Monday, February 23, 2009

Exciting Development!

I have some exciting news about my little English china dish! I submitted a photo of the mark to and asked if they could identify the maker. I received this very exciting reply today:

"Hi Amy,

"Thanks for your interesting question about the mystery pottery mark shown in the above photo. A clear photo like that always makes identification easier.

"The mark is one I am pleased to be able to identify as that of Samuel Radford Ltd, a Staffordshire maker of good quality producing fine china between 1879 and 1957. They were originally a Longton maker, then in 1885, moved to Fenton.

"You are right in saying your mark was an early mark dating from c1880 to c1913, so you have a very accurate date for your wares. After about 1913, the firm developed a new pottery mark called "Radfordian", and developed at least 10 or so different pottery marks, some using the S.R. initials in various fonts, and some using the Radfordian back mark.

"If you go to my China Replacement page and follow the tips on how to search efficiently online, you will find some wares from the same maker. Be aware of sellers who are not properly flagging up the quality and rarity of Samuel Radford Ltd wares. Having gone out of business in 1957 makes Radford China relatively rare. Be careful not to mistake Samuel Radford with other makers with a similar name. They are:-

"RADFORD (signature on printed ware)- Relates to engraver Thomas Radford.
E. RADFORD - Relates to H.J. Wood Ltd
G. RADFORD - Relates to Radford Handcraft Pottery

"I am not a china expert by any means, just an artisan within the industry, however, I always pass on any information I have for free and publish it for all to benefit from. You can use my in-house search engine located on the home page (and on many other main pages) to check for answers to any other queries you may have.My own knowledge more centered on famous English china makers, but all queries are welcome.I give general tips on pottery marks here (my own page)."

Now I have to research this dish some more and find out its value! What if I'm holding onto a china dish that worth $1,000? Then what?

I think that little dish was a gift to my grandma. It stands out like a sore thumb amongst her things. I seriously doubt she would have chosen it herself. But it's certainly becoming a very interesting piece! Stay tuned...

Sunday, February 22, 2009


This little cabinet sits in the corner of the dining room. It was used to store sewing supplies when it was in my grandma's house. She kept bobbins, needles and spools of thread in it. The ends have secret compartments in them and if you lift the ends on either side up you can find lots of extra storage there. I keep hot pads and candle supplies in it now. It's convenient to have the hot pads for the table right there when I need them.

A closer look at the items on top shows some family heirlooms. The oil lamp and the china dish were grandma's. The wood bowls were made on my grandpa's wood lathe from wood taken from a log cabin owned by the Miller family in our township. The brown glass bottles were found in the nearby Toussaint River. I found the white glass hen dish at Lene's Web two years ago. It doesn't have a knick on it.

I found the old school books at Lene's Web too and I put them under the oil lamp as a tribute to my grandma who was a school teacher.

This is the maker's mark on the back of the china dish. I've never researched it but I'm sure it's a common pattern. Grandma never bought anything really expensive. She was a very thrifty person.

It's the only piece I have from this pattern. I always thought the colors were nice even though the oriental pattern is not my taste. I like the orange and brown together and it looks right at home on top of the sewing cabinet.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rooster Bowl

This is a fun bowl. I try to use it as much as possible. Right now it's holding apples. I can't find a maker's mark on it anywhere so I don't know how old it is but its colors and style make me think 1950s. It's about 10" in diameter and not very deep so it's not good at holding a lot of stuff. But I knew I had to have it when I saw it last November at Lene's Web. If you have one like it or can tell me anything about it I'd like to hear about it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Time Marches On

I picked up a few more vintage items at Lene's Web today. This Westclox "Dialite" makes me think of the spare bedroom at my grandma's I used to sleep in. There was a clock similar to this one near the bed. The face glowed orange at night just bright enough to see what time it was. This one glows too and it takes me back! It's pale blue and was sitting next to a white one. When I set the time I tested the buzzing alarm and the sound of it really took me back.

These gratin dishes really caught my eye, especially the deep orange pair. The 50's color and shape is fantastic--right up my alley! I can't find a maker's mark on the orange ones.

The Hall gratin dish is less stylish but I took it anyway because it's a Hall and it's one I don't have. It's upside down to show the maker's mark. Now I just have to find uses for these new dishes. I thought they'd be handy to put chopped toppings in for tacos. It would have been nice if I could have found a matched set of 4 so that I could actually use them to serve individual gratins but Marlene said she only had these. Their colors would be appropriate around Halloween and Thanksgiving. They could serve as candy dishes then.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Snuggle Up!

