Time told in var­i­ous ways through­out time

The Washington Times Daily - - Life - TERRY KOVEL

Astick’s shadow, sun­di­als, clocks, watches and wrist­watches all have made it eas­ier for a per­son to tell time. The ear­li­est known sun­dial dates from circa 800 B.C. The first pen­du­lum clock was made in the 1600s, and pocket watches were be­ing used by the 1700s.

By the 1800s, there were me­chan­i­cal clocks, and the clock in a nearby church steeple was the best way to tell the ex­act time. Trains were the fa­vored form of trans­porta­tion, and riders had to know when the train would ar­rive and de­part, so ac­cu­rate watches were nec­es­sary and reg­u­lated time zones were put into use. It is said that peo­ple could set their clocks when they heard the nearby train whis­tle’s sound.

By World War I, peo­ple were wear­ing wrist­watches to tell time, and to­day many use a cell­phone or com­puter. But all of his­tory’s time­telling meth­ods are still in use, even the sun­dial. The com­mon gar­den-va­ri­ety sun­dial is an or­na­ment that re­quires proper place­ment in the yard to tell the time. Of course, when day­light-sav­ing time is in ef­fect, it is one hour off.

One rare sun­dial is the Beringer style, which has five di­als and five shadow cast­ers (called “gno­mons”). It is shaped like a cube on a stand. Each side and the top have a dial and a gnomon in the proper po­si­tion. It was in­vented by David Beringer in Ger­many in the 1800s and is very ac­cu­rate, but it is complicated to in­stall. A wooden ex­am­ple sold in 2011 for $350. A few are in mu­se­ums.

Q. I have a Pod­more Walker “Tem­ple” pat­tern plat­ter in “flow brown” that’s 131/ x 101/ inches. I in­her­ited it from my par­ents’ Vic­to­rian china col­lec­tion. As much as I’ve been able to de­ter­mine, it is a Pod­more, Walker & Co. orig­i­nal be­cause it’s marked “P.W. & Co.” While such plat­ters usu­ally are flow blue, did Pod­more Walker also make flow brown? Is it au­then­tic, and what would its value be?

A. Pod­more, Walker & Co. was in busi­ness in Tun­stall, Stafford­shire, Eng­land, from 1834 to 1859. Enoch Wedg­wood joined the com­pany around 1849. When he be­came a part­ner in 1856, the name of the com­pany was changed to Pod­more, Walker & Wedg­wood. The com­pany be­came Wedg­wood & Co. in about 1860. The color of your plat­ter may be what col­lec­tors call “mul­berry.” It looks like brown. It is worth about $200.

Q. My hus­band was given a small wooden ta­ble in the 1960s. It’s 30 inches square with two shelves. The la­bel on the bot­tom says, “A Leopold Stick­ley Orig­i­nal, L. & J.G. Stick­ley, Inc., Fayetteville, N.Y., Maker of Cherry Val­ley Fur­ni­ture.”

A: Leopold (1869-1957) and John Ge­orge (1871-1921) Stick­ley, two of the five Stick­ley broth­ers who en­tered the fur­ni­ture busi­ness, es­tab­lished their fur­ni­ture man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany in Fayetteville in 1902. The firm, like the other Stick­ley com­pa­nies, sold Arts and Crafts fur­ni­ture.

When in­ter­est in that style waned in the 1920s, L. & J.G. Stick­ley in­tro­duced a line of Colo­nial Re­vival fur­ni­ture mar­keted as “Cherry Val­ley.” The line was pro­duced un­til 1985, when the com­pany was sold and moved to Man­lius, N.Y., where it is still in busi­ness.

The la­bel on your ta­ble was used from 1945 to 1985, so your ta­ble is not an early one. But pieces in the Cherry Val­ley line are well made and sell for about what com­pa­ra­ble new pieces would bring.

Q. I’m con­sid­er­ing sell­ing a sil­ver tea ser­vice to some­one who buys gold and sil­ver items. I’m now won­der­ing if the set may be worth more than melt­down value. The sugar and creamer are marked “925 Ster­ling” on the bot­tom. The set’s tray is worn and all I can make out in the first line of the mark on the bot­tom is “rl­boro Pla.” Un­der that is, “by Mor­ton Parker, Canada, E.P. Brass, lead mounts.”

A. Mor­ton Parker is a Cana­dian com­pany founded in Tren­ton, On­tario, in 1945. It is still in busi­ness and is still run by mem­bers of the Parker fam­ily. The com­pany makes sil­ver­plated and stain­less-steel hol­lowware for the re­tail mar­ket and the food­ser­vice in­dus­try. The words that are partly worn off the bot­tom of your elec­tro­plated brass (“E.P. Brass”) tray in­di­cate that it’s from the com­pany’s “Marl­boro Plate” line.

Places that buy sil­ver are look­ing for ster­ling sil­ver, not sil­ver-plate. The stan­dard for ster­ling sil­ver is .925 sil­ver (out of 1.000 parts). Your sil­ver­plated tray is not worth much, but the ster­ling-sil­ver hol­lowware pieces are worth at least melt­down value. The price of sil­ver fluc­tu­ates, but you can check the cur­rent mar­ket price by us­ing one of the melt­down cal­cu­la­tors on on­line sites.

Q. I have a clear glass bot­tle em­bossed “Syrup of Black Draught.” It has a stop­per top. I found it in a garbage dump near an old farm­house site in north­ern Ken­tucky. The in­te­rior of the bot­tle is very wavy com­pared with the out­side. I sus­pect it might be 60 to 100 years old. Do you know any­thing about this bot­tle?

A. Dr. A.Q. Sim­mons in­vented a patent medicine in 1840 he called “Thed­ford’s Black Draught.” The main in­gre­di­ent was senna, a plant used as a lax­a­tive. In 1879, Z.C. Pat­ten bought the rights to Black Draught and dropped “Thed­ford’s” from the name. He founded the Chat­tanooga Medicine Co. to make and dis­trib­ute it.

Syrup of Black Draught is still be­ing made and now is pro­duced in syrup and tablet form by Lee Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, a per­sonal care prod­ucts com­pany es­tab­lished in Cal­i­for­nia in 1971. Black Draught signs, dis­pensers and ephemera can be found.

Dolly Par­ton wrote the lyrics to the Black Draught theme song, which in­cludes the line “Black Draught makes you smile from the in­side out.”

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