For centuries, cooks have tried to find new and better methods of beating eggs. The first eggbeaters were probably just forked sticks.
The first rotary-crank eggbeater, similar to the one used today, was patented in America in 1856. More than 1,000 patents were granted during the next 100 years. Eggbeaters were designed that were pushed, squeezed or run by water power. Rotary beaters were made with beater blades of different shapes. The crank and wheel were tipped or moved to make beating easier. Some eggbeaters fit in special jars or were clamped to a table.
One ingenious design was a beater attached to a wall. The beater blades could be moved down to fit inside a jar, and only one hand was needed to crank the beater and whip the eggs. This strange eggbeater with thin wire blades was made by Keystone Manufacturing. Co. of Philadelphia. Very unusual beaters are very collectible.
Glass racing car
Q: We saved a few things from my grandfather's attic. One is a 5-inch-long clear glass racing car. The four stamped tin wheels are 1 1/4 inches in diameter and have six embossed spokes. There's a tin snap-on closure on the bottom that's embossed "Westmoreland Glass Co., Grapeville, Pa., Net Wt. 1 oz." What was this made to hold, and is the car worth anything today?
A: Your grandfather saved a glass candy container made in the late 1920s. Glass toy candy containers were manufactured by many companies between about 1876 and the Depression. One of the manufacturers was the Westmoreland Glass Co. of Grapeville, Pa. You should be glad your grandfather saved the car. It's worth about $2,000 today because so few have survived.
Buck Rogers map
Q: Can you tell me the value of a Buck Rogers map of the universe? It has colorful cartoon drawings all over it. The paper map, 18 by 25 inches, is thumbtacked to my bedroom wall.
A: Buck Rogers is a science-fiction character created by novelist Phil Nowlan in 1928. The following year, Buck Rogers debuted as an American comic strip. From 1932 to 1947, he was the star of a radio show. The solar system map was an advertising premium offered in 1933 by Cocomalt, one of the show's sponsors. The original map was printed on nonglossy paper. A 1970s reprint was made using glossy paper. An original map in pristine condition is worth up to $1,200. An original with thumbtack holes is still worth $100 or more. A reprint has little value.
Cup and saucer set
Q: For as long as I can remember, my mother has had an unusual porcelain cup and saucer. Both pieces are marked in green with a crown and the words "Coalport A.D. 1750." The cup is 2 1/2 inches tall with straight sides. Its diameter ranges from 1 5/8 inches on the bottom up to 2 3/8 inches across the top. The matching saucer is odd. The recessed area for the cup is nearly an inch deep. Why?
A: Your cup and saucer set is called by its French name, "trembleuse." The saucer was made with a deep well to prevent spills. It is a special form, made to be used comfortably by someone with trembling hands. Your cup is a coffee cup -- one that is taller than it is wide. The mark you describe was used by Coalport China Co. of Shropshire, England, from 1880 to 1890.
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