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tline3open  Open Salts; Identity of "Maker".

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Author Topic:   Open Salts; Identity of "Maker".
dreated

Posts: 6
Registered: Sep 2006

iconnumber posted 09-02-2006 09:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dreated     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[26-1188]

I collect open solid silver salts. Recently I purchased a pair of what I would describe as round compressed cauldron form on tripod legs terminating in marine shell "hooves". I would further describe the style as english georgian.

Impressed on the underside of each salt is the name E.T. ST.JOHN in an arc directly above the word HARTFORD. Also impressed on the bottom is the word STERLING directly above the impressed number 1727. I assumed these salts were of American origin, but all efforts to identify an E.T. St.John of Hartford CT or elsewhere in the USA have failed. Could someone help me please? Thank you.

dreated

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vathek

Posts: 962
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 09-03-2006 07:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a thought, but the mark may be that of a retailer, not a maker.

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dreated

Posts: 6
Registered: Sep 2006

iconnumber posted 09-03-2006 09:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dreated     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have wondered if in fact the E.T. ST. JOHN mark was that of a retailer, and following this up have consulted with the reference people at the Hartford CT public library. After a fairly wide search of city directories and the like they came up with nothing. I still think the retailer notion is a good one. Thanks

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FWG

Posts: 845
Registered: Aug 2005

iconnumber posted 09-03-2006 09:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FWG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think you have two options: someone in St. John, Nova Scotia or New Brunswick (in which case the Hartford reference seems unclear), or as you suggest someone in Hartford, Connecticut (or elsewhere).

I checked Mackay's Silversmiths and Related Craftsmen of the Atlantic Provinces and didn't find anyone who might have had an ET mark. But perhaps they're from someone later than MacKay covered? The shell-shaped feet would certainly fit with the Maritimes.

Kovels lists three silversmiths named St. John in the US, but one was Macon Georgia (1830s-40s), and the other two were what I think of as eastern New York but in NYC would be upstate: C. G. St. John in Saratoga Spring (c.1834) and Gould St. John in Sing Sing (c.1817). Going back to their source, Cutten's work on NYS, CG was a jeweler, and Gould a silversmith. But these dates seem a bit early for what you describe to be from this area, and I don't know of evidence of St. John working in holloware - and this still would leave the Hartford unexplained. Rainwater does not list a silver manufacturer named St. John.

It seems to me a real long-shot, but perhaps Scottish or Irish provincial? Dorothea can probably rule that out in an instant.

As repeatedly noted in the forums, pictures of the marks and pieces would really help. Not only do they make identification infinitely easier, but we all get a certain pleasure from seeing silver pieces so it both makes a response more likely and gives us a modest reward for our efforts.

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swarter
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Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 09-03-2006 12:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With a STERLIMG stamp and what might be a pattern number, this could well be a 20th Century piece in an earlier style. One cannot be certain whether all the elements in the description of the mark are even related. And Connecticut is not the only state with a Hartford, either, although none of the others seem likely. As we have repeatedly stressed, photographs are necessary - without them, anything else is merely speculation, and could well be misleading.

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dreated

Posts: 6
Registered: Sep 2006

iconnumber posted 09-03-2006 12:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dreated     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks to all those responding. About the lack of photos, I must say that I'm sorry but at this point I simply don't know how to include them. I know a bit about silver but less about computers! Handling photos is high on my list of things I must learn.
Again thanks. We will solve this one (I hope).

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swarter
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Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 09-03-2006 01:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Once you have a photograph, posting it is not hard.

We do not ordinarily post photos for contributors, but in view of the interest shown in this so far, if you cannot take digital photos yourself, but know someone who can do it for you, you can email them to one of the moderators through the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of the page, or through the moderator links under the Forum descriptions, and we will see that one or more are posted for you.

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wev
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Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 09-03-2006 04:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

It is undoubtedly Hartford CT and St. John was a retailer, though I have found no likely candidates in my city directories or census records. It appears to be a good quality reproduction of an old form, so could have been made well into the 20th century.

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dreated

Posts: 6
Registered: Sep 2006

iconnumber posted 09-03-2006 08:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dreated     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks WEV! Your posted photos are certainly those of my recently purchased salts. So St. John does seem to be a Hartford CT retailer. Still leaves the question of who was the manufacturer and/or silversmith. We are getting places, and I hope for an answer.
Will bone up on photo posting. Its about time I did.

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 09-03-2006 09:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
E J St John could also have been a wholesale distributor or the name of a line of products. It could also not have been part of a silver line, but rather an accent or special offering with some other kind of product. Like, maybe, salt. Or, the glass may be the clue: this was offered by a glass company in their St John pattern of glass, with a silver holder.

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dreated

Posts: 6
Registered: Sep 2006

iconnumber posted 09-14-2006 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dreated     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello WEV and all!
I would like to tell WEV that I think he is bang on when crediting the E T St John Hartford mark on my salts to a mid 20th century retailer. I have been corresponding with the reference people at the Hartford CT Public Library and find them courteous, competent and (most important) tenacious! My latest email is from Brenda J. Miller, Manager of their Hartford History Center. Brenda has found, in the greater Hartford Directory 1948-49, a listing for a Mrs Eleanor T. St, John "who worked with silver antiques". Her antique business was at 8 Trumbell St. , Hartford CT.

So it looks as if it is MRS E.T. St. John who has put her brand on my salts in the mid 20th century! Can't say that I think much of such practice IF it is struck on an older piece and not at the time of first retailing. And of course this still leaves me with the question: who was the maker? As the mystery unfolds (?) I will keep the forum posted.

Thanks to all: dreated

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agleopar

Posts: 847
Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 09-14-2006 08:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Your maker was most likely a production factory, using old or new chucks and dies, perhaps on this side of the pond but just as easily London, Italy or ???
This style of salt has been made for so long and so often it will be hard to pin it down... of course if Mrs. Eleanor T St. John was the daghter of a London smith you might get lucky.

It is not an older work, it was made for the trade. Good luck.

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Kimo

Posts: 1597
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 09-15-2006 02:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If it was retailed by Mrs. St. John in the late 1940s or 1950s my guess is she did not place this marking on an old piece of silver but far more likely was in the business of having modern reproductions made "in the style of" an old salt cellar she may have had in her personal collection and was marketing them as nice reproductions.

[This message has been edited by Kimo (edited 09-15-2006).]

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 09-15-2006 11:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Excellent points Kimo. There are lots of old reproductions around that have had the time to accumlate some patina. Which confuses us.

It would be an interesting project to begin to chart what was reproduced when. This has been somewhat accomplished with 18th century furniture. Have never really seen anything on silver.

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