Whew! We’ve been on the road again this weekend and this time we headed to the beautiful mountains of Hendersonville. Our destination was the Kenmure Country Club and the vista was spectacular. The foliage was tinged with yellows and oranges, the cool autumn weather was refreshing, and the company couldn’t have been more perfect.
After loading the van to the hilt with place settings for 175 guests, Priscilla and I began our westward journey Thursday afternoon. Along the way we stopped for lunch at a restaurant that just so happened to be near a thrift store and arrived, via the more scenic backroads, to Kenmure in the early evening.
The tables were all ready for us and we meticulously set them with our vintage plates and goblets. The head table donned our blue and white collection while the guest tables featured a more eclectic mix of patterns. These photos are missing the floral arrangements and soft candlelight so we’ll be sharing an updated gallery in the weeks to come. Can’t wait to see them!!
Following a restful night at a charming AirBnB home, we excitedly began exploring the thrift stores in the area. Over the course of three days, Priscilla and I browsed through 8 or so stores – some high end, some more junk, and all worth the time! What was our find of the weekend? A medley of terrific vintage napkins – including ones with some groovy prints for our growing bohemian offerings – and a gorgeous set of china from Germany.
These last two weekends have shown us that traveling to destinations is a service we can happily accommodate, especially if it includes a day or two of exploration and delicious meals shared with a kindred soul! Thank you, Taylor and Priscilla, for two delightful back-to-back weekends!
Planning a wedding in the “beyond” region of our studio and want a vintage look? We may be able to help!
Southern Vintage Table is on the road this weekend and next – delivering our beautiful vintage tableware to weddings at Tuckahoe Plantation in Richmond and the Kenmure Country Club in Hendersonville.
Scouting out the trip via the backroads, this weekend’s drive up to Richmond was incredibly beautiful and relaxed – perfect temperature, gorgeous sunlight, and an easy drive. After our delivery, I met my daughter in Carytown for the weekend. Our AirBnB rental was a block away from this eclectic, fun area in Richmond and we found lots of restaurant choices and cute shops to browse. We had a grand time together – she even enjoyed going to one thrift store with me!
She’s now back on the train headed to DC and I’m getting ready to return to Tuckahoe to pickup and begin the beautiful drive home. What a lovely adventure with my sweet, amazing daughter!
PS – I’ll be adding a photo of Tuckahoe right here after I return home. This historic venue is the real deal – in fact, it was Thomas Jefferson’s boyhood home!
Part of my fascination about anything vintage is the history they embody – the companies that made them, the folks who bought them, the homes they were in, the time period they existed. Appreciating these objects as artifacts, I am thrilled when I uncover an interesting story connected to a new find. This happened last week when I found four teaspoons in the flatware bin at a local thrift store.
They stood out because of their silvery sheen and ornateness and, when I picked them up, they were nice and heavy. As usual, I didn’t bring my glasses so I couldn’t make out the maker, but the pattern was new to me. When I got to my car and found my glasses, I read the mark – King’s Hall Silver 1088 – and quickly searched the name on my phone. Ding ding!
My research began with a community board on Ebay. Someone posted a question about these teaspoons and here’s Susan’s response:
… all I could find on this spoon were pages and pages of Home & Garden, Country Life, Suburban Life, … 1911 magazine ads for Kerr Glass Mfg. Economy jars. Kerr was giving away 3 of these spoons with every case of jars and 1 with a dozen caps. No doubt the use of the number 1066 was to attract attention for it was in the year 1066 that William the Conqueror invaded England. His descendants resulted in the Plantagenet dynasty that ruled England for over 300 years.
With this response, I found several ads that ran during 1911. Here are two from Country Lifein America and Suburban Life.
Mystery solved – these King’s Hall Silver teaspoons were a free gift given out circa 1911 by Kerr Glass to drive sales of their canning jars, a kitchen staple well known to all of us. It may be difficult to read, so here’s an excerpt from the ad.
