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Vol. 9 April 2003
Little Versions of China & Porcelain Tableware
Collecting Children's Dishes
by ToppersTreasures

There is a very good chance that your favorite maker of antique or vintage china dinnerware once made


From the Editor...

Every month, the new articles seem to take my breath away.  This month is no exception.  ToppersTreasures brings us a look at the wonderful world of children's dishes.  And Covhouseteex is back this month with a very informative article about cut glass motifs.  Bookmark this one!  Dianetiques brings us another interesting plate for the month - this one from Russia!  A great crossover collectible which sold recently on eBay will make both Disney collectors and fans of Rosenthal porcelain drool.  And, finally,  a new column by rats_attic will help keep you on-line with technical computer tips.  Enjoy!

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are the property of the author of each article unless credited elsewhere.
Children's Dish in "Stag" pattern also found in adult size china. Marked Charles Allerton & Sons. Pattern attributed to mid 1800s. Measures 3.5" sized for a tea party.
Today's collector...
can choose from a rich array of styles, quality and price ranges to suit tastes from baroque to mid-century modern, and beyond to the present.  The category of children's china covers a broad expanse. Unfortunately, terms used to describe it are often vague and interchangeable. Children’s dishes come in two size variations: dishes that children can really eat or drink from, and smaller sized that were meant for playing with dolls. Doll house miniatures are generally considered a separate type of collectible from what is commonly known as children’s dishes. 

One wishes there were consistency in naming these collectibles, but you will see them called toy dishes, play dishes, nursery dishes, tea sets,  and the usual names for full-sized table wares, such as "child's serving platter." The only time you can be certain the plate is a size meant to eat from is with marked "Baby" plates, and the "ABC" plates, or if you already know the maker’s patterns and styles.  Otherwise, measurements are crucial to discern which kind of children’s dishes are being offered.

One should also be aware that many of these wares went unmarked, and good records weren't kept by the factories. The children's lines were a small part of their yearly production, sometimes by special order, and also sold as open stock. Late Victorian services would start with 25 pieces, and might have large amounts of additional pieces added on,  or conversely removed from production, depending on popularity. This means that a "complete set" from the same maker would likely vary in size. It was also common for factories to purchase transfer patterns from suppliers on a non-exclusive basis, so the same design appears on pieces from different companies.
Partial set of German children's dinnerware. Sized to play with dolls.

The history of children's china ...
parallels changes in Western society's beliefs about children.  In the early 1800s with the advent of transferwares, English and European potteries began producing children's china.  Early tea sets and dinnerware sets were offered in a smaller version of the parents' formal china. These early wares for children of wealthy families, were made of porcelain enhanced by molded relief work, fine handwork, enamels and gilding.  If your family was accustomed to dining on  Sarreguemines or R.S. Prussia china, then the children were given a smaller sized equivalent. It is believed that some families bought cheaper wares simultaneously as the intricately decorated pieces could hardly stand any play without breakage.

For interested collectors, it is a great time to buy these pieces, as formal 1800s sets with book values upwards of $2,500 can currently be acquired on Ebay and from other Internet antiques dealers in the $350 range.  Despite this downturn in prices for sets, single plates, such as rarer versions of 19th century ABC plates, seem to be in a more competitive market toward higher prices.

Children’s china of the 19th century was a serious matter. It was given as gifts or rewards to good children and wasn’t a frivolous choice.  It was meant for little girls to entertain friends thus learning social manners, or to hold doll parties which served the same purpose. Teaching solemn moral maxims and educational verses was the other purpose of children’s dishes.  Staffordshire ABC plates from the 1820s onward, taught the alphabet and moral themes. It is believed that by the 1840s almost every family could afford to buy a mug or plate for a child’s gift. They were, like all china of the time, mostly decorated with illustrations taken from adult literature.  It wasn’t until the widespread availability of children's color books in the 1880s, and advances in 4-color lithography by the 1890s,  that china designs became more visually suited to children's interests and pastimes. China decorated with illustrations by the popular children’s book artist, Kate Greenaway, are highly prized by today's collectors.
New at GPSA...

In keeping with our fresh new look -
which we hope you like

we will also be changing our logo!

The 20th century brought new beliefs...
about child development. From this point on, children's china began to feature popular children’s stories such as Robinson Crusoe or Alice in Wonderland,  nursery rhymes, comic characters taken from newspaper cartoons, and  lost their instructional flavor in favor of entertainment.

