Archive for November, 2022

Sweetheart EAPG whale oil lamp, c.1850

Sunday, November 27th, 2022

This EAPG (Early American Pattern Glass) flint glass oil lamp with the Sweetheart pattern was made in America at the Boston & Sandwich Glass Co., Boston, Massachusetts, in the mid 1800s. It stands 8.5 inches high.

As oil lamps were used daily throughout the house for centuries, it’s not surprising that they are one of the most common types of inventive repair. Since I started collecting make-do’s, I have come across a variety of clever repairs in wood, metal and glass. This lamp sports a straightforward 4 inch square wood replacement base with inlaid trim, most likely done at home. I have many unique glass oil lamps in my collection so please enter GLASS OIL LAMP in the search bar if you want to see more examples.

This intact example suggests what the original base on my lamp might have looked like before ol’ butterfingers let it slip.

Photo courtesy of eBay

Teddy bear with poignant repairs, c.1920

Sunday, November 20th, 2022

What a sad bear! I can only imagine the unbearable indignities poor Teddy endured under the “care” of his previous owners. And yet with all of the damage, some of it literally worn on his sleeve, he has prevailed and now sits atop his own make-do high chair. 

I purchased the bear many years ago from an antiques dealer who had a large collection of antiques with inventive repairs, including toys – one of my favorite subcategories. Teddy, or perhaps Theodora(?), originally wore a faded pink cotton dress to help cover multiple battle scars. But now he can bare all and proudly show the many different mends done over the past 100 years. I particularly like the indigo blue with white polka dot patterned fabric patches on a paw and foot.

The doll high chair was found in Mark’s family home in Vermont and repaired by his grandfather when one of the front leg became damaged. T. Bear seems quite comfortable now, although still hanging by a thread in many places, and can finally relax knowing the abuse is over.

Black salt glazed teapot with metal handle, c.1830

Sunday, November 13th, 2022

This black basalt (aka Egyptian black or shining black ) stoneware low form collared teapot was make in England in the early 1800s. It has elegant engine turned banding decoration and measures 3.5 inches high, 9.5 inches from handle to spout.

Early in its life, the original handle broke off and was replaced with a metal “tinker” replacement. I like how it has taken on a dark patina over the past 150+ years, nearly matching the dark glaze of the teapot. The lid also took a tumble at a later time and was glued back together, suggesting that the break/repair was done more recently. I wish staples/rivets were used to repair it but that’s a bit selfish of me, I know.

This teapot with similar form and decoration suggests what the original handle on my teapot might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Ebay

Inventive repairs at the V&A Museum

Sunday, November 6th, 2022

This past weekend I was in London and once again found myself on the 4th floor of the Victoria & Albert Museum gawking at their stunning, and seemingly endless, collection of world-class ceramics. During each visit I find more examples of inventive repairs hiding in plain sight. Here are just a few of my favorites.