Antiques & Technology Archives | Page 2 of 16 | Nature's Art VillageNature's Art Village

1650 Hartford-New London Turnpike, Montville, CT 06370

Nature's Art Village & The Dinosaur Place: 860-443-4367
The PAST & The Gateway Museum:860-437-3615

The World of GoebelDecember 12, 2018

The Goebel Company, based in northern Bavaria, has been creating fine porcelain tableware and decorative items since 1871. While most famous for producing M.I. Hummel decorative pieces, Goebel’s offerings also include gifts, tabletop and home décor. Focusing exclusively on the Hummel line would be unfair to their many other quality, sought-after collectibles including Co-Boys and Redheads. This month we delve into the background of a few of Goebel’s more popular collections.

“Co-Boy” figurines are a popular series of gnome-like figurines made by the Goebel Company. In order to market the Co-Boys, Goebel created a fictional tale about gnomes who reside in Coburg, Germany. These cute gnomes were patterned after the town’s inhabitants, such as a doctor, cook, wine maker, butcher, etc. There are more than 60 different figures in this first series.

Co-Boys figurines are noted for their high quality, beautiful style and excellent handiwork. These vintage Goebel collectibles were produced between 1971 and 1987.

Next week we will enter the world of Goebel’s “Redheads”.

With more than 90 antique and collectibles dealers between two handicap-accessible floors, The PAST Antiques Marketplace is sure to have something for the collector in all of us. Visit us at Nature’s Art Village on Route 85 in Montville!


Payphones and phone boothsDecember 09, 2018

When the telephone was invented in 1876, it was at first a service available only to the relatively wealthy, at least when it came to private use. In 1889, the first public coin telephone was installed by inventor William Gray at a bank in Hartford, CT. Gray was inspired to create a public phone when he was unable to locate a phone to call a doctor for his ailing wife.

His innovation allowed everyday people who couldn’t afford their own phones to make business and personal calls. The difference between Gray’s model and its successors is that callers could wait to pay until after the completion of the call. In 1898, Western Electric changed this system and implemented the prepay system still used today. By 1902, pay telephones had reached such popularity that there were 81,000 installed in the United States. In 1905, the first outdoor model had a wooden structure and was installed in Cincinnati. Glass booths weren’t implemented until the 1950s.

By 1995 there were as many as 2.6 million in the U.S. However, At the end of 2012, the FCC reported the number of payphones dropped to 243,487. With 95% of Americans currently owning cell phones, the need for pay phones has diminished. According to the FCC, there are only about 100,000 phone booths left in the United States and about a fifth of those are in New York.


If you would like to see a vintage wooden phone booth with a working payphone, stop by our museum! Come visit us at Nature’s Art Village on Route 85 in Montville.



Frogs are a great way to decorate your home and office. These quirky critters don’t just add a charming touch to your décor, they are believed to bring you luck.

In Japan frogs are very auspicious. The Japanese word for frog is “kaeru” and its homonym means “to return”.  Travelers bring a frog amulet on their journey as this is believed to secure a safe return. Some people keep a small frog amulet in their purse or wallet to ensure money will return.

Whether you are hoping to attract some luck, or just enjoy unusual collectibles, visit the Frog Room at The PAST Antiques and take home some lovable amphibians today.

During the month of December, all frog-related items in our Frog Room are buy two, get one free!
(Free item must be of equal or lesser value. Sale good through December 31st, 2018)

With more than 90 antique and collectibles dealers between two handicap-accessible floors, The PAST Antiques Marketplace is sure to have something for the collector in all of us. Visit us at Nature’s Art Village on Route 85 in Montville!

Westmoreland GlassNovember 28, 2018

The Westmoreland Glass Company grew out of the Specialty Glass Company of East Liverpool, Ohio, which, in 1889, relocated to Grapeville, Pennsylvania, to take advantage of the area’s abundant supply of natural gas. By 1890, production of pitchers, goblets, tumblers, and glass novelty items was underway, overseen by two brothers named George and Charles West. With the financial backing of Ira Brainard, the brothers soon bought out the Ohio founders and changed the firm’s name to the Westmoreland Specialty Company. Operation of the factory ran smoothly for nearly 30 years. During this period, Westmoreland produced virtually every type of glassware, from inexpensive pressed glass to pricier cut glass. Disagreements between the two brothers eventually resulted in George leaving the company, which Charles continued to run on his own. Around the same time, the name was changed to Westmoreland Glass Company to eliminate the confusion among consumers about what a “specialty” company might actually produce— “glass” made the company’s mission crystal clear.