The 1920s and 1930s saw the greatest production of high quality children’s china decorated with humorous and inventive scenes. Mabel Lucie Atwell's artwork is sought after in today’s market.  In 1934, Barbara Vernon Baily created the ever popular Bunnykins series for Royal Doulton based on everyday family themes, where bunnies dressed in children’s clothes play and get into mischief.
GPSA member selected the logo above from a choice of several possibilities.

We expect the transition to be complete by the middle of April.

Please keep an eye out for it when  shopping eBay!

Royal Doulton "Bunnykins" series Breakfast Set. Rim plate, "Toast for Tea Today", 1954, Walter Hayward, designer.

One cannot reflect on children's china without mentioning the huge Japanese export market that flourished between world wars and after WWII, when virtually every American girl played with an inexpensive Japanese china tea set.

In more recent years, one can buy children's sets of a plate, bowl, cup or mug.  Prohibitive costs and lack of demand for contemporary, formal  children’s ware sets has seen an end to their production by the top dinnerware makers.  Many collectors see these dishes as the perfect collectible - affordable, available in a variety of styles and even the largest collection takes up very little space!
Suggested Reading:

Gifts for Good Children, The History of Children's China 1790 -1890 and Gifts for Good Children, The History of Children's China 1890 -1990
Maureen Batkin and Noel Riley

Children's Glass Dishes, China & Furniture
Doris  Lechler

Collector's Encyclopedia of Children’s Dishes
Margaret & Kenn Whitmyer

Playtime Pottery & Porcelain from Europe & Asia
Lorraine Punchard

Dragonware Moriage, partial Children's Tea Set, Japan. Sized for playing with dolls.
Plate of the Month
by Dianetiques
This truly rare and unusual antique Russian porcelain plate presented for April is a marked departure from the usual pastel and floral offerings!

The manufacture of true porcelain in Russia was first achieved under the patronage of Tsarina Elizabeth I in the mid 18th century. While the initial porcelain decorating styles included painting techniques in the Baroque manner borrowed from Sevres and others in the West, Russian artists quickly adapted native and Byzantine motifs, which distinguish Russian porcelains from the rest of Europe.

This 7" dessert plate clearly illustrates the difference, for the use of bold, primary color in porcelain decorating was not seen in other countries. A series of shields containing emblems of aristocracy usually associated more with Anglo/English heraldic themes alternate with a unique stylized tree or branch. The symbols include a lion with cross, a strutting stag, a sable and crown, a group of implements which appear medieval and a plumed bird. There are three trailing decorations above and below the shields that give the pattern a look, which, at once, is both folksy and mosaic in appearance.

While many Russian factories produced quality porcelains, the Kornilov Factory was noted for technical excellence as well as the expertise of the artists. In fact, the operation was so successful, the production of porcelain items exported for the Western market was without rival. Marked as shown with a Russian bear and inscription in English, these hand painted porcelain tableware items gained popularity in the United States and were successfully exhibited and sold at the Columbia Exposition in 1893.

Russian porcelain is generally difficult to find and prices are usually well above other porcelains of the same era. Russian porcelain back-stamps vary, and often go unrecognized because of the Cyrillic alphabet, but Kornilow Brother pieces marked with the English stamp can be easily identified and are highly sought by collectors.
Identifying Motifs in Cut Glass
by Covhouseteex
One of the most frequently asked cut glass questions is: "What pattern is this?" At the height of popularity of cut glass, referred to as the American Brilliant Period (ABP), there were dozens, probably hundreds of glass cutting houses, with each one making many, many different designs. Unless the piece is acid-etched with the maker's name, to help narrow the search, or happens to be one of the more recognizable designs, identifying maker and pattern can be a daunting, often impossible task.

There are reprints of catalog pages from the major cutting firms available through the American Cut Glass Association (ACGA), and you'll find many patterns identified in the books listed below. But the first step in identifying a particular pattern is recognizing the various motifs or design elements that make up the overall pattern.

