Louise Lantz

Bal­ti­more na­tive who loved to host par­ties wrote about her pur­suit and col­lec­tion of an­tique kitchen im­ple­ments

Baltimore Sun - - OBITUARIES - By Jac­ques Kelly

Louise K. Lantz was so fas­ci­nated by old egg­beat­ers, toast­ers and just about any­thing found in decades-old kitchens she pub­lished guide books to what she con­sid­ered rare but ev­ery­day ob­jects.

She died of kid­ney fail­ure Sept. 29 in a home in Hy­des in Bal­ti­more County, where she had built a replica 18th Cen­tury hearth and oven. She was 89.

Her 1970 book, “Old Amer­i­can Kitchen­ware 1725-1925” recorded her re­search into ev­ery­day ob­jects.

“Mrs. Lantz has amassed nearly 3,000 pieces since she be­gan col­lect­ing 30 years ago,” said a 1981 Sun story. “Among her fa­vorite pieces [is] an 1896 nut­meg grater which she still uses.”

On a trip to New Eng­land years ago, she found what an an­tique shop owner though was a pair of tweez­ers. It turned out to be a rare straw­berry huller.

Born in Bal­ti­more and raised on Ponca Street and later in Hamil­ton, she was the daugh­ter of Ni­cholas Kala­man and his wife, Ann. She was a 1948 grad­u­ate of East­ern High School. While go­ing to classes one day, she met her fu­ture hus­band.

“We were on the No. 15 street­car,” said Cur­tis E. Lantz, who is now re­tired from the Air Force and later taught in the Har­ford County and Bal­ti­more City schools sys­tems. “She was the most beau­ti­ful girl I ever saw and I was a Poly [Bal­ti­more Polytech­nic In­sti­tute] boy.”

He said that his wife, in her years liv­ing on Hamil­ton Av­enue, vis­ited a neigh­bor’s home that was par­tially con­structed around an early Bal­ti­more County log cabin.

“She was fas­ci­nated by the wide plank boards in the floor,” her hus­band said. “It’s what started her in­ter­est in old kitchens.”

Mrs. Lantz went on to study in­te­rior de­sign at the Univer­sity of Mary­land Col­lege Park and was a grad­u­ate of the Wal­ter’s Academy of Model­ing in down­town Bal­ti­more. She ap­peared in fash­ion shows at the old Hut­zler’s depart­ment store. She later earned a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in art at Goucher Col­lege and be­came a slide li­brar­ian in its arts depart­ment.

“We have been best friends since our days at Hamil­ton Ju­nior High School,” said Becky Kekenes Dar­win. “I con­sid­ered her to be my sis­ter. We loved to shop at the Greater Bal­ti­more Med­i­cal Cen­ter an­nual sale. We lined up early. Louise loved the jew­elry trea­sures. We would also shop along Bal­ti­more’s An­tique Row and along Charles Street down­town. Then we would have lunch at the Woman’s Ex­change.”

She mar­ried June 9, 1951 in Bal­ti­more and trav­eled with her hus­band to Air Force bases in Mas­sachusetts and Ger­many.

Af­ter set­tling in Hy­des, Mrs. Lantz and her hus­band went on week­end an­tique buy­ing trips to lo­cate what were then lit­tle known kitchen im­ple­ments. She be­came so im­mersed in col­lect­ing she wrote a hand book, “Price Guide to Old Amer­i­can Kitchen­ware.” She re­vised the work sev­eral times and dis­cussed the rel­a­tive rar­ity of ap­ple par­ers, cherry ston­ers, cab­bage cut­ters, cof­fee grinders, mash­ers, toast­ers, sifters, strain­ers, ice picks and but­ter churns.

She and her hus­band built a home in 1966. They copied its kitchen fireplace from one at Gun­ston Hall, a 1759 home in Ma­son Neck, Vir­ginia.

“My grandmothe­r loved to host par­ties, cook outs and Sun­days din­ners for her fam­ily and friends,” said her grand­daugh­ter, Brit­tany Welsh, also of Bal­ti­more County.

“Over the years she and my grand­fa­ther de­signed and cre­ated beau­ti­ful gar­dens and struc­tures through­out their 43 acres. They made a colonial car­riage house and a brick gar­den house with work­ing forge.”

In in­ter­views with Bal­ti­more Sun re­porters, Mrs. Lantz said how much plea­sure her large rose gar­den gave her. She said that she never gave up her for­mer ex­pe­ri­ence as a fash­ion model en­tirely and en­joyed go­ing to an­tique shows wear­ing her fa­vorite Ralph Lauren blouse and an­tique cos­tume jew­elry she ac­quired.

“I use my cre­ative in­stincts, my col­lec­tions and my past ex­pe­ri­ence as a fash­ion model to cre­ate a sort of ‘found ob­ject’ style of dress­ing,” she said in a 1990 Sun ar­ti­cle.

In the ar­ti­cle, she dis­cussed her col­lec­tion of cos­tume jew­elry. She said she re­fin­ished a1920s den­tal cabi­net to hold her col­lec­tion.

Mrs. Lantz wrote nu­mer­ous ar­ti­cles on an­tiques, gar­den­ing, ta­ble set­tings and kitchen­ware. She gave talks at Goucher Col­lege and Loy­ola Univer­sity of Mary­land. She was a con­sul­tant to TimeLife Books and Bal­ti­more’s old Peale Mu­seum.

In ad­di­tion to her hus­band of 69 years and grand­daugh­ter, sur­vivors in­clude a son, Mark Lantz of Hy­des; a daugh­ter, Mon­ica Lantz Hauswald of Glen Arm; a grand­son; and two great-grand­chil­dren.

Louise Lantz stud­ied in­te­rior de­sign at the Univer­sity of Mary­land Col­lege Park.

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