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Author Topic:   Pitkin et al
TGS

Posts: 31
Registered: Sep 99

iconnumber posted 05-15-2000 03:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for TGS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am trying to get samples of the various marks used by Walter Pitkin. I have just received two spoons, in what looks like identical styles but one is a teaspoon and the other a tablespoon, as follows:
The tablespoon is marked W.PITKIN in a rectangle and also L.M & A.C. ROOT in another rectangle.
The teaspoon is marked J.O & W.PITKIN (sic)in a rectangle and I.R. MILLER in a banner.
I paid little attention to the extra marks at the time of sale by assuming they would be retailers...which they are not.
So I guess I have my Pitkin mark samples but who made these spoons?...dates for the manufacturers and marks vary between ovel,Ensko, and Rainwater, e.g. Rainwater gives 1840-1860 for W. PITKIN and Kovel gives c 1810 for I.R. MILLER in a banner.
Both spoons are plain fiddle with tip down and rounded shoulders wider than connection to bowl. Monograms are both on top with the tablespoon much more evenly drawn (IMO).
Any comments?

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wev
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Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 05-16-2000 10:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The various markings found on Pitkin spoons do provide an interesting puzzle for the collector. There were at least two smiths by that name working out of Hartford CT in the first half of the 19th century.
John O. Pitkin (1803-1891) was born in East Hartford and began working in 1826 using three marks [I. O. PITKIN] with pseudo-hallmarks, [J. O. PITKIN], & [PITKIN]. He took his brother, Walter M. (1808-1885), as partner in 1830. with the mark [J. O. & W. PITKIN]. They were evidently successful, as they opened a branch in Vicksburg TN in 1834. The same year, the firm was combined with the Hartford Watch Company run by two other brothers, Henry and James. John O. retired in 1840, the company being continued by Walter M. until 1880, when it was destroyed by fire. It is known that John O. was associated with various manufacturing firms until his death, but he does not appear to have practised silversmithing after leaving the firm.
Walter M. Pitkin's work outside the partnership above is open to some debate. There are many spoons found marked [W. PITKIN], but it is not conclusively proved that this is the same man, though it may have been adopted by Walter after John O. left the firm. These spoons are generally found with marks by other makers, notably C. C. Norton, Root & Chaffee, and H. D. Summer, so the actual maker is open to question, as well. At least two other Pitkins are possibilities; both William L. and William J. also worked in the Hartford area, though both were a generation later. The former's incised mark, WM. L. PITKIN, can be found on older style spoons marked by L. P. & S. E. Coe and Coe & Montegomery.
It may be that all the various Pitkins both manufactured their own wares and bought work done outside. John and Walter M., being successful, may have been able to take advantage of the depression of the 1830's, buying up old silver and the stock of failing businesses. This may account for the re-mark on the I. R. Miller spoon.
A complete collection of all the variations would be very helpful in sorting out these relationships; I'll be interested to see what else you turn up.


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