Many patterns are similar, but subtly different, as the companies sometimes "borrowed" from each other. The glass cutters themselves sometimes moved from one company to another, and brought their designs with them. Recognizing the different cut motifs will help you analyze whether the item you have is really "X" pattern by a certain maker. And if you can't find the pattern,you'll at least be able to describe the pattern accurately - and in writing an auction
description, the more information you can provide, the easier it will be for that serious collector to find your treasure!

A.  Look for Mold Lines

Pressed glass is made in a mold, and is a less expensive way of making a dimensional pattern
in the surface of glass. Molds are split and hinged to allow the cooled glass to be removed, so the first clue to look for is a raised ridge of glass, called a mold mark, which is the result of the glass seeping into the split of the mold when it was pressed into shape. Look for these lines (two, three, or four of them, equally spaced around the article) especially at the base or top edge, where they may be more visible and not disguised by the pattern in the glass.

Better quality pressed glass may have been finished by hand, and most of the mold marks may have been smoothed away while the glass was still warm. Even so, close examination will usually show several faint lines that run the entire vertical length of the piece. Cut glass is almost always done on "crystal", glass with a high lead content, and will almost always be cut on a hand-blown blank.

B.  Check for Clarity

Most cut glass, because it was (and is) a labor intensive article, will be made with better quality glass. In most cases, that means fewer impurities in the glass, and a better clarity.

C.  Feel the Sharpness of Points

Cutting on glass is accomplished by an abrasive wheel which cuts away a portion of the surface.
The high points of the design are generally sharper to the touch than pressed glass. On old cut glass, such as that from the late 19th to early 20th century, the polishing of the cut areas was done by hand, and left the points very crisp. Later cut glass might be polished with an acid bath,
but are still sharper than pressed glass.

D.  Examine the Smoothness of the Grooves

Because cut glass was polished to remove the residue from the cut areas, the surfaces of the angled cuts will be very smooth. In contrast, pressed glass may have slight irregularities in the grooves.

E. Identify Any Asymmetry in the Design

Look also to see how even the pattern is. Hand-cut glass will show slight irregularities where cuts might not exactly line up perfectly with one another, or distances between cuts might show slight   differences. A mold used for pressed glass will have a perfectly spaced design.

F.  Don't Miss Clues on the Bottom

The base of a pressed piece may show extremely slight surface "pitting" from the mold, or a swirled look to the surface from the molten glass being poured into the mold. Cut glass will have a fully polished bottom surface. Also, the lead in crystal used for cutting makes the glass "softer", and will show minute scratches from "shelf wear" more readily than many pressed articles.


- Covhouseteex
1. Sawtooth Edge  
Notice that on ABP cut glass, the "teeth" are usually beveled or somewhat rounded. Perfectly pointed teeth around the rim is often a clue to recent production.

2. Miter Cut 
The main design would have been outlined with deep V-shaped cuts. Miter cuts can be straight or curved.

3. Curved Miter Cut

As designs became more elaborate, cutters added curved shapes to make their designs more graceful or dynamic. When the curved cuts meet, as in this example, it is sometimes called a "Gothic Arch". The tiny parallel cuts within this example of curved miter are called "crosshatching".

4. Notched Miter Cut
Sometimes called "beading", as the cut notches resemble a string of beads.

5. Zipper Cut 
When the notches cut are quite small and plain, the pattern they form resembles the teeth of a zipper, as on the fluted neck of this cruet.

6. Star 
Often seen elaborately cut on an item's base, it can also be a minor motif to fill in a small area. A "fan" is part of a star, the number of rays and their length determined by the space available in the pattern.

7. Hobstar
robably the most frequently seen design element in cut glass. The "hob" is the raised portion in the center of the star-shaped motif. This center can be left uncut, but is more often seen with a smaller star cut into the hob. The center "hob" is usually raised above the surrounding star pattern. Often in newer cut glass (after about 1950), the hob is quite flat, or the cut design on the hob is not polished, leaving it very grey or whitish in color. 

8. Pinwheel
(Also Called Buzz-Star, Buzz-Saw) 
Similar to the hobstar motif, and often just as attractive, the pinwheel requires fewer and less precise cuts. It became more popular late in the Brilliant Period probably as a cost-cutting measure for the cutting houses.

9. Step-Cut
Horizontal cuts which form step-like layers. Often used around the neck of a decanter so the hand doesn't slip while pouring, it's also a lovely design which adds sparkle in an otherwise difficult to cut area.

