Category: DeeDee Wood

How to identify wood types

You come across a beautiful table out in an antique store. It has a nice, dark hue to it, and it matches your chairs perfectly, but what type of wood is it? How do you determine how much it is worth and if it is even real wood? There are many ways to look at a piece of furniture and determine from what type of wood it is made, or if it is even real wood at all. The first thing to do when you look at a piece of furniture that you are investigating is to look at...

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Motion Lamps

(Editor’s note: DeeDee Wood is the store manager at Tharpe Antiques, in Easton, part of the Talbot Historical Society.) Motion lamps are revolving lamps that have an animated scene going around the shade as the lamp rotates. They were novelties that drew in your attention with movement, scenes, colors and interesting themes. When one sees them in the antiques realm, it brings about that old-fashioned nostalgia from yesteryear. The plug-in lamps consisted of a cylinder with a metal top and base that also had an inside cylinder with a blade that revolved around from heated air, made hot by the light bulb. As heat rose, it made the blades of the miniature turbine spin, causing the “motion.” The motion of the inside cylinder made the scene “move” on the outer cylinder, which had a lithograph, or copied print of a scene on that shade. Companies that made the lamps would say that you could “travel to distant places in your own home; see a forest fire rage or the river cascade over Niagara Falls.” The movement caused scenes to spring to life with flowing water, fire that you could almost hear crackle, moving trains, and the mighty Niagara Falls falling. People were amazed. Some of the major companies that made these lamps were looking for the novelty and interest in a new product. Scene-in-Action of Chicago produced lamps until...

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A history of chandeliers

(Editor’s note: DeeDee Wood is the store manager at Tharpe Antiques, in Easton, part of the Talbot Historical Society.) The word chandelier comes from the Latin/French word “candelabru,” which means candelabra, or a place for candles, in English. Opulence and elegance are synonymous with the great sparkling lights of the rich and famous, but the roots of the candelabra go far deeper, and have origins in the caves of the ancients. Some of the earliest lighting made by humans was discovered in the caves in Lascaux, France, where they used torches in caves so that they could make their ancient pictorial paintings. Archaeologists found a lamp buried in the floor of the cave, with soot still intact. There are examples of many types of oil and grease lamps dating back to 17,000 BC as well, showing that illumination of the night was always a problem to solve for humanity. The ancient Sumerian and Egyptians made molded candles, alabaster and colored glass lamps with wick holes to burn the light bright into the night. Oil lamps were produced for larger use in Egypt, Greece and Rome. Materials such as stone, gold and bronze were used during this time period. Roman lamps were well known for being decorative and purposeful. The Byzantines made what we most closely associate with modern chandeliers during the 6th century, creating candles crudely nailed to a...

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Clara Driscoll and the ‘Tiffany girls’

(Editor’s note: DeeDee Wood is the store manager at Tharpe Antiques, in Easton, part of the Talbot Historical Society.) Clara Driscoll designed most of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s famous lampshades, including the Dragonfly, Wisteria and others. She worked for Louis Comfort Tiffany from 1887 to 1909 and also designed, anonymously, many mosaics, small desk objects and windows. Researchers have found letters detailing her time at Tiffany Studios in New York, shedding light on her “Tiffany Girls” as the Women’s Glass Cutting Department was called, as well as her personal feelings and aspirations as a “New Woman” in a turbulent time of change for women in our country. Clara was born in Ohio in 1861. She lost her father at a very young age and was encouraged to attend a higher learning school, unusual for women for the time period of the late 1800s. She attended the Western Reserve School of Design for Women and worked locally as a furniture designer before moving to New York and enrolling in the Metropolitan Museum Art School. Her potential must have been obvious, and she was hired by Tiffany Studios in 1888. Clara was paid $10,000 a year, one of the best salaries a woman could make in New York City in the late 1800s. Tiffany formed the Women’s Glass Cutting Department in a direct response to a strike by male-only Lead Glaziers and...

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