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tline3open  Help Identifying a Gorham piece (not flatware)

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Author Topic:   Help Identifying a Gorham piece (not flatware)
JanetB

Posts: 11
Registered: Mar 2005

iconnumber posted 03-13-2005 10:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JanetB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Greetings,

My mother showed me a curious item and asked if I knew what it was. I don't have a picture yet, so here's the best description I can give.

It looks like a two-tiered candy or hors d'oeuvre serving piece, except for two main things: the bottom level is smaller in circumference than the top level. The bottom one is flat, whereas the top one is curved, like a }. (A right facing bracket if you rotate it 90 degrees left.) So it doesn't look like a food serving piece. It has a base, like a stem for a candy dish. It has a pineapple at the top. The whole thing is about 6 inches high. The design is what I'd call "lacey". It almost looks like there are spoon handles in a daisy type formation, but not decorative handles. Each "handle" is joined to another with a curvey decoration, and there are holes everywhere. The top level pattern is the same as the bottom, except is has a 1/2 to 1 inch border decoration, which makes it larger. It's also heavy!!

My initial thought is that it could be some sort of holder for thin, round things (like a pen), that would go through the holes. It has the look of a serving piece, but the top level is not practical for that.

I've looked at about 400 Gorham images through google and can't find it!! Any ideas, or an on-line catalog of some sort I can look through? I believe it belonged to my great-grandmother, which would put it in the mid to late 1800's. It's certainly not anything I've ever seen!!

Many thanks,
JB

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 03-14-2005 12:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This sounds like a flower frog. It was meant to fit into a vase. The hole are to arrange flowers. The cut flower goes through the hole and rests against the bottom. Flower frogs are difficult to find in catalogs. The focus is usually on the vase they go into. Not the frog. A picture would help.

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JanetB

Posts: 11
Registered: Mar 2005

iconnumber posted 03-14-2005 10:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JanetB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dale,
Thanks for the idea. I considered that, but didn't think anyone would put silver (and maybe/probably it's silver plated) in water!

I'll work on getting that photo. I looked at some "flower frogs" online, and I think it's a possibility.

JB

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 03-14-2005 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My mother was a flower frog collector. She had a few silverplate ones, not many. They apparently did not hold up well from immersion in water. The frogs from International Silver have some documentation. The rest of the silver ones tend to be unknown. There is always the possibility that yours is a commercial piece meant for hotels and restaurants. About which there is virtually no research. Thanks for responding.

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JanetB

Posts: 11
Registered: Mar 2005

iconnumber posted 03-15-2005 10:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JanetB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ok, I was able to get someone to go to my folks' and take a few pictures. It's silver plate.

Let me know what you think? Still a flower frog?

JB



Janet

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 03-15-2005 01:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Definitely a flower frog. There was probably a vase, or series of vases it fit into. With slightly varied decorations to harmonise with each one. This could also sit in a shallow glass or ceramic bowl. Try arranging some flowers with it and see.

Don't know what else it could be.

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Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11202
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 03-15-2005 02:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I do think Dale is correct about it being an assist for flower arranging (aka a frog).

Nevertheless, I can't help thinking it could also be used in a buffet for celery and carrots. wink

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JanetB

Posts: 11
Registered: Mar 2005

iconnumber posted 03-15-2005 06:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JanetB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dale & Scott,

Many thanks for helping with this mystery (though I confess my mother suspected it might be something for flowers; she had just not seen anything so elaborate before).

She was also amazed when I told her I'd been to a forum. "How on earth did you know where to go?" ;-)

She'll appreciate the carrots & celery idea.

JB

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t-man-nc

Posts: 327
Registered: Mar 2000

iconnumber posted 03-16-2005 07:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for t-man-nc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Isn't this a Art Deco 1920 -1930 Pencil/Pen Holder or desk organizer?

I seem to remeber seeing these when I was young.

"Smaug"

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JanetB

Posts: 11
Registered: Mar 2005

iconnumber posted 03-16-2005 09:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JanetB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That was my original thought... but the inside/lower level is smaller. Any way to confirm this? Short of writing a letter to Gorham, which wouldn't take too much effort. Has anyone tried that kind of thing with success (e.g. do they eventually reply?)

J.

