This highly collectible mid 19th century thermoplastic double Union case was made by A.P. Critchlow. The front and back feature embossed decoration consisting of George Washington's bust in right profile encircled by rocaille motifs and scrolling foliate accents. The case opens to reveal dual sixth-plate ambrotype portraits of Victorian ladies whose jewelry has been accented in gilt pigment. The glass ambrotype image plates are housed beneath ornate stamped mats with oval openings along with decorative embossed brass preservers. The recessed areas beneath the ambrotypes bear printed manufacturer information from A.P. Critchlow highlighting the manufacturer's innovative "Embracing Riveting Hinges" which the company went on to patent in 1856 and 1857.

The paper inserts read "A. P. Critchlow & Co., Manufacturers of Daguerreotype Cases, A. P. C. & CO. Are the Original Inventors of the Composition for the Union Case, (so called,) including all the various shades of color and fineness of texture peculiar to their manufacture and of the Embracing Riveted Hinges, thus securing them from breaking out as do others that are inserted with or without a metal brace." The inserts can be seen in photo 10.

The Union case is in good original condition with some chipping at the edges, the lower corners and at one bottom corner of the lower hinge along with a stable fissure on the inside top edge of one side (best seen at the end of the video) and minor discoloration to the surface of the thermoplastic, all of which are mentioned for accuracy. The hinges themselves are securely attached and are fully functional. The latch is present and slots easily into the corresponding opening but does not engage. There is age related tarnish to the brass preservers while the mats remain shiny. The ambrotypes themselves have not been unsealed and exhibit extensive reticulation to the varnish near the bases, particularly the image on the left. If desired a black piece of felt or paper could be placed behind the images to mitigate the reticulation. The faces of the ladies remain clear with distinct features and their jewelry glints in the light.

The Union case measures 3.875" by 3.5" and is .875" thick. The images are 2.75" by 2.25". The case weighs in at 8oz.

This George Washington Krainik 103 Union case would be a great addition to a collection of Union cases or to a collection of antique Washington or Presidential paraphernalia. A great antique find!

Black, Gold

Birch Hall Antiques

Antique AP Critchlow Profile of George Washington Thermoplastic Union Case with Ambrotype Portraits of Ladies


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