What happened in the year 1880?

When I am on the internet looking for some info about an item that I just bought, I often run across things that happened during a certain year.  It’s always fun for me to see what I run across; I never know what I might find.

Here are a few things that I have run across that happened in the year 1880:

January 3 was when Francis Brown, the Irish Jesuit priest that became famous for the last photos of the doomed luxury liner RMS Titanic, was born on this date.

February 2 saw the first electric streetlight get installed in Wabash, Indiana.

March 31 was when Wabash, Indiana become the very first electrically lit city in the world.

November 4 was the day that the first cash register was patented.  It was patented by James and John Ritty of Dayton, Ohio.  They called it “Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier”.

1880 also saw The British Perforated Paper Company debut a new item called toilet paper.  Not only that, but the English Inventor John Milne also create the modern seismograph.

This is just a handful of what came about in the year 1880.  What are some of the things that you have heard about?

What are some of the things that happened in 1984?

Whenever I look for info on an item that I buy, I try to find out some things about it (like when it was made, the value, etc.).  When I do this, there are times when I run across tidbits of information that happened during a certain year.

I knew that the Summer Olympics and the Louisiana World Exposition were going on in 1984, and there were some tidbits I saw that were really surprising.

On January 24, The Apple Macintosh was released to become the first mass-marketed featuring a graphical user interface and mouse.

May 14 saw the introduction of the one-dollar coin in Australia.

June 6 was the release date of the video game called TETRIS.  This immediately became popular, and the game has been recognized by The Guiness World Records as the most ported game in video game history (it has been on 65 different platforms as of 2011).

Do you know what really surprised me?  The Chrysler Corporation officially debuted the first vehicles that are to be officially labeled as minivans (I thought this one actually happened in the 1970’s!).

This is a small handful of what happened during 1984.  What were some of the things that happened during 1984 do you remember?

What are some of the things that happened in 1974?

Whenever I am looking for some info on a purchase that I made recently, I often run into some fun info that happened during a certain year.  I never know what I might find—it could be anything from what happened in sports to a little history on Fiesta pottery to even something about coins.

Here are some of the things I ran across that happened during the year of 1974:

The Magna Doodle made its debut in 1974, and there were millions of this art pad sold (this was a decade and a half after The Ohio Art Company introduced an item called the Etch A Sketch).

April 8 saw “Hammerin Hank” Hank Aaron hit home run number 715, breaking Babe Ruth’s lifetime home run record.  Two fans ran onto the field to congratulate Hank on the home run while he was going past second base.

August 8 saw the resignation of President Nixon because of the Watergate scandal.

This is just a handful of what happened during 1974.  What are some of the other items that you have heard that happened during this year?

Weeding out the reproductions

Homeowners this time of year begin to get rid of lawn weeds in hopes of having a lush green yard.  Likewise, shoppers need to learn to “weed out” those items which typically show up on flea market and antique shelves this time of the year.

Weeds are what I like to call reproductions, and they can be quite convincing.

It could be an advertising sign that is rusted and looks to be ever so real.  Damage to the corners, fading to the paint, and even dents are all applied to a brand-new sign to help make it look older than it is.

There’s glassware on the market that copies Depression Glass and art glass patterns.  It is so convincing that the pattern and the color are the spitting image of the old items.  There are some manufacturers that have figured out how to make a piece of glass “glow” in a black light like the old stuff without using Uranium.

Brass imports such as spittoons or candle holders already come with tarnishing.  Wooden boxes and furniture furniture that is hammered, faded and well-used are also plentiful without much looking around.

So, buyer beware and do your homework!  You can never have too much information when it comes to antiques—it always comes in handy.

A little history of Fiesta Pottery

The pottery line known as Fiesta dinnerware was started by the Homer Laughlin company, and it made its debut in January of 1936 at the Pottery and Glass Show that was being held in Pittsburgh.  Fiesta dinnerware has been produced since then, with a small hiatus from 1972 to 1985.

The reason for the hiatus was the fact that Homer Laughlin actually retired the set.  Collectors started to get interested in the retired pottery, and in 1985 Homer Laughlin was approached by the Bloomingdale’s Department Store to bring it back.  The pottery was indeed brought back, and a new line of Fiesta dinnerware and a new color palate was introduced in 1986 in Bloomingdale’s.

Homer Laughlin originally produced this pattern in Red, Blue, light green, original green, yellow and Old Ivory (Turquoise did not hit the store shelves until 1937).  In the history of the Fiesta dinnerware, there have been a total of 52 different colors in the line.

The great thing about Fiesta is that Homer Laughlin has been known to retire colors along the way.  This gives collectors a totally new way to collect Fiesta—they can now collect their favorite pieces in a retired color.  Homer Laughlin also introduces a new color every year, and it is always fun to me to see what the new color is.

When you start to collect Fiesta pottery, you will see how diverse the set is.  You will see that you can use different pieces in different parts of the house.  Not only that, you can also use one color in the kitchen, one color in the living room and a totally different color in a bedroom.  This gives you a great way to match the colors in the room or to even add a splash of color if you want.

This is a small look at the history of the Fiesta Dinnerware.  What have you heard about the pattern?

