Collection of Florence P. and William W. Griffin
Bill and Florence Griffin met at an Atlanta Bird Club meeting in 1945. Bill was a published amateur ornithologist; Florence was interested in all of nature – she knew the names of all the plants as well as the birds.
Both were from Georgia, and soon began to see their state changing before their eyes as the New South swept away the Old. They quickly became [...] Click here to continue reading.
Scandal & the Story of Bakelite Bakelite hit the market in 1907, heralding the arrival of the modern plastics industry. Bakelite was the first completely man made plastic, as until then, plastics such as celluloid, casein, and Gutta-Percha all had as a base a natural material. It was developed by Belgian-born chemist Dr. Leo Hendrick Baekeland who started his firm General Bakelite Company to produce the phenolic resin type plastic. Bakelite was inexpensive [...] Click here to continue reading.
J.C. Brown and the Forestville Manufacturing Company
Jonathan C. Brown (1807 to 1872) was one of a number of successful clockmakers and manufacturers in Bristol, Connecticut. He was active in the clockmaking business from around 1832 to 1855. In 1832, he bought into a firm with William G. Bartholomew, that became Bartholomew, Brown and Company, selling complete clocks. He was also one of the organizers of the Forestville Manufacturing Company with four partners – [...] Click here to continue reading.
Lenticular means, “1. shaped like a biconvex lens; 2. of or relating to a lens; 3. convex on both sides; lentil-shaped.”
In the world of collectibles, “lenticular” usually refers to a type of printing that creates a three-dimensional image through the use of a lenticular lens. The resulting images reveal changes in depth or motion as the viewing angle changes. (“Lenticular” doesn’t refer, despite the frequent use, necessarily to the image, but to [...] Click here to continue reading.
George Nelson (1908-1986)
George Nelson trained as an architect before joining the Herman Miller (furniture) Co. and becoming its design director for the 1950′s and 60′s. From this position Nelson became one of the most influential modernist designer’s in mid-century America.
Among Nelson’s furniture designs to have become 20th century design classics are the “Marshmellow” sofa (1956), the Ball Clock (1949), the “Slat Bench”, the “Sling Sofa” (1960′s), his “Bubble” and “Cigar” lamps (1952) [...] Click here to continue reading.
“Vermeil” is a French word co-opted by the English in the 19th century for a silver gilt process. Vermeil is a combination of silver and gold, although other precious metals are also occasionally added, that is then gilded onto a sterling silver object. The reddish (vermilion) hue of the addition of the gold gives the product its name. Vermeil is commonly found in jewelry, and a standard of quality (10 karat gold) and [...] Click here to continue reading.
Baleen, Plastic of the 18th Century
Baleen comes from a suborder of whales, Mysticeti, which includes, among others, humpback whales, gray whales, right whales and blue whales. What sets these whales apart is baleen. These whales do not have teeth, but have upper jaws filled with two rows of baleen plates fringed with fine baleen hair. These plates are so closely aligned that they act like a comb or a sieve; whales pull water [...] Click here to continue reading.
The Sarcophagus in Decorative Arts
Derived from the Greek sarx, meaning flesh, and phagein, meaning eat, a sarcophagus is, essentially, a container for a body, much like a coffin or casket. Historically, sarcophagi were typically made of stone (though sometimes of other materials, such as wood or metal), with a relief-carved or pediment top, and designed to be above ground, and have been used by many cultures since ancient times.
An ancient [...] Click here to continue reading.
Ormolu, an 18th-century English term, is from the French phrase or moulu, with “or” indicating gold and “moulu” being a form of an old French verb moudre, which means “to grind up.” (This French term for this technique is bronze dore.) This idea of “ground-up gold”refers to the production process of ormolu, where high-quality gold is finely powdered and added to a mercury mixture and applied to a bronze object. Modern usage often [...] Click here to continue reading.
The Clocks of Mora, Sweden
The Mora clock originated in the town of Mora, a small village in Sweden that is just on the southern edge of the Scandinavian Mountains. The clocks are a style of tall-case clock with an eight-day movement and often with a bombe midsection. (The cases share a great deal stylistically with French clocks of the period.) They were produced for roughly a century, from the late 1700s to the [...] Click here to continue reading.