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Author Topic:   Some spoons
ahwt

Posts: 2173
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 03-25-2006 11:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[19-0617]


Above is a spoon with the mark of Edward Francis from Leesburg, VA. George Barton Cutten in his book "Silversmiths of Virginia" notes that Francis moved to Hines County, Mississippi at an unspecified time and to an unnamed city. L.A. Smith III states in a pamphlet from a Mississippi Silver exhibit in 1979 that Francis was in Mississippi as early as May 23, 1837 when his name appeared in newspapers in Raymond, Mississippi. Raymond was established in 1828 as the Seat of Justice of Hinds County and was a stop along the Natchez Trace. I think this spoon dates from Mr. Francis's time in Leesburg that according to Mr. Cutten was 1828 to his departure for Mississippi.

An interesting movement of silversmiths was going on about this time as L.A. Smith III also noted that another Leesburg silversmith by the name of John Alexander Klein moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1836. It would be interesting to know why both left Leesburg at almost the same time and what made Mississippi attractive to them.

I found the Francis spoon at an antique show at SIU in Edwardsville, Illinois last week.



Another spoon from the show was the one above with the mark of George Kippen. My question is how was the shell attached to the spoon and was this a difficult process. Somewhere I remember reading that the French were particularly good attaching ornamentation to silver and perhaps they were the silversmiths that invented the process. Any information would be appreciated.

One dealer at the SIU show who used to deal in coin silver said that she now sends coin to the scrape dealer as she cannot sell it for the price they will pay. Has anyone else heard of this practice?

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outwest

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iconnumber posted 03-26-2006 12:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for outwest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
One dealer at the SIU show who used to deal in coin silver said that she now sends coin to the scrape dealer as she cannot sell it for the price they will pay.

Now, that's sad; all those little guys being melted down.

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agleopar

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Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 03-26-2006 12:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ahwt your question about how the shell is attached is like the question of how the rat tail spoon is made. Both are misunderstood because it is not obvious that they are not soldered on but stamped or swaged out of the original ingot that the spoon was made from.

It helps to begin with the concept that all hand made spoons (and forks) start life as ingots, small for teaspoons (1/3 oz.) and large for, say a stuffing spoon (10 oz.). The shape of the ingot is rectangular and usually not thicker than the thickest part of the spoon. Narrower than the bowl and usually 1/3 the length of the finished spoon.

First the bowl is spread out and then the handle is stretched out, leaving it thicker where one is going to swage the shell, rattail, dognose,turn down or up. The spoon is still flat at this point. Next the thick end is placed over a steel die that has the reverse of the shell carved into it. Then the upside down spoon is struck with a large flat hammer over the place where the shell is and the impression of the shell is now on the spoon. A bit of filing and polishing, sink the bowl, crank the handle and your done.

Mr Kippen might of used a drop hammer or screw press instead of a hand held hammer, but it is the same concept just eliminates the possibility of the hand holding the spoon from jumping when you strike the shell which would mean it is off center (this is seen often on earlier spoons at the turn downs and rat tails).

I casually (cheaply) collect coin spoons and will buy any spoon no matter the condition if I do not have one and often pay scrap prices when they are torn or badly dented. It is a shame that these spoons are out of fashion since the hand labor is not appreciated.

I forgot to mention that the french applied cut card work does have the same look but if you look carefully you can see the solder that attaches it to the body. Your spoon shows typical evidence of swaging at the top of your very good close up you can see where the metal has squiged (not the technical term) up a little because the die was cut badly in that spot or it was double struck etc.. If you found the same spoon they could be compared and chances are the same mistake would be in both.

Also if one soldered on the shell the forged spoon would then become soft from the heat and would not be functional.

I hope this is clear and a help.

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 03-26-2006 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
witzhall posted 03-26-2006 01:34 PM in the New Members' Forum:
quote:
    Response to agleopar
Thank you for one of the clearest descriptions of handmade spoon construction that I've seen! I've finally stopped feeling self-righteously inclined to correct sellers when I read their descriptions on That Auction Site of spoons with two-piece construction!

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agleopar

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iconnumber posted 03-26-2006 03:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Witzhall, thanks for the very kind compliment, just trying to bring clarity to something that while conceptually simple, has no equal in the 21st century.

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ahwt

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iconnumber posted 03-26-2006 04:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Above is a picture of another spoon by Mr. Kippen that the dealer had. Here the upper right side of the shell had been worn away although the rest of the impression looks identical to me. I had always assumed that the basket of flowers and sheaf of wheat were accomplished with a swage, but the deep impression on the shell always made me wonder.

I assume that picture back spoons were also accomplished with a swage. Even the ones I see today with essentially no wear had little depth compared to the shell pattern. Perhaps this was simply the artistic desire of the silversmith to make a pattern with an ephemeral character.

