Ever wonder how furniture designers get their ideas? Often they are inspired by furniture from past centuries.
One popular furniture technique is a type of wood turning that first appeared in England and France in the 1600s. Furniture with spiral-turned legs or trim was known as "barley twist" or "barley sugar," probably because it resembled sticks of barley sugar used at the time.
The twist was difficult to make of oak because that wood is brittle. It often was made of walnut or beech.
At first it was cut by hand, then after 1660 with the help of a lathe.
The twisted leg went out of style in the second half of the 18th century, when curved legs came into fashion. The 19th-century chair or table started with a straight leg, but by the 1850s some designers again used the twist.
Rococo revival designs were a blend of old designs for turnings, inlays and carvings, blended to make a new look.
New tools made it possible to create such legs of mahogany or rosewood and other woods too hard to have been used in earlier years.
I've saved an empty pack of cigarettes my father had. It has a picture of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower on it and the phrase "I Like Ike." Is it rare?
The Tobacco Blending Corp. of Louisville, Ky., made packs of cigarettes with the faces of presidential candidates Dwight D. Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson. Some have just the men's portraits. Others have "I Like Ike" or "Stevenson for President."
A company spokesman said the Eisenhower cigarettes outsold the Stevenson brand.
The small tobacco company changed its name to World Tabac in and went out of business in 1993.
I have a 30-year-old bar of English complexion soap by Helena Rubinstein in its original box. The bar of soap is still fragrant. I've been considering using it, but wonder if it might have value.
Your Helena Rubinstein soap in its original box has value to collectors of cosmetics. The value is not great, however, so if you like the way it smells, use it. Save the box for its decorative value.
I inherited an 8-inch-high vase from my Russian-born grandmother. The glass is dark green at the top and lighter at the bottom. It has a gold overlay design of grapevines. Someone told me it is Moser glass. What can you tell me about it?
Ludwig Moser started his glassmaking shop in 1857 in Carlsbad, Austria. He made glassware for royal families around the world.
Intricate gold overlay, detailed hand-painting and variation in the colors of the glass are all Moser hallmarks.
Moser died in 1916. His sons continued his work, and the factory is still producing glassware. Your vase might be just a Moser type, and not done by the famous glassmaker. If it is of high quality, it could be worth $350.
I've had a toy metal dump truck since I was a child in the 1930s. It was made by the Dayton Friction Works. What can you tell me about it?
D. P. Clark started making wood and metal toys in Dayton, Ohio, in 1898. His company, Dayton Friction Works, was one of the first to use a friction motor, whereby a toy is activated by moving the toy against a surface and releasing it.
L Prewar metal toys in good condition sell for $200 to $1,000.
I have a brass lamp that has inkwells attached to the base. It has a green glass shade that is white glass on the inside. The lamp is marked "Ambrolite." Do you know how old it is?
Ambrolite was an American company that used cased glass shades made in Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. The imported shades were better and less expensive than the ones made in the United States.
The style of lamp you describe was popular in the 1920s.
I have a clear glass Planter's Peanuts jar with the name diagonally on the side. The raised lettering on the bottom says, "1940 Leap Year Jar."
If your 57-year-old Planter's jar still has the tin lid picturing Mr. Peanut and is in good condition, it would sell for $60 to $90.
Tip: When vacuuming an Oriental rug, don't push the sweeper too close to the fringe. Leave about 6 inches. The vacuum might catch a thread and pull it.
The Kovels welcome letters and answer as many as possible through the column. Write to Kovels, The Sun, King Features Syndicate Inc., 235 E. 45th St., New York, N.Y. 10017.
Pub Date: 2/16/97