Atlas from 1930s sells for $4,063 at auction

The ancient Greeks figured out Earth was round in about 500 B.C. But the oldest surviving globe showing our planet was made in 1492 by Martin Behaim of Germany. The first globe to show America was made about 1507.

Early globes were made of paper glued to a sphere. The paper was cut into “gores,” the shapes needed to completely cover a sphere. Because the globe surface was curved, the map had a distorted picture of a flat Earth.

Many globes have been made, and many are decorative as well as useful. Each time there is political upheaval and countries change boundaries, the maps and globes must be changed. So, dating most vintage globes is easy.

A Rago auction in New Jersey sold a 12-inch Longwy vase shaped and decorated like a globe last year. It was made by Maurice-Paul Chevallier (1892-1987), director of the French company after 1930. The vase is named Atlas. The countries are not marked on the globe — just the land masses and oceans — so it always will be current. It sold for $4,063.

Q: What can you tell me about the Harvard Co. of Canton? I am looking at a dental cabinet with that label. It has a large swivel shelf and five fan-shaped swing-out shelves that close behind a roll-up door. It is made of oak.

A: The Harvard Co. of Canton made dental furniture, including the first reclining dental chair. The company built a factory in 1896 and soon was making more dental furniture than any other company, most made of oak. It was bought by Weber Dental Manufacturing Co. in 1937, and closed in 1977. The empty building burned in 2011, and the city is trying to make the land a park. The dental cabinets originally were made of oak. They had swing-out trays and drawers, paneled sides and fretwork trim on some tops. Restored cabinets are selling for $500 to several thousand dollars depending on the condition and number of drawers, trays, etc. Almost all have been refinished.

Q: I have some of my mother’s and grandmother’s copper cooking pots that are either all copper or have copper bottoms. I have been told if I want the darkened copper to be shiny and copper-colored again, I can clean them with ketchup. Is that a good idea?

A: Ketchup can be used as an emergency cleaner, but a commercial metal polish probably will do a better, faster job. There is some risk to using unlined copper pans. Bits of the copper may leach into the heated food. “Long term exposure” is listed as a danger to your health, but limited use of unlined copper pans is OK. Lined pans, the tin-lined antiques and the newer copper clad steel pans sold today are safe. But it is not safe to store any food in unlined copper containers.

Q: I found a toy frog playing a bongo drum at a house sale. The body is made of velveteen and felt and is about 8 1/2 inches tall. There are wires in the frog’s legs. The tag on his pants says “Dream Pets, R. Dakin & Co., San Francisco, Calif., Prod. Of Japan, All New Material, Wood Byproducts.” How old is it, and what is it worth?

A: R. Dakin was an import company founded by Richard Dakin and his son, Roger, in 1955. Dakin got the first Dream Pets when they were used as packing material in a shipment of toy trains imported from Japan in 1957. Dakin quickly ordered more of the little animals. Originally, there were 24 different animals, but eventually over 2,000 different Dream Pets were made. The toys came with a hang tag that included the name of the pet, its birth year and other information. They were a fad by the 1960s and rarities sold for as much as $100. Your frog was called Calypso Joe. Dakin made Dream Pets until the late 1970s. The company was bought by Applause in 1995. Applause reissued the first 24 Dream Pet animals in 2004. They were stuffed with polyvinyl chloride. Collectors look for the original Dream Pets, which were stuffed with sawdust. Big Lots bought the names “Dream Pets” and “Dakin” in 2011. Most Dream Pets sell online now for about $5.

Q: I’m trying to get info on a model No. 5 Aladdin oil lamp. It’s complete, but I found no information on this model.

A: The name “Aladdin” was trademarked in 1908 by The Mantle Lamp Co. of America. The company originally was founded in Chicago in 1908. The model A lamp, with a Nu-Type side-draft burner, was introduced in 1932. The lamp was made in several styles and colors. The model A originally was made for the U.S. market, and the Model B was made for the United Kingdom. However, it was difficult to put a new wick in the model A burner in the United States and it was soon replaced by the model B burner. The improved version of the model A became the basis for Aladdin burners that still are made. There is a club for collectors, Aladdin Knights of the Mystic Light. The club’s website,, has more information.

Tip: If you hang a picture on two hooks next to each other, the picture will remain level.