Thanks for the great explanation agleopar.

The first two looked identical for good reason - they actually are the same spoon. Above is the other spoon.


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salmoned

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iconnumber posted 03-26-2006 04:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for salmoned     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wait a minute, no one is stating here that there are no american coin spoons with 2 piece construction, right?

[This message has been edited by salmoned (edited 03-26-2006).]

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asheland

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iconnumber posted 03-26-2006 05:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for asheland     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe the only American Coin spoons that are two-piece construction are the Trefids c. 1700 and earlier.

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swarter
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iconnumber posted 03-26-2006 05:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is a discussion of two-part construction in an earlier thread (Shouldered OEP (again!))

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Ulysses Dietz
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iconnumber posted 03-27-2006 08:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just received a little paperback book from Don Fennimore, retired curator of metals at Winterthur. It's a little book he wrote on spoons with bird-form decoration on the bowls, and there's a great deal of information on how such spoons were made. I'll bet it's inexpensive through the Winterthur bookstore.

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agleopar

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iconnumber posted 03-27-2006 08:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ahwt,

You make a good point about the picture backs,Basket of flowers, wheat sheaf, etc. I forgot about them being in the same category as dog nose, rat tail etc., all swaged. It seems that the kippen spoon is on the cusp of the change from hand to mechanical... I am no expert on the historical progress of spoon making but as steam took over and steel improved there was less and less hand making.

This spoon was perhaps swaged with a mechanical aid. Not steam but probably a drop hammer (a heavy weight raised by a rope) made by steam power...

I would like to learn more about the cross over from hand to power. I believe that most pre industrial craftspeople would have loved the jump to power tools! It is only William Morris and Co. that reminded us of what was also lost by not staying with hand work.

Anyway I am off topic, Salmoned, Swarter has shown us the German 1690-1720 spoon which I can not tell from the images how it was made. Two piece or swaged? I need to hold it and use a loop.

When I started smithing I was taught by a holloware man, who could raise anything. He made spoons in the arts and craft way he had been taught by his master who was also a holloware smith. The point is that until I found a spoon maker to show me the "proper" way to do it I was making spoons by the "glue" method (soldered). So except for spoons of an age that means I never get to handle them, the only spoons I know of done in two pieces are rather inferior (including my old ones) arts and craft spoons or provincial, i.e., made on a tree stump.

Just some musings that perhaps the pros will educate me on.

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ahwt

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iconnumber posted 03-27-2006 08:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ulysses thanks for the reference to the Flights of Fancy book. Noted in this book is that a die was used to make the impression of the bird on a flat piece of silver after which the silversmith sank the spoon bowl. I am surprised that the impression of the bird lasted through the pounding to make the bowl. The division of labor at that time also called for a separate die maker, although Mr. Fennimore states that it possible that some silversmiths performed both operations. It would be interesting to know who actually designed the birds or other objects.

D. Albert Soeffing in his book "Silver Medallion Flatware" notes on page 17 that Peter L. Krider produced medallions flatware where the medallions were cast separately and then applied to the flatware. These pieces should qualify as a two piece construction.

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agleopar

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iconnumber posted 03-27-2006 08:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When the bowl is formed it is forced by one or two blows of a heavey hammer into a lead pancake using a hand held spoon stake that is the exact shape of the desired bowl form. The spoon stake is first sunk into the lead and then the flat spoon is placed over the lead and the stake resting on it is then struck. Because lead is so soft and the spoon is anealled ie soft also, it goes into the lead without loosing any detail

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swarter
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iconnumber posted 03-27-2006 10:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here are two swages on a flat faced steel or iron stake as used by John Winckler in North Carolina, taken from Fales' Early American Silver:

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ahwt

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iconnumber posted 03-27-2006 11:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for your clear explanation agleopar and the pictures swarter.
I reread the section in Flights of Fancy and it appears that the proper name for the maker of the die is a die sinker rather than die maker.

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Brent

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iconnumber posted 04-13-2006 09:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A couple of points:
  1. Scrap prices for silver are now higher than they have been in 25 years. A lot of fine silver is disappearing into the scrap pot these days, so if you see something you like at a low price you ought to grab it before it is destroyed.

  2. We have had a thread or two on two-part spoon construction is the 20th C forum. Just to repeat myself, and support Agleopar, I think that the two-part construction of some Arts & Crafts silverware is due to a misunderstanding of early silversmithing. People saw the large swaged drops on 17th C spoons, assumed they were evidence of two-part constructions, and set out to make spoons the "old-fashioned" way. Like the romantic image of the lone craftsman making silver by himself with only a few hand tools, the two-part spoon myth is taking a long time to die, despite the fact hat it was debunked in print many years ago.

