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Who was the person credited with the concept of a world's fair?

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World's Fair
by E.L. Doctorow


This novel tells the story of Edgar Altshuler, a 9-year-old boy from the Bronx, and his adventures at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. On his first visit to the fair, Edgar is enthralled by industry's vision of the futuresafe, secure and prosperous cities, speedy and cheap transportation and modern invention to make life easier. On his second visit, he sees that the exhibits are constructed of gypsum whose paint is peeling and that the displays are really toys.
                                   
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Caring for Your Antique Furniture
by Bob Brooke

 

Beautiful old furniture glows with a warmth that’s very special. The beauty of antique furniture that has been cleaned and waxed reflects loving care by its owners over the years. Here are some tips for keeping your antique furniture in the best possible condition.

The NUMBER ONE RULE is NEVER use Pledge or other spray furniture cleaning products on your antique furniture. They leave an oily residue–even the ones containing lemon oil. It’s not the shine you need to preserve but the patina.

Never use anything that has a rough texture to it. This could scratch the furniture you’re trying to preserve. And that means avoid feather dusters too. Broken feathers are like little scratchy sticks that will mar the surface.

Remember to take the dust oft the piece entirely. This may sound silly, but a lot of times, when an object has wax on it, you just move the dust around. This happens when you use a spray cleaner like Pledge.

Always use a good-quality paste wax, like Minwax–to wax the wood. Higher priced beeswax from England will also work well. Apply a little at a time, rubbing softly following the grain of the wood, building up a deep layered finish. A furniture’s patina, especially on an older piece, is very important and must be nurtured. This process should be done at least once a year, if not more.

Use a very soft cloth, such as cheesecloth, for waxing. Try not to overdo the amount of wax you use. Spread it on in a thin, even coat and rub evenly and gently to bring up a high polish. You want to build up a good finish with wax, one that will seal and protect the wood underneath.

Wipe off the wax with cheesecloth.Apply the paste wax with a wad of soft cotton cloth.

But be gentle when waxing your antique furniture. If a piece of veneer or inlay comes loose, save it. Such pieces are irreplaceable, and substitutes are impossible to find. The pieces should be tucked away in a safe place, then brought to a furniture or wood expert to restore. Don't attempt to glue them back or to make the repairs yourself.

Many pieces of furniture have some kind of metal ornamentation or hardware, such as brass knobs or keyholes, ormolu, or other decoration. These bits of metal should not be polished with any metal-cleaning product. By polishing the metal, you take a chance on damaging the wood underneath. Instead you should just dust them carefully several times a year. If the hardware on your piece is badly tarnished, carefully remove it, polish it with a good polish appropriate to the type of metal, and replace it on the piece.

If your house or apartment is especially dry in winter, you should use a humidifier. Wood responds to changes in temperature and humidity. It swells or shrinks and can warp or split. So try to avoid extremes in temperature and make sure that your wood objects do not dry out or become too damp. Today’s homes, especially, are often heated with forced air heat, which can tend to dry out furniture quickly. The same applies to too much moisture. Occasionally check the back of your furniture, like pieces resting against an outside wall, for signs of mold and mildew. If you find some, immediately wipe it off with a soft cloth moistened with a very dilute solution of household bleach–10 parts water to 1 part bleach.

In the case of spills, stains, or serious scratches, avoid using homemade remedies. Instead, call a good furniture restorer to assess and repair the damage.

Boxes and other little wooden objects should be dusted very lightly with a soft, dry brush or small dust rag. Try not to use a dust rag since loose threads can catch on pieces of veneer or marquetry, pulling them off.

To read more of my articles, please visit my Web site.

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How to Recognize and Refinish Antiques for Pleasure and Profit

Book: How to Recognizing and Refinishing Antiques for Pleasure and Profit
Have you ever bought an antique or collectible that was less than perfect and needed some TLC? Bob's new book offers tips and step-by- step instructions for simple maintenance and restoration of common antiques.

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