10.  Diamond
ntersecting miter cuts form diamond shapes which produce a lot of sparkle and light refraction.  Diamond-shape cutting was a traditional design on English and Irish glass long before its popularity in America.

11. Strawberry Diamond
A diamond design with a small "X"-shaped cut on the high point of the diamond. The extra cuts add to the intricacy of the design and give it extra sparkle.

12. Nailhead (or Hobnail)
Parallel cuts in three directions which form a hexagon shape, and leave a small raised central hexagon resembling a nailhead. Most often used as a filler design for small areas.

13. Cane
A larger version of the nailhead design, the raised areas are octagonal and more prominent than those in the nailhead motif. This design may be used as an allover pattern, or as a filler motif.

14. Harvard
A cane pattern with the raised octagons cut with alternating stars and crosshatching is usually known as "Harvard". This pattern name can be confusing because some glass companies gave the "Harvard" name to completely unrelated patterns.

15.  Russian
This pattern was used by several glass cutting companies, with minor variations.  It is basically an intricately cut design of star-cut hobs interconnected with star shapes. The amount of cutting gives it extraordinary sparkle, and it tends to be a sought after pattern by collectors.

16. Lapidary-Cut
Allover faceting usually applied to a finial on a stopper, especially when there isn't enough room on the smaller area of the finial to repeat the pattern of the base.
Further Reading:

Much more about cut glass can be found in several informative books written by Bill and Louise Boggess:
American Brilliant Cut Glass
Collecting American Brilliant Cut Glass
Identifying American Brilliant Cut Glass
American Cut & Engraved Glass: The Brilliant Period in Historical Perspective

Other books, also filled with hundreds of photographs are :
American Cut and Engraved Glass by Albert Christian Revi (considered a classic reference)
The Complete Cut & Engraved Glass of Corning by Estelle F. Sinclaire and Jane Shadel Spillman.
Rare European Disneyana Item!
Don't You Wish You Had One of These?
This extremely rare set of Mickey and Minnie Mouse porcelain figurines produced by Rosenthal sold recently on eBay for $5,603.78. According to eBay seller schuger2001, this set was produced as a limited edition in Germany in 1932 commemorating the German debut of Mickey and Minnie  and are among the rarest European Disneyana collectibles.

In addition to the Rosenthal mark, these figurines were found with paper labels which read in German "Mickey Mouse Bringt Glueck Ins Haus"which translates  "Mickey Mouse Brings Luck InThe House."  It certainly did for this seller!  Congratulations,
Monthly Computer Advice to Keep You Up and Selling
Rat's Tech Tips
by rats_attic
Dear Rat:
Why do web pages take so long to load?  Do I need a faster computer?
                                                                                                         Slow Flo
Dear Flo:
Having a faster computer has very little to do with how fast your internet experience will be. Most of the time, you can simply adjust your computer so it loads pages faster by cleaning the trash that is downloaded into it or by having a better internet provider who does not clog up their computer systems.  Often, the cause is a badly designed web page.  Download speed depends on how well and efficiently a web site is created by a web site designer. There are many Websites that have not organized their site to download quickly or they have content that just takes a long time to load. However,  if you have a cluttered system, you will have to wait even longer. Here are ten areas to look at when you are trying to determine what has made your internet connection slow.

1. A good modem
Modems for home users are usually either dial up, cable or DSL.
Dial up is divided into: 22k, 33k or 56k
Cable is usually 100k to 400k
DSL is usually 100k to 500k

2. A high quality phone line

If you live in a very old building with inefficient phone lines this can slow you down a lot. On Dial up this is more of a problem than you would expect to find with DSL because DSL providers run on fiber optic lines and as such are already upgraded. Sometimes you will hear the term "line noise". Line noise can be a very big factor in your internet connection as basically it is static caused by poor wiring, water in your phone line etc.

3. A great provider and good connection

A good ISP (Internet Service Provider) will make your internet experience a great one. If you have an ISP that is cluttered, crowded or disconnects you often you need to find a new one. You don't even need to install new software to get connected to the web (most companies make you install it just to track you or remind you to stay with them).

4. Great processors, hardware and software

Processors are the little chips that translate all the signals in the internet into pictures, text, sounds, images etc. You can have a great modem but if you can not process the info quickly you will be waiting a while. RAM (memory) is also extremely important because it also translates the data. A good hard drive will keep your system running well. Make sure it's not over crowded. There is a lot of internet software that can speed up your internet experience.

