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tlineopen  American Silver before sterling
tline3open  construction methods of 19th century silver

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Author Topic:   construction methods of 19th century silver

Posts: 3
Registered: Jan 2004

iconnumber posted 01-07-2004 05:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randerson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks to all who make this website possible. I am a new member to this site as of yesterday. Thanks to Bill H for your book suggestion. Unfortunately it is not in our rural library system, but I will be purchasing it for myself.

Could anyone recommend any books on the construction methods of 19th century silver. I would like to learn more about how a pair of silver candlesticks that I own were made. I think that they were cast in a number of sections then assembled. But the tapered fluted column looks like it has a soldered seam running the length of the section. To further confuse me, the interior of the tapered column looks as if it were cut on a lathe.

Another question I have is how do you try to identify the maker or origin of a piece if it doesn't have standard hallmarks? Or is there such a thing as a standard hallmark?

These candlesticks have an impressed marking on the exterior. On the inside there is the number 158 scratched into the metal. There are also three raised letters on the inside. Depending on how you are holding the piece they read SWH or HMS. Does anyone recognize any of these markings. Is there somewhere I should go to look up the maker or origin of these? Might anyone out there know?

By their style and quality of construction my guess was that they were early 19th century. I have had these candlesticks for years and often wondered about them. My own attempt at researching them left me with more questions unanswered than answered. I just found this website yesterday, my knowledge and appreciation for beautiful silver has already been greatly expanded.


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iconnumber posted 01-08-2004 08:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just speculation, but the initials are probably owner's initials.

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Registered: Jan 2004

iconnumber posted 01-08-2004 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for randerson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Vathek for your thoughts.The three letters you refer to are raised above the surface.They are not impressed or stamped in below the surface.I would guess that the letters would have to have been in the mold or casting process.If that is the case and the initals are cast in, wouldn't the maker have to have marked the piece with the future owners initals at a very early point of construction? Or is there another way, other than being cast in, that the initals could have been applied? Thanks for the help.

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Scott Martin
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Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 01-08-2004 09:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I really don't have a clue. It kind of looks like it was assembled using a variety of parts and technics. The mark on the bottom side panels sort of reminds me of the Swedish standard mark for solid silver.

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Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 01-11-2004 10:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Could anyone recomend any books on the construction methods of 19th century silver?

For handmade silver try The Colonial Silversmith / His Techniques & His Products by Henry J. Kauffman (1969). The techniques of making handmade silver in the 18th C carried thru essentially unchanged into the 19th C. Candlesticks are treated only briefly.

. . . your book suggestion . . . is not in our rural library system, but I will be purchasing it for myself.

You can try your library's interlibrary loan service for out-of-print books not on their shelves, or try's used book listings to locate a copy for purchase.

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