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tline3open  Reed & Barton holloware... pattern?

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Author Topic:   Reed & Barton holloware... pattern?
IJP

Posts: 326
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 12-31-2004 04:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for IJP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[01-2057]

I have here several pieces of Reed & Barton holloware. Based on the pattern number stamped on the pieces, it seems to be called "Louis XV." I want to say that it's in a Renaissance revival style, but it seems a little ornamentally intense compared to other things I've seen (to an almost Rococo degree).

Anyway, without a date mark I have no way of knowing when these were made (I know R&B only year-marked between 1928 and 1957).

What general information might be available about these holloware items? And does anyone know if the few books published about R&B are worth buying for one's library? Particularly I know of two such books: Sterling Seasons: The Reed & Barton Story by Garrelick, and an out-of-print book, The Whitesmiths of Taunton: A History of Reed & Barton 1824-1943, by Gibb. Has anyone had a look at those books?


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IJP

Posts: 326
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 01-08-2005 01:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for IJP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey, folks...

I'm beginning to get worried that my original post is going to be buried in the constant flux of new messages and postings in this forum topic. I'd really love to hear from someone regarding this holloware pattern. I understand that this is probably the busiest of the forum categories, but this question doesn't seem to go anywhere else. I wonder, there's a Gorham category, a Tiffany & Co. category, and one for Shiebler (an odd third choice: Why not Whiting Mfg. Co.? Why not Frank Whiting? Why not Frank Smith? and the list could go on and on...) I think there ought to be a category at least for the several major players in the silver industry. I would tend to want to include Reed & Barton. Sorry, I don't mean to rant, but while I'm at it, why do I find it impossible to find any real, substantial, tenable, vital, and truly revelatory information about the history of the Towle silversmiths and Towle Mfg. Co. through the present day? Has no one taken the time to publish a narrative of the company's history, most particularly about the personalities involved with the company, the designers and die-cutters, the entrepreneurs and the executives, etc. Thanks to great people like Carpenter and Hood and Loring, there's been plenty written about Gorham and Tiffany. How about a book about someone else? ... Okay, I think I've got it out of my system.

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Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 01-08-2005 02:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for your input. Many years ago when these forums got started, Gorham & Tiffany seemed like obvious choices for forums. There was and still is a very significant number of forum members with extensive Shiebler collections thus it came into existence. I was hoping they would be more active about posting .....

We'd be happy to entertain creating additional forums to cover other silver firms, but to do this, we need a knowledgeable regular participant volunteer(s) to moderate.

By the way, just curious about what your association is with (this is an intentional abbreviation) AYLISS?


[NOTE: The Different American smiths forums were combined into one forum:

]

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 01-09-2005 12:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Usually, but not always, hollow ware patterns do not have very stable names. The ones that seem to be consistently called by the same name tend to be associated with flatware patterns. To date this, I would first see if there is a Louis XV sterling or plate pattern. That would help anchor this to a given decade. (Remember, plated items were available in sterling by special order.)

Looking at the pictures, it appears to be in a form that Reed and Barton used from the 1850's onwards. What exactlyl does the mark say? The decoration strikes me as more typical of the period 1910 to 1930. What exactly are the pieces in this set? What are the measurements? Do they give a capacity for the containers? And who is given as the maker of the china inserts? That helps to narrow it down.

Reed & Barton has not been much studied. I have read the Gibb book. It is a laudatory history of the company paid for by the company. As such, it is like a long advertisement. Perhaps some budding scholar, or retired person, would be willing to go to Taunton and sift through the records. If there are records still existing.

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IJP

Posts: 326
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 01-13-2005 03:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for IJP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks to both Scott and Dale! I'd really love to see forum topics for at least the major silver industry players. Naturally, there's simply no way to list every manufacturer in history, but I think a handful of key American firms could be accounted for, and it would greatly re-organize the forum. As to the holloware above, Dale, you asked a number of questions, and I wasn't sure if they were just rhetorical, but while I have the answers at my disposal, I'll include them here. I know of seven distinct pieces in this pattern: Charger/Plate (10 7/8" diameter), bread & butter plate (7 1/4" diameter), salt cellar (2 1/2" high and 3" at widest point of the rim), pepper shaker (5 1/2" high to finial), demitasse cup (2" high to silver rim), coffeepot (10 1/2" to finial), and covered sugar bowl (6 1/2" to finial, 4" at widest point of the rim, 8 1/4" from outermost edge of handle to handle). Presumably there is also a creamer, but I have not seen one. Each piece is marked with the eagle and lion rampant flanking the "R" enshielded, is stamped "STERLING," and bears the number "712C." No capacity is indicated on any of the holloware. I call the pattern "Louis XV" because that's what it is being called by several dealers on the internet (as searched by pattern number). As for the demitasse inserts, though I do not know with certainty that they are original, they are by Lenox. Additionally, each piece I have seen, all from one batch, appeared on the bottom to be engraved or inscribed "Agnes D. Morse," in much the same way that some R&B holloware pieces bear a pattern name. However, upon closer inspection, and because as I said above the pattern has been called otherwise by several dealers, the inscriptions show minor inconsistencies and aberrations which suggested to me that they may have been made after production, as to personalize the items. Beyond that, there's little else I can say about the pieces.
And, Scott, as for my association with ayliss, I joined it about a year ago. My interest in the silver industry is partly professional and partly just because it's pretty interesting stuff.

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 01-14-2005 02:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the information LJP. Since the sugar bowl is over half the height of the coffee pot, an early date is suggested. Generally, over time the size of the sugar bowl relative to the pots has shrunk. The larger the sugar, the older the set. There probably is a cream pitcher, which has gone missing. As creamers are prone to doing. Lenox is the usual maker for china inserts. Since these are very difficult to replace, I would guess they are original.

The fact that there are salt cellars and a much larger shaker would cause me to suspect that the shaker is in fact a sugar shaker, not a pepper. Or muffiner which is the English term. Usually peppers are in proportion to the salt cellar.

The fact that there is no capacity given suggests, to me at least, that this is a somewhat customized set. And that Ms Morse was the original owner. When new, this may have fallen in between mass marketed and custom made items. Perhaps it was a set that was adapted and decorated for a special order or event.

I hope this helps somewhat, and is not too speculative.

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