Research Revisited-Harvey Probber piece

Bent Mahogany Base is held by a brass stretcher rod.  Probber did have some famous dining chairs that also utilize the brass rod and curved slats but we all know there are tons of knock offs or just plain likeness designs out there, I just really wanted to see this in print.   

Bent Mahogany Base is held by a brass stretcher rod.  Probber did have some famous dining chairs that also utilize the brass rod and curved slats but we all know there are tons of knock offs or just plain likeness designs out there, I just really wanted to see this in print.   

Earlier this year I won a beautiful little side table with a bent wood slatted x base.  Not many turned up but the piece along with a similar magazine rack seem to get attributed to Harvey Probber.  If you know me at all, you know I never believe others when they say ‘attributed to’ and prefer to do my own research. Over the summer I was able to review a Probber catalog at the Philadelphia Athenaeum Museum, which is basically an architectural museum and library.  The small catalog was more of a brochure and did not contain the table.  I did, however, discuss what I was looking for with the librarian who recommended I check both Winterthur and Hagley in Wilmington, DE.  Both of these museums are in the realm of the DuPont family and document industrial history.  I checked Hagley’s holdings and they had 2 Probber items I could review.  Unlike most places I visit, they were able to pull them while I waited.  

***RESEARCH TIP***  Most larger libraries have off site storage and it is very important you make an appointment in advance to review something specific in the collection.  

I am not an experienced Probber dealer so I could not determine much by the construction alone.  It was obvious there was veneer used. The design was impressive and the use of the brass piece was definitely not your average look but I needed to learn more. Check out the catalogs are always a help.  Sadly, there are really no resources online for Probber and his works that I found.     I must say, after making the trip to Wilmington, I so enjoyed the perusal.  So first I looked at The Kill Collection.  It was a thin catalog that just featured pieces from this collection.  Everything in this collection is metal.  It is really lovely but not was I was looking for.  The Librarian returned with the other catalog.  This always makes me take a deep breath as I wonder if I will find my answer or go home with more questions after exhausting the 3 catalogs that are housed within 2 hours of me.  When I took a look at the tabbed hard cover bound book, I was optimistic. Where to start?  I turned to the Occassional section first. There were some side tables in the area but I did not find my table.  My heart began to sink again.  By this point, my goal was to get as much info out of this book as possible.  There were wood chip samples of the finishes offered. I also realized that Probber sold directly to the trade. That means in order to buy his furniture, you needed to be working with an interior designer or architect.  That cuts out a lot of middle America and also reminds me that these designer high end pieces will not be found easily.  

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I flipped to the beginning and started to find small pieces again so my optimism returned.  And finally, I found what I was looking for.  I high fived the kids, who had reluctantly accompanied me on this trip, and sat for a bit taking it all in.   

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Finish options. So cool that the sample chips were included! 

Finish options. So cool that the sample chips were included! 

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There were also plastic laminate chips of which only a white one was still intact.  I believe my top to be plastic laminate.  This particular piece and the magazine rack were not listed in the price list. Bummer.  This book was a 1957 publication, by the way.  

So excited I was able to authenticate this piece! I hope I get to visit the Probber catalog again in the future! His designs were fabulous and I would call him more transitional than mcm purist.  Unlike many of the lower end pieces, these are less kitschy and fun and all grace and elegance.  

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Prior to my stop at Hagley, I visited a fabric outlet in Newark.  It was worth the stop even though most fabrics were $20 or so a yard.  I picked up 5 yards and feel like I know where I am going with that Knoll Antimott Chair now.  I often hate to commit to fabrics and colors without a buyer but intelligent me knows most people don’t have enough imagination to choose.  I wanted something colorful with a bold print.  I have 3 yards of this (yellow/blue) I want to make the cushions out of.  I also got 2 yards of another navy/turquoise/royal geometric weave.  Both fabrics are indoor/outdoor and treated for fade resistance and sun protection but feel like a standard upholstery fabric. I think they will both do great in dining chair and high use applications.  Stay tuned!  If you are interested in purchasing the Knoll Antimott chair, there is still time to dictate the details.  Reach out!  I am half way through my income tax class and still very busy.  Working on adding new listings in between homework.  Please keep your eyes to my shops so you don’t miss anything!

LOCAL?  RENTALS FOR PHOTO SHOOTS!  looking for the perfect accessory for photographing the kids? If I have a piece you’d love to borrow for a day or a few hours, let’s chat!  I know I have some friends in photography and I would love to work out some rentals for your holiday shoots!  

NEW ARRIVALS!

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Awesome petite church pew bench. Only 53”! Pinterest this and see how hot they area! In a dining nook, foyer or hall, mud room and so much more!  Can work with primitive, eclectic and farmhouse looks too.  This pew came out of a church in South Jersey years ago.  The family is relocating to the west coast and leaving some things behind.  Painted, chippy finish, antiqued.   

