Too Pretty to be Single: Beaver Falls Tile All Alone

I don’t know anything about antique tile. Well, I know only what Nicole Curtis has taught me on her show.

So here’s what Nicole Curtis has taught me so far:

  • Old tile is thicker
  • If you can save old tile, do it.

So I was out and about today – it’s been a great weekend for treasure-hunting – and came across this inconspicuous green tile. She was sitting all alone among figurines, ashtrays and other bric-a-brac. I almost didn’t see her, but I did.

First thing you do when you find something old and made of glass, ceramic or porcelain: turn it over. So I did. The lighting in Savers wasn’t that great because when I checked the underside, I didn’t see any identifying marks. I could see that the glaze was crackling, which told it me it was old. (It’s awfully hard to fake that.) She was only 99 cents, so home with me she went.

Beaver Falls Antique Tile

Beaver Falls green checkered tile

In the better light of this beautiful day, I was able to make out the word “Beaver” (tee-hee) under the barely-scraped-off price sticker, so I did a search.

Beaver Falls Antique Tile

Beaver Falls antique tile bottom

Turns out “Falls” was also under the sticker poop, and that’s who made this tile: Beaver Falls. They were in business 1886-1927 and made some of the most beautiful cameo and relief tile in its day. I found some incredible examples, and even more here.

Beaver Falls tile is often highlighted/found on fireplace surrounds as well as stoves and walls (and I’ve seen something similar to the portrait below used in a fireplace mantle too) in homes built in that time. You know, the tile that Nicole Curtis finds many times in the homes she so lovingly restores, the tile that can’t be duplicated, where replacements can’t ever be found should any tiles become damaged… In other words, this tile is the bomb diggity. Unfortunately, because tile can only really be identified on the underside, we may not know when we’re looking at Beaver Falls when it’s in place, and considering the tile artists of the day were moving between and forming new tile companies somewhat frequently, it would take a real pro to discern one from the other without the benefit of the underside/I.D. Whereas mine is a 4 1/4″ squared tile, Beaver Falls also made the smaller subway tiles that we also see in those older homes with the original fireplace tile work, and many other sizes and orientations.

Beaver Falls Antique Tile

Beaver Falls antique 3-tile set floral swag

I wasn’t able to find anything that looked exactly like mine, so here she is!

GOP Convention 1976 Swag

It’s not very popular to be a Republican these days. I could rant. I won’t.

These souvenirs from the 1976 Republican National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri were kind of sight for sore eyes in a local antique mall today. This is the first time I’ve seen any memorabilia from the event for sale in my journeys, so I had to have them. The blue t-shirt has seen better days and I can’t read what size it is, but I’d guess a Large. The convention logo is in pristine condition though and I think it’s a pretty nice piece of local history.

The bag, I don’t think, was ever actually used. I may have to think about what to do with these guys.

I could really upset some bleeding heart friends by wearing the shirt…

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Virginia Is For Thrifters!

My husband and I took a weekend trip down the shore to Virginia Beach a couple of weekends ago. Our intention was to sit on our beachfront balconies and decompress, maybe eat some seafood (great crab cakes, ya know!) and hang out with some new friends. We did all that. But I also found time to hit a thrift store or two and even a garage sale.

At the ONE garage sale I went to that Saturday afternoon, I was delighted to find a seller anxious to rid himself of everything. When I inquired about an old desk, he quoted $2 as the price. When I repeated the price back to him he immediately changed it to $1. Great. But I only had a $100 bill on me. “Load it,” he said.

What I REALLY was interested in was a dresser that had seen better days, with an awkward paint color and missing handles (original or otherwise) and bib on the bottom (which is in one of the drawers). “What about this?” I asked. “Load it,” he replied.

So they loaded both pieces into my rental van and off I went. Two free pieces of furniture. For me. A furniture hoarder, er, collector. What a great day.

Youngsville dresser destined for a new life

Youngsville dresser destined for a new life

This piece was delivered to a furniture dealer in Washington, D.C.

This piece was delivered to a furniture dealer in Washington, D.C.

So I bring them home. I start researching. The desk is nondescript and needs a new front/hinged panel. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it/who I’ll pawn it off on.

But the dresser! The first thing I noticed, as they were loading it up even, was that it had a label stapled to the back.

The label indicates that the piece originated at the Youngsville Manufacturing Company, Youngsville, PA. And it was delivered to Hutchison Inc. in Washington, D.C.

Youngsville Manufacturing Company has an interesting past, which includes incorporation in 1835. In 1896 they burned to the ground, and a new building started in 1898. In 1956, Youngsville Manufacturing was destroyed again.

All I was able to find out about Hutchison Inc. is that they were located at 2004-06 Fourteenth St., N.W. in D.C. in 1945. So not much.

What would you guess the age of this little gem to be? I am GUESSING that it is from the ’20s or ’30s. The legs say so but what do I know?

I don’t know what color I’ll paint it or when I’ll even get to it. (I’m a hoarder, ya know.) But its future is bright. Very bright.

Tiny Table Trouble

Goodwill find!

Goodwill find!

Too pretty to paint!

Too pretty to paint!

Shannon gave this to us as a housewarming gift. FAB!

Shannon gave this to us as a housewarming gift. FAB!

Mr. Wonderful claimed this for his office on sight.

Mr. Wonderful claimed this for his office on sight.

So I might have a problem with collecting tables. Small tables, to be specific. They seem to be available at every thrift store I frequent. And they’re sooooo inexpensive, I can’t help but snatch them up. Some have labels, some don’t. Some are basic, some aren’t. Many times, I have ideas about repainting/repurposing the wooden ones, but I get them home, clean them up and I find that they don’t need a thing more (other than a purpose).

My latest obsession is this dark, ornate table from Imperial Furniture of Grand Rapids, Michigan (below). I didn’t know anything about the company until doing a little internet research but found out that they made furniture in the first half of the 20th century. Many of their signature items are ornate like mine, but they also crafted more straight-forward/modern-looking pieces. Based on the catalog of labels available, I would guess this table’s birthdate to be sometime around 1939. It has too many embellishments to list (and quite frankly, I don’t know how to refer to them all). It’s a grand, little table. To learn more about Imperial Furniture Company, check out this site: http://www.furniturecityhistory.org/company/3638/imperial-furniture-co.

Salvation Army find!

Salvation Army find!

Dusty, yes. Beautiful still? Yes.

Dusty, yes. Beautiful still? Yes.

More details.

More details.

Imperial, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Imperial, Grand Rapids, Michigan