This Old Thing: Grandma’s Stripping Shows Up In This Container


Q. I have an unusual item which I believe was a wedding present for my grandparents around 1919-20. It is 32cm high (12.5 inches), made of silver adorned with a hanging serving spoon on one side and cherry designs all around. The container is a pink and white glass. My mother told me it was to serve candied cherries. The frame is stamped with a quarter moon, three stars and “The Acme Silver Co. Toronto”. I am not interested in selling it but would like to have more information about it for when I pass it on to the next generation of the family. I would be grateful for any information.

A. Originally these items were advertised as pickle cruets or casters and I’m willing to bet that this was, indeed, a wedding present for a previous generation at least 20 years earlier. Acme was established around 1885 and was then absorbed around 1893, forming part of the Standard Silver Co. Your liner, imported separately to Canada, is English – commonly attributed to Thomas Webb’s glass company as “Webb” peachblow. The wide range of models available at the time suggests that pickles were almost a mainstay of the Canadian palette. Jeanne Minhinnik, in her book on the life of the pioneers “At Home in Upper Canada”, underlines that “we were very proud of the variety of pickles that could be put on the table. Preserves, with the matching cherries on the elaborate silver plate frame, would also suit this heritage. It originally sold for $ 5 at a time when premium hams cost three cents a pound and houses in Toronto were available for rent from $ 5 to $ 20 a month. It is well worth $ 400.

Q. I have an item given to me by my father many years ago and I’m not sure what it is. The total length is 129.5 cm (51 inches). The wooden handle looks a lot like a broom with this brass accessory on the top end. I need your expert advice. Thank you. Greetings,

A. Your rare object was used to raise and lower large brass or cast iron oil lamp chandeliers suspended high in churches and other public buildings from around 1870 to the 1920s. Regular light and refill fixtures can have up to ‘to 12 sets of oil sources, burners and lampshades. The lamp column had an adjustable braking system for extension and contraction. The button end of your rod would push in an opposite button at the bottom of the fixture, releasing the brake, which then freed the column to move up and down. The lamps were heavy and it would take strength and practice. The cut handle could be the original. For the collector who wants all the lamp accessories, this should be worth $ 225.

Q. This is one of two very similar oil paintings my grandfather received and inherited. He discovered them in the attic while doing house renovations in the 1940s. The owners gave them to him as part payment. They are on canvas measuring 89 cm wide and 56 cm high (35 x 22 inches) and are found in the original ornate frames intact. There is no apparent artist signature. Anyone who admires them is always mystified by their history. Hope you can provide some. Respectfully yours,

Heather, Peterborough, Ont.

A. The tradition surrounding these awe-inspiring, decorative paintings is an attribution to “passing” artists making them for room and board as they traveled across the country. The common subject is generally a romantic representation of the North American landscape. The items that would sell these items are relevant features such as rapids and wooded rocks that a trip to northern Ontario will certainly confirm. These were made by skilled artists, who have remained anonymous to sell in reputable art galleries, including Eaton’s of Canada. They date from around 1880 to perhaps 1920. The frames have survived well and are typical – meant to impress and add a sense of quality and importance. Their antique charm will find a buyer willing to spend anywhere from $ 150 to $ 225 for each.

John Sewell is an antiques and fine art appraiser. To submit an article to his column, go to the ‘Contact John’ page at Please measure your part, say when and how you got it, what you paid for and list any identifying marks. A high resolution jpeg photo should also be included. (Only email submissions are accepted.) * Evaluation values ​​are estimates only. *

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