Home & Garden


A conversation piece for a modern home. This blue boot covers the large resin foot that is the base of a very modern 25-inch-high table, sold for $175. PHOTO PROVIDED

Ever wonder who invented the table?
The earliest tables seem to have been used by the ancient Egyptians, although they did not sit near it; they used the flat top to hold things. It was not until the days of the Greeks and Romans that tables were used in a house near a seated person.
By the Middle Ages, large tables were used for banquets and there were special rules about the seating. But today we can find many tables made for specific tasks, like sewing, dining, playing games or holding a candle, a lamp or a special ornament. Tables have flat tops with three, four or more legs, or an unusual base.
Twentieth-century designers became adventurous and made tables that were placed on the backs of two carved statues or on a series of geometric shaped blocks.
Perhaps the strangest table seen recently is the ”Foot Art” side table. It has a flat top, one drawer with a human nose for a handle, and a resin foot for the base. The large foot in a blue boot supports the top on three metal rods stretching up from the inside of the boot. It was sold by Burchard Galleries in Florida.

Q: I bought a wooden piece from an antique dealer in Nebraska in the 1970s. He told me a ”picker” from the Northeast brought it here. It is 59 inches tall and 26 inches wide. It has straight sides, and I was told it has ”shoe feet.” The center vertical piece of wood slides up and down, and the circular ”cage” pieces turn. A furniture repair person told me it is ”museum worthy.” I thought it might be for weaving, and I tried contacting a tapestry museum to ask about it but didn’t get an answer or interest. Do you have any suggestions or a value?

A: You have a ”squirrel cage” yarn winder, also called a ”squirrel cage swift.” It is used to smoothly and quickly wind a skein of yarn onto a weaving bobbin or a ball winder. The skein is placed around the two drums that rotate as the skein unwinds. The shoe feet on your winder add stability as the drums turn. Squirrel cage swifts made in the 18th and 19th centuries start at about $150 at auction. Those made by craftsmen of the Shaker community sell for $700 to $950.

– Vase, Peters & Reed, brown, green, vines, column shape, 12 inches, $15.
– Mop wringer, janitorial tool, iron and wood, Reliance junior model, Lee Chair company, handle, 1906, 25 x 10 inches, $65.
– Tea caddy, wood, porcelain panels, figures, garden landscape, lacquer, multicolor, footed, 9 inches, $125.
– Pencil, mechanical, Mont Blanc, gold plate, resin, leather case, 3 1/4 x 7 3/4 inches, $315.
TIP: Use your phone camera at a flea market. Record things you might want to buy later. Record marks, etc. to look up.

For more collecting news, tips and resources, visit kovels.com.



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