Wooden washboard with rollers popular in the early 1900s
The 19th century in the U.S. was a time of invention. The patent office at first required a working model of an invention, but later, just accurate drawings and details were enough. Victorians loved gadgets and specialty tools. There were hundreds of patents granted for apple peelers, lighting devices, corkscrews, fruit jars, washing machines, washboards, toasters, napkin rings and cooking pots, and today there are collector clubs for almost every one of these specialties. An unusual all-wooden washboard was sold in 2016 by Hess Auction Group. It has threaded wooden rollers instead of a corrugated metal or glass rubbing surface. The maple rollers rolled in opposite directions and, according to the ads, the “screw threads do all the work.” The first wooden rollers were made by the Hubbard Brothers, and the Mother Hubbard Roller Washboard was a popular item sold door-to-door in the early 1900s. The washboards were no longer made after 1935, because they were not needed if you had an electric washing machine.
Q: I’d like to know the value of a crocheted bedspread my great-grandmother made about 1910. It is made of squares with a rose in the center of each square. I realize that everyone has handmade items that are only worth sentimental value, but this spread is in perfect condition and is exceptionally beautiful. What do you think it’s worth?
A: You can sell the bedspread to a dealer or online. Size, condition and design will affect price. An old double-bed size spread, with old thread and old design, might sell for less than $100.
Q: What can you tell me about a Garland Jr. toy stove? Is it a salesman’s sample?
A: Most little stoves, even exact replicas of full-size stoves, probably were made as toys. Some may have been salesmen’s samples or as items for display. Some were offered free or for sale to customers who bought a full-size stove. Garland Stove was founded by brothers Jeremiah and James Dwyer in Detroit in 1853. The Garland brand name is now owned by Manitowoc Foodservice, which makes Garland ranges, broilers and griddles.
Q: How much are the 1996 edition of Pokémon cards worth? The cards are American and Japanese and are in albums, but a few are missing. We think some might be worth something.
How can we find out?
A: Pokémon started out as a video game for Game Boy in February 1996. The name Pokémon is a contraction of the words “Pocket Monster.” The first Pokémon cards were Pocket Monster cards issued in Japan in October 1996. There were 102 cards in the set. The first Pokémon cards in English were in the Demo Game pack, issued in limited quantity in December 1998. The first set of 102 cards in English was issued in the U.S. in January 1999. There are over 700 different Pokémon characters today. Incomplete sets of cards sell online for a few dollars. Value is determined by rarity and condition. The best place to find current values is to go to a card show or to a store that sells cards.
Q: I won a Shelley cup, saucer and plate two years ago. The pattern is called “Crochet.” I thought I’d check it out. I didn’t realize Shelley stuff was so big. I just thought it was a bone china cup — not a big deal. Now I wonder if you can give me a rough value and age?
A: Joseph B. Shelley started out as a salesman for Foley China Works in Longton, Staffordshire, England, in 1862 and became a partner in 1872. His son, Percy Shelley, joined the firm in 1881. By 1884, father and son were running the business. The company became Shelley China in 1910, and in 1929, it became Shelley Potteries. In 1966, it was bought by Allied English Potteries. A set that includes a cup, saucer and cake plate is called a “trio.” Your Crocket trio is listed online for $79 to $102.
Q: I came across an old R.C. Allen 10 Key Calculator Model 35 that my dad used for his business. On the front, it says “World Famous 10 Key Calculator, American and Swedish Patents.”
A: Ralph C. Allen founded his company in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1932. The company made and distributed calculating machines, cash registers and typewriters. This calculator was made in 1948. It originally sold for $397. Old calculators are not very useful and not popular collectibles, so they are very hard, if not impossible, to sell.
Tip: Ordinary beer is great for cleaning a gilded mirror frame. Just pour it on a soft rag, rub gently and dry. ¦
— Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer questions sent to the column. The amount of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, Florida Weekly, King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.