Uncategorized Archives | 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


Pie BirdsFebruary 11, 2019

A pie bird, pie vent, or pie whistle is a hollow ceramic device used to prevent pie filling from boiling up and leaking through the crust.  These clever gadgets are designed to allow steam to escape from inside the pie. They also support the pastry crust in the center of the pie, so that it does not sag in the middle.

Originally pie vents were simple inverted funnels, with arches on the bottom for steam to enter. In the 1930’s vents were redesigned into a bird shape with steam releasing through the bird’s mouth. Soon pie birds were created in a multitude of designs from storybook characters and animals to advertising mascots.

Pie birds remain popular as gifts and collectors’ items rather than for their usefulness. Whether you bake pies or just love vintage kitchenware, pie vents are a whimsical addition to your kitchen.

The PAST Antiques Marketplace  has an interesting array of pie birds and other vintage kitchenware. Visit us on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full selection of antiques and vintage collectibles!

 

 

 

 

February Booth of the MonthFebruary 01, 2019

February’s Vendor of the Month is Booth 106, located on the lower level at the PAST Antiques Marketplace. Lanterns are a fascinating, functional item to collect and this vendor provides both oil and electrified versions.

As far back as 1860, lanterns were used by railroad workers to send messages to each other.

In 1859 Robert Edwin Dietz and his brother, Michael patented the first practical flat wick burner especially designed for kerosene. Over time the R.E. Dietz Company manufactured hundreds of lantern models, and pioneered the automotive lighting industry. Dietz’s lantern division moved to China in 1956, and production of lanterns ceased in America in 1970.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gambling PunchboardsJanuary 28, 2019

Punchboards originated in the 18th century. Tavern owners drilled holes into wooden game boards and placed numbered, paper tickets into the slots. These holes were then covered with paper. A patron would buy one of the holes and puncture the paper to reveal a possible prize.

In the late 1800s, cardboard punchboards were introduced. These new punchboards, sold with a metal punch stylus, became popular at drugstores. It is estimated that 30 million punchboards were sold between 1910 to 1915 and 50 million punchboards were sold in 1939 during the peak of their popularity.

After World War II punchboards declined in popularity and many states outlawed this form of gambling. Many manufacturers attempted to disguise the gambling nature of the boards by stating that prizes were “for trade only” and not redeemable for cash. Cigarette, cigar, and beer companies used punchboards as an advertising medium, featuring their products as prizes instead of cash.

Over time crooked vendors “fixed” punchboards and sold the answer keys to mobsters or patrons who would split the prizes. Infamous night club owner, Jack Ruby, was known for selling punchboards.

Eventually gambling punchboards evolved into the scratch-off lottery tickets in use today.

Visit The PAST Antiques Marketplace  on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full selection of antiques and vintage collectibles!

Salt and Pepper ShakersJanuary 23, 2019

Previously we discussed how salt cellars were used prior to the introduction of free-flowing salt. Salt and pepper shakers are now a staple in most homes and make a fun, useful collectible. Shaker collecting is so popular that there are clubs and museums dedicated to shaker enthusiasts.

In 1858, John Mason, inventor of the Mason jar, created the first saltshaker by punching holes in a tin cap to distribute salt across his food. In 1871 C. P. Crossman patented an agitator which broke up clumps and kept salt free-flowing. Later salt was more finely milled and ceramic containers with perforations in their tops were invented. Prior to these inventions, salt mills similar to pepper grinders, ground the salt into small bits.

Salt shakers became increasingly common after anti-caking agents were introduced by the Morton Salt company in the 1920s. The Great Depression of the 1930s boosted the popularity of shakers as Japanese ceramics producers concentrated on exporting inexpensive items. By the 1940s and ’50s, novelty shakers shaped like produce, animals and other characters, were in demand. As Americans traveled more by car, shakers became popular road-trip souvenirs.

Whether a vintage find or a souvenir of travel, shakers can add a little charm to your home.

The PAST Antiques Marketplace at Nature’s Art Village has a variety of salt and pepper shakers and other vintage kitchenware. Visit us on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full selection of antiques and vintage collectibles!

January’s Vendor of the Month is Booth 100, located downstairs at the PAST Antiques Marketplace.
If you wish to add to your collection, or start one, you’ll love this assortment of vintage items! Ceramic figures, ashtrays, novelty salt shakers, plates and framed art. So many fun and unusual pieces, we can’t list them all.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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)

This time of year is perfect for settling into the kitchen and trying out new recipes for all kinds of delicious confections. With the help of modern technology, the process of trial and error is quick and easy. Imagine how time-consuming it would be to whip up these tasty tr eats without the help of an electric egg beater!

Hand-operated rotary egg beaters have been around since approximately 1860, and were eventually patented by inventor Willis Johnson in Ohio in 1884. He originally intended it as a mixing device for all ingredients, not just eggs, and in that way, modern mixers have essentially come full-circle.

The design of the rotary beater helps to cut down on the time and effort needed to whisk the eggs. By turning the handheld crank, the motion of the gear revolutions transfers the energy to the beaters to spin them. This is much faster and more efficient than whisking by hand. Another perk of this machine is that it is able to add a significant amount of air into whatever is being mixed –this would lighten the consistency of the recipe or dessert and add to its quality.

By the 1890s, the Dover Stamping Company had a monopoly on egg beaters in the United States, so most people referred to them as “Dover Egg beaters,” regardless of the maker. Dover also popularized the shape and design we are familiar with today, and between 1870 and 1890 they sold 4 million egg beaters. The prices for these devices could range from $1.25 to $1.50.

Americans also used the egg beaters to mix other household substances such as paint. While modern rotary egg beaters are typically made from stainless steel, they were historically made from tin-wire or brass-wire.

Across the pond, Europeans seemed to prefer the ordinary method of hand-mixing or whisking with a hand whisk. The demand for the rotary beater was quite low until the early 20th century.

The Past Antiques Marketplace in Nature’s Art Village is home to several antique egg beaters for purchase. Visit us on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to check out our entire collection of antiques and collectibles.

Click Here for more Antiques Blog Posts!

Bates TBT

Throwback Thursday: Bates Automatic Numbering Machine

Today’s Throwback Thursday takes us to the year 1891 with this Bates Automatic Numbering Machine. This self-inking machine was used by medical professionals, courts and businesses for identification, copyrights and dates during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Please click on a photo to view it larger, and visit The Past Antiques Marketplace on Route 85 in Montville, CT for more antiques & collectibles!

Bates TBT2

Trivia Tuesday 6-30-15June 30, 2015

Can you help Monty find the answer to today’s Trivia Tuesday dinosaur question?

TriviaTuesday 5q

+- Click Here for today's Answer & Explanation!

TriviaTuesday 5a

The horn above the nose of the Ceratosaurus was originally believed to be a weapon for attacking prey and defense against predators. Today, most scientists believe the horn was actually too weak to be an effective weapon, but instead was used to intimidate rivals and attract mates. Some scientist believe the horn of the Ceratosaurus was brightly colored to further attract mates, like the feathers of a male peacock. The Dinosaur Place has a Ceratosaurus among its more than 40 life-sized dinosaur in the Outdoor Adventure Park! Come by and visit on Route 85 in Montville and shake hands with this fascinating carnivore!  Click here for more on The Dinosaur Place and check back next week for another Trivia Tuesday question!

Ceratosaurus with boy