Saturday, April 01, 2006

Can YOU Help Us Get Rid of These Iron Stains?

Would it surprise you to find out that my DH and I love old things? Probably not.

Homer Laughlin Floral Creamer 1949
We enjoy spending quality time together on our Friday "Date Day," looking for all kinds of overlooked treasures at local yard sales, thrift stores, and estate sales. Sometimes we find a piece, such as this 1949 Homer Laughlin china creamer, that is in good physical condition, with no crazing, chips, or cracks, but it is discolored, because we live in the heart of Alabama, in iron ore country.

I'm hoping some of you can give us some suggestions on how to lighten this discoloration, without ruining the vintage look of the piece. I'm a big fan of patina, so I'd rather enjoy it the way it is, rather than end up with something that looks more like a cheap reproduction. Also, it is a piece of dinnerware, and is meant to be used with food, so that needs to be taken into account in terms of suitable chemicals used in cleaning it.

We'll be putting this lovely little creamer up for sale tonight, as is, leaving any decision to try to get rid of the iron deposit to the buyer. (Clicking on the picture will take you to the auction on eBay, if you're interested.) But I would love to be able to pass along to our customers a list of suggestions from you, dear readers, as to some cleaning methods they could try, if they so choose. We find beautiful pieces in similar condition all the time around here, and I'd like to write up a sheet of all your ideas to include in with the packing slip.

So put on your thinking caps, ask the local grannies, and see what you can come up with, OK? We really would appreciate it.

Homer Laughlin Floral Creamer 1949

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Jod{i} said...

Maybe cream of tartar mixed with hot water to make a wet paste? THey also sell "Iron out"...I used in a porcelain worked, yet it is caustic, smells awful, not sure what it would do to the paint, but may be worth checking into...good luck!


Dirty Butter said...

Tip Number ONE!! Thank you, Jodi, for getting the ball rolling.

I won't have any trouble finding some ugly pieces of junk to try everyone's suggestions out on, that's for sure. I'll even put some before and after photos on for everyone to see, just like a real science experiment.

But I won't be messing with anything as collectible as this Homer Laughlin piece. I'll just pass the suggestions along to the winner of the auction.

Leon said...

Hot water, some abrasive powder and some diligent scrubbing.

Dirty Butter said...

Tip Number TWO, Leo, although, frankly, I'd be afraid to do that anywhere except for the unglazed bottom. I'm afraid I'd ruin the flowers or the gloss of the glaze.

This is not surface dirt, but mineral deposits that have seeped through the glaze over a period of time. You have to remember that our dirt is this color red, too, ya know?

Chana said...

I love treasure hunting too...of course my idea of treasures are probably no one else's as i don't have a clue to what is a 'find'...i'm more of an emotional buyer..whatever pulls my heart strings...It's beautiful to read that you have date nights...that is so sweet...I hope you find an answer to your question and a deserving buyer for your treasure.

Dirty Butter said...

Ha Ha! At our age, honey, we don't have Date Nights, we have Date Days! We try very hard not to let anything get on the calendar to mess that day up for us, no doctor's appointments, nothing.

I'm an emotional buyer, too, but I'm drawn to the kinds of things that got stuck in the back of the drawer or high on the shelf and forgotten about for 50 years.

Then, when the parents die and their children have to sell off the house and contents, the children price everything for sale, not having a clue that some of the old "stuff" is far more valuable than the pretty things in the china cabinet in the dining room.