Dear Connie Sue,
What can you tell us about this old typewriter? My 10-year-old great-granddaughter bought it in a thrift shop in Arizona. She paid $5 for it.
It works, as you can see. The keys move from the sides — left to right. The ribbon is blue but worn, so some of the keys do not print well. She and a younger sister have written notes on it.
Oliver’s No. 5 was made in Illinois after 1894. The idea for your oddly shaped writing machine is thought to have been inspired by Thomas Oliver’s desire to hold a legible copy of his sermons. Further inspired, he sought investors, and off he went — until a British group bought the company. I often see Oliver typewriters used in British movies set in Edwardian times.
That $5 price was pretty good for the typewriter and an afternoon of writing notes. Similarly functioning Oliver Visible Writers sell for $20 to $85 at tag sales and online. Two fully restored machines with their original metal cases are offered online by hopeful sellers for $255 and $498.
Dear Connie Sue,
I found this clock in the attic while cleaning the house after my parents died. I vaguely remember seeing it on the mantel in my early youth. My dad was born in 1909, and I doubt it was his father’s. I think it is from the 1930s or ’40s.
Stored in my attic, it had turned black. I cleaned it the best I could and believe it may be copper, but I’m not positive. Any information you could give me on the year it was made, the company and the value would be most appreciated.
Dorothy, Raleigh, North Carolina
The Gibraltar Electric Clock Company made your parents’ Windsor mantel clock in the mid-1930s in Jersey City, New Jersey. The copper color is most likely a wash over white metal. Similar working clocks can sell for $150 to $300.
The couple flanking the face of the clock represent the National Recovery Administration, created just after the establishment of the National Industrial Recovery Act by Congress to encourage economic recovery during the Great Depression.
Amid the arguments and ultimate invalidation of the compulsory codes, businesses and families were encouraged to display the National Recovery Act (NRA) emblem of a blue eagle to demonstrate compliance. As proclaimed on the clock case, working together would build stronger families, cities and United States.
Although I often find pamphlets, medallions and literature outlining the NRA codes, it is rare to find a clock with a good finish. If your clock still works, it can easily sell for $175 to $350. Please practice good risk management on the electrical cord.
My son found two of these items at a farm sale in Ohio. Neither the seller nor my son knew what they were used for. Can you identify their use?
They’re sugar molds. Sugar cane syrup was poured into the molds to dry and harden. Dried sugar cones were then wrapped in paper until needed at the table. It was hard, not refined, sugar and had to be tapped a bit to loosen chunks of sweetness.
Wooden 12-hole sugar molds sell for around $65. Carved decoration increases price as does provenance (confirmed history of an item). Still used in Mexico, imports are available for far less.