Recycling and reusing is nothing new. Our ancestors had glass, metal and ceramic pieces that were imported, expensive and scarce. So when something broke, it was repaired or saved to be reused.
A primitive hand mirror with recycled glass was sold at a Skinner auction in 2016. It was one of many wooden items in a large collection, and prices were high for the one-of-a-kind “make-dos.” The mirror, one of nine early mirrors in the auction, had a narrow 12-inch piece of wood for a frame and handle. An irregular piece of a broken mirror less than 3 inches wide was set into the wood. It probably was used by the owner to see his or her face at a time when mirrors were not found in most houses. The end of the handle has a notch, which probably was used to wedge the mirror on a chair back or counter in an upright position. The 18th-century mirror, made in Massachusetts, sold for $1,700.
Q: I have a set of Krueger 404 folding chairs that I believe were manufactured in the early 1960s. They have the Krueger label on the bottom. They are metal with vinyl cushions on the seat and back. The seat folds down so they can be stacked. Can you give me any history on these chairs?
A: The company, originally called Krueger Metal Products, was founded by Al Krueger in Aurora, Illinois, in 1941. The company made folding chairs using scrap metal purchased from steel mills. Its headquarters was moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin, in 1945. The company now makes contract furniture and lighting, including chairs, desks, tables, filing cabinets, fixed seating for auditoriums, lecterns, medical recliners and other specialty furniture for offices, schools, universities, health care facilities and the government. The company was the world’s largest folding chair and table manufacturer by 1967. The name of the company was changed to Krueger Inc., in 1983. It still is in business.
Q: What can you tell me about Briglin Pottery? I bought a pin dish marked “Briglin” at a house sale and would like to know when it was made. What can you tell me about the company?
A: Briglin Pottery was a studio pottery founded in London in 1948 by Brigitte Goldschmidt and Eileen Lewenstein. Earthenware mugs, jugs, plates and other items were made. Lewenstein left the pottery in 1959. It closed in 1990. Pieces are very low-priced. A pin dish would cost under $10.
Q: This sculpture, a bronze bust of Rembrandt, was my mother’s, given to her by her aunt. It’s mounted on a red marble base. On the bottom is a signature that looks to be “H. Muller.” I’ve tried to research it and found two Mullers, one that lived from 1571 to 1628, and another Hans Muller who worked in the late 1400s, so this sculpture could be more than 400 years old. Can you help me with its value?
A: You have the wrong Muller. Your sculpture of Rembrandt was not made by either of the Mullers you researched, both of whom, by the way, lived many years before Rembrandt (1606-1669). It was made by Hans Muller (1873-1937) of Austria. He was born in Vienna and trained at the Vienna Arts College and the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. During the First World War, he was in charge of the facilities of soldier cemeteries. After the war, he became well-known for monuments and grave sculptures, as well as portraits and busts of famous figures. Bronze sculptures of Wagner, Shakespeare, Longfellow and George Washington designed like yours with similar name plates and bases have sold between $110 and $400, which is where your sculpture would be valued. Larger and more detailed work by Hans Muller sells into the thousands.
Q: I bought a Belleek creamer and sugar bowl decorated with a yellow ribbon and bow back in the 1960s. The marks has a circle “R” over a harp and the words “Belleek, Ireland” and “Deanta in Eirinn, Reg. No. 0857.” The sugar bowl has a green mark and the creamer a black mark. Why are the marks different colors?
A: The black mark with the words Deanta in Eirinn was used from 1926 to 1946. The green mark that is the same, except for the color, was used from 1946 to 1955. A sugar and creamer pair usually have the same marks since they were bought at the same time. Belleek made some patterns for many years and you may have a replacement for a broken piece.