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Author Topic:   Interesting Gorham Piece
Richard Kurtzman
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iconnumber posted 11-09-2007 11:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Kurtzman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is an interesting Gorham gilt sterling and ivory sifter dating from probably the 1870's. The handle is identical to that of the Angelo pattern except that it is ivory and not silver. It measures about 8" long. Has anyone seen this before?






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Brent

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iconnumber posted 11-09-2007 11:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very cool piece! I imagine it was part of a boxed fruit set at one time, probably with a matching berry spoon. I have never seen an ivory version of Angelo, but have seen other Gorham pieces from the same period, otherwise identical, with both ivory and hollow silver handles. I guess it was something that could be ordered etiher way.

Thanks for sharing,

Brent

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June Martin
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iconnumber posted 01-27-2008 04:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for June Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi, Richard. The shape of the bowl I find unusual. The nautical motif makes me think it was intended as a serving piece for some kind of seafood. Oysters or something?

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Richard Kurtzman
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iconnumber posted 01-28-2008 07:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Kurtzman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
June, I believe that it's a sugar sifter and that the nautical motif is purely decorative.

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Ulysses Dietz
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iconnumber posted 01-30-2008 09:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree that it's probably a sifter, and the idea that it was part of a boxed set makes sense. The nautical motif being a red herring (tee-hee) makes sense, too. Back in 1989 when we purchased a pristine oyster shaped dish and its spoon, it was only the survival of the original box with the period label: ALMOND DISH AND SPOON that clarified what it was for. Those Victorians were so cute!

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Polly

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iconnumber posted 01-30-2008 10:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
THAT is for almonds? Crazy!

How would the Victorians shop for something like that? Would they go into a jeweler's shop and say to the guy behind the counter, "I'm looking for an oyster-shaped almond dish," and he would answer, "I have just the thing for you" and bring it out?

Would they say, "I need to buy a wedding gift for my grandniece," and he would say, "What about this nice oyster-shaped almond dish"?

Would the goods be displayed in cases, and the customer would say, "I'd like that oyster dish, please," and the jeweler would go get the boxed one down from a shelf in the back room?

Would the jeweler show them a catalogue and order what they chose from it?

Did the almond dish/ sugar sifter/ whatever come from the manufacturer in a box, or did the retailer supply the box?

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Ulysses Dietz
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iconnumber posted 01-31-2008 06:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes

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Ulysses Dietz
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iconnumber posted 01-31-2008 06:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just kidding. I mean, all of the above. I don't think the fact that it was shaped like an oyster registered--novelty was novelty. The box has beautiful japanesque silk on it, and white silk lining--the lid inside is stamped in gold for Kirkpatrick in NY--a major upscale retailer in the 1880s and into the 1920s. I would imagine Gorham made the boxes and stamped the retailer's name (wherever that might be in the USA) on the lid. The retailing of such "gift sets" was a huge new marketing device--although I don't know when it starts. For this kind of novelty silver, probably in the late 1870s. The "wedding gift for my niece" is probably the right scenario. I believe they would have bought them right off the shelf in bigger cities, and perhaps ordered them from catalogues in small towns or in far-away places. Only problem with this theory is where are all the catalogues--burned and gone?

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Richard Kurtzman
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iconnumber posted 01-31-2008 07:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Kurtzman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gorham had a whole department devoted to nothing but the making of boxes.
To quote from Venable's SILVER IN AMERICA: "In 1892 it was reported that Gorham employed more than 100 male and female workers to produce the 100,000 boxes it required that year."

As far as where are all the catalogs, they are out there. One just has to look.


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