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A to Z Glossary of Antique Terms
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Glossary of Antique terms A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z
Habaner Faience – (Ceramics, Pottery, Bohemia) Habaner Ware Broad term that refers to earthenware made by peasant potters for about 140 years in central Europe (Bohemia, Monrovia) from the end of the 16th century to the 1730s.
Hafner Ware – (Ceramics, Pottery, Germany) Pottery tiles for stoves made in Germany particularly, but also in Switzerland and France. The making of these tiles specifically for stoves is an ancient craft that goes back to the fourteenth century.
Hague, The Porcelain Factory – (Ceramics, Porcelain, Netherlands) A hard-paste porcelain factory founded about 1776 and active until about 1790; the mark is a stork; decorated much porcelain from other factories, notably Tournai.
Hall Chair - (Furniture) Formal, upright-backed and square-seated, of mahogany usually; not upholstered; for the caller waiting in the hall.
Hallmark - (Silver) The particular mark of the Assay Office at which a piece of plate is assayed. Makers' marks and date letters are not, strictly, hall-marks. Hall-marks were introduced in England in 1300 when the Wardens of the London Goldsmiths were ordered to assay and mark with a leopard's head all plate before it left the goldsmith's hands. The purpose was to indicate quality and prevent fraud. In 1363 it was decreed that all goldsmiths should have a mark. At first emblems, these makers' marks became the two first letters of the surname in 1696, and from 1739 onwards they became the initials of Christian and surnames.
H & Co. Mark - (Ceramics, Porcelain, France) The H & Co. mark is from the Haviland and Co. and comes in several forms. The impressed mark was used from 1865 - 1875. The H & Co. mark in green underglaze was used from 1876 - 1880. The H & Co. mark underscored in green underglaze was used from 1876 - 1880. The H & Co. mark underscored twice in green underglaze was used from 1876 - 1880. The H & Co. mark underscored with a L below in green underglaze was used from 1876 - 1889. The H & Co. mark underscored with Depose below in green underglaze was adopted around 1877. The H & Co. L France mark (France is curved upwards) in green underglaze was used from 1888 - 1896.
Hamadan Rugs - (Floor Covering) Persian rugs of rather coarse weave decorated variously in reds, yellows and blues on a buff-coloured ground; three to four stripe border; woven with the Ghiordiz knot.
Hanap - (Glass, Silver, Ceramic) A standing cup.
Hanau - (Pottery) A famous faience factory founded at Hanau, Hesse, Germany, in 1661 by two Dutchmen who made wares in the Dutch-Chinese manner that can be mistaken for Delft. The factory passed through several hands before its closure about 1806.
Handcock, Robert - (Artist, Engraver, Pottery) (1730-1817) Robert Handcock was an engraver responsible for many of the original engravings for transfer printing on porcelain at the Bow, Worcester, Caughley, and Bristol factories in England. He also worked at Battersea where he did engravings for enamels.
Hand-and-Cup Vase - (Pottery, Parian ware, Glass) Small vase made in the form of a human hand holding aloft a narrow cup.
Handcooler - (Glass) Usually egg-shaped (also called 'eggs'), of hardstone or glass, used for darning.
Handkerchief Drawer - (Furniture) A tiny drawer used to keep small items like handkerchiefs. A chest form popular in the Renaissance Revival Period of the 1880s had two or three small drawers on the top. If the chest had two drawers, there would be one on each side with a gap in the middle. This area was for the mirror. If there were three drawers there would be a long shallow drawer separating the side drawers.
Handle - (Cane) The handle is the topmost part of a cane and is the most important part of the cane because it gives a carver an opportunity to show his talent. Many intricate carvings in the form of dogs, horses, birds, human faces or figural handles of dignitaries. Some that were made with silver trimmings and glass or jeweled eyes were much in demand.
Han Dynasty - (Period, China) (206 b.c. to A.D. 220) See Chinese.
Hanko – (Japanese Art) A hanko is the artist's signature and/or his seal, sometimes referred to as chops.
