Tulsa Antiques Restorer Tells Why They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Thursday, February 10th 2011, 2:16 pm
By: News On 6

Rich Lenz, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa is a city that cherishes and maintains its past, from our incredible art deco architecture to our great museums. There's no doubt, Tulsans recognize quality from yesteryear when they see it.

That's true especially for Tony Brown, who owns and operates a very successful business, Antique Restorations. There he handles the works of artisans long gone, their craftsmanship never to be duplicated. The art is knowing if what you're looking at is "the real thing."

"It has patina. It has character. It has old wood in it and everything, but actually it's a marriage of other pieces. The trained eye will spot this," said restorer Tony Brown.

Brown has been spotting, picking, restoring and selling antiques since 1972. Selling them sometimes for 10, 15, or 20 times what he originally paid for them.

"Whenever the economy is good, people do remodels and they add on and stuff - and whenever it's bad, they fix things," he said.

You can see examples of Tony's work at McNellie's, The Brady Tavern, and before that, TGI Fridays and Bennigans. He often acquires pieces based on what he sees and what he hears.

"If that piece could talk and tell all the things it's been through then, it would be amazing. The only way it can talk is through its patina, its character," he said.

What these relics of a bygone era say loud and clear – even if they're a bit dusty – is "they can't make ‘em like they used to."

"The new wood today has been compromised by all of the smog in the air," Brown said. "That's why oak today doesn't look like oak 150 years ago. It does make a big difference.

"Also we don't cut lumber they way they used to cut it a long time ago. So, it may seem like a lot of junk to people, it may even look like I'm a hoarder, but I can come in here and I know what I need," he said.

Tony knows what he is looking for - but how about you? Would you be able to tell if you had some hidden treasures tucked away in your attic?

We'd like to put you to the test! Friday in the 6 a.m. hour of Six in the Morning. We're going to show you three pictures of three different antiques from Tony's shop. We want you to try and guess which one is the most valuable and the least valuable.

In our 7 a.m. hour, Tony will join us live in studio with those antiques - and reveal the answers! With the "Antiques Roadshow" program returning to Tulsa later this year, it will be good practice too!