Kovels: French window bench

This French window bench was in style the last half of the 18th century. Although it was made to use by a window, it is popular with decorators today as a hall bench or a seat at the end of a bed. This bench sold for about $1,600 at an auction.

Everyone knows what a bench is, but what is a window bench? Many homes in earlier centuries had windows set in alcoves in a large open room like a hall or living room. The bench was narrow enough, and a seat low enough to avoid blocking the window. The typical French bench had curved or turned legs, a shaped stretcher, and the arms were more like raised handles on the sides. It is a low, wide chair without a back.

Most window benches were upholstered for comfort and to improve the look of the window. A Provincial Louis XVI fruitwood window seat was sold at a New Orleans auction for $1,625. It was 29 inches high by 43 inches wide. There are few rooms with window alcoves, but window benches are just the right size to stay at the end of a bed.

Q. I have a Red Riding Hood cookie jar and salt and pepper shakers, all in excellent condition. On the bottom it says “Little Red Riding Hood Pat. Des. No. 135889 USA.” They’ve been in my family for over 75 years. Can you tell me their value?

A. The Little Red Riding Hood cookie jar and salt and pepper shakers were designed by Louise Elizabeth Bauer of Zanesville, Ohio, and patented in 1943. They were made by A.E. Hull Pottery Co. of Crooksville, Ohio, and decorated by Royal China and Novelty Co. of Sebring, Ohio. Royal China made some cookie jars later. Cookie jars made by Royal are pure white; those made by Hull are creamy white. Several variations of the cookie jar were made, and they have been reproduced. Salt and pepper shakers were made in both large and small sizes. The cookie jars sell for about $40, less than the $70 to $145 they sold for a few years ago. Salt and peppers shakers are only $10 to $15 online.

Q. How can I find out if my majolica plates are authentic and what their value is? I have five majolica plates, each with a large raised leaf. Some of the plates are leaf shaped and some are round. They are yellow with green and brown or tan leaves.

A. The term “majolica” was first used to describe tin-glazed earthenware made in Spain in the 14th century. Designs look painted on. A different kind of majolica, with molded designs, was made in England by Minton beginning in 1851. It became popular during the Victorian era and was made by manufacturers in several countries. New, reproduction majolica has been made since the 20th century. Collectors look for Victorian majolica. Older pieces are heavier than reproduction majolica, the painting is more carefully done, and the body under the glaze is colored, not white.

Q. I’d like to know if an old “Roosevelt” pinback button is worth anything. It’s a round button, about 3/4 inch in diameter. The top third is blue with three white stars. Below that is a white band with “Roosevelt” in blue capital letters. The bottom third is white with five vertical red stripes.

A. Two Roosevelts served as presidents of the United States: Theodore Roosevelt, from 1901 to 1909, and his fifth cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, from 1933 until his death in 1945. Your political button was made by Bastian Bros. Co. for one of FDR’s campaigns, probably in 1932 or 1936. Franklin Roosevelt was the only president to serve more than two terms in office. He won reelection to an unprecedented third term in 1940 and a fourth term in 1944, but he died in April 1945. Some rare political pins sell for high prices, sometimes over $100. Yours is a common pin, worth less than $2.

Q. My mother has a 10 1/2-inch wooden box with “Pilkington Bro’s Ltd., St. Helens, England, British Glass” and an insignia marked on the top. There are three compartments. Can you tell me anything about it?

A. Pilkington Brothers is a British glass manufacturer that started about 1826 as the St. Helens Crown Glass Company. Investors included William Pilkington and his brother-in-law, Peter Greenall. They bought out the other investors in 1827, and Pilkington’s older brother joined the business, which was renamed Greenall and Pilkingtons. Greenall left in 1845. The company became Pilkington Brothers in 1849 and was incorporated as Pilkington Brothers Ltd. in 1894. It became a subsidiary of Nippon Sheet Glass of Japan in 2006. Your mother has a salesman’s sample box made after 1894. The compartments held samples of the company’s flat glass. A sample box like yours with samples sold for about $125 a few years ago.

Q. The metal drawer pulls on my antique dresser are marked “RD 769778, Made in England.” I can’t find anything about this online. What can you tell me about it?

A. This number is an English design registry number and indicates the design for the hardware was registered in 1905. This helps date your dresser since it could not have been made before 1905. Look on the bottom or the back of the dresser for a maker’s name or mark. It may give a better idea of age. The handles are copies of a 19th-century style.

Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer readers’ questions sent to the column. Send a letter with one question describing the size, material (glass, pottery, etc.), and what you know about the item. Include only two pictures: the object and a closeup of any marks or damage. Be sure your name and return address are included. By sending a question, you give full permission for use in any Kovel product. Names, addresses or email addresses will not be published. We do not guarantee the return of photographs, but if a stamped, self-addressed envelope is included, we will try. Questions that are answered will appear in Kovels Publications. Write to Kovels, (The (Maryville) Daily Times), King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803 or email us at collectorsgallery@kovels.com.

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