At the turn of the 20th century, there was a great cultural and societal shift. As the Victorian era ended in 1901, the Edwardian era of King Edward VII and Art Nouveau, ushered in a new era for women. Sharon Hope Weintraub, the author of ‘Bawdy Bisques & Naughty Novelties’ is quoted in a 2008 article saying, “I was fascinated by the wide variety of figurines and the creativity and workmanship that went into their manufacture. I was also intrigued with the way the bathing beauties reflected the loosening of moral, cultural, and sartorial restrictions on women between the 1890s and the 1920s.”
Art Nouveau was a reaction to the academic art of the 19th century. It took inspiration from natural forms and structures, particularly the curved lines of plants and flowers. This trend was reflected in the fashions of the time as well. Corsets were being discarded. In this atmosphere of Art Nouveau, where nature is celebrated, so too was the human form celebrated.
Social and political change also brought more freedom for women. WW1 saw more single women working as men were on the battlefield. Bicycles gave women a new level of transportation independence. In 1920, women won the right to vote.
Free moving clothing allowed for more athletic endeavors. Changing fashion also meant more relaxed dress of bathers in this period; less clothing that covered a woman’s shape also allowed for swimming. A new appreciation of the female form gave birth to the bathing beauty.
These little bisque pieces of art also represented the growing appreciation of vacationing by the sea. What began in the 1890’s as a naughty item, soon became souvenirs of fun times spent on the beach, or at countless other summer vacation sites. They were purchased by a new generation of adults who rejected the stiff rules and mores of Victorian etiquette. This period lasted until the 1930’s.
Bathing beauties are all bisque figures that have a bathing suit either painted on or are made of fabric. The fabric used was a light netting or lace that often has disappeared over the decades. That is why many bathing beauties are naked. However, these women wear bathing caps and matching ballet type bathing slippers, indicating they also once wore a fabric bathing suit.
The first example is a somewhat rare example. Galluba and Hoffman was a leading manufacturer of these ladies. These figures have a dome head and wear a mohair wig. It is very hard to find the wigs still intact. They are most likely to be reclining and have no base. The poses are more complex, with limbs extended away from the body. A makers mark may be incised on a part of the figure that was covered by the fabric suit. The example shown was most likely manufactured about 1915.
Most of the beauties in my collection have painted swim suits, and painted hair with a bathing cap and matching bathing shoes. The factory of Hertwig & Co., was one of the biggest manufacturers of bathing beauties of this type. They are the most common beauties to be found. Pink pre-colored bisque would be poured into a mold. Hertwig would use one basic mold to make different size ladies, with added or subtracted materials. So, these figures are found with wigs, and a multitude of different bathing suit colors and styles. Some have suits made of the rough “snow” material similar to snow babies. Arms were molded separately, and legs were often manipulated so that they could be sold in several different poses. Some bathers appear standing on a base, often with the name of the vacation spot printed on it. Most of these figures are part of the 5000 series mold mark, and were mostly made in the late 20’s into the early 30’s.
Some of the most difficult bathing beauties to find are ladies emerging from sea shells, or laying on top of a turtle. Most often, they ended up at the bottom of an aquarium, where they languished until the aquarium was thrown out or given away. Many of these are from the 1930’s and were cold painted. This means the paint was added after firing, and the paint easily wore off. Care should be taken when cleaning them. You may inadvertently wipe the paint off along with the dirt.
Other souvenirs incorporated the bathing beauty into a utilitarian souvenir for vacationers to buy. They are found as pin cushions, lamp bases, vases, match holders; or posing on top of candy boxes, pin dishes, powder and trinket boxes. The pictures shows a Bathing beauty created by atop a cushion that creates a porcelain powder box, with the Sitzendorf Porcelain Factory makers mark. Desirability is based on scarcity and quality of the piece. The quality of facial painting is very important. Like pin cushion dolls, the more limbs extended away from the body and the more complicated the pose; means that it required multiple separate molded parts. They are more likely to be broken and damaged.
Thanks to our guest blogger: Miriam (Mickie) Feiden. Check out her web store: https://www.icollect247.com/yesterdaystoys
As a collector myself, I know what it means to feel comfortable in a home (note I did not say a house). Our home is decorated with things I love and feel comfortable with. I live with history and things that remind me of a simpler time and memories. The great thing about collectors is that they are a community of people who have the same passion. A passion to collect and live with their collections.
