June 9, 2014

Sharing Our Keeps

These pewter/silver plate pieces were gifted to me by my late mother-in-law, Mary.
They had belonged to her parents, Ruth and Alvin.
Pewter came into fashion again in the 1920's.
She thought these had been purchased in Philadelphia around 1924.

I've been entrusted with many of the things she valued most.
She appreciated that we saw beauty in many of the same things.

I couldn't resist this shadow on the pillow.
It reminded me of Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast.
Can you hear Angela Lansbury singing?

These pieces have some bumps and bruises, but I think it adds to their charm.
This pewter cocktail shaker is the most damaged with large dings.
It came from the John Wanamaker store in Philadelphia.
Mary's father worked as the electrician for the store.
Lots of interesting history about Mr.Wanamaker.
A person could spend an afternoon reading about it all...and I did.

Above is the cocktail shaker marking.
Below is from the bottom of the coffee urn.

If you ever come across this mark, LMP Pat. Feb.06.06, it refers to the patent for Chromel- 
now called Nichrome, patented by an American named Albert Marsh.
Marsh discovered that this alloy, a mixture of nickel and chromium, 
had the ability to heat up quickly with very little electricity needed.
By using it in a wire, many electric heating devices became possible.

Thanks to his brilliance, we enjoy everything from toast to using a hair dryer.

Evidently there was quite a scandal with other companies (like GE) ripping off 
the Hoskin's Manufacting Co. where Mr. Marsh was an employee. 
GE lost the lawsuit filed by Hoskin's but payed out much more than the judgement amount 
in order to own partial rights.
Good thinking, GE.

Ok, history lesson over.

The coffee urn has no cord or interior filter, but it's great as a display piece.
I also noted that several of the coffee urns on eBay were listed as having Bakelite or wood handles.
These are definitely wood, including the tiny black bun feet.

This is the tray marking.

The Universal Percolator was first produced in 1905, according to the web.
There's some interesting reading about Landers, Frary and Clark.
"The Saga of Landers, Frary and Clark"- here.
(I told you I was reading all afternoon.)

I wonder if the sugar bowl had a top?
 Maybe lost in travel from Philly to Texas?
 Ruth and Alvin lived here until their deaths in the late 1970's.

I think these pieces are beautiful.
I really enjoyed learning about some of the history that they relate to.
Hey, wake up!  No sleeping on my blog!
It's almost over...hang in there.

 Can you spot a similar coffee set in this ad from 1917?

This email from 2005 was tucked inside the urn.
I had forgotten that I'd put it there.
Thank you, Mary.

If I ever travel to Philly, I'd love to go see the store.
It's a Macy's now, but the place looks incredible.
Anyone have childhood memories of going to Wanamaker's for Christmas
or eating in the Tea Room?
I'd love to hear about it.
I'm pretty infatuated with it now!

I'll share about the old bread board table later this week!

Sharing at:


  1. some of those pieces invite you to pick them up and hold them in your hands. really neat.

  2. Beautiful pieces! I love learning the history of antiques, etc.


  3. Love the history, plus they're great design! Thanks for sharing the history with us. :)

  4. I love that the cocktail shaker has the most dings, sounds like lots of hearty ice shaking:@) I took the train to Wanamakers for the Christmas organ show with G-Mom-B when my boys were very young (4-5?). It was a fun trip!

  5. How nice to find the history! I love investigating my pieces.

  6. These are some really lovely pieces, Tina, and the family history makes them even more special. xo Laura

  7. What gorgeous pieces Tina -
    Have you ever thought of getting a job with the Antiques Road Show?
    I could just see you on it - having a blast!
    Loved your detailed history of each piece -and I didn't even yawn once girlfriend !

  8. I love old pewter, especially when it has a family history. Great post!

  9. There's just something about the look of aged pewter. Such lovely family treasures. And that shadow does look like Mrs. Potts.

  10. very interesting, tina:) great pieces--- and shame on ge! have a great week!

  11. Tina,
    beautiful pieces, dings and all, just make them better! Being from family just makes them all the more special.

  12. Tina-That is so interesting. I read every word--and never fell asleep at all. I love that you were entrusted with these pieces. What a wonderful connection to the past. I have heard of Wanamaker's but was never there. xo Diana

  13. Great pieces! Especially that they are family treasures. I, too, spent hours looking up the history of the pieces I brought home from my grandmother's house.

    Thanks for sharing!

  14. Tina those are wonderful treasures to have! I always love a piece that tells story.

  15. You could get a second job as a researcher! Very interesting! Love those pieces too!

  16. Don't you love it when a piece sends you on an internet excursion! Books do that to me as well. What fun pieces and some interesting history as well. Thanks for sharing it with us lady!

  17. I think my favorite part about inheriting family treasures is knowing a bit of history about them. Imagine the stories that cocktail shaker could tell!

  18. Nice lesson, but I'm sort of fixated on the lesson of the drink shaker. Like it's hot outside, lesson learned make a beverage before you go outside.

  19. I love to be entrusted with family or friend heirlooms. I also feel that it's rewarding to the donor to pass them to someone who will value them. I like to hear that there are many more people that research the origins of their pieces. It's fascinating to think of the journey they've been on. If teapots (etc.)could talk!

  20. A great set, and how sweet to have the note tucked inside. My mom had a lovely collection of pewter that my sister now has. Oh, one more thing
    Be ~~ Our ~~ Guest....
    Tarnished Royalty

  21. Ooooh, I love it when someone does the research for me. The set, the history, the family connection, it's my favorite kind of thing. A thing to keep.

  22. I love pewter - it's such a gorgeous colour and patina! What beautiful pieces!!


  23. What a fantastic collection and lesson! You make it look so cool all together!

  24. So glad to read the history of your family pieces - it makes them extra-special. I was disappointed no one who commented had a story about Wanamaker's. Ann beat me to "Be our guest".

  25. Lovely pieces and so special that they are handed down to you. Love the history lesson too.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  26. Vintage pieces with a family background, are the very best...love yours!

  27. Wow... Beautiful Images AND a History Lesson all in one Post. The Back End Story of Old Treasures is always one of my Favorite parts of Collecting them.

    Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

  28. Tina,
    I found your history on your family treasures very interesting. Thank you for sharing your research on a fun and humorous way.
    Karen Marie

  29. Hi Tina; wonder keepsakes to cherish. Love reading the history you collected for your post.

  30. I just wanted to say..."Thanks so much for coming to the Thrifty Life Thursday link party at Revisionary Life!"

  31. I just wanted to say..."Thanks so much for coming to the Thrifty Life Thursday link party at Revisionary Life!"

  32. I truly love old pewter and enjoyed the history lesson :) How special that yours is a family treasure! Blessings, Cecilia


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