The first time a chest of drawers wasn't shaped like a simple box was in the late 19th century. The ratio of interior space to the amount of wood needed to enclose it is best if it is a cube. But against a wall, a deep chest took too much space in the center of the room. Designers altered the proportions to the shape most often seen today.
Art nouveau designers felt economy was not important, and they favored strange rounded shapes for chests and desks.
Victorian designers were even more eager to create a chest that did not look like earlier pieces. They often used a mirror on one side, a small group of drawers or shelves on the other. Because of the unusual shapes, it is easy to recognize late Victorian furniture.
By the early 1900s, practicality and simplicity had returned to favor, and the rectangular chest was back in style.
Question My toy Corner Grocery is metal and comes with a wall of shelves that hold removable miniature boxes of food and cleaning products. There's a separate counter top with a phone, scale, meat-wrapper and cash register.
Answer Your toy grocery store was made in the 1940s and sells for about $150.
Q I feel lucky with my recent flea-market find--a cute ceramic teacup sitting on a pair of green shoes and checkered socks. It's marked "Lustre, Carlton Ware, England." Are there other dishes like this one?
A Carlton Ware Ltd. of Stoke-on-Trent, England, made a whole set of footed dishes, called Walking Ware, during the 1970s and '80s. Each piece has brightly colored shoes and socks that stand to form a base or protrude from the side as a decoration. Other pieces include a coffee pot, teapot, pitcher, plate, cookie jar, soup bowl and egg cup.
Walking Ware is showing up at flea markets and house sales, but they are not easy to find, even in England.
Q How long have juicers been around? I bought a mechanical three-piece juicer marked "Dazey Super Juicer, Dazey Churn & Mfg. Co., St. Louis, Mo." The base and cone are stainless steel. The strainer is aluminum, and there's a wooden knob on the crank arm.
A Tabletop mechanical juicers with hand cranks were designed in the late 1880s to squeeze juice out of lemons. Larger juicers for oranges and grapefruits date from the 1930s, when citrus fruits grown in Florida and California were first shipped across the country.
The Dazey Churn & Manufacturing. Co. acquired Central States Manufacturing Co. in the '30s and renamed Central's Speedo Super Juicer the Dazey Super Juicer.
Dazey Corp., now based in Osage City, Kansas, still makes small household appliances.
Juicers from the late '30s such as yours sell for $25 to $40.
Q My box of Coca-Cola playing cards says "Airplane Spotter Playing Cards." Each card in the deck pictures a U.S. or foreign fighter plane. The card backs picture an Army nurse drinking a bottle of Coke. When were these cards made? What are they worth?
A Your playing cards picturing fighter planes from World War II were made in 1943. The deck was meant to help the public identify U.S. and foreign fighter planes. The full deck, with the box, is worth about $75.
Q What is a "door push"? In a recent column, you listed a Pepsi Cola door push from the 1930s at $1,100.
A A door push is a rectangular piece of glass, porcelain or metal that is screwed into the opening side of a swinging door. The door push protects the door from fingerprints.
Old and rare advertising door pushes are worth a lot of money.
Q I found several of my childhood paper dolls in a cedar chest. They're all from the 1950s. I have Roy Rogers, Debbie Reynolds, Doris Day and other movie stars. They're cut but in excellent condition.
A Paper doll collectors would pay more than $100 for a complete 1955 set of cut Doris Day paper dolls produced by the Whitman Publishing Co., a major paper doll publisher.
The other sets you name would sell for $25 to $50.
The paper dolls would be worth more if they were uncut and in their original books.
If you'd like a listing of helpful books and publications on antiques, send a self-addressed, stamped (55 cents) envelope to the Kovels, Los Angeles Times, King Features Syndicate, 235 E. 45th St., New York, NY 10017.
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Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary because of local economic conditions.
* Winchester No. 4705 3/4 socket chisel: $45.
* Westmoreland glass candy dish, seashell and dolphin pattern, green mist: $55.
* Fold-out travel jewelry case with mirror, 1940s, Luxor, Fifth Ave., N.Y.: $80.
* ABC child's plate, stag and two hounds, 1860, 6 inches: $95.
* Holt Howard stacking sugar and creamer, white cat, cover: $160.
* Lorgnette opera glasses, mother-of-pearl, gilt and brass, signed "Le Fils," Paris: $225.
* Thonet Bistro chairs, No. 56, bentwood back and frame, embossed seat, original label, circa 1886, 34 1/2 inches: $370.
* Cheerleader girl doll and Soccer boy doll by Lenci, 1920s, 18 inches, pair: $475.
* American Pontiac Indian head trade sign, iron, black painted surface, circa 1930, 43 by 52 1/2 inches: $825.