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Our visit to

Old Newbury Crafters

Amesbury, Massachusetts
April 22, 2002
page 4

The only concession to "modern" machinery is a foot drop press made in Buffalo in the mid 1800's that is used to stamp out bowls and tines as well as certain pattern flourishes. In the case of the Oakleaf pattern spoon that Mr. Blake was making, this press is used to stamp the oakleaf at the end of the handle.

OakLeaf Die Stamp
Oak Leaf Die Stamp

Some of the other dies used include the various shell bowls for ladles.

Each piece of flatware is hand finished with the silversmith making sure that handle necks are bent to the correct angle, that any rough edges are removed, that the piece is properly polished and that his personal silversmith's mark is applied along with the Handwrought O.N.C. sterling stamps. It takes about half an hour to produce a simple plain teaspoon. Old Newbury Crafters produces about 300 flatware sets each year. The company currently offers twenty eight flatware patterns. The nature of handcrafting allows Old Newbury Crafters to offer an almost limitless flexibility in product offerings. Not only can they combine pattern design elements, but they offer numerous options within each pattern such as different bowls, different handles, different handle lengths. They can also custom design pieces.

Mr. Blake told us about a commission they did for a member of the Ingersoll family of Ingersoll-Rand. The commission involved producing a 32 place setting flatware service with the family crest that required a special die to be made. Interestingly, Mr. Blake explained the limits imposed by today's electrostatic cut dies as compared to hand cut dies of earlier times. The modern techniques are not delicate enough to simulate some of the nuances of hand hammering. He also explained that some designs require modification. For example, the original design of the Ingersoll crest had a profusion of ribbons that had to be simplified to accommodate the available surface area.

Ingersoll die stamp
Ingersoll die stamp

And as for the two pieces that we brought with us for identification? Mr. Blake was most helpful. He was able to confirm one piece as Moulton. The other was identified as Pointed Antique, a variation of Panel Antique that was introduced just after 1955 but never produced in large quantity. Mr. Blake confirmed with Roger Rowell, a retired ONC silversmith that upon its introduction Pointed Antique invoked little interest in the market because at that time tastes were changing to more modern style designs.

Pointed Antique, Pointed Antique form, Panel Anique form

Roger Rowell

We thank Geoffrey Blake and Charlene Morin for their hospitality and wealth of knowledge. Old Newbury Crafters is producing some of the most desirable handwrought silver being made today. We encourage you to take a closer look at their product offerings at the ONC website and consider including a bit of the ONC magic in your lifestyle.

Scott & June Martin
April 22, 2002

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