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tline3open  Tea time at Area 51

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Author Topic:   Tea time at Area 51
wev
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Posts: 4095
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iconnumber posted 10-11-2010 04:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recently picked up a copy of "Marks of Achievement: Four Centuries of American Presentation Silver" (a lovely book that was remaindered and can now be found cheap) and came across this teaset, which I couldn't resist posting

It was commissioned by the city of Long Beach for presentation to it namesake, the Navy's first nuclear powered cruiser launched in 1961.

The set, a real high point in atomic age design, was made by Gorham, who opened the project to its whole staff. Seven traditional designs were sent to the city council along with this one and its choice raised a good measure of controversy.

The ship was decommissioned in 1995 and I don't know where the set ended up.

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denimrs

Posts: 102
Registered: Dec 2005

iconnumber posted 10-11-2010 06:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for denimrs     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh my, that is wonderful. It put a real smile on my face. Thank you so much for posting this.

Elizabeth

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salmoned

Posts: 336
Registered: Jan 2005

iconnumber posted 10-12-2010 06:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for salmoned     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It can apparently be viewed at the Long Beach Civic Center. In 1997, the Navy loaned it to the city for that purpose.

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jersey

Posts: 1203
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 10-12-2010 07:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for sharing. Reminds me of Holt Howard designs.

Jersey

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dragonflywink

Posts: 975
Registered: Dec 2002

iconnumber posted 10-12-2010 08:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dragonflywink     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for posting this and for the heads up on the book (ordered and on its way). My personal tastes have always been eclectic, and I find this set both beautiful and amusing, as with Elizabeth - it just makes me smile. Also makes me curious about the designer, and grateful to the city council for their bold move in choosing something so appropriate for the occasion and the era.

~Cheryl

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wev
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Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 10-12-2010 10:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
viewed at the Long Beach Civic Center

Thanks for that. I emailed a few of the city historical organizations, but everyone was off for Columbus Day.

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Richard Kurtzman
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iconnumber posted 10-12-2010 01:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Kurtzman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It was designed by Richard Huggins.

From Sam Hough's website:

    Roster of Gorham Craftsmen

    Huggins, Richard L.
    1960 senior designer, Gorham; wife Mary Ann
    1960/61 designed USS Long Beach service JNA. "Richard L. Huggins recalls that his design was controversial. The commission began as a private project for Gorham's head designer, but it was soon opened to his entire staff. Gorham submitted six or seven largely traditional designs plus this one to the Long Beach City Council. In selecting this design, the Council recognized the progressive role that their cruiser would have..."

    (Marks of Achievement)

    1962 director of design, Gorham. Huggins had a flamboyant ego and during his term the Design Room was divided between his supporters and a faction which opposed him, led by Dick Gavette, himself an egoist. Huggins was let go to bring peace to the room, but Gavette remained a problem until he also left.


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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 10-12-2010 02:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

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dragonflywink

Posts: 975
Registered: Dec 2002

iconnumber posted 10-12-2010 02:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dragonflywink     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not sure why I didn't pay more attention to this set in Carpenter's Gorham Silver 1831-1981. To my eye, the handles on the tray look like fanciful versions of boat rope cleats. Carpenter writes, "The latest of the Gorham silver battleship services was made in 1961 for the Cruiser U.S.S. Long Beach. The Long Beach was the first atomic-powered cruiser of the United States Navy. It was commissioned at the South Boston Annex of the Boston Naval Shipyard, Boston, Massachusetts, on Saturday afternoon, September 9, 1961. The citizens of Long Beach, California, ordered a silver service from Gorham for the commissioning. The service designed by Richard Huggins, was deemed appropriate for the atomic age. The finials of the coffee service in Figure 287 are atomic models with depictions of electron paths. The odd, stick like legs give the pieces of the tea set and other-worldly look; they almost seem like creatures from another planet. The punch bowl and tray in Figure 288 are designed in the same manner. Perhaps unconsciously, the designer of the Long Beach service was following a well-established Gorham tradition for ship silver that seemed to demand a certain flamboyance, as if these services should be "different" and larger than life."

~Cheryl

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Kayvee

Posts: 204
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 10-12-2010 05:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kayvee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This wonderful service dating from 1961 was the last Navy presentation silver made until 2009 when silver was presented to the USS Wayne E. Meyer.
Part of the service was displayed at the Modernism in American Silver show at the Dallas Museum of Art. In her catalogue of the exhibit, Jewel Stern discusses the service in the chapter on space age silver. Quoting from a Gorham publicity brochure she states: “Gorham described Huggins’ service as ‘the essence of the atomic age, captured in sterling silver.’ The designer was credited with giving ‘body to the elusive atom,’ by molding traditional shapes into forms associated with ‘known atomic expressions such as the mushroom cloud’ produced by a detonated atomic bomb and which symbolized the ‘tremendous power of the atom.’ The upward sweep of the line was said by Gorham to suggest ‘man’s search into space for new horizons.’ The swirled six-light candelabra was cited for the ‘graceful upward and outward curve of the arms’ that expressed ‘mankind’s eternal search for peace and the hope that the atom may be used to achieve that goal.’ The finials, based on a model of an atom with circulating electrons, alluded to the Atomium, a sculptural representation of the atom that had dominated the Brussels World’s Fair in 1958 and became a symbol of the Atomic Age."

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dragonflywink

Posts: 975
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iconnumber posted 10-12-2010 09:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dragonflywink     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Okay, now I want to see the candelabra.....

~Cheryl

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Kayvee

Posts: 204
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 10-13-2010 10:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kayvee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The candelabra are pictured on p. 263 of Stern's book Modernism in American Silver. Don't know if posting a scan would violate either copyright or the Forum's guidelines.

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wev
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iconnumber posted 10-13-2010 10:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's fair use and would be fine to post.

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dragonflywink

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iconnumber posted 10-13-2010 10:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dragonflywink     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kayvee ~ If you're uncomfortable with posting a scan, I ordered the Stern book too, and can post on arrival.

~Cheryl

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Kayvee

Posts: 204
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iconnumber posted 10-14-2010 10:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kayvee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great cheryl; thanks!

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Richard Kurtzman
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Posts: 759
Registered: Aug 2000

iconnumber posted 03-06-2013 11:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Kurtzman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Two plus years later here are the candelabra.

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