Brent

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ahwt

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iconnumber posted 04-13-2006 10:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone have a picture of a spoon with a cast handle and a hammered bowl? These would qualify as a two piece spoon, but I assume are very rare, particularly if American.

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 04-13-2006 11:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Does anyone have a picture of a spoon with a cast handle and a hammered bowl?
Maybe ...
Take a look at dragonflywink's post on 04-13-2006 02:37 AM (925) (1000) (click here)

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wev
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iconnumber posted 04-13-2006 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Made by Ahasuerus Hendricks for Johannes Gerritse Lansing and now in the collection at Yale:

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FredZ

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iconnumber posted 04-13-2006 12:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I posted my hoof spoon sometime back and it is cast handle with forged bowl.

Hoof Spoon

Fred


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outwest

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iconnumber posted 04-14-2006 12:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for outwest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That hoof is so cute. I wonder why they faced it upside down, though?

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akgdc

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iconnumber posted 04-14-2006 08:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for akgdc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That probably wouldn't have been upside-down to the spoon's original users. In continental Europe, flatware was traditionally laid on the table bowl-down (tines-down in the case of forks). Not sure how far back that custom is documented, however.

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bascall

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iconnumber posted 04-06-2007 08:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ahwt:

Above is a spoon with the mark of Edward Francis from Leesburg, VA. George Barton Cutten in his book "Silversmiths of Virginia" notes that Francis moved to Hines County, Mississippi at an unspecified time and to an unnamed city. L.A. Smith III states in a pamphlet from a Mississippi Silver exhibit in 1979 that Francis was in Mississippi as early as May 23, 1837 when his name appeared in newspapers in Raymond, Mississippi. Raymond was established in 1828 as the Seat of Justice of Hinds County and was a stop along the Natchez Trace. I think this spoon dates from Mr. Francis's time in Leesburg that according to Mr. Cutten was 1828 to his departure for Mississippi.


There is an Edward Francis who was born about 1807 living in Henderson, Rusk County, Texas in the 1870 U. S. Federal Census. All of his family members were born in Virginia, and he and his twenty-three year old son Edward H are both dealers in jewelry. This is a good match for me, but it might not work for you.

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ahwt

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iconnumber posted 04-06-2007 10:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is an interesting possibility. By today's standards Raymond, Mississippi is not very far from Henderson, Texas. Many families traveled through several states before finding somewhere to stop for awhile and then picked up again to travel further west.

Thanks for the information Bascall.

Art

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bascall

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iconnumber posted 04-07-2007 02:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ahwt:
That is an interesting possibility. By today’s standards Raymond, Mississippi is not very far from Henderson, Texas. Many families traveled through several states before finding somewhere to stop for awhile and then picked up again to travel further west.

Thanks for the information Bascall.
Art


Sorry about doing this piecemeal but sometimes the ass't marshals that took the U. S. Federal Census's vary name spellings a bit. In the 1850 census, there is an Edward "Frances" in Hinds County, Mississippi and of course Raymond is in that county. It's all the same family group, but this census has the three youngest children which includes Edward H born in Mississippi , so going by the children's ages the family was in Mississippi at least roughly by 1838 which fits well with Smith's statement about Francis's name being in the paper in Raymond in 1837. In the 1850 census, Edward's occupation is listed as a "jeweller."

[This message has been edited by bascall (edited 04-10-2007).]

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ahwt

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iconnumber posted 04-10-2007 09:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is great detective work. Thanks again for the information about Mr. Francis

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 06-18-2007 01:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Posted in the New Members' Forum by suzannemk on 06-18-2007 01:47 PM [moved to here]
quote:
I read the thread about Edward Francis on the "American Silver Before Sterling" forum ( Spoons" thread)

As a new member I was not allowed to post to that thread, but I have some information to share regarding silversmith Edward Francis.

I am a g-g-g-granddaughter of Edward Francis of Leesburg VA 1807-1878/79. He did in fact go to Hinds County, MS then Rankin County, MS; then to Henderson, Rusk County, TX. He is buried there in the Henderson City Cemetery. I have more information on his family.


Originally posted by ahwt on posted 06-19-2007 04:53 PM:

quote:
Thanks for the information suzannemk.

Do you know if Mr. Francis continued to be a silversmith after all these moves and did anyone in his family follow in his footsteps?


Originally posted by suzannemk on posted 06-19-2007 11:51 PM:

quote:
Edward Francis continued as a jeweler in Henderson, TX until his death (1878/79). His will inventory lists all the watches in his shop for repair at the time of his death. His son Edward was also listed as a jeweler in census records. He died in Henderson in 1878. I do not know of any other family members or descendants who were silversmiths.

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