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tlineopen  Silver Ephemera & Documentation
tline3open  Steele & Hocknell / Wheeler & Brooks

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Author Topic:   Steele & Hocknell / Wheeler & Brooks

Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 12-21-2007 11:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

While it is not the full box of ephemera I was greedily hoping to find under the tree, I did recently acquired a very tasty letter that clears up a few open questions. It is an 1834 printed price list and note from the wholesale manufacturers Steele & Hocknell of Rochester to the jewelers and merchants Wheeler & Brooks of Livonia NY. As noted in a previous post (a couple of mystery marks), McGrew has identified the latter firm as manufacturers, marking their product with a bust/W/star pseudo-hallmark. While the mark attribution may hold, the assumption that they were makers is incorrect.

Darling's New York does not list the firm of Steele & Hocknell, but does show a mark for Wheeler & Brooks, which includes an unidentified S & H, which can now be confirmed as the wholesale mark of the former firm. Has anyone seen it in conjunction with other retailer's marks?

Rather than post a picture of the sheet, I have done a transcription. It shows a very full range of goods, including syllabub ladles, offered in a variety of weights and forms. I am not quite sure what "double shouldered" is meant to indicate. There is a manuscript note on the back letting Mr. Brooks know that his order of spoons will soon be ready.

All in all, I think this piece approaches important document status. While my brain is no where near encyclopedic, I like to believe I have a fair knowledge of silver history and I have never seen a similar piece nor a reference to one. Has anyone else?

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Scott Martin
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Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 12-21-2007 01:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
WEV this is great research. Thanks so much for sharing. Between now an new years I will try to get the coin silver out of storage to see if anything turns up.

To salute your extraordinary efforts, I was going to suggest we raise a glass of Syllabub. But after looking up the recipe I am thinking I couldn’t handle it. So tonight we will open a bottle of wine and raise a glass to honor your good works. Thank you.

From 1869 Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management



INGREDIENTS.— 1 pint of sherry or white wine, ½ grated nutmeg.
sugar to taste, 1 ½ pint of milk.

Mode.- Put the wine into a bowl, with the grated nutmeg and plenty of pounded sugar and milk into the above proportion of milk frothed up. Clouted cream may be laid on the lop, with pounded cinnamon or nutmeg and sugar; and a little brandy may be added to the wine before the milk is put in. In some counties, cider is substituted for the wine; when this is used, brandy must always be added. Warm milk may be poured on from a spouted jug or teapot; but it must be held very high.
Average cost, 2s.
Sufficient for 3 or 6 persons. Seasonable at any time.

Found on the Internet

[<gone from the internet>] Diana Serbe
Syllabub or Sillabub

"In that part of the western division of England which is commonly called Somersetshire, there lived a gentleman whose name was Someworthy. It was the middle of May, and the morning was remarkably serene, when Mr. Someworthy walked forth on the terrace, where the dawn opened. Mr. Someworthy raised his arms and declared, "I want syllabub. Where is that foundling I adopted? Where is that slatternly milkmaid? Where is my cook?"

Heeding the call for syllabub, the cook ran from the kitchen carrying sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. The foundling, Tom, a lad of an ingenuous countenance, and the oh-so-buxom milkmaid, Molly, appeared together, running from the direction of the barn. Both were flush of complexion, and both had unlaced outer garments. Bits of straw stuck to their clothing and tangled in their hair."

(Dear reader, it is obvious that Tom and Molly had been in the hayloft engaged in a ritual more ancient than making syllabub. Though I am tempted to digress to the complex topic of morality in Olde England, I shall avoid any discussion of the salacious. I know your only concern is to discover syllabub, and our Mr. Someworthy's demand must be met.)

"Upon hearing Mr. Someworthy's desire, nimble-footed Tom immediately fetched a bowl, placed it in front of Mr. Someworthy and filled it to the halfway mark with ale. The cook rushed to mix in sugar and spices. Molly, now perceiving the weakness of which she had been guilty, hastened to the the barn and led out one of Mr. Someworthy's fine, milk-giving Guernseys.

Molly brought the cow directly to the bowl of ale. She could not forbear giving the cow a hearty kiss, then reached to grasp one swollen udder. With as great raptures as she had experienced in the barn, she fell to squeezing the udder. A stream of warm fresh milk shot directly into the bowl causing Molly to cry out, “O, the dear creature!—The dear, sweet, pretty creature!"

When the bowl was full of frothy milk, Molly stood and took a cover from the cook. Bending, she placed the cover on the bowl which would sit for one hour before drinking. Mr. Someworthy smiled broadly as Molly bent, his smile elicited by the perfection of the syllabub, the natural sweetness of Molly's countenance, and the revelation of that which lay under her unlaced bodice."

* * *

Though this account of syllabub in the making may seem to resemble fiction, the details accurately record the earliest methods. In the hour or two that the syllabub was set aside, a curd formed over the ale. With the possible addition of a layer of cream on top, the syllabub was ready to drink. The solids that formed on top of a syllabub were eaten with a spoon, the wine at the bottom drunk.

There was a second, more citified kind of syllabub, one that probably reflected class distinction, as well as evolving techniques. Though Mr. Someworthy used ale or cider, the citified version would have used an alcohol called sack. Also referred to as Sere (or to Shakespeare sherri-seres - click to see what Shakespeare has to say), this intoxicant came from Jerez, and developed into the famed sherry wine of Spain. Cream replaced milk, and with no cow at hand, the cream was spooned with vigor into the wine. Sometimes it was whipped to a froth with a birch whisk, a task surely performed only in upper-class houses that had a kitchen staff more industrious that Mr. Someworthy's country milkmaid.

Like its country cousin, it was served in a glass, and in due time a special syllabub glass was designed. This glass had a spout located at the bottom of the glass so the wine could be sipped without the clotted milk.

At some point the discovery was made that a syllabub stayed firmer when the proportion of wine to milk was reduced, and the two didn't separate. This syllabub was called an 'everlasting syllabub' for its powers of endurance. Cookbook authors of the day laid claims to having a recipe for syllabub that would last the longest. This was an early way to market cookbooks, giving evidence that hype is another of our ancient rituals.

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Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 12-21-2007 06:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is a truly amazing document.
The basket, heels and tips, shells, and chased claws for decorations on the pieces are especially interesting. Bravo!

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Posts: 1626
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 05-05-2009 01:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
George Hocknell was born about 1812 in New York and is listed in the U S Federal Census for Seneca Falls, New York from 1840 through 1870. In 1850 and 1860 he is listed as a silversmith, and in 1870 he is listed and an assistant assessor.

He is listed in the New York Census for 1860 at 3 W Seneca Falls, Seneca County, New York.

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