre without which the work of subsequent designers such as Hepplewhite and Sheraton would have been unthinkable. Moreover as a cabinet maker, Chippendale himself produced furniture of the highest excellence, mastering every style to which he turned his hand and working for the aristocratic elite of his time. This book describes both Chippendale’s printed designs and his actual furniture – two subjects that overlap rather than coincide.
He was born into a vigorous craft tradition that was still capable of further refinement and not yet threatened by factory mass-production. And he came to manhood when heavy furniture was becoming outmoded – a time when creative change was in the air. This was not just a matter of demand for lighter or more elegant furniture, but involved a simple but decisively important technical change – in broad terms, the replacement of walnut by mahogany as the wood used for quality furniture.
Almost everybody has heard of Chippendale, he is so famous that people jokingly refer to their battered household chairs as their “Chippendale’s” and in a more serious vein they use the word to describe almost any 18th century mahogany furniture whose workmanship is fanciful or intricate
The Great Exhibition – The worlds first ever international exhibition – was held in Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London in 1851. There were thousands of exhibitors and the event was an unabashed celebration of British wealth, power and know how, designed as a showcase for the artistic prowess of a great imperial and industrial nation. Charlotte Bronte described it as “a marvelous stirring, bewildering sight, a mixture of Genii Palace and a mighty bazaar”
It made vast profit and successfully distracted the British people from the political and industrial unrest of the previous decade, yet everyone agreed on its splendour. Certainly in their desire to outdo each other in luxury and ingenuity, manufacturers of furniture, ceramics, textiles and other decorative artefact’s, attained new heights of vulgarity, imitating every conceivable period and style and often combining several in one object, the majority of exhibits were met with crys of outraged good taste!
Among the accessories introduced for the service of the dining table in the second half of the 18th Century, were stands designed to hold knives, forks and spoons. These stands like dumb waiters, were used when service in the dining room was dispensed with and especially at informal supper parties
The whatnot is essentially a set of shelves raised on corner posts and with castor’s to make it mobile. Whatnot’s appeared between 1790-1800. Gillows of Lancaster record examples as early as 1790, usually they were made of mahogany or rosewood.
Whatnots are an occasional piece of furniture intended for the display of items which Victorians used to surrround themselves with ie china, bronze, glass or stone etc. Having a drawer in a whatnot also adds to the value