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THE PEOPLE BEHIND EAPGPATTERNS.COM
My interest in antiques began early. I was born in a small mining town in Colorado during WWII. The young couple, who were my parents, were befriended by an old timer with a warehouse full of items that had been left behind as the population slowly left the boom town in the early 1900’s. Every Sunday he would come to dinner carrying a piece from his warehouse to furnish this young couple’s home.
In my early teens my mother opened a used furniture store, so she could stay home in the summer with my sister and me. You can’t be in the used furniture business long without getting into the antique business. My first purchase was a pitcher and bowl set from the lady across the street who dealt in antiques. I was about 15. So the love of antiques was always there.
Soon after our marriage, my mother unloaded many of the family heirlooms. Through many moves these pieces were carried across the Southwest and Midwest.
Then one day I saw a butter dish lid in the window of an antique store. It was turning purple. Though I have come to realize that turning purple destroys the value of a piece, at that moment I recognized that the piece was old. In Colorado, you are raised with the idea that pieces that have turned purple are old, because people find old pieces of broken sun-purpled glass around old abandoned mining towns. I walked past the antique store for two months before I finally went in a bought the lid. $12 is expensive when you have two children in college. A year later I found the bottom in another antique store.
Finding the bottom was the clincher. I was hooked. From that moment on I was a butter dish collector. It didn’t hurt that friends of my parents, had churned their own butter and I had gotten to help.
Now I had a problem. I had a collection of butter dishes and a collection of heirlooms. It concerned me that my children would not know the difference between my collection and the family heirlooms, so I began to take pictures of my collection and catalog them. In the back of my mind was the possibility that someday I might write a pattern identification book.
One day I was sitting at the computer working on my butter dish photo collection, when my husband suggested that we open a website.
For the next five months we worked feverishly to get the site open. On January 1, 2006, eapgpatterns.com officially opened with pictures of approximately 400 patterns and 800 items.
One of our first concerns as we opened the website was getting the Early American Pattern Glass expertise we needed. My husband and I had just recently resigned our positions at a college where we taught computer classes, so we both have an extensive knowledge of computers, but lack real expertise in the pattern glass area.
Several people have been very gracious in giving us advice, but we needed someone willing to work with us on a regular basis. With some trepidation we contacted Dori Miles. Dori had some understanding of just how little we knew, but she decided to help us anyway. Dori has taught us a lot and we rely heavily on her expertise. Dori has been very generous giving us information that she might have otherwise reserved for a future book.
Since opening the site we have traveled over 15,000 miles taking pictures in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa Texas and Michigan. We have taken well over 60,000 pictures and edited those pictures down to the 7,000+ pictures which are currently on the site.
My husband, a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, designs and writes all the website code and designs and administers the database behind the website. He also works with subscribers, answers emails, and does some of the accounting. I edit pictures and give him much of the information that goes on the site. Then Dori checks the information after it appears. Dori also identifies unknown patterns for us, which at this point number in the hundreds.
Since the site went live in January, 2006, we have added pictures of over 2,000 patterns and 7,000 individually photographed pieces. We have not done this alone. A number of collectors, museums, and antique malls have graciously consented to letting us photograph their collections.
In the future we plan to continue to grow, adding patterns and pieces to the site. It is estimated there are 3,000 to 5,000 patterns. We would like the site to contain most of these patterns. We also hope to add additional versatility to the site.
Modene Murphy, Collector
Glenn Murphy, Web Master and Database Administrator
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