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Author Topic:   David Knox
ahwt

Posts: 2076
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 08-27-2006 08:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

The above tongs are marked D. T. Knox HUNTSV�L. David T. Knox was in Huntsville, Alabama by 1825 and died there in 1872. The book "Made in Alabama - A State Legacy" has one chapter devoted to Alabama silversmiths and includes some information about Mr. Knox. An 1825 advertisement in a local Huntsville paper noted that he had jewelry and silverware from New York and Philadelphia for sale. A later advertisement in 1829 stated that he was "constantly employed in making silverware". A still later advertisement in 1836 continued to extol the goods, including silverware, from New York and Philadelphia in one section of the advertisement and in a separate smaller section mentions that he also has silver , table, dessert and tea spoons and a variety of other articles. The authors infer from this separation that Mr. Knox may have made some simple articles such as spoons while purchasing the more complicated articles of silver from firms in the northeast.

These tongs are the made with the typical thin gauge silver that was fairly common in the 1820s and 30s, are of simple design and have plainly shaped bowls or nips. I suspect that these tongs were of the same difficultly to make as spoons of this time period and may well have been made by Mr. Knox simply because they were easy to make. For him, I expect the question of whether to buy or make was the same as for many other silversmiths. If they could make it cheaper and had the time and skill they most likely did make the item. One of the other early silversmiths in Huntsville advertised more than once that it was time for his customers to "pay up" indicating to me that money was very important to early silversmiths and that cash flow issues could determine when to make or buy. I also wonder whether or not the actually making of some items helped in maintaining the silversmith's skills when repair work came into their shop. Good repair work would seem to have been a necessary service offered if the silversmith wanted to retain loyal customers.

Noted in Beth Carver Wees' book "English, Irish, & Scottish Silver" is the fact many firms including Parker and Wakelin and William Bateman II contracted out for much of their supply of silver in much the same way as Knox. This may be the first time that a simply silversmith from Alabama was linked to such large and well known firms in England, but the business reasons for contracting out or making may well have been the same. Ms. Wees also notes that the term "maker's mark" has been changed to "sponsor's mark" since 1973. I assume this change is in recognition of the fact that the mark has little to do with the identification of the actual plate worker who made the object and it is the retailer who should have their name on the final product.

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bascall

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iconnumber posted 08-14-2008 05:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ahwt,

Do your references show David T Knox and Levy Sugars working together in Huntsville?

Thanks,

bascall

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ahwt

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iconnumber posted 08-14-2008 03:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Levi Sugars came to Huntsville in 1840 from Pennsylvania and was 41 in 1850 with two children. While in Huntsville he worked with Knox. He moved to Decatur in 1842 and formed a partnership with J. Sackett Britten in 1850. Sugars son, Joseph H. (b. 1845) joined his fathers firm about 1867. Levi Sugars died in 1875. Decatur is about 25 miles from Huntsville.
This information came from the “Made in Alabama” book, but I think it came from articles written by James Cormany in the Silver Magazine.

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bascall

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iconnumber posted 08-15-2008 01:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Levy Sugars was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1809. For the sake of discussion, he is said to have learned clockmaking in Connecticut and traveled selling clocks in Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. Once in Huntsville, Alabama he manufactured surveyor's compasses and did general watchmaking and silversmithing in connection with David T Knox until 1842.

Another name for the "mix" if you don't already have it is W B Cain who is listed in the 1860 U S Federal Census for the Northwest Divison of Morgan County, Alabama as a silversmith along with Levy Sugars.

James Sackett Britten a silversmith was born in about1822 in Tennessee. In the 1880 U S Federal Census for Morgan County, Alabama, there is a Major J S Britain whose occupation is silver-smith and who is sadly listed as insane.

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ahwt

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iconnumber posted 08-15-2008 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Knox married Susan, the niece of Thomas Cain and Cain was the silversmith mentioned above as appealing to his custumers to "Pay Up".