Hard Rock Maple – (Wood) A term derived from two different types of Maple Tree, the rock maple tree and the and the hard maple tree. The word was coined in the 1960s when the Colonial American style of furniture became popular again.
Harewood – (Wood) Sycamore, stained with a solution of oxide of iron; used as a veneer in the late eighteenth century.
Harp Mirror – (Furniture) A mirror that hangs and swivels between two members on the form of a Lyre. This form was popular neoclassical furniture and during the Empire and American Empire Styles. Also called Lyre Mirror.
Harpsichord - (Musical Instrument) First made in England in the fifteenth century but very few examples survive earlier than the eighteenth century. This stringed musical instrument is enclosed in a case like the later grand piano. It is furnished with two keyboards and extra strings which can be operated by stops. Two great makers in England were Kirkman and Shudi.
Harrison, John - (Clock, Maker, England) 1693-1770 Yorkshire-born clock-maker who invented a marine chronometer and the gridiron pendulum.
Harvard Pattern - (Glass, Cut) A cane pattern with the raised octagons cut with alternating stars and crosshatching is usually known as "Harvard". This pattern name can be confusing because some glass companies gave the "Harvard" name to completely unrelated patterns.
Hausmaler - (Term German) Hausmaler is a German term for an outside decorator.
Hawkes Glass - T.G. Hawkes & Co. (Glass, Glass Maker, Cut Glass) T.G. Hawkes & Co. was founded by Thomas Gibson Hawkes and incorporated in 1880. During its 82-year history, the T.G. Hawkes & Co was recognized for its quality and excellence in crystal. Hawkes designed and produced pieces for royalty and presidents. In 1964, the assets of T.G. Hawkes & Co. of Corning, New York were acquired by Tiffin Art Glass Company.
Heart Case - (Metal) Usually of lead or pewter; for the embalming and preserving of a heart bound for a distant burial.
Heckman Furniture Company - (Furniture Manufacturer) The Heckman family finally established itself in the furniture industry when in 1922, Jim Boonstra, an experienced furniture production engineer brought Heckman Furniture Company to the furniture forefront. They started operations with the introduction of 30 occasional tables and quickly became known for quality craftsmanship, select woods and fine finishes which are still hallmarks of Heckman. The company continued to grow, in 1942 closed its main showroom in Grand Rapids, and moved to Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. Additional showrooms followed in Dallas in 1972 and High Point in 1979. A second plant, in addition to the Grand Rapids facilities, was purchased in 1965 in Lexington, North Carolina and remains a vital part of the company today. Five years later the company became a division of Beatrice Foods and remained so until 1983, when Heckman was purchased by the Howard Miller Clock Company of Zeeland, Michigan. Heckman furniture has been sold nationally since 1922 and has diversified through the years to include various collections based on many different style categories. All encompass the quality expected of its centuries-old heritage of Dutch craftsmanship, making Heckman an acknowledged leader in the furniture industry.
Hedingham - (Ceramics, Pottery, England) Place-name for pottery made by Edward Bingham at Hedingham, Essex, during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Bingham produced massive wares, 'Essex' jugs up to three feet high being typical. Hedingham Castle is the usual mark.
Hepplewhite, George - (Furniture, England Died-1786) English cabinet-maker and designer. Biographical details are few. He was apprenticed to Gillow came later to London and set up in business at St Giles, Cripplegate. He did not achieve any fame in his lifetime as a cabinet-maker. He may never have had a workshop of his own. Not a single piece of furniture by him has ever been identified. Rather was his reputation procured posthumously by his wife Alice, who continued the business after his death and in 1788 published his Cabinet Maker and Upholsterers' Guide. The preface of the Guide claims only that it 'followed the latest or most prevailing fashion' and expressly states there had been no intention of originality. (A third edition, with some alterations, was published in 1794.) In this work the neo-classic style inspired by the brothers Adam is seen with its more conscious classic ornament eliminated or adapted to suit English cabinet-making. Such innovations as the oval, shield and heart-shaped chair back are wrongly credited to Hepplewhite, he did not invent them. Attributes of Hepplewhite style are simple, elegant and refined lines. Light but strong construction often with Satinwood or other exotic wood inlays. Other characteristics of the Hepplewhite style are bow-front and serpentine-fronted chests of drawers and oval, heart-shaped and shield back chairs with straight tapered legs.
