Bill and Florence Griffin Collection, Provenance – Brunk 5-30-09

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.


The Moravians

Moravians

In the late 14th century, Jan Hus, a Roman Catholic priest in Prague who had been heavily influenced by reformer John Wycliffe, began to attract followers as he spoke out about indulgences (a key practice Martin Luther would attack again in 1517) and his belief that church members should be able, permitted, and encouraged to study the Bible themselves. Hus’s continual agitation would put him at odds with the Catholic Church and in [...] Click here to continue reading.


Zoar, Ohio – Society of Separatists

Zoar

In the 1810s, a group of German religious separatists left Wurttemberg in what is now southwestern Germany, after several decades of separation from the primary church in the region, the Lutheran Church. After years of persecution and oppression which included imprisonment and property seizures, the separatists, under the leadership of Joseph Bimeler (sometimes Baumeler), decided to flee to the United States in the hopes that they could establish a new community there.

One [...] Click here to continue reading.


Canning Jars

Canning Jars

Canning jars, also called fruit jars, because early versions were primarily used for fruit, or Mason jars, after the best-known manufacturer, are one of those technological advances that have become so ubiquitous we’ve forgotten just how revolutionary the development of food preservation really was. Many of the greatest empires, events and discoveries of the 19th century were largely aided by the development of the canning process. Supplying armies, expeditions and explorations was [...] Click here to continue reading.


The Sarcophagus in Decorative Arts

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.


RumRill Pottery – Ohio

RumRill Pottery

While not as famous as the Roseville, McCoy, or Hill potteries, perhaps due to its shorter lifespan, RumRill Pottery still played an interesting role in the rich history of Ohio potteries that sprung up during the late 19th and early 20th centuries and has a story filled with twists and turns.

In 1930, George Rumrill, a Texan with a flair for sales, started a company in Arkansas to sell various art [...] Click here to continue reading.


Hires Root Beer, Googly Eyed Man

Hires Root Beer

While traveling in 1875, Charles E. Hires, a Philadelphia pharmacist, first tasted root beer. Root beer, traditionally made with sassafras, was a popular “small beer” or low-alcoholic drink in the colonial era, and was becoming popular in an alcohol-free format. While root beer has a long history, it has a wide range of recipes that call for everything from birch bark to vanilla, molasses to juniper berries, so Hires set out [...] Click here to continue reading.


Viktor Schreckengost

Viktor Schreckengost (1906-2008)

Creator of Groundbreaking Designs for Everything from Bikes to Bowls.

Artist and industrial design giant Viktor Schreckengot’s contributions to American product design was on par with the likes of Raymond Lowey and Walter Teague. Schrekengost was a major force on the American Industrial design scene since the early 1930s.

Schrekengost Attended Cleveland School of Art Born into a family of Ohio potters, Schrekengost entered the Cleveland School of art [...] Click here to continue reading.


Sewer Tile – Definition

Sewer Tile

Since the dawn of time, as long as there have been people, there has been…sewage. And for almost as long, we’ve apparently been concerned with it. There is concrete (or clay, at least) evidence of this dating back as far as 4000 B.C.E. Babylon, known for many things – gardens, law, sin…., was also known as the birthplace of pipe, pipe that was formed of clay and baked.

Nearly six thousand years [...] Click here to continue reading.


Cartouche – Definition

Cartouche – Definition

The decorative arts world has many “squishy” and vague vocabulary words, but few are “squishier” and vaguer than cartouche. Originally, the term comes from Egyptology and is used to describe a oval enclosing hieroglyphics and having a horizontal line at one end. (The line denotes royalty.) The oval had significance not unlike that of a closed circle, in that it was believed that an oval around a person’s name provided protection [...] Click here to continue reading.


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