A frequent question at the antique mall is, “Why do so many of the lovely women figurines have holes in their bases?” It’s a good question. Not only will you find wonderful women figurines but also birds, turtles, frogs, mushrooms, deer, etc. All of them with small holes around their bases. These wonderful figurines are called flower frogs. Flower frogs are objects you put in the bottom of a vase or bowl to hold flower stems in place using pins or a series of holes. You might remember seeing a more common flower frog in your mother’s flower arranging supplies. It is often oval or round with some serious little spikes sticking up. It looks more like a torturing devise than it does an object for helping arrange delicate flower stems. Today, these types of flower frogs have become popular for displaying items such as photos or postcards.
Flower frogs can be made out of ceramic, metal, or glass. You may also have heard them referred to as flower blocks, flower bricks, flower holders or floral arrangers.
Flower frogs first appeared in Europe during the 16th century. Its name may have come from the fact that it sits in the water like a frog but there is nothing actually documenting that fact. The first United States patent for a frog was given in 1875 to, S. Van Stone. His frog was a cone shaped pyramid of concentric rings of holes. In 1893, Andrew Snow, Jr. was granted a patent for a mushroom shaped flower frog. However, flower frogs did not become widely popular in the United States until the 1920’s.
We have several flower frog collectors that frequent our mall. Collectors may specialize by collecting certain shapes, animals, dancing women, by the material they are made from or by collecting frogs made only by a specific manufacturer or era.
One thing is for sure, whatever type of frog you’re looking for you can probably find it at the Albany Antique Mall.