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Ralph Kovel

Posted on | August 16, 2011 | Comments Off on Ralph Kovel

Article by jekky

Life and careerRalph was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1920. His family moved to Paducah, Kentucky, then Cleveland, Ohio, in the 1930s. He graduated from Cleveland Heights High School, then attended Ohio State University. He served in the United States Coast Guard in World War II. In 1950 he married Terry. Their children are Lee Kovel and Kim Kovel.He and his wife became interested in antiques on their Bermuda honeymoon in 1950. Their first book came out in 1953.He started his writing career with Terry in 1953. In the 1950s, he was in the export-import business and imported a variety of things, including the Lambretta motor scooter, the new bikini bathing suits European women were wearing, and specialty food products. He didn like the constant travel, so he started his own business as a food broker, representing packaged foods and other products to grocery-store chains and fast-food restaurants. He represented many of the new frozen food lines, like Stouffers, specialty items like Sweet and Low packets, and even live, bare-root fruit trees. Ralph sold McDonald fresh potatoes in 1956 by the carload when hamburgers were 15 cents and the chain said they would never use frozen French fries. He bought a small salad dressing company in Cleveland named Sar-a-Lee and soon was selling custom-made dressings to major fast-food chains for their newly popular salad bars. In 1987 his company was purchased by Sara Lee Corporation. and he became a senior vice president in the company foods division.In 1970 Ralph started U.S. Brands, Inc., a fulfillment company that did packaging and handling for the Kovels books and newsletters as well as for many other businesses. He became part owner of an innovative aquaculture shrimp farm in the Bahamas in 1996.Ralph was a salesman, an innovator, and an entrepreneur. He patented a dripless aluminum teabag called the teastir, and made an instant silver polish. When his children chewed the paper straws in their milkshakes, he developed the first plastic straw for McDonald by using the outer part of a plastic clothes line. He was a dedicated volunteer, working as a group leader and board member at a settlement house, a volunteer for public television, and a committee member for the Cleveland United Appeal. He even helped plan and cook fundraising spaghetti dinners.Ralph continued working until the week before his final illness. Kovel resided in Shaker Heights, Ohio and died in Cleveland of complications from broken hip Selected publicationsKovels Dictionary of Marks: Pottery and Porcelain, 1650 to 1850. Random House, 1953, 1983, 1995Kovels Know Your Antiques. Random House, 1967, 1973, 1981, 1990Kovels Collectors Guide to Limited Editions. Random House, 1974Kovels Collectors Guide to American Art Pottery. Random House, 1974Kovels Organizer for Collectors. Random House, 1978, 1983Kovels Price Guide for Collector Plates, Figurines, Paperweights. Crown, 1978Kovels Illustrated Price Guide to Royal Doulton. Crown, 1980, 1984Kovels Know Your Collectibles. Random House, 1981, 1992Kovels Book of Antique Labels. Random House, 1982Kovels Collectors’ Source Book.Random House, 1983Kovels New Dictionary of Marks: Pottery and Porcelain, 1850-Present. Crown, 1986Kovels Advertising Collectibles Price List. Random House, 1986, 2005Kovels Guide to Selling Your Antiques & Collectibles. Three Rivers Press, 1987, 1990Kovels’ American Silver Marks, 1650 to the Present. Random House, 1989Kovels Antiques & Collectibles Fix-It Source Book. Crown, 1990Kovels American Art Pottery. Random House, 1993Kovels Quick Tips: 799 Helpful Hints on How to Care for Your Collectibles. Random House, 1995The Label Made Me Buy It. Crown, 1998Kovels Yellow Pages: A Resource Guide for Collectors. Random House, 1999, 2003Kovels’ Bid, Buy and Sell Online. Random House, 2001Kovels American Antiques, 1750-1900. Random House, 2004Kovels Depression Glass & Dinnerware Price List, 8th edition. Random House, 2004Kovels’ Bottles Price List, 13th Edition. Random House, 2006Kovels American Collectibles, 1900-2000. Random House, 2007Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2010. Black Dog & Leventhal References^ U.S. Patent No. 2,805,162. Filed Oct. 25, 1954. Issued September 1957.^ Fox, Margalit (September 6, 2008). Ralph Kovel, Antiques Writer, Dies at 88. New York Times External official websiteRalph Kovel at the Internet Movie Databasev  d  e Categories: 1920 births | 2008 deaths | American columnists | Antiques experts | Writers from Ohio | People from Cleveland, Ohio | Accidental human deaths in Ohio | People from Shaker Heights, Ohio | United States writer stubsHidden categories: Articles to be merged from September 2009 | All articles to be merged