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Author Topic:   Porter Blanchard
wineantique

Posts: 9
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 09-03-2004 12:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wineantique     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Porter Blanchard was a 7th generation silversmith 1886-1973 who was part of the crafts movement. His son in law was Allen Adler who seems to have been known as "the silversmith to the stars." I have 8 sterling small plates by him made for Gumps.

Thanks

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middletom

Posts: 467
Registered: May 2004

iconnumber posted 09-05-2004 09:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for middletom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
wineantique,

I'm surprised to see that Porter Blanchard is said to be a 7th-generation silversmith. He learned from his father, George Blanchard, who had learned silversmithing in the shop of Arthur Stone. What information have you on Blanchard's earlier generations in silver? Porter's other son-in-law, Wise by name, I believe, stayed with the company until his retirement. His son came to visit ONC last year.

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wineantique

Posts: 9
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 09-05-2004 11:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wineantique     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
thanks very much for the comments on Porter Blanchard. The information on 7th generation came from a search on the web - there is an archive about him at the Smithsonian. I had never heard of him, but these are beautiful plates.

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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 09-05-2004 01:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is the Blanchard family American line that was seven generations old, dating to the 1650s in Andover MA. Porter and his father were the only silversmiths I have ever seen by that surname. Unfortunately, I have never been able to trace their line back to the main Blanchard families.


[beg your pardon -- that should have read ". . . the only New England silversmiths . . ."]

[This message has been edited by wev (edited 09-05-2004).]

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middletom

Posts: 467
Registered: May 2004

iconnumber posted 09-05-2004 08:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for middletom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A few years ago a store in N.Y. through which we sold our(ONC) silver had liturature sent from Porter Blanchard when the company was owned by a woman named Johnson. The literature said that Porter Blanchard had come from Kentucky, Lexington I believe, where his father had been a well known silversmith. Curious about that, I looked in a book of American silversmiths and found that there had once been a silversmith by the name of Blanchard in that mentioned Kentucky town. However, I know that Porter Blanchard had nothing to do with that person and was from Massachusetts, so I've often wondered how the latest owners of the company he founded could have been so far off as to his history.

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wev
Moderator

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Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 09-05-2004 09:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hopeful thinking on their part?

Asa Blanchard was the Kentucky maker and his connection to the main Blanchard lines in America remains a mystery. He certainly had no connection to George Porter Blanchard. Asa's only son, Horace, died in 1839, within a year of his father.

A detailed sketch of Asa's career can be found in Boultinghouse's Silversmiths of Kentucky.

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FredZ

Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 09-06-2004 11:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The history of Porter Blanchard is covered in the Catalog "Silver in The Golden State" and in "A Century of Garner Sterling Silver" published by the Garner Museum.

I have always found it interesting that Porter Blanchard was a Naturist and this may have influenced his decision to move to California. I have read that he would work outside in only his leather apron.

Fred

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middletom

Posts: 467
Registered: May 2004

iconnumber posted 09-25-2004 05:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for middletom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As Elmer Senior, founder of Old Newbury Crafters, apprenticed under George Blanchard along with Porter Blanchard, and the two of them married sisters, Reynolds Senior, Elmer's son, was Porter's nephew. Reynolds worked at ONC the first few years I worked there, and passed away last year at ninety-three. He told me that in the thirties he had gone out to work with his uncle Porter. Porter, at that time, was of the thought that he could forge silver more quickly if he hammered it hot. Reynolds said that he could see no advantage to that, and having to hold the silver with tongs made the hammering less accurate. Porter must eventually have given up on that notion. Once, Porter said to Reynolds, "You are a very smooth hammerer, the way my father was."

Indeed, Reynolds was very smooth, his work needing very little plannishing. He had learned the old lessons of leaving as few hammer marks as possible.

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Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11390
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 08-03-2020 02:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
    Photograph caption reads: "The hands of a Master Craftsman. 'Theyre the most important tools I have.'"

Photograph: dated December 6, 1950 partially reads, "One of the world's foremost silversmith lives and works in the Valley. His name is Porter George Blanchard. His father's name was George Porter Blanchard. His grandfather's name was Porter George Blanchard. And it keeps going that way on back to 1788, when a George Porter Blanchard - or it may have been a Porter George Blanchard - lived in Millford, N. H., and was known as one of the finest mechanics of his time... This smattering of history is intended solely as background material to clinch the statement that the present-day Porter George Blanchard is a leading craftsman who is absolutely sure of what he's doing when he starts to work on a piece of metal... Like his father, Blanchard became a member of the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston. He was elected to the council upon which he served for several years, progressing from a Craftsman to a Master and a Medalist. Everything about Blanchard and his studio at 7427 Varna Ave., North Hollywood, Is steeped in the tradition that an object turned out by hand with careful attention to every detail, is superior to machine-made articles... Blanchard first came to the Valley in 1923, settling in Burbank. Later he moved to his present home at 13080 Montague St., Pacoima, and carried on his work in a barn back of the house. But the barn became too small. Several months ago he shifted to his new studio on Varna Ave. where he enjoys a staff of about four highly-skilled assistants... There is a sad note to all this, however. Blanchard has no sons. There probably will not be a George Porter Blanchard to follow him. But the sadness is tempered to a certain extent. Blanchard has two daughters, and one of his sons-in-law is Lewis A. Wise. Wise, working in an adjoining studio, is rapidly gaining a wide reputation as a leading producer of hand-made flatware, knives, forks and spoons."

[This message has been edited by Scott Martin (edited 08-03-2020).]

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