How about that for a bright idea


Inventor Lit Up Lives

Q: This is a photo of my Thomas A. Edison phonograph that is in very good condition. It has a brass horn and 40 to 50 cylinders. Only a few of the cylinders are in good shape. It was made in Orange, New Jersey. On the case is a list of 14 patent dates, and the last one is May 31, 1898.
My husband inherited it from his great-aunt years ago.

Does it have any value?

A: Inventor, innovator and businessman Thomas Alva Edison was born in Ohio in 1847. During his lifetime, he patented more than 1,000 inventions. The phonograph, incandescent light bulb and kinetoscope, an early motion picture camera, are a few of his inventions. Light bulbs dramatically transformed and impacted lives. People could stay up later rather than go to bed when it became dark. They had more time to spend with their families, sew or read. Cities were no longer dark at night. Businesses could add evening shifts and hire more employees. In the 1870s, his carbon transmitter immensely improved the telephone and the telegraph. Edison died in 1931 in his West Orange, New Jersey, home

Your 1898 Thomas A. Edison phonograph with brass horn and cylinders would probably be worth $395 to $695.

Q: This mark is on the bottom of a milk pitcher that I have. It has been passed down in the family for generations and most likely belonged to my great-great-great grandmother. According to family history, it was given to her in the late 1800s. It holds a quart of fluid, is decorated with a brown-and-white country scene and is in very good condition.

What can you tell me about the maker, vintage and value of my pitcher?

A: David Methven & Sons located in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, made your pitcher in the late 1800s. David Methven bought the Brick Works from William Adams in 1773. Various members of the Methven family managed the pottery until 1892, when it was bought by A.R. Young. Kirkcaldy is located on the north shore of the Firth of Forth, which flows into the North Sea. It was a major center for successful potteries. The pottery closed in 1928.

Your pitcher made in the late 1800s would probably sell in the range of $75 to $150.

Address your questions to Anne McCollam, P. O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Items of a general interest will be answered in this column. Due to the volume of inquiries, she cannot answer individual letters. To find out more about Anne McCollam and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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