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.

Baumann, Paul

Paul Baumann

The renowned marble collection formed by Paul Baumann had its beginnings in the summer of 1952, when Baumann was a mere five years old. His parents were antique collectors who enjoyed prowling through shops, but they worried about their son’s short attention span and wanted to think of a way to keep him occupied. The solution Paul’s dad devised was to give the boy a portion of his own marble collection, with [...] Click here to continue reading.

Moon, Carl Everton & Grace – American Photographer

Carl Everton Moon (1879-1948)

An Ohioan by birth, Carl Moon apprenticed for six years, learning the art of photography working for various studios in Cincinnati, Ohio and Wheeling, West Virginia. He opened his own photographic studio in Albuquerque, New Mexico in about 1903. After struggling for several years, a chance meeting with the publisher John Adams Thayer, provided him with an entre into the New York publishing scene. His sensitively posed photographs of Southwestern [...] Click here to continue reading.

Kaioke – Japanese Shell Game

Kaioke – Japanese Shell Game

The shell game kaioke or “hokkai” was played with 360 double-valved shells (kai), half of the shells enclosed a poem, the other half a drawing which corresponded to it; the shells were distributed one by one and the goal was to match the poem with the drawing; whoever was left with an ‘orphan’ lost the game.

Information courtesy of Sotheby’s October, 2007.

Canadian or American? gameboard

Canadian or American Gameboard?

Count the squares across to determine if the board is Canadian or American. American checkers or English draughts or “straight checkers” is played on an 8 by 8 board with 12 pieces on each side. Canadian checkers is played on a 12 by 12 board with 30 pieces on each side. It is mainly played in Canada.

Information courtesy of the November 2006

Schoenhut Toy Company

Schoenhut Toy Company

Albert Schoenhut immigrated to the United States near the end of the American Civil War and began operations as a toy manufacturer in Philadelphia in 1872. Frequently linked to early composition Rolly Dollys and wooden toy pianos, the name Schoenhut is most synonymous with the wooden articulated Humpty Dumpty Circus figures made from 1903 to 1935.

Schoenhut’s first circus set was a simple ladder, chair and clown combination. Many different [...] Click here to continue reading.

Tunbridge Wares

Tunbridge Wares

The wood parquetry or marquetry decorated wares bearing this name derive from the small town of Tunbridge Wells in the English shire of Kent where the process was first developed in the late seventeenth century.

A decoration of veneer found on small boxes, gameboards, picture frames and trays, the Tunbridge decoration was created when small sticks or strips of differently colored natural wood of six or so inches long were glued together [...] Click here to continue reading.

Roycroft – Arts & Crafts Community 1896 to 1938 – New York

Roycroft – New York Arts & Crafts Community

After visiting William Morris’s Kelmscott community of artisans, charismatic businessman and writer Elbert Hubbard (1856 to 1915) embarked on his own version in East Aurora, New York. His Roycroft community, America’s only Arts & Crafts campus, began in 1895 as a high quality leather bookbindery and publishing house. The name came from two 17th century London printers. The community’s large and prominently displayed mark, the orb [...] Click here to continue reading.

Ivory – Types & Legalities

Types of Ivory and the Legalities of the Ivory Trade

What is Ivory?

Strictly speaking, the term “ivory” refers only to the whitish-yellow material that makes up the tusks of mammals, such as elephants and walruses. Other related materials, such as that which comprises the teeth of sperm whales and, upon occasion, hippopotamuses, is often called ivory, but technically, is not. Two other related types of material are the ivory from the East Indian [...] Click here to continue reading.

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