Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Views of WLWT's Bob Braun Show and Production Manager Lou Rainone in his Crosley Square office in the mid 1970s. In the color image on the right, fill-in band leader Teddy Rakel crosses behind a studio camera.

Images: Private collection

Monday, April 23, 2012

Elephants for Ike

“These elephant bookends, finished in one of the Rookwood Pottery Co’s unique glazes,* will be sent to President Eisenhower Thursday. The elephants, symbol of the Republican Party, contain the signature of the President. They were engraved by Earl Menzel, master potter, who copied the signature from a public document in Washington. The presentation is being made by the pottery firm and the Hamilton County Republican Group.”

--Cincinnati Post, September 21, 1955, printed as photo and cutline on the comics page.

“These [the elephant bookends] are now in the collection of elephant models belonging to Milton Eisenhower.”

--The Book of Rookwood Pottery, 1968

*A glaze so “unique” it goes without a description leaving a black and white photo to suffice.

Image: The Book of Rookwood Pottery, Herbert Peck, Bonanza Books, 1968

Friday, April 20, 2012

'Sphere Melody'

'Sphere Melody', 7 ½ “x 8 ¾ “, 1946, lithograph, William E. Hentschel, Strowbridge Lithography Company, Cincinnati, Ohio

"The artist states that in Sphere Melody he seeks to evoke “that inner music which is stilled until great adversity awakens the trembling heart; at which time the spirit of man, vibrant and aware of its part in the grand universal harmony yearns to be re-attuned to the divine melody, envisioning from the midst of present chaos and despair the Hope for a world which will find Peace and Brotherhood at last.”
William E. Hentschel, born in New York in 1892, is a Kentuckian by adoption, living at Burlington, Kentucky, in the pleasantly restored country-seat known as April Hill Farm. He spent the early years of his career as a designer of textiles and ceramics, working at first in the East and later in Cincinnati where for a number of years he was a noted artist at Rookwood Pottery. At this period began his association as a teacher with the Cincinnati Art Academy which happily continues to the present, during which time he has inspired a generation or so of younger artists.
Mr. Hentschel, like other important modern men of art, has explored the ways and means of various media of expression. His paintings, executed in aquatone, water color, casein, as well as oil, have been widely exhibited not only throughout the United States but also in Europe and Australia. His mural work may best be studied from important examples in Cincinnati."

--Printed text on onion skin cover over the lithograph, itself glued at the top to a gilded paper backing within a red string-bound, greenish-gray construction paper cover.

This handbill for a 1951 retrospective exhibition at Louisville's J.B. Speed Museum lists Strowbridge as the owner of the original painting, 'Sphere Melody', and mentions Hentschel's Western & Southern Mural and a cute tale about April Hill farm.

Images: Cincinnati Art Museum, Private collection

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"Mrs. Rachel Henry, who has been creating so much interest among the doctors at the City Hospital, died yesterday.
Although born of colored parents, Mrs. Henry was as white as snow. Her hair and eyebrows were white and her skin was of a chalky whiteness that made her pink eyes especially noticeable. Twelve years ago she came here from Carlisle, Ky., where she was born, and since then she has lived at 28 Whitlow street."

--Cincinnati Commercial-Tribune, September 7, 1900

Image: Cincinnati Public Library Newspaper Archive,

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Commercial Billy

Clips from an undated holographic William E. Hentschel resume (c. 1950) in the Cincinnati Art Museum archives.

“Accustomed as is the City of Cincinnati to being the home of a great pottery industry, it will surprise many to find that one of the newest and most interesting glass industries is in the Queen City. This is no ordinary glass industry, but one having at its base an entirely new idea and beauty.
Its very name, crystal bent glass, prepares us for its novel quality.
The great European glass industries like Orrefors and the private makers such as Decorchemont and Marinot have at their back great artists who are highly trained designers; so, too, has crystal bent glass. In the very beginning the organization was fortunate enough to secure the services of one of the great designers of this country, William E. Hentschel, instructor in design at the Cincinnati Art Academy. As a designer Mr. Hentschel has been thinking for years in terms of material; his designs are created so as to bring out the natural beauty of certain mediums.