Throughout World War I, the Westmoreland Glass Company manufactured and distributed intricately molded, candy-filled glass jars in the shapes of automobiles, trains, and revolvers to newsstands and dime stores across the U.S. The jars were made of high-quality milk glass, or opal, a signature material that distinguished Westmoreland glass from its competitors.

In the 1920s, Charles added a large decorating department to the factory’s output, which allowed for the distribution of impressive crystal and decorated ware. However, it was milk glass that proved to be most lucrative. An estimated 90 percent of all Westmoreland glass produced between the 1920s and ’50s was made of milk glass. Due to their high level of craftsmanship, Westmoreland milk glass pieces were considered some of the finest examples of the material in the country. This reputation for quality is one reason the factory was not forced to close during the Great Depression.

One of Westmoreland’s most enduring products was a covered dish called Hen on a Nest, which was manufactured in numerous sizes. The earliest Hens were pressed from a more fragile (and more collectible) type of milk glass than the versions that followed. Early Hens can be distinguished from later ones because they were a pure milk-white; it was only later that the hen’s comb was colored bright red. They also created other popular animal dishes including swans, cats, and even bunnies.

By the 1950s, milk glass seemed the best financial bet for the company. Many of the patterns produced during that decade were designed to capitalize on the material’s earlier popularity. Among the most successful patterns were Paneled Grape, Old Quilt, Quilted, English Hobnail, Beaded Fruit, and American Hobnail. As the 1950s drew to a close, though, the popularity of milk glass waned. Westmoreland struggled through the 1970s, and in 1981 David Grossman purchased the company. Despite an effort to revive the business, there was no longer a substantial interest in milk glass. On January 8, 1984, nearly 100 years after its founding, the factory shut down production.

Westmoreland glass of all types continues to be desired by collectors who appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship of these beautiful creations. We currently have a selection of Westmoreland glass on sale: but two get one free! (free item must be of equal or lesser value)

Antique CannonsMay 04, 2018

One of the most dynamic and rewarding collections within our antique shop is the impressive display of antique cannons.

Originating in China during the 12th century, cannons are a more sophisticated version of a “fire lance,” or an early weapon used with gun powder. The fire lance had a pyrotechnic mechanism (slow-burning gunpowder contained within a bamboo tube) attached to a spear. The heat created from igniting gases within the gunpowder causes the gases to rapidly expand, which generates explosive energy. The confined space of the tube made it even more explosive. As improvements were made to gunpowder formulas, changes in the weapon also took place. The tubes were made wider while the spear was eventually done away with, and Chinese warriors began adding pellets and debris before the powder was ignited to cause more damage with the explosion.


After cannons made it to Europe, a general rule of thumb by the 16th century was that a longer barrel would be able to hit a longer range. That being said, some manufacturers of the time crafted barrels that were more than 10 feet long! They also could weigh up to 20,000 lbs. Most countries developed a sizing system to keep track of how cannons were being built so that it would be easier to identify how much gunpowder was needed, or what kinds of cannon balls could be launched. (The bigger the barrel, the more gunpowder and larger cannon ball it required!) France decided on six cannon classifications, while England “narrowed” it down to sixteen!

Although most cannons used today are “autocannons” (which automatically load their own ammunition and fire faster than artillery), gunpowder cannons are still an important part of World History. They were used in all corners of the globe, from the Islamic world to Medieval Europe.

From signaling for help to operating as functional toys, the uses of the cannons on display vary greatly. Regardless of the model, the craftsmanship, ingenuity and longevity of these fascinating firearms are astounding. And some will actually fire!

With more than 90 antique and collectibles dealers between two handicap-accessible floors, The PAST Antiques Marketplace is sure to have something for the collector in all of us. Visit us at Nature’s Art Village on Route 85 in Montville!