It does not matter what you collector or how you display it or even if it is in a box, your collection is personal and cannot be found in a big box store. I have been very honored to have been invited into many collectors homes to share their passion. These collectors enjoy showing their collection and letting me take photos. I hope you enjoy these collection’s pictures as well as give you some ideas on how to display and enjoy collecting. No matter if you like country, a theme or have a formal home…home is where the heart is!
Lots of holidays are put on your calendar but did not hear of National Trivia Day, celebrated on January 4th. Enjoy some of the Trivia you never knew about!
Did you know…Beer is the most popular beverage in the world, with tea in second place. People collect beer memorabilia and there actually a Breweriana Collector Club. From beer cans to beer bottles, from signs to beer trays, it is a passion for many collectors. Find over 200 pieces of vintage beer advertising on http://www.icollect247.com and start collecting! If you like our post please share and like it! We will keep them coming!
Nobody writes anymore. In fact, kids are not even taught to write anymore and in another generation, we will only talk via computer. In our small rural area, it was not unusual for friends to travel by train to a town 30 miles away and send a postcard back to a relative. We have an old postcard book full of vintage postcards mailed from one small town to another. Postcards were sent, enjoyed and kept. So why should we collect postcards?
They are simply a piece of affordable art that connects us with history in many ways. From a heavy paper to leather and even linen, these were mailed with postage stamps and were delivered as something special. They can be touched, looked at, admired, take up little space, inexpensive and even comical. You can research a lot of history, such as fashion, architecture, historical events, artists and more. Even Santa Claus’ history can be seen in postcards.
Do you remember summer vacations…every stop for gas you went in and got a souvenir postcard. Every place you went there were souvenir postcards. How about your city or town, I bet there were postcards of events and buildings. My small town had stock postcards with their town name printed on the bottom. I know that as there were not meadows and sheep, in the town we lived. In fact, I recently found them in a paper notebook from an elementary school report I had to do on my hometown.
You do not have to be a history bluff to enjoy postcards. You just need to enjoy times past. Why not collect holiday postcards and put them on a postcard display during the season. On icollect247 there are over 2400 different postcards for sale. Here are a few of my favorites which are currently for sale on http://www.icollect247.com. You can use the search function and just type in postcard.
Gentlemen… do you knees get weak then you hear that hum and see the soft glow of a beautiful neon sign? It brings back some great memories of when life was much simpler and gas was cheap!
Neon was first used in 1898 with the discovery of the element Krypton. In the sign industry it was first demonstrated in a sign in 1910. From gas stations to shoe stores, inside and out, neon became used in every type of advertising.
While the tubes were clear, it is the different color gas discharged through the tubes that gave the sign its color. Signs with the most colors are the most expensive due to the amount of tubing and colored gas. As the sign industry has changed and modernized, now neon has been replaced with fiberoptics. Sign companies no longer have the demand for neon and no longer offer it.
Thus the demand for old neon is growing. Just like everything in life the less of it the more expensive. From clocks to signs, gotta tell you this would look great anywhere in the house or man cave! Check out http://www.icollect247.com for a selection of old neon!
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Looking to add a little bit of class to your mundane kitchen? How about some vintage counter ware? This great looking Borden’s malted milk glass jar would look great on your counter. You can use it for just about anything you would want. Cookies come to mind…must be close to dinner, lol. But really, cookies, wrapped candy, chores for the kids (too funny), etc., you could use it for lost of things and bring a vintage feel to your home!
For example, a Malted Milk Jar would be perfect to hold breakfast bars or other snacks. The jar is extremely heavy and with a metal, top will not chip the glass.
Or how about this late 19th-century wooden rack mounts to a wall and has three tiers that fold up when not in use. The tiers have open bottoms with rungs for hanging drying herbs and milk glass finials on the nail heads that attach the rungs to the end brackets.This decorative copper four cup teapot would dress up a shelf and dates from the nineteenth century. Has unusually ornate brass handle brackets with a dark wood handle.
My favorite pieces in my kitchen are my Prayer Ladies. These were made in the late 1950s to early 1960s and come in blue and pink. Easy to keep clean and are always a reminder that God is there in my kitchen.
Using vintage pieces in your home gives it a warm, fuzzy feeling, as well as useful. The pieces above as well as fresh to the market pieces are available at the “Only All On-Line All Vintage Marketplace” – icollect247.com.