Herculaneum - (Furniture) According to Sheraton, an upholstered chair in the extreme classical taste. (Pottery) . Earthenware and stoneware, and some unpretentious porcelain, produced at the Herculaneum Pottery, Liverpool, from the 1790's to 1840. Some figures were made but earthenware and stoneware jugs are more typical. The name HEEVM, often wreathed round a crown, is the usual mark.
Herder, L. & Son Knife Makers - (Weapons) Mark - In Script - L. Herder & Son, 606 Arch Street - L. Herder & Son Knife Makers was located in Philadelphia, Penn and they were one of the makers of the Bowie Knife. They were in business in the early 1800s. No other information is available at this time.
Hereke Rugs - (Floor Coverings) Silk with Persian patterns, from Hereke on the Sea of Marmora, many-coloured, metallic-laced, as fine as 600 knots to square inch. Short-cut pile. Often with the name Hereke in Turkish Arabic on outer stripe.
Herringbone Banding - (Furniture, Decoration) Herringbone Banding is a banding of veneer formed of two strips, of which the grain, runs diagonally, in an acute angle opposite of each other which produces a herring bone or 'feather' effect.
Highboy - (Furniture) Term of comparatively recent origin applied to a chest of drawers resting on a stand or frame.
Hilderson, John - (Clocks, England) Clock-maker active in London in the 1660's and 70's. Very few of his clocks have survived but their quality is high.
Hip-hugger Braces - (Furniture) A type of brace used on 19th Century bentwood chairs that connect the back of the chair to the plank seat to make them sturdy. They are on the outside edge of the seat by a persons hips.
Hiramakie - (Japanese Lacquer) "Level sprinkled design" Makie in which the design is raised above the surface of the ground only by the thickness of the lacquer with which it was drawn. A thin protective coat of lacquer is usually applied over the sprinkled design, after it haredens, the design is polished.
Hirameji - (Japanese Lacquer) Flat flake ground. Ground in which relatively flat and thick flakes of metal, usually gold, are sprinkled in wet lacquer, then covered with layers of lacquer and polished until they are exposed flush with the surrounding lacquer.
Hispano-Moresque Ware - (Ceramics, Pottery, Spain) Spanish pottery decorated with metallic lustre pigments; the process introduced by the Moors, though it is said to have originated in Persia. Dates from the fourteenth century but most surviving early pieces are not earlier than the fifteenth century.
Hobstar - (Glass, Cut) The Hobstar is probably the most frequently seen design element in cut glass. The "hob" is the raised portion in the center of the star-shaped motif. This center can be left uncut, but is more often seen with a smaller star cut into the hob. The center "hob" is usually raised above the surrounding star pattern. Often in newer cut glass (after about 1950), the hob is quite flat, or the cut design on the hob is not polished, leaving it very grey or whitish in color.
Hochst - (Ceramics, Porcelain, Germany) A porcelain factory founded at Hochst-am-Main, Germany, under the auspices of the Elector of Mainz, about 1750 and continuing in production until 1798. The mark is a wheel. Faience of good quality was made at Hochst during the period 1746-58. Again the mark is a wheel.
Holdship, Richard and Josiah - (Ceramics, Porcelain, England) Part-owners of the Worcester porcelain factory from 1751. Richard Holdship sold his share in 1759 and later offered to sell information regarding the Worcester formula to Duesbury of Derby. Josiah Holdship was perhaps the most important figure in the Worcester partnership until 1762, when Dr Wall took control.
