Signs of the Times


Victorian Walnut Oval Photo Frame with Table Stand and Hangin Ring (LEO Design)


When I travel to other countries, I frequently am reminded just how short is the history of the United States.  Put another way, things have moved much more quickly in America than in some other places.  Sometimes the merchandise I collect helps to illustrate that point.

Consider the handsome walnut oval photo frame, shown above.  It was made in the 1850's.  Let's propose that it was made during the presidency of Millard Fillmore (1850-1853).  This was still three presidencies before that of Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865).  And, while the frame is considered "Victorian," we must remember that Queen Victoria reigned for a very long time; 18 American presidents held office during the length of her rule (and three more before she even came to the throne).  In America (and in my shop), an object made in 1850 is considered quite old.  But, in Europe, 1850 represents "fairly modern times":  The Industrial Revolution was well underway, the global British Empire was expanding rapidly, and Science and Medicine were changing life for mankind (Darwin's On The Origin of Species was published in 1859).

This frame is fashioned out of a handsome piece of walnut.  The original, velvet-covered back is held in place with six  small tacks (which are pulled-out with a needlenose pliers to change the photo).  It reminds one that having one's photo taken, 175 years ago, was not a common occurrence (like it is today—another sign of the fast-changing times).  Click on the photo above to learn more about it.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248