Cut out “Hand in Jar” trademark, like above shown, appearing on either end of each case of one dozen Economy Jars and mail it with 14c. in U. S. stamps to cover cost of packing, postage, etc., and we will present to you one Full Size King’s Hall Silver. 1086, famous sectional plate silver teaspoon, made by the manufacturers of the best silverplate in the world. The richest family in the land has no finer, richer, nor more beautiful silver plate than King’s Hall Silver, 1066.
From here, I wanted to learn more about the Kerr Glass company. My research uncovered many more twists and turns – here’s a quick synopsis of the highlights.
In 1903 Alexander Kerr started a fruit jar company in Portland, Oregon called the Hermetic Fruit Jar Company. The jars were made by the Illinois-Pacific Glass Company, located in San Francisco.
The Great Earthquake of 1906 struck San Francisco and 80% of city was destroyed. Miraculously, the Illinois-Pacific Glass manufacturing plant survived.
Kerr opened his first glass manufacturing plant in Kansas in 1909.
Kerr fell in love with a young stenographer in his office, Albertina Sechtem (who was 28 years younger), divorced his wife, and married her in 1910. The local headline read, “Rich merchant divorces wife.”
During 1911 Kerr Glass Manufacturing ran ads for free teaspoons with purchase of jars and lids in numerous publications.
Albertina Kerr contracted typhoid and died months after giving birth to a son in October, 1911. On her deathbed she asked Alexander to “look after motherless babies, too.”
Kerr donated their home to the Pacific Coast Rescue Society to help orphans and single mothers. Over the next hundred years, this contribution proved to be a seed to provide support for young children, single mothers, and individuals with disabilities. Today the Albertina Kerr Center, located in Portland, Oregon, supports individuals with developmental and physical challenges.
In 1913, Kerr married his young secretary, Ruth Kalbus, and they had 6 children. Kerr died in 1925 from pneumonia contracted while collecting Community Chest Funds.
The eldest son from Kerr’s first marriage ran the company until his death in 1930. Alexander’s third wife, Ruth, took over to become “the first woman executive in the glass-blowing industry — if not one of the first women executives in manufacturing — in the United States.” (Healthy Canning) She ran the company until her death in 1965. Under her direction, many women were promoted into executive positions and her company would become one of the two largest canning businesses in the United States.
In 1937 Ruth Kerr established the Bible Missionary Institute that would eventually become Westmont College, ranked as the 90th “America’s Best Colleges List 2013” in liberal arts colleges by US & News Report.
Two notable contributions to the canning industry by Alexander Kerr were the production of the first wide-mouth jar and the invention of the metal flat disk used to seal the jar.
From fruit jars, to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, a scandalous divorce and marriage, free teaspoons, centers to help orphans and children with developmental needs, and one of the first women executives in manufacturing – whew! Now, this is a pretty good story, huh?
Lately, more times than not, I have walked through a thrift store without finding anything to add to our vintage collections. Yep, I swept through the shelves and swept right out the door. Admittedly, mixed emotions were at play – disappointment and relief. Disappointment because I didn’t experience that “Wow, that’s cool” moment to the revelation, “Whew! Nothing I couldn’t resist today.”
However, things changed over the past few weeks. These additions fed our love for the hunt while adding some pretties and functional needs. Here are 5 treasures we found and the biggest prize is the last!
Find #1 – More colored vintage goblets.
Vintage glasses and goblets are hot-hot-hot right now and we totally get why. Look at their texture, their color – and they look so beautiful on the table.
Find #2 – Silver-plated Sets of Vintage Candleholders
Within one week we found these two silver-plated candleholder trios. We love these as a set but they also look terrific mixed in with our other patterns.
Find #3 – Vintage Milk Glass Stand or Vase
Don’t you love it when you have something that can be used in more than one way? Judging from the orientation of the embossed florals on this milk glass item, it is probably intended to be a stand for a bowl or dish, but turned upside down, it can also hold a beautiful bouquet of flowers!
Find #4 – More beautiful vintage china patterns!
Take a look at the top vintage salad plate – it’s a beauty!! We also found one more vintage blue & white, a new Blue Ridge Pottery pattern, and several all-white ones.
Find #5 – This one is definitely not sexy but it’s our most treasured – glass crates!