Original image from Enquirer story with interesting archival staples.
For nearly a year now Mr. Hentschel has been creating and working out the forms and decorations of crystal bent glass, which come in unusual and interesting shapes in the form of clocks, picture frames, desk sets, writing sets, book ends, cigarette sets, table sets, candle sticks and bowls, and other forms innumerable. These are all signed pieces and are remarkable examples of skillful and interesting adaptation of design to glass.
We have seen a large exhibition of these pieces which were assembled for an exhibition in the semi-annual gift show that is now current in Chicago.

Unattributed, unsigned example sold online. Alerted by Commenter MB Hays.


Pieces of crystal bent glass that exploit the beautiful richness and naturalness of glass are the clocks in which subtle qualities of color are obtained by the overlapping of layers of soft sea-green glass, one upon another, such as you may observe in one of the reproductions. The leveled edges produce varied effects and help to bring out and enrich the subtle color of the translucent glass. Parts of the clock itself, such as the hands and numerals of the face, are specially designed to harmonize with the basic form and decoration.

Original Enquirer image with that design's Patent Office submission.

Another example of fine glass design is a large photograph frame in a deep blue of great brilliance, which is the ground for a simple, clear, cut-out polished pattern of circles and lines that have the exquisite quality of a design that is natural to glass.
That translucent quality of some pieces, enriched by the overlaying of one piece upon another, is further enhanced by the application of a mirror back. Lovely variations are secured by this method—also, by the use of different mirror substances such as gold, silver, platinum or bronze; combined with different colored bent glass. Notably attractive is one piece—a photograph frame—made of peach-colored glass which, treated with a mirror back produced a lovely platinum bronze.
We are promised that in the autumn Cincinnati is to have an exhibition of crystal bent glass.”

--Mary L. Alexander, Cincinnati Enquirer, August 9, 1936

Written in Billy's hand on the undated photo’s reverse side:
“W. Hentschel Mirror Frame and Coffee Table
The Nurre Company Designed 15 years ago Coffee table - Lemon wood and glass top – bottom part 2 concave semi-circles Mirror black ebony frame”

The Nurre label (R) was found online.

Images: Cincinnati Art Museum, Ebay, United States Patent and Trademark Office

Sunday, April 15, 2012

'Queen City' Burning

"Another chapter of the romantic history of steamboat and packet traffic on the Ohio River at Cincinnati was closed Saturday with the announcement from Pittsburgh that the Queen City, stern-wheeler, had been burned and junked.

At the time the largest inland drydock in the United States viewed from across the Ohio River in Dayton, Kentucky, the Queen City is visible above the shantyboats on the right side of image.

Built at the old Queen City Marine Ways, foot of Hazen Street, Cincinnati, in 1897, the Queen City gained riverwide fame for the luxury of her appointments and the speed with which she traveled the Ohio’s waters.
Her dismal fate was forewarned seven years ago when her towering stacks, upper cabins, pilot house, rigging and machinery were removed and she was tied up on the Monongahela River at Pittsburgh as a wharf boat.

Once the proudest packet of this section of the Ohio River, she was the favorite of thousands of river travelers, but Friday a mere handful of spectators watched wreckers pull her apart and burn the timbers on the wharf, according to a news dispatch.
Twice during her career she was sold for a fraction of her original $100,000* cost.
Among the hundreds of local rivermen who remember the packet are Capt. Tom Green, president of the Greenline Steamers, foot of Main Street, and Capt. W. C. Beatty, superintendent of the Rookwood River Rail Terminal, 1700 Eastern Avenue, East End. They agree as to the Queen City’s past glory and sketched her career.

The Queen City's main cabin set for dinner.

Captn. Greene recalled that the boat was first owned by the Pittsburgh & Cincinnati Packet Co., which operated her between the two cities until 1916. She was taken out of service and docked at Pt. Pleasant, W. Va., until river ice wrecked many of the packets at Cincinnati during the winter of 1918. The shortage of available hulls recalled her from idleness and she was once more placed in service—this time in the Cincinnati-Louisville trade. In 1932 she was returned to the Cincinnati-Pittsburgh run but was retired as a wharf after approximately a year.
Her first master was Robert Agnew, now a resident of California, Captn. Beatty recalled. Captn. Jim Dupey, one-time master of the old Island Queen, Coney Island Steamer, was also in charge of the Queen City, he said.
Her last master was Captn. Ed Dunaway, Huntington, W. Va., Captn. Greene said.