Holland, Henry - (Furniture Designer) Architect and designer active 1780-1800 whose work in the classical and the French Directoire styles had a strong influence on his contemporaries. His interiors at Woburn and Southill are notable.
Hollins, Samuel - (Ceramics, Pottery, England) Potter of Shelton, Staffordshire, who produced red and chocolate unglazed ware, also jasper ware, decorated in relief, which is often mistaken for original Elers ware. Hollins was one of the partnership that founded the New Hall porcelain factory.
Hollow Stemmed Drinking Glasses - (Glass) Two brief vogues, in the mid Georgian and mid-nineteenth century the hollow stem is where the sediment was supposed to go, but they are difficult to clean.
Hollow Ware - (Silver) Large pots, tankards, flagons, measures.
Holly - (Wood) A white wood, hard and close-grained, used in marquetry and inlay.
Hood - (Clocks) The upper part of a clock case, especially the removable top section of a long-case clock.
Hoof-foot - (Furniture) One of the oldest decorative terminals for furniture legs. In England its use dates from the end of the seventeenth century.
Hoop-back - (Furniture) Chair back in which the uprights merge into the top rail to form a hoop. The Windsor chair is often a hoop-back.
Hoosier Manufacturing Company - (Furniture, Kitchenware) The Hoosier Manufacturing Company was founded in 1899 in Albany, Indiana. A year later, the factory burned and they moved to New Castle, Indiana. At the height of their production years, the Hoosier Co. was making nearly 700 cabinets a day. A Hoosier Cabinet was an extremely versatile piece of kitchen as handy as the center island is today. It came with lots of extra handy gadgets that made cooking easier for the woman of the house. They usually had upper cabinets, and behind a central tambour door, there was a metal dispensing flour bin, spinning spice set, etc., an enameled metal preparation surface, and below would be more cabinets and drawers usually with metal sides to keep out pests. Although most of these Indiana built, cabinets are called 'Hoosier Cabinets,' there were many makers of kitchen cabinets including Sellers, McDougall, Boone, Wilson, Napanee, Kitchen Maid, Diamond, Landau, and Hopper. Another interesting thing about the Hoosier Company is that it led farm families to the “time pay” method of payment; farmers would pay a dollar a week for their cabinets. At the height of the kitchen cabinet making years, there were more than 30 companies making 'Hoosier-style' kitchen cabinets.
Hope, Thomas - (Furniture, Designer, England) (1769-1831) Author and connoisseur who in 1807 published his Household Furniture and Interior Decoration which illustrated the furniture of his Deepdene, Surrey, home. Hope was a designer of considerable talent but his furniture is rather too classical and architectural for most.
Horse Brasses - (Metal) Ornamental brasses used on horse harness; they can be quite valuable if old and genuine, but have sometimes been manufactured lately for use without horses. A few terms: Face piece, amulet worn as a charm against evil either on strap between eyes or on martingale; Bells, first hung on harness to warn others to fulfill same function as modern motor-horn), they were attached to a swinger which was screwed into a bridle atop the head, with decoration above, often of horse-hair plume or colored brush; Brass Rosette, often in the shape of a cone, worn at end of the brow-band, under the ears, plain or with bells or ribbons suspended; Martingale, a strap that extends from belly-band to bridle and particularly decorative, with face-pieces, in the case of cart-horse harness.
Horsehair - (Furniture) The use of horsehair (usually mixed with wool) in upholstery dates from the early years of the seventeenth century. Woven hair from the tails and manes of horses, with a cotton or linen warp, was used as a chair covering towards the end of the eighteenth century.
Horseshoe Back - (Furniture) Windsor chairs with this shape of back are sometimes called Horseshoe Back.
Horse-Hoof Foot - (Furniture) Termination for a square leg. The foot undulates inward from the two inside faces of the leg, bulging abruptly at a point a few inches above the floor and tapering back to the original width at the bottom. Used extensively on Chinese Furniture.
