Old fashioned water cooler

Old fashioned water cooler
File this one under ‘You learn something IS new everyday.’ Astute reader Jessica Ragon alerted us to the true past behind an unusual stoneware water cooler featured in the March 17 issue. It turns out the piece was sold in the 1980s.
Thank you, Jessica. – Eric

Dear Mr. Bradley,

I am writing you about the white stoneware water cooler that was featured in the March 17, 2010 edition of Antique Trader.

I wanted to inform you that I am familiar with that same cooler because my mother also had one. Sorry to say that this cooler is not from the 1920s or 1930s, but rather the 1980s. My mother purchased the same cooler from a catalog in the mid-1980s.

The original spout was plastic and we actually got rid of our cooler a few years ago because of the missing piece of stoneware on the featured cooler; my father broke on ours and we could not find a replacement. So maybe this is our cooler, but I highly doubt that. Just wanted to give the correct information to R.R. Thank you for your time!

Jessica Ragon
via e-mail

Q I purchased this water cooler about 5 years ago at a yard sale. I have checked the Web and I have not been able to find any information on the cooler. The stand is made of metal. The cooler and cover, the tray the cooler sits on and the bowl on the bottom are all made of pottery. There is a piece missing that catches the drips from the spout. The spout is made of plastic. I am looking for any information on this cooler and if it has any value. If any of your readers know where I may purchase the missing piece I would be very grateful. If someone has a picture of the missing piece I would be interested in seeing what exactly I am looking for.
 — R.R., North Berwick, Maine

I bet your heart started to race when you first spotted this nice water cooler and matching stand at a yard sale. We couldn’t find any references to a maker of Cascade stoneware. But from the picture it looks as though it is white stoneware dating to the 1920s or ‘30s. The plastic spigot is not original and the small crock below looks like a commonly produced butter crock that was added simply for decoration. The logo was likely applied with a stencil. A price of 0 to 0 wouldn’t be unusual for a piece of stoneware of this size and with its original metal stand.

Attention readers: If any of you can help R.R., please send along hints and tips to me at or to the address below and I’ll pass them along.

I was going through my Mom’s things and found a magazine “The Designer” from October 1908. This magazine is 102 years old! The cost per magazine was 10 cents or 50 cents for the year! It includes ads for Ivory Soap, Pillsbury, Colgate Dental Cream and Van Camps baked beans. An article includes women who go to college should basically learn to watch their tongues — properly of course. There are many articles about fashion — many about hair design too. Funny thing about this magazine is that it starts at page number 513. The last page is numbered 580. I wonder if the first magazine of the year started with page 1? Anyway, would you know if this magazine has value? It was certainly fun looking through. I got laid off so I am rummaging through some things looking to sell them to supplement my UE benefits. Obama’s extra per week isn’t cutting it.
 — Dotti, via e-mail

A It’s fun to look through old magazines like this one. They are a great source if you’re interested in how your antiques or collectibles served their previous owners. The magazine was published for about 25 years. Your copy of “The Designer” was produced to introduce new fashions. Covers usually featured a stunning image or drawing of the latest fashion beauty. Your issue of “The Designer” magazine is very common and is worth about to based on the condition your copy.

    When it comes to vintage or antique periodicals, condition is king. This point cannot be overemphasized. Your issue could be worth as much as 0-0 if it has a cover featuring the art of a desirable artist such as Alphonse Mucha.

Q Hope you can help me identify this piece. I’ve got amateur, well-meaning friends telling me it is an expensive antique and need to, either, shut them up or thank them for alerting me. I live in an isolated area and there are no appraisers in the area. Thanks for any help you can give me.
 — M.S., via e-mail

A Ann Landers once wrote: “Know when to tune out. If you listen to too much advice you may wind up making other people’s mistakes.” Never is this more true than in antiques. Everyone’s perception of “rare” is limited to their experience of seeing thousands of antiques over and over again. As such, your games table is more useful than rare. The lovely dovetailed drawer is a mark of quality craftsmanship, but it was made in a factory as evidenced by the routered edges, carved pulls and turned legs. Without more information it’s hard to place a maker since the style is copied. Your table is worth between 0 and 0 and is from the mid 20th century; however, it could benefit from a bit of work to deal with the scratches. Try a finish restorer or a wax to recondition the wood.

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You can send your questions to “Ask Antique Trader” either by e-mail with attached digital images (preferred) or by regular mail with color prints (photos cannot be returned). In either case, be as detailed as possible regarding condition, dimensions and markings. As always, we’ll select the best examples to feature in our pages.

We love hearing from readers, so let us know what you like about Antique Trader and how we can improve the magazine. We cannot provide valuations of antiques and collectibles over the phone.

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