Alys Antiques | Articles
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Alys Antiques

The Carbon Footprint and the World of Antiques

Just a thought If we want to make the world a cleaner place we can make our homes more beautiful at the same time. How do we do this? A great step into that direction is to furnish our houses with antiques, because there really is almost no carbon footprint in something which was made hundreds of years ago and without the use of machinery (which was only used from around 1830 on). Hopefully, there will be no carbon footprint created when we do not want the piece any more, because we will sell or pass it on to the next owner, who will look after it, until they sell/pass it on and so forth. The only footprint would be in transporting the piece. And since Alys Antiques source their beautiful...

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A Few Words on antique English Drinking Glasses

By Jutta Mark, Alys Antiques, Cambridge. Man has known how to make glass for centuries, from about 2000 years before Christ. The Egyptians knew how to make it by casting the molten glass around a core. It was precious and rare. The technique of glass-blowing is “only” about 2000 years old and was first used in the first century AD (after Christ). The glassblower uses a hollow tube or rod to produce all sorts of wonderful and useful shapes out of the molten glass (called “gather”) at the end of it. Glass-production became plentiful in Roman times, and products and techniques traveled wherever the Romans went, which of course, included England. Empires come and go, and as the Roman Empire withdrew from England, so did their wonderful glass (and many other...

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What year are we talking about?

By Jutta Mark, Alys Antiques, Cambridge. When somebody asks me “ How old is this?”, the answer is often something like, “150 years or 200 years or even 250 or 300 years”. So what century does this relate to? We now we live in the 21st century. Before the year 2000, from 1900 onwards, we lived in the 20th century, from 1800 until 1900 in the 19th century. The 18th century lasted from 1701 until 1800, the 17th century from 1601 until 1700, the 16th century from 1501 until 1600 etc.. Quite simple really, but often extremely confusing, too. I often label pieces as 1800s, rather than 17th century, in order to remind customers that they were made 200 years ago. However, once we really talk antiques, we need to know...

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A few Words on Barometers

By Jutta Mark, Alys Antiques, Cambridge. Barometers are wondrous instruments designed to measure air-pressure and, in this way, predict weather changes in the short term. They have been around since the middle of the 17th century (1600s) and were invented in Italy. It is generally assumed that a young scientist with the lovely name of Evangelista Torricelli was the first to successfully experiment in using a vacuum to measure the weight of the air. Have you ever been in a position where you needed to take some petrol out of a car-tank? How is it done? It is quite similar to sucking a drink through a straw – by sucking the air out of the straw (or the hose you have put into the petrol tank) you create a vacuum which...

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A Few Words on Pewter

by Jutta Mark, Alys Antiques, Cambridge. If it were possible to travel with Dr. Who into the 17th century City of London, let’s say to 1650, you would hear the ringing of pewterers’ hammers from many workshops, and the scene would be the same in most larger cities. Although already known to the Romans BC, pewter had become widely used and highly prized by that the early 1600s. While a workman would save up to replace his horn or wooden bowl with a more durable and more washable pewter plate, the nobility, churches and monasteries owned and used a wealth of pewter pieces, from tableware to candle-sticks and chalices. Pewter is an alloy of tin and quality and price were strictly regulated by a Royal Charter, which decreed that all pewterers had...

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Is this piece antique?

By Jutta Mark, Alys Antiques, Cambridge There are many different opinions as to how old a piece need to be in order to be considered an antique, and discussions on this topic can become heated at times. What is expressed below is, therefore, by definition, my personal opinion. Fortunately there are some good guidelines: In 1930 a US tariff act was issued which stated that works of art, pieces of furniture and ornamental items more than one hundred years old could be referred to as antique. So, for a long time, many dealers set the date at 1830. This coincided also with the time after which machine production became more wide-spread. If we take the 100-year-time-frame as the most important question, these days, pieces made roughly before 1900 are considered antique ....

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Cranberry Glass

When I arranged our display of Cranberry glass pieces and lustres into the window-shelves , I could not but pay again tribute to Alys Briggs, who together with her husband Johnnie established Alys Antiques at our old Duke St. address on May 1st, 1968, almost 50 years ago....

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