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The Forgery of Antiques
How European Dealers Take Advantage of the Collector
By GUSTAVUS MURRAY
HE CRAZE for collecting anything old has swept Europe clean of antiques. The moment the American tourist makes an inquiry for antiques, the modern Italian looks upon him as a bird to be picked. He knows there are no antiques left. He remembers his father selling at a good price their carved chest, brassware, a madonna, and even the household pot
BOWL WITH COVER. Imitation of Imari Porcelain.
formed me that the greater part of his output was shipped to an agent in New York, who judiciously distributed it to dealers all over America." So clever is this mode of giving age, that the combination of acids applied is absorbed by the marble and turns it yellow right through, so that even experts can be deceived by those ingenious imitations of Michael Angelo, Donatello, and other celebrated sculptors.
At Athens there is a factory busy all the year round turning out by the score "ancient" Tanagra terra-cottas. One of these imitations will be sold for fifteen hundred dollars when fifteen dollars is every penny it is worth.
When old silver became the fashionable craze, the little stores on the Ponte Veccheio contained many genuine chalices, goblets, sugar basins, and the like
a genuine piece-say a fine old gobletand produce exact copies. By a chemical process they give them an appearance of age that would deceive the eyes of an expert. For years there has been an increasing demand by demand by collectors for mediæval armor and arms. In a back street of a prosperous Italian city is the workshop of a man who is a genius at manufacturing every conceivable kind of armor, from breastplates to gauntlets, from halberds to swords and daggers, all stamped with the monograms of some famous Spanish or Italian armorer.
The steel is treated with acids; the bronze hilts of swords are dipped in some kind of solution to give the appearance of age and use; then the pieces are placed in boxes of damp earth to induce rust; and in a week or two they are ready to be sold to the dealers at so much a dozen.
the false from the true, he sold the entire collection for what it would bring.
In Manchester, England, a large number of men are employed in making old furniture. The large majority of the supposedly genuine Sheraton, Chippendale, and Happlewhite sold in London, each with a certified pedigree that runs back to the middle of the eighteenth century, are probably not more than three months from the factory. A dealer described the making of a sixteenth century chair in these words: "You make the chair to pattern, soak it in a certain fluid, then shoot a few rounds of small shot into it, to give it a worm-eaten appearance, and there you are!"
Grecian terra-cottas, Louis Seize, Queen Anne furniture, Tanagra statuettes, Egyptian pottery, ancient brasses, pictures, armor, arms-in fact, you have
S SOON AS the average man obtains a patent upon any device, he considers that his fortune is made, and that he has only to let people know what he has done and where he lives to be overwhelmed with offers for it at his own price. The facts are that a patent is no more and no less than documentary evidence that the holder of it is entitled to its exclusive use. If he does not wish to use it, and will not sell it at a reasonable price, the inventor holds a piece of paper only, which deteriorates rapidly from the competition of other inventors in the same field. What is a reasonable price for an invention, depends wholly upon circumstances and conditions. If it relates to an article that will have only a moderate sale, a very moderate sum is all that can be expected, if, indeed, a manufacturer be found who desires to take the matter up.
only to say what particular antique you want, and the London, Paris, or Italian dealer will in a week's time secure it and supply gratis an unimpeachable history, sworn to by the descendant of six generations.
The Worth of a Patent
Sacred scarabs, little Egyptian charms, are manufactured by a Connecticut firm. They are carved and chipped by machinery, colored in bulk, made to simulate age, and shipped in casks to the Moslem dealers in Cairo. The Arabian guides are the chief buyers, many of them being adepts at "salting" the sands at the base of the pyramids or about the sacred temples, where they artfully discover these scarabs before the very eyes of the Yankee tourist, and sell him, for an American dollar, an article manufactured at a cost of less than a cent, perhaps within a stone's throw of his own home.
Inventors, however, are often without experience or knowledge in regard to the business side of the question and the difficulties which attend the introduction and marketing of even a meritorious article. Before a patent can make returns to any one, much time and money must be put into it, and all this is to be recovered before the investor can recoup himself for his outlay, to say nothing of making money on the venture. The large sums said to be paid for patents. that are not remarkable for novelty, being mere improvements upon existing machines or relating to some unimportant article, are mostly fiction. Inventors are apt to have an exaggerated idea of the value of their patents, and to think that they should receive for their patent what it may be worth after all the work required has been done and the demand has been created.
practical answer to the old-time objection that the electric system was too costly, and the perfection of the electric locomotive too remote, to constitute a practical commercial issue. Taken in conjunction with the proposed electric equipment of the leased South Shore line, which parallels the New York Central to Buffalo, and the proposed creation of a gigantic system of trolley transportation throughout the State by the absorption of all electric roads that interfere with local traffic, in order to make them feeders of the main line-an absorption already far advanced-this incident calls attention to one of the most significant developments of our industrial life today.
All over the more populous parts of this continent, the "electrifying" process has, during the past five or six years, been working a revolution in the relations of men to one another. First Ohio, then Indiana, then Illinois and Iowa, and now New York, have been paralleling their railroads with trolley lines. In the Middle States, perhaps, are found the largest contiguous reaches of fertile soil in the world, which not only yield rich crops at small cost of cultivation, but which are almost all underlain by coal or petroleum within easy reach; and nowhere are there fewer obstacles to line construction than on those prairieseither in the way of physical difficulties, or of indisposition to grant a right of way on the part of the intelligent farming communities who will be served. In all cases these lines have developed, almost from the start, a' paying business which grows from year to year at a surprising rate; and a feature even more remarkable the traffic on the steam lines has also increased. The trolleys, running at brief intervals from point to point, and starting from the heart of the cities and towns, have simply created their own business and set people moving about who otherwise would have remained as inert as the proverbial snail.
As these electric lines become connected endwise in longer and longer stretches, flouting the railroads everywhere, it is not to be wondered at if the steam companies should wish to have them as feeders, rather than as competi