The origin of what was mission furniture | News, Sports, Jobs

Emilee Geist

Gustav Stickley has created icons of American design. Inspired by John Ruskin and William Morris of the English Arts and Crafts movement, Stickley started the Craftsman workshop in 1900. He originated what was later called mission furniture, with its simple, sturdy shapes, iron and hammered copper hardware and […]

Gustav Stickley has created icons of American design. Inspired by John Ruskin and William Morris of the English Arts and Crafts movement, Stickley started the Craftsman workshop in 1900.

He originated what was later called mission furniture, with its simple, sturdy shapes, iron and hammered copper hardware and emphasis on skilled craftsmanship and practicality instead of decoration. He favored oak because it is strong and heavy.

Like the movement in England, Stickley’s style went beyond a furniture brand; it was an entire philosophy. He published a magazine called “The Craftsman.”

An early Stickley desk, made around 1900, sold for $3,900 at Cottone Auctions in Geneseo, N.Y. It has a fall front that could be folded up when the writing surface wasn’t in use, taking up less space in the room.

Other adjustable or multifunction Stickley designs include an adjustable recliner and a bookshelf that could be used as a table.

Q: I have a small pin and a matching 8-inch hatpin from the San Xavier Mission in Arizona. Both are embossed with a picture of the mission and marked with three hearts with the letters “P & B” in them and “Sterling.” My grandmother said her mother bought them when they went to California by train in the early 1900s. What can you tell me about them?

A: These were made by Paye & Baker, a company in business in North Attleboro, Mass., from 1901 to the 1960s. The company started as Simmons & Paye in 1896 and became Paye & Baker in 1901. Souvenir spoons, jewelry and novelty items were made until 1919, when the company began making dental and surgical instruments. Production of silver items resumed in 1923. The company became a division of the Bishop Co. in 1952 and went out of business in the early 1960s.

Q: I recently bought a cut-glass decanter at an auction. It has a white residue on the very bottom. How can I remove this without damaging the crystal?

A: The white residue is caused by calcium, lime and other minerals found in hard water. It can be removed by filling the decanter with warm water and adding white vinegar, vinegar and baking soda, or a denture tablet. Let it sit for several hours or overnight. Rinse out the solution and wash the decanter in a plastic tub or in a sink lined with a towel or rubber mat to prevent chipping. Turn the faucet to one side or put a rubber collar on the spout to avoid hitting the metal. Wash in warm (not hot) water and detergent, rinse and put upside down on a dish rack to dry. The inside of the decanter can be dried by inserting pieces of an old cotton sheet and using the handle of a wooden spoon or a wooden dowel to wipe it.

Q: I have a reversible, jacquard weave coverlet that belonged to my great-grandparents, who were married in northwest Ohio in 1863. I’ve kept it in a plastic covering, in a cardboard storage box on a shelf in my basement. It’s 90 inches long and 82 inches wide and has fringe on three sides. The fringe is intact except for about a 4-inch space on the bottom edge. Part of the hem on the fourth edge needs to be resewn. Overall, it’s in amazingly good condition. What should I do for its future preservation? What might it be worth?

A: Textiles should not be stored in plastic bags or cardboard boxes. Cardboard contains acids and resins that can harm textiles. Plastic bags can contain harmful chemicals. If using a plastic container, make sure it is safe for long-term storage of textiles.

Coverlets should be rolled up to avoid fold lines and wrapped in unbleached muslin or a cotton sheet, then stored in an acid free, archival container. You can buy containers at home goods stores or online. You can also just lay the coverlet flat on a bed in a room that isn’t being used and cover it with a sheet to avoid dust. Jacquard coverlets have elaborate pictorial patterns that are made on a special loom or with the use of a special attachment. Many coverlet weavers worked in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. They often wove their name or initials, the date, the place the coverlet was made, or a message into a corner block.

A signed and dated corner block adds value. Condition is important, and the missing fringe will reduce value. Signed coverlets sold recently for $250 to $500. Value of your unsigned coverlet with missing fringe would be about half that.

Q: My husband got a Camel cigarette lighter from his uncle years ago. It is 2 inches high and 2 inches wide and in the original box. The box and lighter picture a camel and pyramids, and the words “Camel, have a real cigarette!” On the bottom it says “Crown design Reg’d.” It’s in excellent condition. Is it of any value?

A: This Crown lighter was made in Japan in the 1960s. Several other companies made the same lighter, and they are easy to find for sale online. The lighter, in excellent condition and in the original box, is worth less than $25.

TIP: Never wear rubber gloves when cleaning or handling silver. The sulfur from the gloves tarnishes silver.


Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

– Pattern glass water set, Coin Dot, cranberry shaded to clear, bulbous pitcher with elongated neck stretched to four-sided rim, four tumblers, five pieces, $60.

– Furniture, mirror, neoclassical style, giltwood, brown paint between molded sides, crest with gilt ribbon swag, rosettes in corners, fleur-de-lis finials, 36 x 25 inches, $125.

– Candy container, turkey, molded papier-mache, realistically painted, two metal feet, head pulls off to reveal opening, Germany, 5 x 3 inches, $200.

– Dinnerware, platter, “His Majesty,” turkey in a field, autumn fruit and nut border, shades of brown, red and green, oval, marked “Made in England by Johnson Bros.,” 20 1/2 x 16 inches, $235.

– Coin, Pilgrim half-dollar, side view of a pilgrim man holding prayer book, “In God We Trust,” Mayflower ship on reverse with Pilgrim Tercentenary Celebration 1620-1920, $300.

– Jewelry, necklace, pendant, Joy & Sorrow theater masks, heavy link chain with lobster clasp, 14K yellow gold, Italy, 1970s-1980s, pendant 3/4 inches, chain 20 inches, $410.

– Staffordshire plate, Historical Blue, “Niagara Falls from the American Side,” shell border, transfer decorated, oval, Enoch Wood & Sons, Burslem, England, c. 1829, 14 3/4 inches, $565.

– Advertising sign, “Pilgrim Fathers, A 10(cent) Cigar That Merits the Name It Bears,” W.K. Gresh & Sons Makers, image of three pilgrim men on center, embossed tin, green ground, gilt fans in corners, Sentenne & Green, 19 x 27 inches, $900.

– Chrome cocktail shaker, Empire, William Archibald Welden for Revere Copper & Brass Inc., cylindrical, rounded cover, butterscotch Bakelite trim, applied D-shaped handle, marked “Revere, Rome, N.Y.,” 1938, 12 x 6 3/4 inches, $1,060.

– Lamp, chandelier, pendant, Sputnik, 24 arms with lights radiating from bronze ball center, white enamel perforated shades, Italy, midcentury modern, 58 x 62 inches, $1,250.

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