KAA

reSettling Life's Treasures- Slag Glass

Much like the depression glass we discussed in a previous post, slag glass is often found in homes as a collection or a few treasured pieces, despite its slightly unappealing name.

Slag glass gets its name from one of the components in it. Early manufacturers of this type of glass would add the waste content of metal ores from iron-smelting works, or “slag,” to their molten glass to create swirls of color within it. These swirls gave the glass a marbled look, and people often refer to slag glass as “marble glass.” Some companies achieved a similar look by mixing two colors of molten glass. The end result is often called “mosaic glass.”

It is believed that slag glass got its start in England, which remained the main manufacturer of this type of glass in Europe. It caught on in the U.S. and was made by several companies, mainly located in Pennsylvania, including H. Northwood Glass Co., Challinor Taylor & Co. and Atterbury. Another company that came to be known for slag glass was Akro Agate, which made a name for itself in the early 20th century with its unique swirled marbles made by their patented process.

Slag glass has been around since the late 1800s and became very popular in the early part of the 1900s, during the arts and crafts period. One of the most common uses for this type of glass at that time was in lamps because the white or off-white swirls within the color allowed the light to shine through. Tiffany lamps made with leaded stained glass were in vogue, but many people could not afford them because they were expensive to make. Companies started using slag glass fit into metal frames to create similar-looking lamps but at a much lower cost, making them available to more people.

Rather than being blown, slag glass is pressed into the desired shape. In addition to lamps, it frequently appears in vases, bowls, figurines and candy dishes. Chunks of this unique glass are also often used as a decoration on outdoor patios and in gardens where the sunlight accents the swirled pattern. Purple is by far the most common color, and was one of the original colors created by Sowerby in England, but it can also be found in blue, pink, green, red and various shades of brown.

Slag glass is still manufactured today, and many people enjoy collecting it because of its beautiful colors and unique patterns.

It's National Auctioneers Week!

Auctioneers wear many hats. They are salespeople, entertainers, marketers, and entrepreneurs. Many are also appraisers who specialize in certain collectibles or eras. And this week, they are the honorees of National Auctioneers Week. In their honor, here are some interesting facts about auctions and auctioneers.

·         Auctions date back to the ancient Greeks, with one of their most famous items on the auction block being the entire Roman Empire in 193 A.D.

·         The word “auction” comes from the Latin word “auctus,” meaning “increasing.” A fitting word since it’s the increase in prices that make auctions unique.

·         One of the most avid American auction bidders was George Washington.

·         During the Civil War, army colonels were responsible for selling off seized goods. As a result, auctioneers are still sometimes referred to as “colonels” today.

·         The oldest existing auction house was founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 1674.

·         The largest auction house is Christie’s, which has salerooms around the globe and holds approximately 350 auctions every year.

·         In the U.S. alone, over a quarter-trillion dollars exchanges hands at auctions every year, not including online auctions or eBay.

·         The traditional auctioneer bid call consists of a statement telling how much has been bid (“I have $5.00”) and a request for a higher bid (“Would you bid 10?”), both spoken at a high rate of speed.

·         In the auction world, “SOB” isn’t a dirty word, it stands for “suggested opening bid,” which is set by the auctioneer to get the bidding started.

While most auctions consist of everyday items, there have been many unusual things offered – and sold – at auction.

·         Hair from famous people seems to be a popular, although creepy, auction item. A lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair clipped off after his assassination sold for $25,000 in Texas. A jar of Elvis Presley’s hair was allegedly auctioned off for $115,000. And when Britney Spears infamously shaved her head in 2007, the salon where she did it attempted to sell her golden locks for $1,000,000.

·         William Shatner’s kidney stone was purchased at auction for $25,000 in 2006. The proceeds were donated to Habitat for Humanity, causing the auctioneer to joke, “This would be the first Habitat for Humanity house built out of stone.”

·         The same company that bought the kidney stone purchased a 10-year-old grilled-cheese sandwich with a likeness of the Virgin Mary on it in 2004 for $28,000. According to the seller, the sandwich freaked her out at first, then brought her good luck and had never grown mold.

·         In 2008, a corn flake shaped like the state of Illinois sold on eBay for $1,350.

·         One would think you wouldn’t want a famous phone number like 867-5309. But someone paid $186,853 for it with a New Jersey area code.

·         And of course, there are many things that have failed to sell at auction, some of the most unusual of which include a grandmother from the UK and the entire country of New Zealand.

All kidding aside, auctions are a profitable way to sell items you no longer want to someone who does. If you have things you’re ready to part with, give an auctioneer a call. If not, call one anyway and wish them Happy National Auctioneers Week!