A little history of Goofus Glass

When I was younger, I was at a flea market one day and I saw a vase that was decorated differently than the others that were on display.  The person that was at the cash register told me that it was a piece of Goofus Glass.  I loved it, but it had me asking one question.

What exactly is Goofus glass?

Goofus glass is also known the names Mexican Ware, Holligan Glass, or even Pickle Glass.  It is a pressed glass with relief designs painted either on the front or the back of the class.  It was very popular from 1890 to 1920, and it was used as a premium at carnivals.

The glassware was produced by several companies such as Imperial and Northwood.  It lost its popularity when people found that the paint tarnished or even wore off after repeated washings and wear.  If you find a piece in good condition, treasure it.

The color of the glass also varies just like the manufacturers as well.  Green, crystal, and even milk glass are some of the colors that can be found.

Even though there has been no record of its manufacture has been found after 1920, there are plenty of patterns to show off anywhere in your house.  Patterns like Cabbage Rose, Peacock In A Tree, Three Mums, or even Morning Glory are but a small examples that can decorate any room in the house.

There are a wide variety of pieces also on the market right now, you never know which one you will run across next.  It could be a dresser box, a vase, a bowl or even a plate.

Which patterns of Goofus glass have you run across while shopping at your favorite flea market or antique mall?

What happened in 1890?

When I am trying to find some information on an item that I recently purchased, I run across some fun facts that happened during a certain year.  Here’s what I recently ran across for the year 1890:

February 24—Chicago is selected to host the Columbian Exposition.

June 16—Stan Laurel (an English-born actor and member of the comic duo Laurel And Hardy) was born on this day.

June 20—The book titled The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is published Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine.

Do you know what was invented in San Francisco in 1890?  The Jukebox.

It’s always fun for me to see these fun facts, I never know what I will run across.  What fun facts have you run across?

Wow, Homer Laughlin made that?

The Homer Laughlin China Company of Newall, West Virginia opened for business in 1871.

From then to now, they have produced dinnerware (and even kitchenware), and many of the lines are still popular to this day.  Examples of these lines are Fiesta, Virginia Rose, Harlequin, Rhythm, Nautilus, Swing, Riviera and even Century.

Most of the dinnerware is marked by Homer Laughlin, so identifying a manufacturer is not a problem.  Some of it features the name of the pattern as well, which helps out a lot.  The HLC trademark is usually followed by a number series, the first two digits will indicate the year.  So, if you do run across a Homer Laughlin piece that doesn’t have the name of the pattern on it, you can most likely narrow it down with the year mark.

I’m partial to the restaurantware that Homer Laughlin made (a piece of it can be seen in the first two pictures).  I have always thought that the piece was made for extra ware and tare, so I don’t have to be so delicate with it.

What kind of finds do you have in your collection?

What are some fun facts on Auctions?

I have been attending auctions since I was 8, and I know that they have been around since the times of ancient Rome.  What are some fun facts when it comes to auctions?

Some of the first auctions were held in ancient Rome.  Like modern times, the people of ancient Rome would sell off household goods like furniture to pay off debts.  These auctions could last for months.

When the items that were seized by the Army during the American Civil War, they would be sold by the Colonel of the Division.  That’s why you see some auctioneers carry the title of “Colonel”.

With the invention of the internet, it is now very possible to find and attend any auction that you could ever want.  This is a great way to help you find that piece that can help you complete your collection.

This is just a handful of fun facts about auctions.  What fun facts have you heard?

Famous Shipwrecks that have inspired collections

Pottery, glassware, and enamel signs are some of the areas that people collect.  Did you know that one of the areas of collecting are items from shipwrecks? 

The Titanic has produced highly sought-after collectibles (like items used on the ship as well as ads for the ship) while the Atocha is known for the gold and silver coins that were on it.  One of the ships that you may not think of is the SS Central America.

On Thursday, September 3 in the year 1857, the SS Central America (a side-wheel steamer ship) left the port city of Aspinwall (located in Panama on the Atlantic Ocean side of the country).  The ship then made a stop in Havanna on Monday September the 7th.  The next morning, the ship continued onward towards its destination of New York City.

On September the 9th, the ship encountered a tropical storm.  By Friday, the weather went from bad to just plain mean.  The ship was in the grips of a hurricane off the coast of the Carolinas.  On Saturday the 12th of September, the ship was hit with a wave and slipped beneath the surface of the ocean.

Why is this ship so important?  The cargo of this ship was valued at the time of the sinking at $2 million dollars in gold coins and bars from San Fransisco (which was 10 tons of just gold).

This ship is sometimes called “The Ship of Gold”.  Many books have been written about the ship, along with the recovery and sale of the coins and bars.


Many collectors covet the coins of the SS Central America, and coin collectors still actively look for pieces from the shipwreck to add to their collections (even well after the sale of the cargo in the year 2000).

Over 7,000 gold coins were recovered from the shipwreck, and most of them are the $20 gold Double Eagle from the San Francisco mint.  Because of the discovery of the SS Central America, this type of gold coin is a little more available to collectors due to the amount that was found.

What other famous events or people have you heard of inspiring a new way to collect items?