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Author Topic:   Dating by design?
vathek

Posts: 962
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 04-05-2008 01:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[01-2639]

This is a nice older Webster sterling dish of good weight with what appears to me to be a somewhat commercial modern design from the late thirties or early forties.

Would welcome opinions.

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argentum1

Posts: 602
Registered: Apr 2004

iconnumber posted 04-05-2008 09:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for argentum1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If there are marks please show them as they are a vital component when attempting identification.

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vathek

Posts: 962
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 04-07-2008 12:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
here's the mark

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 04-10-2008 12:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Circa 1930s sounds like a reasonable guess to me.

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 04-10-2008 11:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Late 20's would strike me as the earliest for this. The 30's or even immediate post war seems plausible. What size is it?

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vathek

Posts: 962
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 04-11-2008 01:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are a pair which measure 6" across. I assume they are for bon bons or some such. I'm wondering if they are supposed to be puff balls. My interest in asking the question in the first place stems from items which reflect the period in which they were made. Georgian style sauce boats have been copied for years even until today but reflect a style popular in the mid 18th cent. I'm also curious about who may have designed them and did silver firms bring in well known outside designers like Donald Deskey to design items. In the case of these dishes I will probably never know.

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 04-11-2008 04:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The problem we always face is that design gives us an idea of when an item was first made but does not tell us when it was discontinued. Old jewelers always told me that silver and china are subject to a 25 year cycle. People would buy a dish like this one when they married. And then as they approached their silver anniversary, they would buy more. And they would want more of what they already had. So, assume this was bought new in 1932. Which gives us 1957 as the outer date for sales.

What complicates the situation is the way the jewelry trade actually operated. Old style jewelers were in an inventory game. Very few businesses operated this way, but the retail jeweler did. He would buy say 6 of the dishes. He would eventually sell 4 of them outright. The other 2 he would sit on for decades. When silver anniversaries came up, he could trot out the 2 and probably sell them.

This is not a very modern way of doing business. Remember back then most people only had contact with their local jeweler. Who could maintain the illusion of availability even when the company was long gone. He simply pulled the dish from his backstock. I personally dealt with jewelers who were selling 1847 Rogers First Love pattern as new in the late 70's. When IS had discontinued it over 20 years previously. There was a lot of smoke and mirrors in the jewelry trade back then. Looking at the piece, I would say it started in the 30's and was probably available well into the early 70's.

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Richard Kurtzman
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Posts: 759
Registered: Aug 2000

iconnumber posted 04-11-2008 05:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Kurtzman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
vathek, At one time Webster did interesting designs - the late 1800's to very early 1900's. After about 1910 they became extremely run of the mill and from then on this almond dish was about as "exciting" as it got. (They also produced a 2 3/4" individual almond dish in this design.)

A large amount of their items were made over and over in excess of fifty years and it's highly doubtful that they ever brought in anybody for anything.
This dish is not pictured in their 1939-40 catalog or any earlier catalogs. The photo below is from the 1948 catalog. (I don't have any War year catalogs and I have never seen any. I'm not sure if any were produced.) It is last pictured in their 1950-51 catalog.

I think that a safe estimate for the time of manufacture is the 1940's.

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vathek

Posts: 962
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 04-12-2008 09:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the pic Richard.

I must now update my opinion by a decade and place these at ca. 1950. I seem to remember a post earlier about a Gorham item that looked like Narragansett but were instead a one off pattern for an almond set. Either almonds used to be quite popular or it was a generic name for a small all purpose dish.

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bascall

Posts: 1626
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 04-12-2008 10:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Richard, excellent information on Webster. Thank you!

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jersey

Posts: 1203
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 04-12-2008 04:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Such a lovely dish. At least you think they would have given it a name to go with the design within.

That's my 2 cents worth.

Great find Mr. Kurtzman!

Jersey

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 04-12-2008 05:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Naming of patterns and designs from lesser known manufacturers was frequently left up to the local retailer. The department store would pull together a room or table top and give it a theme name. There would be china, crystal, silver, linens and a dining room set all offered as one 'pattern'. These would vary city by city. I can see this being offered as a 'moderne' pattern as well as 'ranch' item. Really pushing it, would be 'oriental'.

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Richard Kurtzman
Moderator

Posts: 759
Registered: Aug 2000

iconnumber posted 05-08-2008 07:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Kurtzman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
vathek,

I have made a mistake regarding the dating of your dish. I just found your piece in the 1938-1939 Webster Catalog and it is listed as a Bon Bon Dish. So your original dating was correct.

My apologies for my error.

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vathek

Posts: 962
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 05-09-2008 09:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the update Richard, my original instincts are vindicated.

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Kimo

Posts: 1597
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 05-12-2008 10:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While the design seems to date to the late 1930s, there is no way to be sure when your examples were made since it appears that they were being marketed in the 1940s and likely into the Reed and Barton era as well since the name and trademark was kept by R&B.

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Ulysses Dietz
Moderator

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 05-23-2008 09:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Certain kinds of forms in "occasional" dishes appear repeatedly over time--shells, leaves, flowers...but there is a stylistic shift over time. The Webster dish here is distinctly of a style that, to me, could be either 30s or 40s in origin, but not (to my eye) earlier. There were earlier leaf-form bon-bons, but they would have had a distinctive sense of form and detail...the flattened stylization of this dish parallels textile, wallpaper and jewelry design in the late 1930s--which would have continued in the 1940s, before being revised again in the 50s. These dishes would have been just as at home in 1950s design, so there wouldn't have been need to change them...Van Day Truax began doing his own variation on such dishes in the 1960s for Tiffany & Co.

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