Look in your grandmother’s china cabinet for unusual glass and china. You may find some special pieces originally given away as product premiums during the early 20th century. There was no television, and radio was just getting developed, so “ads” often were objects that would be kept by the family. Colorful trade cards, sets of pressed glass or Depression glass, dishes of all kinds, souvenir spoons, printed handkerchiefs and even furniture were available. A small cup we inherited puzzled us for many years. The 3≤-inch-high porcelain cup is decorated with bright pink carnations and gold trim. But inside the rim of the cup, where you see it when finished drinking, are the words “Armour’s Bouillon Cubes.” The underside of the cup says “C.T. Altwasser.” The maker was easy to identify. We list a few pieces of its china in each edition of “Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide.” C. Tielsch & Co. of Altwasser, Germany, was in business in Silesia, Germany, from 1845 to 1945. Armour & Co. was founded in Chicago in 1867 as a meat-packing plant. It also made buttons, glue, fertilizer, margarine and other items from by-products. The Armour brand name still is used in the United States for meat and other products. Bouillon cubes were originally used to turn hot water into a tasty drink that aided digestion. Bouillon was also used in cooking, just as it is today. The Armour cup must have been a popular premium, because many are still available at flea markets and shops. They sell for $20 to $25 each.
Q: I found a 25-piece set of Golden Wheat dishes in my mother’s attic. The mark on each dish include the words “Golden Wheat, Made in USA, 22K Gold, Oven Proof,” with a sheaf of wheat on each side. The set includes six dinner plates, six salad plates and a few serving pieces, but only a couple cups, saucers and soup bowls. What is the set worth?
A: Golden Wheat dishes were premiums first inserted in boxes of Duz detergent during the 1950s. Each month, a different packaged dish was inserted in a box of detergent. The pattern is a realistic image of five standing sheaves of wheat, and the rim of each dish was edged in gold. There is disagreement about the company that made the dishes, because the same mark was used by Scio Pottery of Scio, Ohio; Homer Laughlin China Co. of Newell, W.Va.; and French Saxon China Co. of Sebring, Ohio. It is possible all three pottery companies made dishes for Duz. Because so many dishes were made and so many people saved them, prices are low. Another problem is that defining a “set” is impossible because many of the dishes made it into homes one at a time. We have seen a 22-piece set offered for $35.
Tip: Don’t put wax on a wooden toy to preserve it. The wax may yellow and disturb any markings or paper decoration.