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InkwellsApril 27, 2018

Like many practical inventions, creating ink from plant and mineral dyes has been traced back as far as 3000 B.C.E. in Ancient China. However, the inkwell does not appear to come along until 400 B.C.E, when Ancient Egyptian scribes used pieces of stone with hollows in them to hold their ink. The hollows were also used to mix the powders and solvents used to make the ink. Over the years, the wells developed into larger clay containers and eventually were fitted with a lid to protect from spills and evaporation.

In Europe, correspondence between noblemen was also done through scribes; members of the aristocracy were considered too important to write their own messages. Inkwells remained basic in design until the Middle Ages, when they were engraved and made of silver or gold. The 17th-century baroque style brought extremely ornate inkwells; they were often painted with intricate designs and cast in gold. In the 1700s, liquid ink was manufactured and sold in wide-bottom glass inkwells to prevent spills. Further developed during the American Civil War, soldiers were provided with portable, screw-top or clasp-top inkwells for their diaries or to write home to family.

Quill and dip-style pens were used well into the early 1900s. Although pencils became more accessible in the early 1900s, wooden desks in rural areas were designed with holes in them for inkwells. These were used into the 1950s. The ballpoint pen was invented in the 1940s, and this allowed the public access to affordable pens that were easier to use and not as messy.

Quill pens are still used by artists today, for projects involving (but not limited to) calligraphy.

Extravagant inkwells are highly collectible and are found in a large variety of styles. Inkwells are generally designed to be more of a decorative showpiece, not often made to carry around. They are crafted to display and hold ink in a stylish way. Inkwells can be made of various materials including glass, soapstone, onyx, marble, porcelain, horn, cast iron, ceramic, Bakelite, silver, gold, brass and pewter. Inkwells often feature a pen rest, while some incorporate calendars or hinged compartments. More modern inkwells can even have lamps attached!

The PAST Antiques Marketplace at Nature’s Art Village has a wide selection of antique inkwells, ink bottles, pens and other art supplies. Come entice your creative side and visit us on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full selection of antiques and vintage collectibles!

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ArrowheadsApril 19, 2018

Early humans used crudely-sharpened flint pieces attached to the ends of sticks to hunt or use for protection as early as 6,000 years ago. There have also been instances found where wood or bone was used to form an arrowhead.

Arrowheads can be found all over the world, and they are quite a common find. Some of the ones in our collection have come from the Americas in the last few centuries and made of stone. Other examples are from the other side of the globe and were produced during a different era entirely.

Most likely cast of bronze or iron, two of these arrowheads were crafted in Ancient Rome between the first and third centuries CE. It is unclear whether they were used with a bow or at the end of a spear, but Ancient Roman archers of the time were widely renowned for their unmatched skill in battle. When the Roman Empire began to grow, auxiliary archers from other nations (either allies or conquered territories) were added to the Roman Army for supplemental support. These men were paid for their assistance and promised Roman citizenship when their service ended.

Spears, also known as hastae, were enormously effective in their own way in battle. They were used as an anti-cavalry weapon, as opposing forces on horseback were more easily taken down than with other means such as swords. These kinds of spears could be up to 6.5 feet long, and were typically attached to poles made of ash. In the late period of the Roman Empire, hastae were known as the official weapon of the Romans.

It’s a rarity that such ancient treasures are available so readily to the public, but at The PAST Antique Marketplace, there are arrowheads of all kinds for purchase. Visit us on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut for a chance to explore our artifacts and see history firsthand!

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Antique FrogsApril 13, 2018

The frog has been a symbol of good luck in countless cultures, from Japan to Ancient Rome and Greece, as well as in religious ideologies such as Christianity. They are often known to represent new beginnings, most likely because they appear annually in the springtime with the warm weather. Frogs are also associated with good luck, spiritual evolution and prosperity.Frogs are also known to represent fertility and life in Ancient Egyptian lore. The flooding of the Nile River would bring about large numbers of frogs, which they connected with a prosperous crop season. In times of drought, their crops could not survive, so the Ancient Egyptians looked to the frogs as a sign of good luck.

