Friday Night Family Heirlooms… telling their stories
When “heirlooms” aren’t identified, and their stories never told, they often become items tossed or sold – as they have no history, no ties to the family. So take the time to identify your family heirlooms history and record your memories so the family treasures aren’t tossed in the trash. They are just as valuable as your family photographs and also need to be documented. Sometimes it’s not even the value of the item in question; it’s the story which holds the value.
Mama’s China Tea Set
This china tea set was given to my mother when she was a young girl by her aunt… Aunt Lena McKinley Van Dusen; mama’s favorite aunt!
My mother tells me she wasn’t allowed to play often with it as her mother kept it put away like she did with many things… which frustrated mama because she just wanted to play with it. Grandmama was trying to keep it from being broken, and she did a good job because I now have it.
The only time my mother was allowed to play with it was the few times she was sick, otherwise, it was put away… to save, in Grandmama’s eyes.
As I looked at the fragile china tea set pieces, I noticed one or two had been gently repaired, and I’m sure it was granddaddy who sat at the kitchen table making those caring repairs… and maybe telling mama, “this is why your mother didn’t want you to play with them.“
I couldn’t read the words “Made in Japan” at first, as it seemed to look more like part of the pattern, but the more I looked… it was there! It was shown more prominent on the plate than on the bottom of the teapot; the cups and small saucers had no pattern markings.
The McKinley Tariff Act was passed after 1891 and it was then that most pieces were actually marked with a country’s origin. Japan first used the marking of “Nippon,” which is the Japanese transliteration of the word Japan. It was later in 1921 when the U. S. Customs began to require the country names to be written in English, and it soon read “Made in Japan.” Later the name changed once again between February 1947 – April 1952, and it then read “Made in Occupied Japan“. Later after 1952, it was changed once again, and now just the word “Japan” was used.
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© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved
Interesting. Of course, I knew about the McKinley Tariff Act but never put it together with items being marked with origin of manufacture.
That is a pretty tea set and you can bet that Helen would have broken it sooner or later, if she’d been allowed to play with it on a regular basis. We never understand the reasonings of our parents, do we. Helen was probably thinking how mean Aunt Ola was for not letting her play with her gift. Now she understands, as do you.
If you hadn’t mentioned that Uncle Edgar did a repair job on a piece of it, I’d never known. Still can’t see it. Nice job.
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An after thought, maybe I broke them! LOL. But I think I’ll just let mama take the blame!
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