Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Unusual Barber Shop Clocks Were Shear Genius

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Unusual Barber Shop Clocks Were Shear Genius

Article excerpt

EVER NOTICE the wording on the front of an ambulance? The letters are in mirror writing. The letters, when reflected in a rearview mirror, can easily be read by drivers ahead on the road.

The idea is not new. At the turn of the century, clock makers realized that barber shops needed a special type of clock. Customers were seated in a chair facing a mirror. The clock on the opposite wall was reflected but was difficult to read.

Solution: Make a clock with numbers in mirror writing and hands that went counterclockwise. These strange clocks are sometimes seen today and are wanted by collectors. Dear Ralph and Terry: My old pewter-like plate is marked "English block tin." When was it made?

"English block tin" is a quality mark used on some pieces of early English pewter. Charles Clark used the words as part of his mark from 1790 to 1810.

Many other words have been used to designate the type of pewter-like metal that was used. Pewter pieces made in the 17th century were marked with a rose and crown. By the 18th century an angel, coat of arms, crowned F or the letter C meant pewter.

Many other words were used, often ending with "zinn" or "tin." Some of these are Blockzinn, Engels Zinn, Dronzinn, Estin and block tin. All of these mean quality or ordinary pewter.

There are books available that list the marks of pewter makers, and you can learn more at the library. If your plate is 18th century, it may be worth hundreds of dollars.

Valuable antiques should be marked so they can be identified in case of a theft. Glass, silver, china and furniture can be marked with invisible ink or special marking pens. A reader suggested that Oriental rugs can be marked with a name woven into the back of the rug.

***** Dear Ralph and Terry: I have a two-piece clear glass ship. On one side are the words "Remember the Maine." I heard it was originally made to hold mustard. Was it made in colors? I wonder if mine is a reproduction. When was it first made? …

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