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tline3open  Porter Blanchard at Gumps

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Author Topic:   Porter Blanchard at Gumps
vathek

Posts: 962
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 01-19-2010 12:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone know what years Blanchard worked for Gumps? thanks

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middletom

Posts: 467
Registered: May 2004

iconnumber posted 01-20-2010 06:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for middletom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was not aware that Porter Blachard ever worked for Gump's. As the story was told to me, he moved out to California and set up his own shop. He did sell silver to or through Gump's, but I could be mistaken about his connection to the store and he may have worked for them. Perhaps when he first arrived in California?
middletom

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Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 01-20-2010 07:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm pretty sure that Gump's never made anything of their own. They started out retailing imported Oriental goods, and branched out into all areas of decorative arts and jewelry. The question, therefore, is when did Gump's retail Porter Blanchard silver. He may have made some exclusives just for them. Unfortunately, I don't know when or how much.

Brent

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wev
Moderator

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Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 01-20-2010 07:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Renaissance of an Ancient Art[ by L. Stanley Grohs, was essentially a sales catalog of hand-wrought silver and pewter crafted by Porter Blanchard which were being offered for sale in 1930 by S. G. Gump and Company. I saw a copy several years ago, but was not able to purchase it.

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vathek

Posts: 962
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 01-20-2010 07:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
He did make pewter and sterling for Gumps, but I also read that both he and Alan Adler would work in the window at Gumps making items for people to watch.
I quotefrom :"Forging Modernities: California Metals in Context" - "Paul Price, manager of the silver department of Gump's, held a very interesting lecture on the history of this high end San Francisco retailer. Gump's promoted Californian silver, had Porter Blanchard working in the store window and sold Blanchard and Adler silver not only in San Francisco but also in their elegant Waikiki, Honolulu store. Today Gump's offers a wide range of George Jensen, Puiforcat and Buccelati."

[This message has been edited by vathek (edited 01-20-2010).]

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middletom

Posts: 467
Registered: May 2004

iconnumber posted 01-31-2010 09:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for middletom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, that is interesting to find that Blanchard actually did demonstrations in the window at Gump's.
In the early eighties, Bob Lapham and I did a number of demonstrations with our traveling work bench in the silver department at Gump's. We worked with Paul Price there and he was (and I understand still is) a great enthusiast of ONC silver. To the listing of George Jensen, Puiforcat and Buccilotti should be added ONC for Gump's has sold a great deal of our silver over the years. In fact, for a time they were our best outlet. As all things have slacked off for the high end stores, so too have the orders from stores such as Gump's.
middletom

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vathek

Posts: 962
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 02-01-2010 08:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for that info Middletom. Now if I could only find when Blanchard stopped working for Gumps it would be a useful tool in dating silver or pewter with the Gump mark made by him.

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middletom

Posts: 467
Registered: May 2004

iconnumber posted 02-01-2010 04:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for middletom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Vathek,
I seems from the descriptions given in this thread that Porter Blanchard may have just put in appearances for sales purposes on occasion, rather than his actually being employed there. Maybe Randy Stromsoe would have information about the specifics of that.
middletom

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vathek

Posts: 962
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 02-01-2010 05:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Maybe I should have worded differently: if it were possible to find out when Gumps stopped carrying his items.

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 02-01-2010 05:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When did Gumps stop carrying his items? Most likely when his production halted. Which could have been around the time of his death or even later. The way the silver business works is when a firm goes out of business or a silversmith passes away there is what we call a sucessor. This is a firm or individual that takes up the work of the maker.

The sucessor has the right to continue making the product lines and receives the patents and copyrights held by the firm. In the case of industrial firms, the sucessor frequently uses the marks of its predecessors. International Silver uses marks of companies it suceeded in 1903.

With individual smiths or small shops practice is not so clear. Randahls continues to use the stamp of its founder who died in 1972 for ocassional pieces. According to the 4th edition of Rainwater, 1998, Porter Blanchard's studio was still in business and producing even tho he had passed in 1973. She shows use of PB's mark with sometimes the initials of the actual producing smith beside it. Perhaps others can let us know what the last 12 years have brought.

In the silver trade, when something ended is a really foggy issue. With many small shops, the business closes but some smiths continue to produce and use the marks for years. They work in basements and garages, producing the shop's lines of silver and selling them. In silver terminology, these smiths have assumed the designs etc of the shop. Doing so relates to internal practices of the jewelry trade: makers must commit to very long availability periods and this is one way of assuring bridal registries that the company is legitimate. When Dirilyte closed about 25 years ago, some of the smiths produced this way for over 15 years.

I hope this clarifies the situation. As of 2004, PB's grandaughter Cynthia Adler is listed as an active silversmith. Perhaps others can clarify when the PB lines ended. Or if they did.

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middletom

Posts: 467
Registered: May 2004

iconnumber posted 02-01-2010 06:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for middletom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Porter Blanchard company was owned at its end by a woman named Johnson. I think her first name was Rae or something along that line. It was in the late nineteen nineties or early 2000s that she closed the shop. I believe that was when Randy bought the tools and, probably, the rights to the designs. The last silversmith at PB was a Danish fellow named Preben Knutsen who now works for Tiffany at their shop in New Jersey. He visited us on his way to Tiffany and said that at the end they were doing mostly repair work with only occasional flatware.
When Ms. Johnson closed the company, CNN did a piece about it being the end of handmade silver in America. Our manager at the time wrote to CNN that we (ONC) were still making handwrought silver and the response was that as they had already said that that was the end, they would not go back to their viewers and say that they were wrong and that that was not the end.

middletom

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