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jersey

Posts: 1202
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 03-16-2005 02:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Janet. What are the exact hallmarks on the Gorham piece, are there any numbers? Jersey

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JanetB

Posts: 11
Registered: Mar 2005

iconnumber posted 03-16-2005 05:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JanetB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jersey,

This is what I'm told is on the underside:

The word Gorham
Probably a trademark symbol--it looks like an anchor with a circle around it (although the circle has little points or teeny triangles on it, like a mini-sunshine
Next two letters: E P
Then a Y576

Underneath that is a symbol of question possibly a fish or... a dirigible :-)

Janet

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jersey

Posts: 1202
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 03-16-2005 06:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi again Janet! According to the book Gorham Silver by Charles H. Carpenter jr. 1997 revised, page 235 the date for that mark would be 1882. The prefix Y is for copper.
The EP usually means electroplated, (in essence silverplated).
I'd be guessing but the other numbers would proably be the pattern or model number. Hope this helps in trying another search. Jersey

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jersey

Posts: 1202
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 03-16-2005 06:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Me again Janet, found out something else I forgot to tell you. (Hope I don't confuse you more) but one of the date symbols in 1912 is a fish, however in 1929 they used a dirigable (zepplin)....NOT as in LED (KIDDING)! Jersey

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jersey

Posts: 1202
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 03-16-2005 09:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Me again! The Gorham mark with with the "mini" sunshine is in the 1920's. I stand corrected it is not the 1800's. So that would correspond with the dirigible. Also the Y mark being a copper base metal with the silver electroplate over it. Jersey

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JanetB

Posts: 11
Registered: Mar 2005

iconnumber posted 03-16-2005 10:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JanetB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow! That's great Jersey. I'm finding all this rather interesting! (I wonder if a similar site exists for the Limoges we're trying to identify too.)

So what would be my next step to determine if it's really an elaborate pen holder or a flower frog? Is Gorham inundated with mail like this all the time? Or is there a particular catalog or book I should look in? I have a contact who works in the Library of Congress........

J.

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jersey

Posts: 1202
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 03-16-2005 11:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Janet! You could ask your friend if there any any Gorham catalogues. Ck out Brown U. in RI. I would certainly try to call or write to Gorham as well.

Re the Limoges, I don't know if there are similar forums (ck search engines). You need to know the marks first, there are many books that cover pottery & porcelain marks. Again ck you search engines or local library. There are many books on the subject try your local library and if they don't have anything ask for an inter-library loan request. Also a good book store.

Please let us know if you find out what the Gorham piece is. Good luck! Jersey

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Kimo

Posts: 1577
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 03-17-2005 12:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would not think that it was intended as a pen holder - I have a modest collection of fountain pens from that era (they are both beautiful to behold and fun to actually use) and they would not easily fit or be held by your flower frog, though I suppose there might have been one or two people who might have tried to put one of these to that use. The slots are too irregular and rough and there is no support at the bottom for the ends of the pens to rest on. Pen holders of that era were a long, narrow, shallow trays made of glass, ceramic, silver or onyx. Sometimes pen holders were stand alone trays and sometimes they were integral to inkwell stands. Another kind of pen holder was a decorative base with one or two celluloid or metal sockets into which you would insert the end of a pen.

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 03-17-2005 10:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As someone just old enough to remember ink pens as a common article of daily life, my recollection is that pens were always stored horizontally, not vertically. The leaking pen in the shirt pocket was a fact of ordinary life. Pens were much less likely to leak when they were stored on their sides.

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t-man-nc

Posts: 327
Registered: Mar 2000

iconnumber posted 03-18-2005 04:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for t-man-nc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dale,

Go back just a little further ... not all pens had internal storage of the ink, and the pencil was the utensil of choice, cheap and if damaged simply sharpen... Smile...

"Smaug"

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jersey

Posts: 1202
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 03-18-2005 05:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Janet, Can you look at the open work pieces all over carefully (underneath & on top) with a magnifying glass to see if they contain any kind of marks too. Also, do they appear to be just as silvery as the stand. Jersey

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JanetB

Posts: 11
Registered: Mar 2005

iconnumber posted 03-18-2005 10:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JanetB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sorry to take so long to reply--I've been out of town. Thank you all for your comments, and Jersey, I'll see what else we can find out. A little polish first might help.

(If I had mini-Easter eggs, I'd consider suspending them from the outside/top level eek )

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JanetB

Posts: 11
Registered: Mar 2005

iconnumber posted 03-23-2005 06:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JanetB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just to wrap up that last question, there are no other markings on the underside of either "tier"... only on the base.

On to the library/catalogues!

JB

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jersey

Posts: 1202
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 03-23-2005 10:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Janet! Thanks, the reason I asked was relating to the pieces on the tiers, they look like lids to tureens or serving pieces & I thought perhaps that's what the piece was meant to do hold lids. If true the "lids" might have different markings. Bon Chance with your search. Jersey.

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jersey

Posts: 1202
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 03-23-2005 10:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Janet, my VERY LAST thought. A Spoon holder! Jersey

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