5. A clean and efficient browser

Adding stuff to your browser (especially if it's animated) almost always slows down your internet connections because it uses up the energy that your computer would regularly be using to speed up your connections.

6. An Uncrowded System
Installing too many programs or games on your system will also slow down your internet speed. If your system can not handle the amount of energy your extra programs use you will have speed problems. Your RAM (memory) might be full or over crowded so make sure your system is not full. Never clutter your hard drive or system with things that you don't need.

7. A good knowledge of your browser

Use the stop button on your browser whenever it takes too long for pages to load and press refresh. If that website still takes too long to load after reloading that means that the site is just slow and wasn't created efficiently. The "Stop" button is essential because it stops all the loading and gives you a chance to make a more efficient connection. When connecting to your Internet provider you can do the same because sometimes the connection can be a bad one. Simply sign off and sign in again.

8. A minimal number of windows open
Having too many windows open at the same time will really slow you down because your computer is constantly trying to read what you are doing to better adapt to you. If you have too many windows open your window will be wasting energy on reading those windows and not on speeding up your internet experience.
Another Great Rat-Tip:
Clean Up Your
Start Up Programs

Clearing up your system bugs will usually speed up your internet experience. If your system is not running as efficiently as possible you will be left behind.   A good way to do this is to remove unecessary startup programs. 

This is a great trick, and it is needed by almost everybody. Look to the bottom right of your screen, next to the clock (an area called the systray). Count how many icons are there. There should only be one or two, but there can easily be as many as 10 or more!

The reason these icons are there, is that many programs install them so that you can launch them quicker. As there is no option as to whether you actually want them there or not, they start to accumulate. This slows down the startup of your computer, as every single one of the programs is loaded into memory. It also kills your RAM and resources if you don't close them after starting up.

Luckily, there is a very unknown yet extremely useful program that comes with Windows. Click start>run and type msconfig. Go to the startup tab. There you will see the names of various programs that you may recognize. Next to each name is a block, which is either clear, or checked (with a tick in it).

There are a number of programs that are essential to Windows, and must not be turned off. For different computers they can be slightly different, but they are:

      a). System Tray (systray)
      b) Scan Registry (scanregw)

You will also want to keep any programs that you want to activate on startup in there. These include your anti-virus program, most importantly (if yours scans in the background all the time).

If you see programs that you do not recognize, uncheck them and reboot. If something does not seem right, you can just go back in and change it back again. You can also e-mail me and I will give you my opinion.   If you see programs like "Bob's Colourful Crayon World" and "Jane's Easy-to-Bake Cakes" in the list, you can be assured that it is ok to remove them from the startup list.
9. Protection and precautions to avoid clutter
Add security software to your computer. Make sure to have a firewall, virus protection, Trojan and worm protection and software that will protect your computer. You can also add cookie managers/removers to keep all those unnecessary cookies from clogging up your system. Security systems are the "Locks" to the many doors of your computer. Make sure your system is not over crowded with "Bad Cookies" because that will slow you down.

10.   Appropriate network settings

Last but not least is your actual connection setup to the internet. For those of you running dsl/cable modems through an ethernet card you will want to try this and it "should" help speed up your connection to the internet. Go to Control Panel, Network, click on your network card then select properties. You will probably have to go to the advanced page and look for something called "media type" , when you highlight this you will PROBABLY see auto or auto sense,,for dsl/cable change this to 10base-t and reboot..remember 99% of your setups will make your network card media type be "autoconfig" or "autosense" so feel free to play around with this setting as it will not hurt you in any way.
The following eBay sellers became GPSA members last month.  As members of the GPSA, they have committed to upholding the standards of the
Glass & Pottery Sellers' Association
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Archived Issues
March 2003
Dryden, Green Depression, More Salts
February 2003
Amberina, Figural Planters, Frankoma
January 2003
Open Salts, Coalport Plate, Little Red Riding Hood
December 2002
Mercury Glass Deer,
Head Vases
November 2002
Corn Ware, Cranberry Glass, Turkey Plates,
Do you have an idea that you would like to share? A suggestion for a future article?
If so, please e-mail us at
October 2002
Steigel Green, Slag Glass, Fraud
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