Decorating your home with these adorable amphibians can be traced back to times in Ancient China, when it was common to place a “money frog” in the home for good fortune. The money frog usually has three legs, and either holds a coin in its mouth or sits on a bed of coins. It was (and still is) practiced widely in the art of Feng Shui, so these decorations are also known as “Feng Shui frogs.” However, it is warned not to place the money frog in your kitchen, bathroom or bedroom.

At The PAST Antiques, we have an entire room dedicated to these cute creatures! And don’t worry- they won’t give you warts. These symbols of positive vibes and energy can light up any home with their quirky presence and wide eyes. They also each have their own distinct personalities that may match up with your own!

Hop your way down to the Lily Pad Lounge at The PAST Antiques Marketplace and check out our collection of antique collectible frogs! From figurines to planters, this room will leap-frog its way into your heart. And be sure to bring your tadpoles! The PAST Antiques Marketplace is located at 1650 Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut.

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Silver TeapotsApril 05, 2018

You could plan quite a royal tea party with all of these unique silver pieces!

The first recording of tea drinking is dated as far back as 200 BCE in China during the Han Dynasty. Small, earthenware pots were used at the time, and it was not until approximately 1670 in England that silver was first used to make teapots.

Then, in the early 1700s, Europeans began adding milk and sugar to their tea. From there, it was commonplace to own an entire tea set with several accessories. The accessories ranged from sugar tongs and sugar bowls to strainer spoons and cream jugs.

Silver tea sets are known as a status symbol, as even Queen Victoria had several silver teapots in her home, and the classic, vintage look of silver is still highly coveted today. But as the middle-class began gaining affluence in the eighteenth century, they also began buying more luxury items, such as silver tea sets. So, silverware is a perfect blend of elegance and timelessness that people across all walks of life can enjoy.

Designing teapots out of silver also had several benefits: the tea is able to stay warmer for longer amounts of time, as silver is known to retain higher temperatures than many other natural materials. That higher temperature retention consequently allows the tea to brew at a higher temperature, which releases more of the leaves’ natural flavoring. Finally, it is more durable over time and less likely to shatter if dropped, unlike other materials such as porcelain or ceramics.

We have a large collection of all types of silverware in dozens of shapes, styles and patterns that represented the trends of the time at The PAST Antique Marketplace. Come visit us on Route 85 in Montville at Nature’s Art Village!

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Depression Era GlasswareMarch 29, 2018

Elegant Depression Glass 1

Today’s Marketplace Spotlight takes us back to the late 1920s with a look into the history of Elegant Glass and Depression Glass. During the Great Depression there was a long stretch of glass producing factories on the Ohio River referred to as the “glass houses.” These factories produced mass amounts of cheap, pressed glass. This glass was made for everyday use and storage before plastics were available. The affordable glassware had imperfections in the finish, raised seams and various nicks and marks. Today, this glass is referred to as Depression Glass.

Unlike Depression Glass (although from the same era), Elegant Glass was fire-polished after it was pressed to remove imperfections, and thus produced a fine quality piece of glass with a more vibrant and rich color. The images show a set of 1920s green Elegant Glass tableware that was produced by the Cambridge Glass Company of Ohio.IMG_9480

One of the more popular colors of glass in the 1920’s was this translucent green. The color was obtained by adding uranium to the glass mixture during processing. The method of adding uranium to color glass was nothing new and had been done in the 1800s, resulting in a very yellow/green translucent color. This earlier yellow variety of glass is called Vaseline Glass, because its color looked like that of Vaseline petroleum jelly. The later translucent green made in the 1920s used iron oxide as well as uranium and this gave the glass a slightly truer green without the yellow hue. The uranium in the glass also gives the glass the unique ability to fluoresce under ultra violet light. Vaseline Glass fluoresces a more yellow green.

The Cambridge Glass Company soon became known worldwide for its beautiful designs and quality art glass. The opaque shades of Elegant Glass were produced early in the 1920s and then transparent colors were popular during the late 1920s. By the 1930s, new darker colors were introduced such as ruby red and royal blue.

The PAST Antiques Marketplace has many varieties of Depression Era Glass and accessories available. Visit Nature’s Art Village in Montville, Connecticut to see our full selection of antiques and collectibles!

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