Saturday, 2 August 2014

Dealing with antiques

I have now started to have a closer look at the miniatures I bought last week in Stockholm. Mind, I know that there are scores of fake antiques out there, made in China and skilfully aged. I know too little to be able to judge. However, this is what I have found out about the half-scale stove:


You cannot see it very well, but it says "Skoglund Olson Gefle". Some research on the web, performed by my excellent research assistant (Staffan, my husband), yields the following. Skoglund & Olson was a prominent ironware factory in Gävle (Gefle with old orthography), the city where Staffan grew up. They produced stoves, fireplaces and all kinds of hardware, and they also produced iron toys and miniatures, notably cars and stoves. Another source warns that a lot of fake Skoglund & Olson toys are nowadays made in India and sometimes sold as antiques. It wasn't expensive, but people do not always know what they sell. I like it anyway. It fits nicely in my half-scale kitchen, although it is wrong style: the kitchen is early Victorian. Does it matter? I may make a half-scale Swedish kitchen one day. I have many times built a roombox around one particular piece.

Another beautiful item is this drop-leaf table that some vandal has spoiled by gluing on whatever it was, apparently plates and pots.

I have many times removed marks after glasses and plates from 1:1 furniture, but whoever vandalised this table made sure the glue would stay forever. I didn't want to scratch it so I dissolved the glue carefully with nail polish remover, then sanded with fine-grain sandpaper and soaked again and again in teak oil. It is still not perfect, but the worst stains are gone. I will repeat the treatment a couple more times.

This piece is signed and marked, and I am trying to find out something about the maker and the mark. All ideas welcome.

The table will go into my Swedish kitchen, to replace the made-in-China-and-wrong-style table. Of course I will have the replace the chairs as well. Maybe I can get some from Kotte Toys. Any idea which chairs would match the table?

Finally, for this round, I have scrutinised the wardrobe. It has no marks, but it looks old (see above, looks are no guarantee of authenticity). It was broken, but the tiny nails that hold the door and work as hinges were still there. It is extremely delicate, and I was anxious not to break it. A small piece was loose where the nail had been, and I glued it carefully.

Inside, there were some holes that I believe indicate that there used to be a shelf. I may make a shelf from balsa.

 I managed to put the door in place, but the nail didn't get in all the way, and I didn't want to force it.

It is hard to estimate the scale. It is 13 cm tall, including the ornament, so it is closer to 1:16. I don't do 1:16 scale, but I may put it somewhere in a way that wouldn't be conspicuous. I may also put it on a low chest of drawers, as a cabinet. But it is still a mystery where it comes from. If you know or have an idea where I can find out please let me know.

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