Posted By whatsitworth on September 6, 2010
This children’s chalkboard easel was given to my husband by members of his family and we are curious as to it’s age and value. It was “played” with a lot by family members who would now be close to 90 years old. The flag drawn in chalk was done by one of the owners when he was about 10 years old. Amazing that it has held up so well over so many years and moves.
The chalkboard stands 45 inches tall and is 21 inches wide. It has a paper scroll above the chalkboard that turns to reveal different school teaching aides. (the alphabet, numbers, math etc.) The scroll turns by a little handle on the side of the chalkboard. The chalkboard also folds down to create a little writing desk.
We estimate the chalkboard to be approximately 75-85 years old, are we right?
A plaque on the chalkboard reads as follows:
Richmond School Furniture Co.
The Richmond School Furniture Company was founded by a Quaker attorney named William Foulke Spencer in Richmond, Indiana in 1892. It made school desks, bookcases, benches, chalkboards, etc. (Spencer had formerly partnered with another furniture company that was destroyed by fire.) At the same time he formed the American Lawn Mower Company and the two businesses shared facilities.
The companies moved to Muncie in 1902 to be nearer the recently discovered natural gas sources, so we know that your chalkboard was made after that date. The company stayed in business, essentially producing the same sort of things, until the mid 20th century. (The American Lawn Mower Company is still in business today!)
The condition of your chalkboard and especially the paper scroll is amazingly good. (I remember my siblings and I playing with a similar one nearly 5 decades ago. We were rougher on the scrolls.) To date the piece we can look at the age of the relatives or we could look at the history of when it was possible for a New York baseball team to play a Chicago baseball team. The New York Yankees were founded in 1903; the New York Gothams, which later became the New York Giants and then San Francisco Giants, was founded in 1883; the Brooklyn Dodgers, which later became the Los Angeles Dodgers, have been around in one form or another since 1883; and the New York Mets didn’t come along until 1962, after the Giants and Dodgers left town. The Chicago Cubs were formed in 1876 and the White Sox in 1901. Therefore we know your blackboard was made after 1903!
Either way, the value is in the remembrances. A similar one sold at auction recently for $45.
What can you tell me about this little china item? It is about 3 inches tall and has one hole in it. I thought it might be a teapot or a vase of some kind but I’m not sure. It’s so small! It was given to me as a gift by a fellow professor.
What you have is an Asian water dropper. The color and the peach form shape indicate that it is not Chinese: it may be Japanese or Korean.
A water dropper is an essential tool for a scholar, as are brushes, brush pots and brush washers. The dropper would be used to pour tiny amounts of water onto a hard inkstone to get the right consistency ink to use for for calligraphy.
I can’t really tell from the photograph how old your water dropper is but I suspect it is 20th century. The monetary value of your peach shaped brush washer with applied insects is under $100; the value to a scholar is priceless.