H-Stretcher - (Furniture) H-Stretchers are stretchers that join the two front legs and the two back legs of a chair in the form of an H.
H.T. Cushman Mfg. Co. Bennington VT - (Furniture, Manufacturer) The H.T. Cushman Company was founded by Henry T. Cushman in Bennington Vermont in 1864. Henry Cushman was an inventor of items that we now take for granted. He invented several, now common, "novelties”. These included such items as an eraser attached to the end of a lead pencil, the first ink eraser (called the ink eradicator), a children's "pencil box" with pencils, pen, eraser and ruler in one box, and some of the earliest roller skates, made entirely of wood (including a pocket version that fit in a small tube). To better market his novelties, Cushman established the United States Mail Supply Company. One of the first of its kind the country, this mail order business became very profitable. In 1889 he moved to a larger location an started manufacturing furniture. . His first products took the form of coat and hat hangers and racks. A sales representative for the company came up with the idea for a towel and sponge holder for the bathroom, later to be called the "Ladies' Friend”. With the success of these simple forms, Cushman soon added umbrella stands, portrait easels, music stands, wall pockets, book racks, foot rests, small catch-alls called "Jolly Catchers," and indoor grille work. Never one to fall behind the times, Cushman added folding screens and fire screens to his inventory. These screens soon became one of his biggest sellers at the end of the 19th century. The most popular screen depicted a mother cat and two kittens in front of a fireplace. For added realism, the cats were made of black rabbit fur. At the turn of the century, Cushman started to phase out their earlier forms of furniture and focus on the newly popular Mission style. The soft woods used previously were replaced by more expensive hardwoods such as mahogany and oak. Though they mainly produced common forms, Cushman still had a knack for innovation. By the teens, the telephone started to become a common household device. Cushman jumped on this new technology and developed a line of stands specifically meant for using the telephone. Called the "Betumal," short for "beat 'um all," this stand had a hinged stool that folded under the table when not in use. Other more advanced features, such as a built-in directory, could be had for an extra cost. At the same time, the company also introduced a line of chairs called "Shynezy" that provided a space under the seat for shoe shining supplies. In the fall of 1913, the company produced a small line of stands for smoking accessories. Called "Smokers”, these stands soon became very popular and included everything from cigar scissors and humidors, to detachable ashtrays on stands. In the spring of 1933 the Cushman Company jumped on the bandwagon and introduced its "Colonial Creations" line. Designed by Herman DeVries, a Dutch designer, the "Colonial Creations" line bridged the gap between antiques/reproductions and modern furniture. Every piece was designed to fit in the modern home and serve modern functions, using antique forms as their basis. Not only did DeVries look to antique furniture for inspiration, he also looked at items such as a blacksmith's nail box and a cobbler's bench. In 1936 Cushman introduced a companion line called "Modern Creations" to show off DeVries' considerable talent for new forms. By the 1950s, the company had standardized production of all their various forms. Cushman now used yellow birch from Canada and New York for all of its furniture. This wood's color made it ideal for staining, and the grain could pass as maple, cherry, and walnut. The wood itself is tougher than maple, heavier than mahogany, more shock-resistant than walnut, and of greater bending strength than oak. Patrons could customize their order through a variety of wood stains, colors, and surface treatments. Since the inception of the line, customers could order their furniture "distressed" so that it had an antique feel. As the 1950s came to a close, consumers were looking for something other than colonial revival. For years, Cushman rode the success of its "Colonial Creations" line. Now it was forced to create new designs and upgrade the aging factory. The introduction of their "Fairfield" line brought a bit of success, but the company still needed a cash infusion to modernize their production. In 1964 the Cushman Company was bought by General Interiors Corporation.
Hutch - (Furniture) A term that has been used to indicate quite different articles-a bin or kneading-trough, a dole cupboard, a chest, sometimes on legs and sometimes without them and sometimes with canted lid.
Hygrometer – (Scientific Instrument) measuring instrument for measuring the relative humidity of the atmosphere.