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If you were to go back in time and look through the window of a 1900’s Drug Store, you could have seen a pharmacy full of bottles and medicines. In fact, this was the setting of Dr. John Stith Pemberton, as he experimented with a wide range of proprietary medicines to sell to the public. Some of his products included Gingerine, Indian Queen Hair Dye, and Triplex Pills. On May 8, 1886, Pemberton created and served Coca-Cola in his pharmacy, Jacobs’ Pharmacy. He served an average of nine drinks a day during the remainder of 1886.
In the 1890’s an “advertising push” for this new drink took place in New England. Businesses were offered premiums such as clocks, fountain urns and more, as a way to entice them to buy more gallons of Coca-Cola syrup. Coca-Cola salesman had a lot to do. Besides taking care of their current customers, they would call on new businesses, show
how to properly mix this new Coca-Cola drink and put up store displays (known as the point of purchase advertising).
The salesman also had to contact the local billposters in each town and contract with them to put up the Coca-Cola billboards. It was a lot of hard work but this new approach to marketing worked and sales skyrocketed. A rare piece of advertising from those early years is a mosaic Coca-Cola hanging light half globe. As I understand it, only two of these are known to exist.
One sold at the Schmidt Museum Auction and the
other is in a private collection. The only record of them existing is a photo of an old soda fountain with two mosaic half globes on the mirror of a back bar. Perhaps these two mosaics were the ones in the photo, no one knows. Both of these globes have been compared and are exactly alike. These are not shown in any Coca-Cola price guide.
Most collectors are familiar with the Coca-Cola Vienna Art Plates which were produced and distributed by the Western Coca-Cola Bottling Company. Early bottlers often did not contact Coca-Cola for approval on advertising items. They just produced it and gave it away. While these were not “Authorized by Coca-Cola”, they are still part of the Coca-Cola collecting and history. Up until 1924, independent bottlers had no guideline for any advertising. In that year the Coca-Cola Company formed a Standardization Committee.
The committee’s booklet titled Coca-Cola Bottler’s Standards gave bottlers new rules and actual standards to follow in marketing Coca-Cola.
Coca-Cola Chewing Gum items, while not soda related, are extremely rare and are part of Coca-Cola history and highly sought.
Two rare pieces of Coca-Cola history are a girl drinking from a straw and an old fashioned Santa.
Neither of these pieces are shown in any price guides. The girl drinking Coca-Cola from a straw is shown in the Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Current Price List September 1927. It sold to bottlers for .06 each and was called the “Girl with Straw Hanger”. The old-fashioned Santa Claus was a cardboard bottle display. The piece is die cut and made of very thin cardboard. With the scary look of Santa and the thin cardboard, I doubt that many retailers kept them around long. These are rarity seen. Perhaps they were not ordered by retailers and thrown away or was a short production run.
As early as 1907 window displays and festoons were used to advertise Coca-Cola. In small towns across the USA, downtown stores had large glass windows in which to advertise. Coca-Cola took advantage of this open space and created elaborate Coca-Cola displays. Inside the stores were soda fountains with back bars, a perfect place for festoons. These elaborate window displays and festoons were made of cardboard and often had many pieces to the display. Super rare festoons and window displays are from 1907 to 1918.
Other rare ones from the 1920’s such as the 1926 “Chinese Lanterns” and 1927 “Leaves” festoon. Due to direct sunlight, heat and humidity, not many of these survived. They were just thrown away after taken down. Little did they know that this would be a valuable piece of history and highly prized by collectors.
The 1950’s and 1960’s saw the largest number of festoons made, as they followed trends such as Square Dancing, Auto Racing, Beach Girls and Birthstones. Many collectors shy away from these due to size and if framed they do take a rather large wall. I have seen
collectors use them as they were originally intended, in separate pieces on the wall.
As well as the continual use of festoons during the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s large advertising cardboard signs, like mini billboards begin to appear in businesses. These cardboard signs were inserted into wooden frames often referred to as “Kay Displays”. These wooden frames had metal rods on each side, a Coca-Cola bottle emblem at the bottom and were manufactured by the “Kay Display, Inc.”.
Coca-Cola collecting is popular and there are many local clubs as well as a National club. Join any of these and you will be part of the Coca-Cola collecting family.