Although the Queen City was generally considered to have had a comparatively adventureless career, one unusual incident was recalled by Captn. Beatty. It was while on a special trip to the New Orleans Mardi Gras with 135 passengers on board that she tore a hole in her hull by backing on rocks at Louisville. The river was not deep and, although the Queen sank, the water did not cover the boiler deck and not a single passenger received as much as wet feet, he said."

--Cincinnati Times-Star, February 17, 1940

*$100,000 in 1887 dollars would be the equivalent of $2,784,000 today.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Signed, hand painted Scenic Tile, 5 ½ “ square, Roy Hook, Weller artist, painted on a dust-pressed Cambridge Tile Manufacturing Company blank.

The reverse of the scenic tile showing the raised Cambridge block mark and not the later more script-type mark.

Images: private collection

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Chinese Riff

Vanceburg, Ky., June22—Chin Kee, who is suspected of making the murderous attack on Charley Ching Foo in Cincinnati, and who is supposed to be a member of the Tongs, came to this city Tuesday night on C. and O. Train No. 4, and stopped at the Carter House. He registered in his right name, and was assigned to Room No. 39. He arose early Wednesday morning and left on the steamer Greenwood for Portmouth. Kee pawned his watch to the hotel proprietor, Jack Carter, for $1 and a night’s lodging. The watch has his photograph in the case. The timepiece is a splendid gold affair, with chains and a very peculiar charm.

--Cincinnati Enquirer, June 23, 1905


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"A Stupid Botch"

The reverse, Mr. Duveneck and the obverse of the Barber 1892 quarter dollar

“I believe the average carpenter could get up a better design for a coin than that on the new twenty-five cent silver piece” said Mr. Frank Duveneck, the eminent artist, as he twirled one of the new pieces in his fingers with a critical eye. “I never saw such a stupid botch. A South Sea Islander could get up a better design with his eyes shut. The figure on the reverse I take to be ‘Agriculture’ but it is a stupid design and the face so sour and the head so bare as to be repulsive. There is nothing artistic, expressive or attractive about it.
I suppose they have designers connected to the U.S. Treasury, but I do not know what they are about. They rarely get up a good design and now they seem to have reached the climax of ugliness and stupidity. We have some very good, strong artists in the country and some who are noted for their very fine relief work and I do not see why some of our coins can not bear the fruits of their competitive work. There is St. Gaudens for instance. He could get out a design for a coin that would be a thing of beauty and a delight forever.
But our government is very peculiar in some respects and not only restricts the sale of works of art, but does not encourage beautiful faces and designs on coins where they would catch the public eye and educate the public taste for art. The new coin, when its brightness is worn away, will be a tough looking object. But we are a progressive people, in art as well as in other things in life, and it may be that the Government will yet get up some very striking and symmetrical designs for its coins.”
“I am surprised at the design, really,” said L. Schwebel, the artist*, as he gazed at the coin with a peculiar expression. “There is no proportion, no beauty, no expression about the head on the reverse. A child could get up such a design. The obverse with the eagle and stars has a clumsy, crowded appearance and is not striking at all. I think the French coins and medallions have the best designs and far outshine the designs on our own coins.
I suppose the Treasury department has its own artists but their last designs certainly do not show up well. I do not see why our coins can not be beautiful as well as valuable. There should be something about them pleasing to the artistic eye and they should not become the butt of the joker and the foreigner. America takes the lead in many things and she might as well have pretty and finely designed coins as not.”

-Cincinnati Times-Star, January 16, 1892

*Schwebel, Louis [Lewis], Jr. Portrait painter and crayon artist, born in France or Prussia about 1832. He came with his family to Cincinnati [Hamilton] around 1850 and remained active there as an artist and musician until at least 1892…He exhibited portraits at the Cincinnati Industrial Expositions of 1873 and 1875 and in 1892 his Shipwrecked Sailor at Dawn was shown at the Cincinnati Art Club.
Artists in Ohio, 1887-1900, Oberlin College Library