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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Turner Manufacturing Company

A couple of years ago when we had a booth at an antique mall, we found a pair of pictures of lutes which were produced by Turner Manufacturing Company. Instead of being sold, they made their way to the living room wall in my daughter and SIL's house. The pictures are in 10" x 34" shadowbox frames and are most likely painted chalkware. Recently we found another picture with the same markings, and we became curious about the history of all three pieces.

The Turner Manufacturing Company was, at one time, the largest producer of affordably priced decorative art and mirrors in the United States. The company went out of business around 1975. Their wall art was sold in department stores and "five & dimes" and is still relatively easy to find.

Much of what they produced was prints of "Old Masters," but they also manufactured some very cool modern pictures. I may be biased, but I think ours falls in that category.

TMC Shadowboxes
TMC stickers
TMC print

28 comments:

  1. Turner... They make some of the coolest mid-century shadow boxes for your wall, too!!

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    1. Turner manufacturing label but have not been able to find one like it. It's a mold of a cream and gold 3 masted schooner ship in a shadow box. Any info much appreciated

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  2. I have a shadow box by Turner number8362 I wondered the year it was made and if it was worth any amount of money

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  3. Jeff, from what I've read, Turner mass produced these pictures, so there are still a lot of them floating around. I would think a fair price for most of them, depending on size and condition, would be from $25-75, so they're not terribly valuable...just a nice, authentic piece to hang on your wall if you're looking for period accuracy.

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  4. Hi there, I recently came across an interesting Turner wall accessory mirror. It measures 25" x 25" x 4" deep. The frame is a wood with what looks like black splatter or string like art going through it. The interesting thing is this mirror plugs in and has what appears to be 3 circular items that rotate around inside the mirror kind of like a hologram. They are very faint, and I am thinking maybe there is a light that has burned out. I have been searching for a few hours and come across nothing like it through google searches. I was hoping perhaps someone here could lead me in the right direction. Please let me know. hafemanm1@gmail.com

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    1. That sounds very interesting, but I've never run across anything like it, so I'm no help. I hope a reader can steer you in the right direction.

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  5. I recently purchased a beautiful mirror from a man's estate sell. It has Turner Manufacturing on the back of it, along with engraved numbers. How can I look up the numbers? It is 43 inches long and 23 inches wide. mrsckelley@ymail.com

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    1. I wish I could help you, but I don't know the names of any Turner collectors or any websites dedicated to Turner products. I hope a reader at some time will be able to contact you with some useful information.

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  6. wow..this is soo weird my mom worked for turner mfg co for about twenty years. they were located on the west side of Chicago on Ogden street. it was terrible the way they treated their employees when they went out of business. the employees showed up for work and found the doors/gates chained and security guards .on alert! one of the managers bought the "molding" machines etc. and moved the operation to Los Angeles.. my mom has passed away, however there are still people that worked for turner who may have some information.. if you have items that you want to know about email me a pic or item numbr. if i can findout any info i'll let you know. scrabble3000@lycos.com peace.. cee

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    1. What a horrible way to find out you're out of a job! I'm sure some of my readers may take you up on the offer to help them get information. Thanks!

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    2. I worked at Turner Mfg. from 1962 until I went into the Air Force in 1965. My job title was Picture Production Control Clerk. I wonder if I may have known your mother.
      ~ Bob Meyer
      vibeman11@verizon.net

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    3. hey bob lol..i forgot my blog name [never use it much] not sure of when my mom started
      but her name was Easter Randle, a few others that worked there, g barlow, m jackson, lonnie?

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  7. I recently acquired a large framed print with a small plate on the bottom front of the frame that says A. Albo Sunset on the Snow. The back of the framed print has the Turner Mfg. Co. tag. When I looked Turner Mfg. Co up on the internet it says see also Douglas Art Co., Inc. At one time Douglas Art was one of America's top producers of art reproductions, some of which were reproductions of Masters' works such as August Albo. I also learned that Douglas Art had a copyright for such a portrait by A. Albo called "Sunset on the Snow" no. 3535/6Dec1961/k64692. The print, with what I believe to be the original frame 44"w X 28 1/2"h and is a picture of a winding trail with a mailbox and cabin in the right forefront with tall mountains covered in snow in the background. What is so striking about the print is that the mountains have a large reddish glow to them (hence the sunset) but the sun is not in the picture. I have looked everywhere and cannot find an original painting or a reproduced print of August Albo's "Sunset on the Snow" even though one supposedly exists. Even looked under Russian art since Albo spent much of his early years there. Anyone know anything about A. Albo or Sunset on the Snow?

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    1. Sorry, but I can't offer you any help about that specific work. All I know is that most of those companies employed a stable of artists, some reproducing the work of other, more famous artists. Some companies had all the artists working under one pseudonym. They cranked out tons of affordable art prints, mostly landscapes and cityscapes.

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    2. The painting does indeed exist - I have one. It is exactly as you describe it - with a light grey frame. Condition is very good but the frame is a bit worn and a small nail hole on the top edge. I plan to sell the piece so if you are interested - please reply. I can take photos of the painting if you wish.

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  8. i have a turner wall accessory item number 3871 V90 "the blue ribbon " its called, on the back of frame original turner tag still attached ,in really good condition i would like to know what its worth it looks like late 50s early to late 60s i bought it at a thrift store i would like to see what its worth their are no online information outlets to see for myself and online appraisers always asking for money to look into it please feel free to notify me on this

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    1. If I were you, I wouldn't pay anyone to appraise a Turner piece. They're kitschy and fun in the right setting, but they have very little value as a collectible. In fact, they're probably not worth a lot more than you paid for them at a thrift store.

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  9. I have a turner wall art # 3851 of an old man with a long beard praying, what is it worth?

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  10. I have two Turner wall art #1215 J33 carriages silhouette T46,what is it worth?

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  11. Anyone out there with information on the pier mirror with marble console table (hall mirror with two-leg, marble top console table)? My mother has one. She's had it for as long as I can remember and I'm 50. It's got the Turner label under the table with the numbers 838.

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  12. We have a print of the Turner Manufacturings two cockatoos. It almost feels painted on a very thick cardboard.On the back there is what looks like the outline of the companies two flamingo print. What can you tell me about this? And of course, the value. I'm guessing $60.

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    1. I really don't know a lot about Turner Manufacturing pieces. We only had a few in the store, and I thought they were very cool, but they didn't sell well. I'd say that, around the Dallas/Fort worth area at least, it would go on Craigslist or at an antique mall for $20-40.

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  13. My daughter has a Turner Matador - painting called "The Challenge". It is a pretty large painting. We also were wondering about the value.
    From previous comments it seems most are of little value. Has anyone seen The Challenge for sale anywhere??

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  14. I have a turnet piece called Dutch Village. Is there any worth to it number on the card is 44471z. Thanks anyone

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  15. Has anyone come across The Lovers by Man Ray?

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  16. I have a painting (not a print/litho) of an exact reproduction of a Margaret/Walter Keane "Big Eyes" painting entitled NO DOGS ALLOWED. When I say exact, I mean exact. It is signed by Valon. The brass plate that TMC is so famous for using is tacked to the bottom of the frame and also says 'Valon'. TMC would often contract artists to reproduce famous paintings. The original Keane painting was done in 1963, I believe, so the repro would have obviously be done after '63. Does anyone know anything about this artist, Valon? I can find nothing.

    -Don Johnson


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