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Author Topic:   Durgin Renaissance
Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 03-07-2007 08:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One of my favorite Durgin patterns is the relatively obscure "Renaissance" design which I believe dates to about 1875. This multi-motif pattern is a Renaissance Revival design. The three examples below (small lettuce? fork, lunch fork, and cream soup spoon) depict two different gargoyles and a dolphin.

I also have a cheese scoop which looks very similar to Renaissance, yet the decoration is acid-etched rather than die-struck. I wonder if this was a custom design, simply a variation of Renaissance, or something like a prototype.

All of the pieces are marked with the Durgin bird trademark.

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June Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 1223
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 03-07-2007 10:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for June Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, Paul, that is one fabulous cheese scoop!!

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rian

Posts: 169
Registered: Jan 2006

iconnumber posted 03-08-2007 07:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for rian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you, Paul. Those are amazing! I'm excited to see a pattern that I've never seen before. The earliest Durgin I have is the ubiquitous strawberry. All of them marked patent pure coin have the names of different retailers and a couple marked patent sterling read WM.B.DURGIN --no other marks.
When did the bird in wreath first appear?

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 03-08-2007 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't know if anybody knows for certain when the bird mark first appeared. My own guess would be around the early 1870s. This is just based on pieces I have handled. And I think the "D" mark came in to replace the bird around 1886-1888. This is based on 1) the fact that I once had a piece with a D mark that was inscribed 1888, and 2) the "Scroll" pattern was allegedly patented in 1886, and I have seen the bird mark and the D mark on this pattern. Therefore, if we believe the 1886 date for the Scroll pattern, then the bird mark was in use until at least 1886, but had been replaced by 1888.

Durgin's work before the bird mark seems to have been stamped WM B DURGIN or had no mark at all. Interestingly, my Renaissance lunch fork is stamped with the bird and the "WM B. DURGIN" mark. Perhaps this piece was made just as he acquired the new mark.

As for your Strawberry pieces, there is a reference somewhere (I think it's Turner) that lists the pattern's date of introduction as 1874. However, I completely disagree with this date and feel that Strawberry is actually circa 1860-1865.

[This message has been edited by Paul Lemieux (edited 03-08-2007).]

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doc

Posts: 712
Registered: Jul 2003

iconnumber posted 03-09-2007 06:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for doc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
These are wonderful-I've never seen the pattern either. Thank you for showing them!

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blakstone

Posts: 493
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 03-10-2007 05:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blakstone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have to concur; these are great! I don't usually go for American patterns (nothing against them - and I do have my favorites - but everyone here knows it's just not my forte) but this is something quite special. Thanks for sharing them.

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Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 03-11-2007 04:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A few bits to add:

I have seen three or four pieces of RENAISSANCE in the past year or two, all serving pieces and all with the same monster as on your cream soup. I guess I did not realize that it was a multi-motif pattern, though it makes sense that it would be. It is very scarce, regardless! We currently have a cheese scoop with the actual die-struck pattern, and it is the same as the one on the cream soup.

As for Durgin marks, they did actually have another very early mark that I have only seens on pieces of STRAWBERRY. It is basically a 925 in a shield, though I'm afraid I do not have a picture handy. It probably predates the bird, and was clearly not used for very long.

Finally, the pattern know as Whiting's ARMOR, which I have long suspected to have been made by someone else prior to Whiting, was in fact produced by Durgin, in coin silver. I still suspect that another New York maker may have produced a version, but Durgin did make ARMOR.

Brent

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rian

Posts: 169
Registered: Jan 2006

iconnumber posted 03-11-2007 08:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Brent, I have a mixed set of spoons in Armor, some Whiting and some, which are of better quality, unmarked. I was told that the earlier version was made by Wendt. Is this a possibility?

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Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 03-13-2007 08:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A. Skinner was a Boston area retailer, and the one piece I have seen with a distinctively Durgin business end was also marked by A. Skinner. I think it is safe to say that ARMOR pieces marked A. Skinner / Pure Coin are by Durgin.

That said, I have and have seen pieces of ARMOR marked 925, and I believe 925 PATENT in one case. At one point I hypothesiszed that these pieces may have been made by Wendt; perhaps the information you received came from me the long way around. At any rate, I think there is a good chance that Wendt or some other New York maker made a version of this pattern.

I have some ARMOR nut picks with the 925 mark and the retailer's mark "B&S". This stands for Beggs & Smith of Cincinnati, Ohio. I have seen other pieces of early NYC flatware with their stamp as well, like "Knot". Many "frontier" retailers seem to have been loyal to one wholesale producer; as such, it seems likely that these nut picks were also produced in NYC, but by whom remains to be proven. Most early Durgin flatware, on the other hand, seems to have been retailed on the East Coast.

If anyone has eveidence to the contrary, I'd love to hear it! I've been poking at this mystery for some time.

Brent

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rian

Posts: 169
Registered: Jan 2006

iconnumber posted 03-13-2007 12:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Brent and Paul, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Durgin patterns and for your responses to my questions. I'm so happy to have more pieces of the puzzle!

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 03-13-2007 11:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another mark that I associate with Durgin is the "PAT. APD. FOR" mark shown below.

A lot of makers used some form of mark with the word "patent," but I am 100% sure that the particular one I have shown can be used to attribute a piece to Durgin. For example, I have had it on signed examples of Durgin's "Hindostanee" style pattern.

The pieces I currently have it on are a couple of cat-tail pattern items from about 1880. Aside from the PAT. APD. FOR mark, the cat-tail motif pie fork can also be attributed to Durgin via the very distinctive functional end style, which I have seen several times on signed pieces in other patterns. The fork and salt spoon are both marked STERLING PAT. APD. FOR with no maker/retailer marks. The two cream ladles are completely unmarked.

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Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 04-26-2007 07:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Here is one of the ARMOR nut picks with the 925 mark. It does not appear to be the same 925 stamp used by Wendt. It does resemble on used by Gale, though. I don't think it is a Durgin mark.

On reflection, Whiting must have obtained a version of the ARMOR pattern from some source. It is unlikely that it came from Durgin, so it seems reasonable that it was acquired from another old company. The question is which one!

Brent

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