Question: This 31-inch high metal golf stand with mixed red and green finish, removable painted dish and two golf clubs was owned by my husband's uncle who was affiliated with country clubs in Harrisburg and Somers Point. I would appreciate any information you can provide about the item. - N.T., Cape May
Answer: Your combination smoking stand and parlor game, known as the Parlor Putter, is considered one of the most collectible indoor putting devices.
Created by Chicago-based Wellington Stone, a company renowned from the 1920s through the 1930s for its ornate cast brass floor lamps and bridge lamps, the original Parlor Putter debuted in 1920 and was produced until 1925.
Made of cast iron or brass, Parlor Putter smoking stands feature a trefoil-shape shelf that supported three of the game's marked, wooden-shaft putters. Golf balls were displayed on the shelf's trio of shallow wells and two cast balls decorate the stand's center post. A basket-type tray that tops the post held the stand's original glass ashtray.
Occasionally enhanced with factory-applied paint combinations, 1920s Parlor Putters attract folks who collect golf items and parlor games. Most sell for $300 to $900, based on condition and the presence or absence of the set's original putters and glass ashtray. An example in mint condition with original putters and ashtray has sold for $1,665, while asking price for a Parlor Putter featured in the movie, "Tin Cup" is $4,000.
Question: I own a 6 1/2-inch high miniature brass oil lamp with a milk glass chimney. It is marked "Vapo-Cresolene" with an 1899 patent date. The lamp has a fancy bracketed stand, metal wick wheel, pan, burner and is in its original box. What can you tell me about this lamp? - R.G., Asbury Park
Answer: Initially patented in 1881 and made in New York City by the Vapo-Cresolene Co., your small Vapo-Cresolene lamp was the Victorian era's vaporizer. Such decorative, functional lamps, created to heat and release the pungent odor of Cresolene - a dark liquid made from coal tar - were popular inhaling devices used during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Touted to cure respiratory and throat ailments as well as contagious diseases, sharp Cresolene vapors filled a sickroom with an inhalant that loosened phlegm. However, by 1930 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had removed Cresolene from the market, citing the vapors' overall ineffectiveness.
Your piece is a favorite of collectors who search for miniature oil lamps and old pharmaceutical or medical items. Mint Vapo-Cresolene lamps complete with original box recently have sold for $45 to $65 and asking prices for boxed examples with instructions range from $75 to $85.
Alyce Hand Benham is an antiques broker, appraiser and estate-liquidation specialist whose consulting firm, Treasures Unlimited, is based in southern New Jersey. Send questions to: Alyce Benham, Life section, The Press of Atlantic City, 11 Devins Lane, Pleasantville, N.J. 08232. Email: email@example.com
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