Q. In a recent article on footscrapers you mentioned a certain scraper called "Shadow the Cat" and how a replica of one was offered from the American Heritage Museum Collection. Could you please give me specific information on how I can obtain one of these scrapers, whom to contact and how much it costs?
A. Oops, I certainly didn't mean to keep you in the dark by omitting the information you needed, so here it is. "Shadow the Cat" is a copy of a cast-iron bootscraper made about 1890. Discovered in New York, the original is in the collection of Joseph and Janet Wolynic. For a sandcast reproduction measuring six inches high by 18 inches long with screw holes in the base for mounting, send $29 plus $1.65 postage to the American Heritage Museum Collection, Dept. 32, Box 1776, Marion, Ohio 43302. The catalog number for the bootscraper is P9022. Shadow also can be obtained as a doorstop mounted on a mahogany block. The black cat footscraper was offered in Needlecraft Magazine as far back as 1928. It's supposed to bring good luck.
Q. I have an old Rayo lamp which is nickel plated over brass. Some of the nickel plating is wearing off and the lamp looks splotchy and unattractive. Where can I have it stripped down to its brass base?
A. Send the lamp to Paul Simmon at A Lamp and Fixture Shop, 2657 North Clark Street, Chicago, to have it stripped, refinished, polished, buffed and lacquered if you wish. This shop carries a huge supply of parts for old lamps-chimneys old and new, shades and wicks. It converts old lamps and lamp fixtures for electricity, repairs and restores antique lamps, matches missing prisms on lamp and chandeliers from a sample you provide, and will turn any object, antique or otherwise, into a clever lamp with a custom-made shade.
Q. I have an antique bank that has a slot to deposit coins in, but no opening to take them out. How does one get the money out of such a bank without destroying it? If you can answer this mystery, then you're a regular Sherlock Holmes.
A. It's elementary, my dear Watson! Simply turn the bank upside down, shake the coins until they rest against the opening of the slot so you can see them, and then slip a toothpick behind each coin and maneuver it out from the slot. This easy and quick method is one you can "bank on" once you get the hang of it.
Q. Where can I find information on Lalique glass pieces and their values?
A. Try "Introduction to Lalique Glass" by Katherine Morrison McClinton. It's available in hardcover for $14.95 plus 75 cents postage from Wallace-Homestead Book Company, 1912 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50305. Another good source would be the Fall 1979 issue of "The Antique Trader Price Guide to Antiques and Collectors' Items," which focuses on Lalique glass and its values. It's $1.50 postpaid from Babka Publishing Company, P. O. Box 1050, Dubuque, Iowa 52001. The price guides are published quarterly and a year's subscription is $6.
Q. Is there an organization for collectors of steins?
A. Write to Stein Collectors International, P.O. Box 16326, St. Paul, Minnesota 55116 and enclose an addressed, stamped envelope for membership information.
Q. I would like to write the curator of the Singer Sewing Machine Museum. Could you print his or her name and address?
A. The curator is Jim Slaten and the address is the Singer Center Museum, 3400 Park Boulevard, Oakland, California 94610. This museum buys old sewing machines of all types and makes, especially if they date from before 1900, and related items. Send a description or photo of your old sewing machine to the museum and enclose an addressed, stamped envelope for reply or offer.