Smalls include 2 huge glass pharmaceutical bottles, a neat pair of wood owl salt and pepper (grinder) made in India and a real clean scale.  Listings will be up soon.  Another treat for me.....that great wrap! 💕👌

Smalls include 2 huge glass pharmaceutical bottles, a neat pair of wood owl salt and pepper (grinder) made in India and a real clean scale.  Listings will be up soon.  Another treat for me.....that great wrap! 💕👌

Please note if you are searching for large furniture items in time for the holidays, I suggest you commit now.  Greyhound can take up to 2 months and this year has been on the longer side.  White glove shipping as well can take that long.  My uship guys are a little quicker but it really hinders on where they are in the schedule when we book them.  Pick up can be a week or two out.  I take care of all the booking and logistics for you so no worries! Let me assist you in creating a cozy home for the holidays! XO MALISSA

‘Working Girls’ Book Release and Lecture in Reading, PA; where it all began.

I want to share something fun I did a few weeks back. I bought a newspaper mainly because I wanted to comb the want ads for job listings.  There was a super article in the weekend supplement regarding a new book written about some 1890’s photos of brothel women discovered by a gentleman at a sale out west that he spent over a decade researching. He linked them to Reading PA as there were 2 shots of women reading the same paper I had bought!  Beings he had published prior books and had the means in which to get this story out, he was able to document these wonderful images he bought and pieced together some of the history.  My interest was piqued and the article announced his local book signing and lecture, the next day!  I asked my mother to accompany me and no surpise, she did not seem as interested in the story as I. Not really wanting to go alone, I resorted to asking my husband. Although he was not thrilled, he agreed.

The event was held at the Berks County History Center in Reading.  I never knew it existed! My husband had been there to fix their phone lines for work and was familiar with it.  We arrived in time to enjoy some snacks and walk around the museum which was excellent! If you are local, it is a great retrospect of the history in Berks with homestead, wartime and industry artifacts.  It was surprisingly large and had many carriages and other fun things to check out plus many audio exhibits telling stories. 

The author, Robert Flynn Johnson, arrived and the lecture started.  He explained how he came about recreating the story of the brothel, it’s owner and patrons....many of which are anonymous, just by researching what clues were available in the shots. The photographer was also revealed and was a known portrait photographer in the area. Amazing to spy on his personal work that he most likely never intended on sharing with the world.  He even appeared in a nude himself, a subject of his own work.  

We enjoyed the evening and I placed an order for the book as all copies available that night were already sold.  He did share many photos with us during the lecture but I really wanted to see more! My book was available to pick up today and I went back to the museum and am now starting to ingest it.  It was signed by the author since I ordered it during the event.  He traveled to NYC after the lecture to present at a exhibit opening and official release of the book there and signed copies for all who ordered and shipped back to Reading for us.  I am looking forward to reading the essays he included from notable experts on fashion and the trade during that era, which really round out the history.  

My copy, signed by the author. 

My copy, signed by the author. 

I really love that there are people in this world that think like I do.  They put the time in to search for the answers of what they find or as I like to say.....what found me. it is so easy for history to be lost and whether it is a manufacturer, person or product, preserving these stories for future generations is imperative. 

If you are interested in checking out the book,  https://www.amazon.com/Working-Girls-Robert-Flynn-Johnson/dp/1943876584

 

Just a taste of the pics. There are nudes. The women are mainly just posing or doing things like brushing their hair or other grooming tasks. It is just lovely and so well photographed. Notice the flokati style rug on the floor! It is in many shots!

Just a taste of the pics. There are nudes. The women are mainly just posing or doing things like brushing their hair or other grooming tasks. It is just lovely and so well photographed. Notice the flokati style rug on the floor! It is in many shots!

Reading Eagle article on the book which sparked my interest:  http://www.readingeagle.com/news/article/secret-photos-of-1892-reading-brothel-published

Reading Eagle article on the event we attended:

http://www.readingeagle.com/news/article/brothel-book-signing-draws-a-crowd-to-berks-history-center

Exhibition of photographs can be viewed through Oct 13th in NYC HERE:

https://www.riccomaresca.com/

 

QUICK UPDATE!!!! ThIs weekend is Extravaganza.  I am offering 20% off a single item and 30% off multiple items at my space in the Fleetwood Antique Mall. My current selection is some amazing kitschy accessories and even a ready to use day bed at prices so low even a dealer can resell them.  Come on out to Berks County and Kutztown and save money!  I never find a lot of mid century at the Renningers event so if you leave disappointed, I am only minutes away!  OPEN 10-6 today through SUNDAY!!! 

QUICK UPDATE!!!! ThIs weekend is Extravaganza.  I am offering 20% off a single item and 30% off multiple items at my space in the Fleetwood Antique Mall. My current selection is some amazing kitschy accessories and even a ready to use day bed at prices so low even a dealer can resell them.  Come on out to Berks County and Kutztown and save money!  I never find a lot of mid century at the Renningers event so if you leave disappointed, I am only minutes away!  OPEN 10-6 today through SUNDAY!!! 

Enjoy your week! 👌 

XO Malissa

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