Babies don't always arrive as soon as they are wanted. Today a woman might consider getting medical help to conceive, but since ancient times the fertility symbol was thought to be an aid. Frogs, rabbits, entwined snakes and even shoe figures were at one time given to the want-to-be mother. Some ancient peoples took small pottery figures of pregnant women to a religious service as an offering. American Indians put pictures on textiles and pottery of an old, bent man playing a flute or carrying a cane who brought babies to a household. Perhaps most interesting to collectors is the German "Kinder Bringen." He or she was a figure, often a jester, who carried armloads of babies dressed for baptism. The babies were covered in tight cloth wraps much like swaddling clothes but called "taufling." All of these German words are used today, even by English-speaking collectors, to describe the dolls or figurines given to a new bride as a wish for children. ecent doll auctions. At a 2012 auction, a 19th-century 5-inch porcelain figure of a jester holding four babies sold for almost $1,000.
Q: I have six oval-back dining room chairs made by the Aimone Manufacturing Co. of New York. Please tell me something about the company.
A: Aimone Manufacturing Co. was in business in New York City from the late 1870s until at least 1919 and perhaps until the Depression hit. It started as an importer of English, French and Italian furniture and decorative arts, but later concentrated on manufacturing its own furniture at factories on East 22nd and East 23rd streets. Under the name Aimone Furniture Co., it operated wholesale showrooms in Jersey City, N.J., and New York City.
Q: My husband and I have an old bottle and I was wondering what it's worth. A picture of the White House is embossed on the bottle. It says "White House Brand" above the picture and "Vinegar" below it. On the bottom of the bottle, it reads "Bottle patented March 6, 1909." Is it valuable?
A: White House vinegar has been made for more than 100 years. In 1908 Frank Armstrong and B. Fleet Board bought a cider vinegar business in Alexandria, Va., and renamed the business Board, Armstrong and Co. In 1913, after Board died, Armstrong organized National Fruit Product Co. White House Foods is part of that company. National Fruit Product Co. is still in business and makes apple juice, apple sauce, specialty apple products and vinegar. White House vinegar is still available, but it's sold in modern bottles with paper labels. In earlier years, it was sold in bottles, jugs, jars, cruets and pitchers. Bottles shaped like an apple, lighthouse or the Unisphere at the 1964 New York World's Fair were made. Bottles or jugs embossed with the White House design like yours were made in the 1920s and usually sell for $10 to $50.