Q: My father stored his cigars in this gilt metal box with a hinged lid. It's lined with very thin wood. The bottom of the box is marked with the initials "J.B." I'd like to know who made it and how old it is.
A: Your box was made by Jennings Brothers Manufacturing Co. of Bridgeport, Conn. It was probably part of a desk set or dresser set. The company was founded by brothers Erwin M., Edward A., and Henry A. Jennings in 1890. Jennings Brothers made bookends, candlesticks, clock cases, corkscrews, desks sets, figurines, inkwells, jewelry boxes, lamps, silver-plated flatware, and other decorative metal objects. Most were made of spelter (white metal) plated to look like bronze. During World War II, the company made hubcaps for the U.S. Army. The company went out of business in 1953. The Philadelphia Manufacturing Co. bought the Jennings Brothers molds in the 1960s and began to reproduce some items. Value: $75.