We have never found glass crates at a thrift store – never. But, these past few weeks we have picked up 6 – amazing – at 3 different stores!! Not only are these used to store and transport our vintage goblets, they can also be used to transport other items such as bud vases and votives.
Thanks for visiting and have a fabulous week! We’ll be excitedly getting ready for a styled shoot this Friday with the awesome Stacy Newburg of Events by Memory Lane. Whoo-hoo!
Serendipity: Such a beautiful word describing the occurrence of events by chance.
I like to think it’s the energy you put out into the world returning your energy with love. ― Steven Aitchison
As part of our vintage china rental business, we routinely pop into the local thrift stores. We know, a pretty tough assignment and admittedly, something we do love! As our inventory is pretty well stocked, we’re mostly browsing for unique pieces that fill a niche in our offerings. Thrift store serendipity struck this week because we came across three very wonderful vintage items, all coincidentally connected. Two are related to last week’s post about our vintage girl vases and the other was linked to a casual conversation I recently had with my husband.
Well, the first find was a girl vase! I almost didn’t notice her because she is so much larger than the petite ones we have. Standing almost 10 inches tall with two openings for her flower bouquets, she is indeed very sweet!
The other connection to last week’s post was the Erphila mark. In almost three years of regular thrift store shopping, we have seen this mark only once and that was on one of the girl vases featured last week. This week we found this pretty vase with the Erphila mark. As you see, this footed vase was made in Bavaria and, as shared last week, the Erphila mark refers to the owners of the import company with the E and R being the first initials of their names, and Phila referring to Philadelphia where their business was located. Can’t wait to see a beautiful bouquet in this one!
The final lucky find was a cup and saucer. We have a sincere appreciation for Blue Ridge Pottery because of its charming history, shared in a post last year. I was showing a plate to my husband this past week and mentioned that I haven’t come across any Blue Ridge cups and saucers. Yep, that changed – came across four cups and one saucer – at separate thrift stores, too!
Thank you, cosmos. We will share these vintage treasures with great appreciation and love.
One thing I love about my business is seeing the many different venues in our area. This weekend was especially a treat as we traveled to the small city of Tarboro in eastern North Carolina. According to the town’s website, Tarboro was originally inhabited by the Tuscarora tribe. By 1733 Europeans discovered this beautiful area by a river, known as the Taw, the Native American word for “river of health.” Over the years, the area was called Tawboro, Tarrburg, and Tarborough, until today’s name of Tarboro finally settled in.
Our destination was a beautiful, historic church called Saint Anne’s Chapel on the outskirts of town. It was designed by a German Baltimore architect and built in 1922 by two sisters with help from their cousins. Services were held here until the 1950s but after the sisters’ death, it started to fall into disrepair. Rescued by Kevin and Trish Wilson in 1999 and carefully restored to its former beauty, Saint Anne’s Chapel is now a lovely place for weddings and community events. Be sure to check out their website to learn more about this gorgeous piece of history!
We left our 225 place settings with Brooke’s family and crew and can’t wait to see scenes from their wedding and reception! Many thanks go out to her family and friends for helping Priscilla and me unload, and for sharing a bit of their stories as well.
PS – One unexpected philosophical nugget that came up during our conversation on the road to Tarboro is this thought from a Barbara Kingsolver book – The most important thing about a person is the thing you don’t know. Hmmm…food for thought, indeed.
It was all in a day’s work – scouring the local thrift stores for unusual vintage items. And, true to thrift shopping lore, I didn’t see what I was looking for but I did find some terrific treasures I couldn’t pass up!
As I browse around a thrift store, I’m thinking about our clients and their upcoming celebrations. One of our brides, Anna, is getting married next month and together we designed her table centerpieces which include lots of lovely items such as vintage tins, frames, brass candle holders, and teapot vases. She also loved the vintage petite artwork as much as I do. A few of these items are pretty rare to come across, but the vintage gods must have been directing me this week because many were there, on the shelves, as if they were waiting for me to pick them up!
I am so looking forward to seeing many of these new items gathered together on Anna’s tables along with the other charming trinkets in our vintage decor inventory at Southern Vintage Table!
