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Author Topic:   A Date Puzzle
outwest

Posts: 390
Registered: Nov 2005

iconnumber posted 11-10-2005 07:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for outwest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[26-0772]

I have been having great fun going through things.

Here is a cute little tea strainer.

After getting it silver again (it was completely black) I found a partial mark on the back.

I thought it was hopeless, but then I thought I spied a broken S in it. From what I can tell it looks just like Simpson Hall Miller and Co. 1866-1898. This would jibe with the late 1800's Art Nouveau style of it, but here is my dilemma:

    Art Nouveau made a comeback around the 1st world war. Added to that is the fact that Simpson was bought out by International Silver in 1898 and that International continued to use that mark (according to my research). Then there is the problem of the mark C1926. This made me think that if that was a date mark that this could actually be from the 1920's in an Art Nouveau revival style.

The handle is some kind of wood with a copper wire holding it on.

What do you think?

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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4046
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 11-10-2005 07:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is just a design or pattern number.

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outwest

Posts: 390
Registered: Nov 2005

iconnumber posted 11-10-2005 07:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for outwest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh. Then, if it was International Silver's work in the 1900's I wonder if they would have put I.S. or International on such a small item? I know International has a string of numbers after the letter C on other things, but I wonder if Simpson Hall Miller did that, too. I think I need to go to the library again.

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IJP

Posts: 326
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 11-10-2005 07:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for IJP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I never realized that the knight's helm "S" indicated Simpson Hall Miller & Co, but I know the mark to be an International mark, of which there are so many, I haven't ventured any catalog of the various member companies' marks. But I'm fairly certain that it's common to find International pieces marked only with this, or any other of its marks.

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silbernwolf

Posts: 22
Registered: Oct 2005

iconnumber posted 11-10-2005 09:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for silbernwolf     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, it is definitely International and definitely SImpson, Hall, Miller. International was the incorporation of quite a few independent silversmiths in 1898. Simpson, Hall, Miller was one of those original companies that formed International.

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silbernwolf

Posts: 22
Registered: Oct 2005

iconnumber posted 11-10-2005 09:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for silbernwolf     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
as for the number, it could be the catalog number. They published extensive catalogs back then to sell their wares.

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silbernwolf

Posts: 22
Registered: Oct 2005

iconnumber posted 11-10-2005 09:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for silbernwolf     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm sorry that I forgot to mention that SImpson Hall, Miller started out in 1866 being known for their britannia ware. By 1895, they were doing sterling.

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outwest

Posts: 390
Registered: Nov 2005

iconnumber posted 11-10-2005 11:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for outwest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks! I have to assume it is after 1895 then. Which is still right for Art Nouveau. It appears handmade, but maybe they could make all those curvy art nouveau lines with silver in molds by then. Art Deco started around 1920 although I am sure there were overlaps of styles. I wish I could pin it down more.

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 11-10-2005 11:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dates can not be pined down very well. The International Silver Co was an association of companies; they did not buy out SHM. SHM became part of the group. They divied up the market, while each member produced under their own marks. It seems to me that a better description of IS is that it was a marketing cartel or trust.

One, just one, of the dating problems is that the mark was part of the die. The die could not be used without using the mark. We had a thread here about a tea ball with an obscure IS mark sometime ago. The tea ball looked very art nouveau, air, but could have been made in the 1980's.

All style tells you is starting date. With the tea strainer we could say: not before 1890. Since tea things come in and out of fashion with tea drinking trends not silver trends, there is no real reason why a company can't just start making an old design. The demand for tea strainers is part of the demand for tea. And tea drinkers probably are not all that style conscious about strainers. They want a pretty one.

Yours is a very nice one. The handle looks to be very good, which makes me suspect it is a later peice. The 1926 most likely is a part number. The C I suspect is a size measure.

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FWG

Posts: 845
Registered: Aug 2005

iconnumber posted 11-11-2005 10:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FWG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The copper wire is also clearly an add-on, most likely to help secure the later added/replaced handle.

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outwest

Posts: 390
Registered: Nov 2005

iconnumber posted 11-11-2005 11:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for outwest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually, the handle itself is in good shape, but it is loose on the strainer. It doesn't look to be an add on. I'm pretty darned sure it came with the strainer. You could be very right about it being 1920's, though. The person it came from had an art deco tea set (clearly made by International) and with that tea set was a miniature art deco tea strainer (it's very cute). That is why I thought maybe this art nouveau strainer was from another person in the family and maybe 20 years earlier.

We will never know. I just think it's fun to have an Art Nouveau object and this strainer has all the traditionally seen art nouveau elements: curvy lines, flowers, feelings of water.

You know, there is an awful lot to be learned from a hunk of silver!

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 11-11-2005 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In my experience, most of the silver market is uninterested in design or style. What it concentrates on are three influences: mother, grandmother, motherinlaw. The typical buyer come up to a booth with a fork. She says, this was my grandmother's pattern. I would like more.

Now, it may be a really low grade of silver. It may be flimsy and thin. The lady will say then, well she was a very poor woman; this was the best she could afford. I can never see this pattern without remembering her. I want more. I want to make a set of it to pass down to my grandchildren.

The silver market, IMHO, is very much driven by sentiment and memory. What we regard as low quality is frequently seen as grandma's doing her very best in trying circumstances. Which is why I feel it is not a good practice to play grading games.

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