Book review: Ronson's Art Metal Works by Stuart Schneider, 2001

  • Full title: Ronson's Art Metal Works. With price guide
  • Author: Stuart Schneider
  • Series: Schiffer Military History 
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Number of pages: 144
  • Publisher: Schiffer Pub Ltd.
  • Publication date: 2001
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.7 inches
  • ISBN 10: 0764311948
  • ISBN 13: 9780764311949
  • Availability: used and new at Amazon
  • Price range: $25–$40


Description of the book provided by the publisher:


Ronson's place as a leader and pioneer in the manufacture of fine decorative metal wares from the 1900s to the mid-1930s is documented here. In addition to cigarette lighters, for which Ronson is most readily known, the company, then known as Art Metal Works, also produced a diverse selection of metal bookends, hood ornaments, statuary, aquarium and plant stands, clocks, pipe holders, desk sets and accessories, figurines, novelty items, lamps, boxes, toys, incense burners, and much more. With descriptive captions and information from original company catalogs and advertisements, alongside full-color, detailed photographs, this book is like no other on the market today. Whether you are a collector of art metal or a student of art and design, you are guaranteed insight into the style, beauty, and value of some of the finest metal wares manufactured.

Stuart Schneider lives just outside New York City. He is an accomplished photographer who currently scouts cemeteries in the day and sees and senses what is there. He returns at night to capture his images. One out of a hundred have something unusual, most do not. The color photos are evocative and draw you in as if you are actually standing there and seeing what the photographer saw and felt. These are not the typical orb or streak-type ghosts that ghost hunters often get, but full formed, vaporous apparitions. He has visited haunted cemeteries throughout the world. His latest books, "Ghosts In The Cemetery" and "Ghosts In The Cemetery II, Farther Afield" are best-selling works, melding storytelling, photography, and beautiful imagery together.



Acknowledgments 4
Introduction 5
History 6
   Competition 9
   Company details 10
   Model Finishes 12
A-Z Art Metal Wares 13
   Aquariums 13
   Ashtrays 14
   Atomizers 16
   Banks 17
   Bookends 18
   Boxes 88
   Busts 89
   Candlesticks 89
   Cigar and Cigarette Art 90
   Clocks 92
   Crucifixes 93
   Desk Accessories 93
   Door Stops 97
   Ferneries 97
   Figurines 99
   Hood Ornaments 107
   Incense Burners 108
   Inkwells 117
   Lamps 117
   Paperweights 129
   Pipe Holders 131
   Plaques 135
   Tobacco Jars 139
   Toys 140
Bibliography 144
Index 144


Sample pages:




The Ronson's Art Metal Works is a typical collector's price guide as it consists primarily of pictures and captions. In the first part of the book Stuart Schneider tells the history of Art Metal Works as a company that became famous through the innovative and stylish metal wares produced since the 1880s. Also some competitors are named and different model finishes are described.

In the second and main part of the book the reader might be astonished of the wide product portfolio of the company which was limited mainly to cigarette lighters and associated items after the end of WWII. Till then the company though was producing various items like aquarium stands, bookends, clocks, door steps, incense burners inkwells, hood ornaments etc. Although the AMW is famous for its smoking antiques like ashtrays, cigar and cigarette art, pipe holders, tobacco jars and of course striker lighters, touch-tips only few examples are mentioned in this book which is a shame. Half of the hudered-fourty-four-page book is devoted to bookends which makes the representation of items unequal. 

The book, as you would expect from Schiffer Pub, has everything what a reference book should contain, that is a good index, bibliography (modest but all right) and quality photographs. The book contains over three hundred full-color detailed photographs with descriptive captions which are very accurate as in most cases they are derived from Ronson catalogs. They do include present valuation, production year and in most cases information on type of finish, size and model number.

Not only photographs of  single items can be found in this book - also scans of original AMW catalog pages and price lists which are optimal sized and legible, are present. One can wish more of them were included. Moreover only few photos of the items actually have a pure white background. All others presenting Ronson ware are half-baked and the color is in different tones from gray to ivory which is for sure a week point of this book.

Overall this hard cover book makes an very good impression. As it is the only price guide fully devoted to Ronson AMW it is a must have for collectors. It is relatively a little bit overpriced as the recommended retail price is $39.95 but fortunately one can get it cheaper (less than $30) here. one must though admit that for a lighter collector who is not interested in the bigger picture of the Ronson products this book wouldn't be the best choice as only a very limited number of smoking antiques are represented.

Rating: Very good (4/6)


Post a Comment