The snow is gone, spring is almost here, and it’s time to do the thrift store circuit to uncover vintage gems for Southern Vintage Table. And, what would make a great day even better? Browsing my favorite thrift stores with Jami! Little did we know we would find something really, really wonderful.
So, it was our third stop and as soon as we opened the door to the old-house-turned-thrift-store, I spied these cups on the table. Neither of us could read the mark without our glasses, but even with our blurry vision, it had that distinctive vintage look. I bought them and couldn’t wait to find out more.
Although I couldn’t find a photo or pattern name, I did discover more about the company that made them. Here’s a bit of their story.
The pottery company is Edwin J.D. Bodley from Burslem, England. Edwin was the son of Edward Fisher Bodley and originally the two worked together but later the father retired and Edwin took over. According to thepotteries.org, these are key dates for Edwin’s company:
In 1875 the father retired and the son carried on on his own accord.
In the 1881 census the company is recorded as having 140 employees.
In 1892 the company was declared bankrupt.
So, using a little bit of math, this means these teacups are at least 123 years old! Holy moly! This advertisement from The Pottery Gazette, American and Canadian Edition, January 1st, 1880, also from thepotteries.org site, gives some insight into the company’s business plan. I definitely appreciate Edwin’s quest to create “fancy goods” for the American market!
My guess is these were made for the American market in the 1880s, with all their fanciness, shape and decorative style, and bought somewhere here. Who bought them, where they lived and how many cups of tea were stylishly served in them – alas – that’s all left to our own imagination. But, we do know they now reside at Southern Vintage Table for all to joyfully admire! Aren’t they fabulous?
This past weekend I went to the opening of a new thrift store, TROSA Thrift Store, in Durham. (Thank you, Linda, for sending that text!) For me, this may be one of the most exciting events I can imagine! I realize some folks would just shake their head in amusement at this declaration but there are many others who totally get the magnificence of a thrift store, especially a new one. And, this place is huge – housed in a once-vacant box store – with so much to see and admire. More about this terrific organization, TROSA, at the end of my entry.
I claimed my cart and made a beeline to the houseware’s department. Of course, I get that one annoying, thumpidity-thump-thump cart but by the time I realized how bad it was, I couldn’t turn back and pushed it onward to the back of the store. Even though there weren’t gobs of plates on the shelves, I quickly saw there were many patterns I had never seen. I stood there and took a deep breath because I knew I had arrived at thrift store heaven!
Trying to act as nonchalant as possible so as to not attract attention to my little goldmine, I began pulling plates off the shelves. For most of the patterns I found only one plate, which makes them even more special, but some had a couple and I did find four dinner plates in one pattern. There were also some Blue Ridge dessert plates, definitely a find, and a few more of one pattern I found early in my collecting but hadn’t seen since. What a joyful rush!
My cranky cart, filled with vintage china plates, was now clinking and squeaking as I moved through the other departments in this vast store. This store has everything – clothes, toys, housewares and books – but I think the best stock is their furniture. If you are in the market for shelving, chairs, tables or desks, this is the place to look.
After I checked out all of the departments and made one last inspection of each plate to check for chips, I paid for my treasures. Although there was a bit of line on this busy opening day, it was very organized and the staff quickly helped their customers. This is one consistency about my encounters at a TROSA event or store – the folks are polite, helpful and very appreciative you are there.
Here’s a look at six different patterns I found that day. From muted to striking, each of them has its own unique history. Two patterns were made in America, four are from England and collectively they span decades.
Made in the USA
These two American patterns have a soft, gentle look. The first one is called Classic Flower Vernon Ware by Metlox of California. This pattern dates from the 1970s and has an understated beauty about it. I love the textured rim and the center design is very pretty.
The second pattern is Foliage by Canonsburg. This lovely fall-inspired pattern was made in the Canonsburg Pottery kilns in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. This china company was founded in 1900 and closed in 1978.
Made in England
These two English patterns are strikingly beautiful. The first one, Spodes’ Tower-Blue, is gorgeous with beautiful details. In this lovely outdoor tower scene, there are birds, cows and even a couple of fishermen. This pattern, made from 1902-1970, also has a textured rim known as gadroon, which means decorative edging.
