Good Old Days Updates

In the Good Old Days Antiques Corner This Week in History
Antiques Corner

Mug Mystery

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Question: I bought this mug at a flea market because I liked the picture of the cow. The mug is labeled "Baltimore Dairy Lunch" and "J.A. Whitcomb." The bottom is marked "Grindley Hotelware Made in England." What can you tell me about it?

Answer: Lunchrooms, or luncheonettes, were predecessors of today's fast-food restaurants. Prior to the 1920s, the Baltimore Dairy Lunch chain was one of the biggest, with about 140 locations in cities throughout the East. Founder James A. Whitcomb was a postal clerk before opening a lunchroom in Baltimore in the late 1880s. The food was simple and inexpensive. Baltimore Lunch restaurants were lavishly furnished with marble counters and fixtures, which was an expression of cleanliness. Food was served using heavy, commercial-grade dishes, which were decorated with the Baltimore Dairy Lunch logo that featured a cow. This mug was made by W.H. Grindley & Co., a manufacturer or earthenware tableware, based in Tunstall, England. It dates to the first quarter of the 20th century and is valued between $15 and $25.

-- By Tom Hoepf, associate editor of Auction Central News