Be careful when buying an antique bed. The size may fool you.
It was not until the 1920s that the sizes were standardized by manufacturers, so early beds often require special mattresses and sheets. Take the measurement from the inside of the bed, side to side between the rails and head to foot. If the footboard or headboard is curved, as it sometimes was in Victorian times, you may need a custom-made mattress.
Standard beds today are: single (39 inches by 74 inches), three-quarter (48 inches by 74 inches), double (54 inches by 74 inches), queen (60 inches wide or larger), and king (78 inches wide, which is the size of two singles). An old bed can sometimes use a standard box spring and mattress, but today it is also possible to get a special polyurethane foam mattress cut to fit. But don't forget the problem of today's fitted bottom sheets. Special mattresses may require a 4-inch-deep "pocket," and these special sheets are hard to find.
Cruets are reproductions
Q: I have a set of four cobalt-blue glass cruets. I received them several years ago as two separate gift sets. All four cruets have the same etched leaf-and-flower design. Recently I found a silver castor that holds all four cruets. The castor is marked "Meriden B. Company" in a circle. The design on the platform of the castor is very similar to the design on the cruets. Have I accidentally assembled an original set?
A: Your castor is pictured in the Meriden Britannia Silver-Plate Treasury catalog of 1886-87. It was one of several silver-plate castor sets available from the company. The mark you describe was used until the 1930s, although the Meriden Britannia Co. be came part of the International Silver Co. in 1898. Your glass cruets, on the other hand, are 1970s reproductions. We found them pictured in a wholesale catalog, where they were offered in blue or ruby.
Details on a creamer
Q: My large, silver-plated cream pitcher has a tulip design around the rim. The handle is worn. The marks on the bottom include "Homan Mfg. Co." and "O.M." Can you tell me anything about the maker?
A: Homan & Co. was founded in 1847 in Cincinnati. The company's name changed to Homan Manufacturing Co. about 1904, so your silver-plate creamer was made after that date. The company made tea sets, beakers, chargers and swivel lamps for the Ohio-Mississippi riverboats. The "O.M." mark on your creamer may stand for Ohio-Mississippi.