The second pattern, Historic America by Johnson Brothers, was produced from 1930-1974. I only found this one plate but when I looked it up, I discovered it’s a multi-motif pattern which means each piece of the pattern features a different scene. The dinner plate is called “View of Boston.” Don’t you think it’s a bit ironic this American historic series was created by an English china company?
The third English pattern is Tintern by Royal Doulton. Manufactured from 1935-1960, this creamy pattern is colorful and dramatic. I was thrilled to find two of these! According to Wikipedia, Tintern, a historic village in Wales, is known for its natural beauty and the ancient 12th century Tintern Abbey. Interestingly, Tintern and another historic village, Chapel Hill, have merged to form a larger province. Perhaps a cosmic message for me to visit, huh?
The final one from England, also a Spode pattern, is called Primrose-Blue and Yellow. With its scalloped edge, textured rim and colorful center motif, this lovely pattern was produced from 1954-1969. Wish I had these for my daughter’s wedding party with our blue & white with yellow color scheme!
As you probably figured out, I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon finding these treasures. One shopper, after taking a look in my cart, commented to me, “You have quite an interesting collection in there!” “Indeed, I do,” I replied. Interesting, lovely additions to Southern Vintage Table‘s elegant and casual vintage china collections, now available for your next gala event.
More about TROSA –
TROSA, Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers, is a highly successful non-profit organization that supports people who want to make a positive change in their lives. They have several different businesses to help with job skill development including two thrift stores, holiday tree lots, lawn care and moving services. Each time I visit their work sites, I am impressed by these folks who are always pleasant, hard working and appreciative. Take time to visit TROSA’s website to learn more about their mission and work.
I remember the day I saw it at a local thrift store. It was last summer at the height of my collecting spree for my new business, Southern Vintage Table. As I was browsing the items on the shelf, I spied this unusual coffee urn, or at least that’s what I thought it was. The shape, handles and spigot were all so magnificent. As I opened the top and looked inside, I couldn’t figure out how the coffee was added and the bowl on the top really stumped me. Surely, I thought, there must be missing pieces. Relunctantly, I decided not to purchase a broken coffee pot and left the store.
About an hour later, as I am standing in another thrift store, I felt a sharp twinge of regret. I knew I would never see anything like that coffee pot again. A seasoned thrift store shopper knows that if something interests you, you better pick it up right then or it will be gone. I decided to go back to get it before it was too late. As I excitedly opened the door to the store, my heart sank. I saw a woman pick up my coffee pot.
As I am kicking myself, I noticed she didn’t immediately go up to the sales counter. Something told me to wait around – to see if she actually will buy it. So, there I was – thrift store stalking. While keeping a good distance away, I tracked her, waiting to see if she was going to put it back on the shelf or go through the door with it. I realized she was trying to decide what to do.
Finally, she went up to the cash register. I moved closer, picked up something off the shelf nearby and tried to look uninterested. She put the urn on the counter and asked the cashier, “How much?” And then it happened – a thrift shop miracle. “That’s too much,” she complained. She then put it back on the counter and walked out. I almost couldn’t believe it! As soon as the door closed behind her, I picked it up. I remember telling the young cashier, “It’s not too much for me,” and the strange coffee pot was mine.
It wasn’t too hard to uncover that this coffee urn is actually a samovar, a Russian hot water kettle, and it’s used to heat water for tea. The top bowl holds a smaller pot of tea concentrate that is heated through the vents in the lid of the larger vessel. With “1990” engraved on the bottom, it’s not really old but the look is definitely vintage. Here’s one site I found that gives a nice synopsis of the history of the samovar.
This samovar traveled to Wilmington this past weekend for Joey and Rebekah’s tea bar at their wedding reception. Doesn’t it look terrific with the vintage cupboard and teacups? This gorgeous vintage-inpsired wedding will be featured in an upcoming blog. PS – I have to thank friends, Louise, Mary and Jami, for helping set up the reception tables and again to Mary and Louise for washing and packing until the wee hours of the morning. I am truly blessed with the miracle of friendship!