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tline3open  Durgin Silver patterns created after merge with Gorham

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Author Topic:   Durgin Silver patterns created after merge with Gorham
carlaz

Posts: 239
Registered: Jan 2001

iconnumber posted 02-13-2007 11:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carlaz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[01-2555]

I am hoping that someone will be able to enlighten me on why or how a pattern is attributed to Durgin in 1955 when the company was purchased almost 50 years prior to that?

Both Teri Hagen and the Jewelers Index define the dates of Durgin's English Rose to be 1955-1991 but the manufacturer was bought out by Gorham in the early 1900's. I could understand if the pattern was first introduced when Durgin was actually in business (as with Fairfax) but why would Gorham introduce a new pattern under a defunct manufacturer some 50 years after purchasing the company?

Could someone perhaps clarify these dates in question?

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 02-13-2007 09:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The word 'purchase' is misleading here. The correct term is 'successor to'. Which makes this more of an inheritance than an outright purchase.

Why continue to use the mark of a defunct firm? Because it is a brand name, which means it has some value. As far as I can tell, this is a common method of selling silver: use the mark to reach new customers and penetrate into fresh outlets.

The way the jewelry trade ran prior to 1963 was that local jewelers had an exclusive arrangement with a major silver maker. A small city or suburb would have stores that carried one of the major makers: Gorham, International, Wallace, Reed & Barton, maybe Lunt or Stieff. Each store carried this major brand exclusively, with usually a minor company or two for expanded choice. Nothing by Gorham could be sold by those committed to other retailers. However, they could sell something marked Durgin or Watrous or Watson or Alvin without any trouble. And without violating their arrangement with the major silver company.

For silver collectors, it is an habituation of the mind to see marks as an extension of the old handicraft system where a maker takes pride in his product. However, I have come to see them as brand names. And look at them in those terms. Gorham sold under a variety of names for the same reason Maytag and GM do: to increase market penetration and hences profitability.

Do you know how this particular pattern was sold? That would be a big help. Perhaps a catalog retailer sold it using the venerable name Durgin. Or a party plan. This would let us get a better grasp of the situation regarding Durgin English Rose.

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 02-14-2007 06:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Durgin's "English Rose" pattern is actually completely identical to Gorham's "Cambridge" pattern of 1899.

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 02-14-2007 11:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A point I keep making: manufactured silver has marks that are about how the silver was sold, not who made it.

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Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 02-15-2007 10:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm sure Gorham simply adopted the English Rose dies from Durgin and changed the trademark. Why they changed the name for this pattern and not Fairfax, for example, who knows? Anyway, you can be reasonably sure that English Rose died in 1899 when Cambridge was born. As for the 1955 date, maybe they re-released the pattern then, but gave it the old name rather than Cambridge? If so, I'd guess it was one of those that was available on special order, but not generally available.

You see a number of holloware items marked with Durgin trademarks and "Gorham Co.". It could be that this was leftover stock. Or, perhaps, when they made items using the old Durgin dies, they though it fitting to use the old trademark. I doubt we'll ever know for certain, as all of the smoking guns seem to have been trashed.

Brent

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carlaz

Posts: 239
Registered: Jan 2001

iconnumber posted 02-16-2007 08:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carlaz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My challenge in all of this is that the beginning production date is stated in 2 different sources as 1955. As with Fairfax, Durgin designed this pattern proir to joining up with Gorham but all records for the English Rose by Durgin stated a much later date, after the merger. Alvin Cambridge as well as Gorham Cambridge match the English Rose almost exactly. It just seems odd that a new pattern from a company that ceased producing new patterns some 50 years prior is marked with the Durgin mark yet not 'created' while they were an independent manufacturer.

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