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tline3open  Shiebler's Floral Flatware, Part 1: Flora - post 7 of 7

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Author Topic:   Shiebler's Floral Flatware, Part 1: Flora - post 7 of 7
Scott Martin
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Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 03-21-2008 10:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is an article that first appeared in Silver Magazine January/February 2008 pages 32-43. This article has been excerpted and reproduce with permission.

The fact that some pieces (primarily teaspoons) are marked "PATENT APPLIED FOR" or "PATENT APL’D FOR" suggests that the pattern was introduced earlier than its patent date of December 17, 1889, as was commonly the case, makers being unlikely to postpone production until after the patent was secured. Shiebler may have introduced only a limited range of pieces initially to test the pattern's acceptance; and when it proved to be popular, other pieces with other motifs were brought out later.

Several different napkin rings with applied flowers in designs related to Flora are known to exist. (28) The exquisite example illustrated in Figure 17 (see below) has an applied circumferential band of pond lilies and leaves along with a fern-like background matching Flora’s motif no. 9. As indicated in the tables, we have observed four shoehorns with different flatware (teaspoon) handles.

How long Flora was produced is unknown. The Shiebler Company declared bankruptcy and ceased operations in 1907. (29) Its equipment and dies were sold to the Gorham Mfg. Company of Providence, RI, and then resold to Hayes & McFarland of Mount Vernon, NY. It is generally believed that prior to the resale, all of the Shiebler flatware dies except those for American Beauty were destroyed; this pattern continued to be made by the Mauser Manufacturing Co. of New York, with which Hayes & McFarland merged.(30) Shiebler himself worked in sales for Gorham in New York until his death in 1920.

    Fig. 17. Napkin ring with fluted borders and decorated with an applied circumferential band of pond lilies, leaves and fern-like background matching motif no. 9 in Shiebler's Flora (collection of Michele Howe). Stamped on a small plaque applied on the inside with "winged S / STERLING / 1861 [model no.?]." Outside diameter 1 3/4 inches; width 1 1/8 inches.

Spatial limitations preclude our inclusion of photographs of all the Flora piece types we have observed. Additional illustrations can be found online under the title of this magazine article at

Look for Part Two of this article in a future Silver Magazine issue.

We are extremely grateful that Robert and Carol Carnighan of Kentucky allowed us to study and photograph their collection of Flora. For their assistance in the preparation of this article, we would also like to thank Shiebler authority Janet Zapata of New Jersey and the following dealers: Antique Cupboard, Inc., Waukesha, WI; Britannia, Chesterfield, MO; Michele’s, Austin, TX; Niederkorn Antiques, Philadelphia, PA; and Sandy Lynch with Replacements, Ltd., Greensboro, NC. Antique Cupboard graciously underwrote the cost of photography for Part One of this article.

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