Dear Sun Spots: I also have a small dish of my grandmother’s that has a picture of the Lewiston Public Library on it. Was this a promotional item for a certain project? She also has a fan-shaped dish with the same picture.

When did Sun Spots first appear in the Sun Journal?

Also, I have a glass bear bank that I think syrup came in for mixing cold drinks. The cap says Snow Crest. What happened to the company?

Many thanks for all your help to assure our old-time memories. – Annie Parsons, Norway.

Answer:
Regarding your question about Snow Crest company: Sun Spots did find a reference online at http://antiques.about.com/library/weekly/aa021900.htm. It seems that the Fenton Art Glass Company in Williamstown, W. Va., found inspiration from the designs of glass masters Tiffany and Steuben. As a result, they introduced iridescent glass that collectors now know as “carnival” glass. Fenton went on to produce over 130 patterns of this popular glassware.

Over the years Fenton also manufactured custard, chocolate, opalescent and stretch glass. And, to keep the factory running during the lean Depression and World War II years, they made items such as mixing bowls and orange juice reamers.

Fenton’s unique ruffled edges lent themselves perfectly to the creation of their “Crest” lines. White glass was used to form the base of these items while a clear or colored border around the ruffled edge added a touch of interest. Pieces with a clear ruffle were named “Silver Crest,” while those with a bright green border were called “Emerald Crest.” Other colors applied in the same fashion are popular with collectors as well as the “Snow Crest” pieces with a reversed effect. To contact Fenton, you can call (304) 375-6122 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST). You can also e-mail them at [email protected]

Sun Spots also spoke with Rick Speer, the director of the Lewiston Public Library, who says neither he nor the research librarian is aware of what these dishes may have been from. Hopefully there are some readers out there who may recall these items and would be willing to enlighten you and us. In addition, it might be worth checking in with the Androscoggin Historical Society, (207) 784-0586, to see if they have any records of anything like this.

And finally, regarding your question about the Sun Spots column: Sun Spots spoke with Barbara Clune who says she began writing the column at the behest of then City Editor A. Kent Foster. Sun Spots first appeared in The Sun in 1972. What began as a simple question-and-answer column for consumers became a community bulletin board or potpourri of household hints and answer to those trivia questions that pop up at the family dinner table. Clune joined The Sun staff in 1964 and was answering more than 1,500 questions annually according to a Dec. 7, 1987, article on the column’s 15th anniversary.

The column, Clune says, was first published three days a week and, due to its popularity, editors chose to run it six days a week. Clune says requests came from far and wide. She recalls a letter that came all the way from “out west” and all it said was Sun Spots. It made it into the column.

Clune says questions tended to be more local during her writing days, including consumer questions on insurance, products and others. And of course there are the recipes, Clune says. These days the column uses the Internet, as well as local and state officials to answer the many, many questions it receives daily via e-mail and mail.

Clune says she wrote the column for 18 years before Sharon Staszak took it over in June 1992. Staszak held the post until July 2002.

Staszak says she greatly enjoyed the challenge of answering the varied inquiries and gained a wealth of knowledge from the research. She also enjoyed the personal touch, meeting people face to face, as well as over the telephone rather than relying too much on the Internet. She felt a great sense of accomplishment in being able to assist family members with their loved one’s wishes. The best example of this was a gentleman who wished to meet Ricky Craven before he died.

The current column writer is Mari Maxwell, the Sun Journal’s newsroom administrator and reader representative.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at www.sunjournal.com in the Inform Us section under Press Release.


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