It was 60 degrees out just two days ago. Now it's 34 and I've got a quilt draped over my lap that my mom made for me. Mom and grandma were both quilters. I didn't inherit the sewing gene; I'm the cook. I think it's safe to say that just about everyone has a quilt or two that are family heirlooms.

I have quiltsall over the house that were made by either my mom or my grandma. It's wonderful to have them. They are nice to look at and useful too. Sometimes I'd rather wrap up in a quilt than put my fleece bathrobe on.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Keeping Up To Date

In this 1957 edition of "Home Journal", modern household items are featured (click to biggify). The "free wheeling" tea cart was featured in the 1957 Furniture Show in Chicago. It is priced at a very affordable $70.

Next is the "Smoke-N-Odor Stop" by Philco which removes smoke and odors when placed over a range burner. Basically it was a catalytic converter for the stove. I wonder if it worked? It cost $30.

The Nutone Food Center is featured in the last photo. The base sat in the electric motor which was located beneath the counter top. I think this might have been the predecessor to the KitchenAid mixer with all its attachments. The meat grinder attachment is in use in the photo. You could also get the mixer, blender and juicer as separate attachments. The base unit was $79.50, the juicer was $3.95 and the grinder was $19.95.

If you had any of these items in your home I'd be interested in hearing about them.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Quick Breads

This is the oldest cook book I have. It's a bulletin of the Agricultural College Extension Office, The Ohio State University reprinted in June, 1940. The faded stamp on the cover is Elizabeth Wallrabenstein's signature. She was the Home Demonstration Agent for Oak Harbor, Ohio.

On page 5 there is this interesting illustration of balls of flour. The caption reads, "Fig. 1--Gluten balls from equal weights of flour: (a) bread flour; (b) family flour; (c) pastry flour; (d) cake flour.

Turn to page 8 and you'll see this picture of various types of egg beaters: (a) rotary type; (b) whisk type; (c) turbine type. I've yet to find the turbine type.

Here's how to form biscuits. Notice how perfect everything looks--there's no messy flour on the board, the dough circle is perfectly round and the biscuits are all consistent! I think the most important thing I've learned over the years is that my results are never, ever going to look like the one in the picture. If you can get over that fact you're well on your way to becoming a really good cook!

Biscuits: (a) Biscuit from lightly kneaded dough. Note symmetrical shape, smooth crust and large volume. (b) Biscuit from dough which has not been kneaded. Note small volume and coarser appearance. (c) Drop biscuit. Note irregular shape which is characteristic of this type of biscuit.

Great Bargains

It has come to my attention that there was a typo in yesterday's blog. Here's the correction. All kidding aside, can you imagine the stampede that would result from this price in today's economy?

Here's an interesting ad promoting home pasteurizers. I don't know how much it cost since most of the ad is missing. We don't think about pasteurization when we buy milk today. The milk we bring home in neat little plastic jugs has already been pasteurized. In light of the fact that China is trying to poison our food it might be a good idea to start thinking with a 1950s mindset. It's easy to take food safety for granted when you look at it from our perspective today, but people in the 50s had to do it themselves. That's why you'll see vintage recipes call for "scalded milk". To be safe, cooks would scald milk before cooking with it.

Now on to less serious topics. How about a wedgie? You have a choice of 7 colors and they're only $3.35! If you click on the ad and read the fine print you'll see that these particular wedgies are made from elk hide. No C.O.D.'s please.

I wonder if they'll accept a personal check? I don't know the year this check was printed but it came from my hometown bank which is still in existence today, although it's now the National Bank of Oak Harbor. The bank is celebrating its 75th year of service.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

1956 Bisquick Cook Book

I adore vintage cookbooks, especially the little paper back booklets that women sent away for using proofs of purchase from their favorite brands. This 1956 Bisquick cookbook is one of my favorites. There are 28 pages of recipes, color photos and monochromatic illustrations to browse through.

I also love to see how Betty Crocker morphed throughout the years. Her neat and tidy 50's coif is very prim and proper. Doesn't she look smart in that tab collared smock?

Here's an example of some of the illustrations. I love the use of monocolor illustrations. The pink color is especially pleasing to me. Other colors used in this booklet were teal blue, mint green, goldenrod and rose.

The recipes are still useful today and I wouldn't hesitate to make a batch of biscuits or "tuna broccoli casserole"!

There are also some helpful cooking tips or menu suggestions at the bottom of each page, framed within a block of 50's-style color. The tip on this page reads, "Griddle is right temperature for baking when a few drops of water sprinkled on it jump around."

Just look at all the tasty things you can make with Bisquick! What's your favorite Bisquick recipe?