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Antique or Junque: Chests Gave Young Women Hope

Anne Mccollam on

Q: I have enclosed a photo of a red cedar hope chest that belonged to my paternal grandmother. She was born in 1893 and died in 1977. She lived most of her life in Osceola, Nebraska. On the bottom of the chest, there is a seal with the words "Roos Mfg., Co. 967 W. 20th St. Chicago." There are copper brackets on the lid, and the overall condition is excellent.

Any information you can provide about this hope chest and its value will be appreciated.

A: Your hope chest was made by Roos Manufacturing Co., which was founded by Edward Roos in Chicago in 1871. He was born in Germany in 1848 and migrated through Sweden to the United States. Hope chests have a rich tradition that can be traced back to a time when families arranged marriages and exchanged properties. Many young women had hope chests in anticipation of a future marriage. They collected bed linens, clothing, towels, needlework and quilts. In the Midwest, they were called hope chests; glory boxes in Australia; and trousseau chests in Europe.

The early chests were hand made by craftsmen. By the late 1800s and early 1900s, they were made in factories. Roos Manufacturing Co. and Lane Manufacturing Co. were two of the more successful. Many chests automatically locked when the lids were closed and were potentially hazardous. A child could climb in, close the lid and be unable to open it. Manufacturers quickly changed the self-locking lids. Most chests were constructed of cedar. The oils in the wood and the cedar scent repelled pests. Demand for hope chests waned in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Your hope chest was made in the early 1900s and might be worth $125 to $225.

Q: This mark is on the bottom of a blue teapot that I have. I found it among my mother's things after she passed away, and I'm not sure where she got it or how long she had it. It is approximately 4 inches tall and has a rose-shaped handle on the lid. I don't remember her using it, and it is in amazing condition -- no chips, stains or cracking.

What can you tell me about the vintage, maker and value?


Q: Taylor, Smith & Taylor Co. made your Lu-Ray teapot in the mid-20th Century. They made semiporcelain in East Liverpool, Ohio, from 1899 to around 1972. Lu-Ray was one of their successful lines of dinnerware. They made complete dinnerware sets that were available in pastel colors that included Windsor Blue, Persian Cream, Surf Green, Chatham Gray and Sharon Pink.

Your Windsor Blue teapot would probably fetch $50 to $75 in an antiques shop.


Address your questions to Anne McCollam, P. O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Items of a general interest will be answered in this column. Due to the volume of inquiries, she cannot answer individual letters. To find out more about Anne McCollam and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com


Copyright 2020 Creators Syndicate, Inc.


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