TRIB TOTAL MEDIA SATURDAY, MARCH 24, 2018 · 5
Collectible chrome decorative and functional
Chrome was a trendy category from the
1930s to ’40s. It was first made by the Chase
Brass and Copper Company in Waterbury,
The name “Chase” became practically
synonymous with chrome. As a new and
different material, it attracted top-name
designers. It also appealed to young newlyweds
who couldn’t afford sterling silver.
Most pieces sold for $1 to $3 and were created
by such designers as Russel Wright and
Norman Bel Geddes.
Fast forward to the prices today that can
range in the thousands of dollars. Bel Geddes
designed the famous “Manhattan Serving
Set” in the shape of a skyscraper. One of
his cocktail shakers with eight cups and a
tray has sold at auction for several thousand
dollars. The original price was $16.50.
By 1935, there were many makers of
chrome items from bar carts to bookends.
Today’s collectors pay top dollar for whimsical
shapes of cocktail shakers. Among them
a “dumb-bell”, rooster and airplane.
The airplane, by an anonymous maker,
has sold for more than $ 4,000. However,
not every chrome piece is costly. Since there
is still much around, beginning collectors
can build a modest collection or just simply
buy them as decorative or useful objects.
CLUES: Research and get acquainted with
the names of the top designers, the types
of pieces they designed and the firms they
worked for. Search the items for sale on the
Internet to get an idea of prices.
Other ways to judge a piece would be
the quality of the design. Does it have the
stylized look of the 1920s or ’30s? Is it
considered a rarity? A good example would
be anything designed by Rockwell Kent for
Chase. He only designed three items, each
with a young Bacchus motif. All Chase products
are stamped “Chase” with their centaur
Condition is all important since there are
so many pieces still around. If the piece has
plastic trim and handles, be sure there are
no chips and cracks. If there are glass liners,
they should be in mint condition.
There are reproductions of several pieces,
so be diligent. A piece doesn’t have to be
made by Chase to be a collectible.
Other firms hired name designers. Examples
are pieces marked Foreman Brothers,
Farber Brothers, Manning Bowman or
Revere Copper and Brass Company.
Some expensive chrome pieces also were
made in France, England and elsewhere.
With the start of WWII, when most metals
were needed, chrome was replaced by
Do you have an antique item and need more
information? For a personal reply, send a photo,
along with history, size and any signatures with
a self-addressed, stamped envelope and $25 to
Anne Gilbert, 1811 Renaissance Commons Blvd.,
#2319, Boynton Beach, FL, 33426.
A pair of chrome, art deco bookends, c. 1935
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