Other silversmith/watchmakers names in early Huntsville besides Cain and Knox were: Cook and Steelman, William Steelman, Thornton H. Cook, William McKay, Steelman and Rowland, John Biddle, and Packard's Silversmith. This listing is from the Made in Alabama book.

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bascall

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iconnumber posted 08-15-2008 09:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to the census's, the silversmith W B Cain was born in Alabama in 1825, and Thomas Cain who was a watchmaker was born in Virginia in 1784. W B Cain is possibly Thomas's son.

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ahwt

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iconnumber posted 08-15-2008 10:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thomas and James Cain were born in Virginia and records at the MESDA show that they have been in Raleigh, North Carolina; Petersburg Virginia; and Knoxville, Tennessee before arriving in Huntsville in 1816. They had a brother William whose daughter married David Knox. James moved to Tuscaloosa in 1819. W. B. Cain, probably the son of Thomas worked in Decatur with Levi Sugars. Again this is from the Made in Alabama book.

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bascall

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iconnumber posted 08-15-2008 04:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Should this bit of information be of use to anyone, from cemetery records, David T Knox was born on 19 February 1793 and died on 14 December 1873. He is buried in the Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama. His wife Susan is buried there too. She was born in Petersburg, Virginia on 26 July 1798 and died on 27 July 1875.

[This message has been edited by bascall (edited 08-15-2008).]

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ahwt

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iconnumber posted 10-21-2008 09:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Shown above are pictures of the family grave site of David T. Knox. His wife, Susan, is on the same side of the pedestal and his children on either side of the pedestal. The pedestal is enclosed with eight upright stone posts that most likely had a chain or other connection between them when first erected. They are buried in an old cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama named Maple Hill.

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bascall

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iconnumber posted 10-21-2008 10:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's always interesting how the dates get batted around. Oh well, close anyway.

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ahwt

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iconnumber posted 06-21-2019 07:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote




I have resisted buying more spoons for some time, but saw these nice spoons and put the resistance on hold. They are by David Knox of Huntsville Alabama as were the sugar tongs shown above. These fiddle spoons have an attractive broad drop, a mid rib end that Belden calls a short back, a chambered shoulder and a down turned handle. The feather monogram is well done and the average weight is a little less than 38 grams per spoon so they have a good usable weight. They are a little over 7 ½ inches long and today I would call these dessert spoons, but I do not know what they called them in the past.
I really do not know when they were made, but I believe they would date sometime before 1840 and probable were made by Mr. Knox.
We will use them tonight for some peaches from Clinton County Alabama that we brought yesterday at the Nashville flea market and some California vanilla ice cream.

[This message has been edited by ahwt (edited 06-21-2019).]

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June Martin
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iconnumber posted 06-23-2019 10:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for June Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The spoons and the dessert are tantalizing, ahwt. Your fresh post made me re-read the earlier part of the post. I had missed the graveyard pic. What a beautiful final resting place.

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ahwt

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iconnumber posted 06-24-2019 09:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
June, Maple Hill Cemetery is an interesting place. The Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll is a annual event where over 75 costumed characters take visitors back in time to explore life in years gone by. I do not know if anyone ever pretended to be Mr. Knox, but he would be a good character for someone to portray.
Alabama peaches are very good, but my favorite come from around Ruston, Louisiana,a small city in north Louisiana.

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asheland

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iconnumber posted 06-24-2019 12:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for asheland     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
@ahwt those are sweet spoons! I love the marks with the city! Great pick up!

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June Martin
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iconnumber posted 06-29-2019 01:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for June Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Love the cemetery stroll. What a great way to spend a Fall day. Thanks for sharing.

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ahwt

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iconnumber posted 06-30-2019 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Asheland the name of the city on spoons it also a welcome addition for me. The name of Huntsville on the spoon is spelled HUNTSV’L. That has always seemed strange to me, but maybe I do not understand the rules of abbreviation. This shortening only saves two letters, but maybe that was just enough to make the stamp easier to apply.
June, Historical reenactments are very poplar these days and I think have been for some time. Tennessee has many throughout the year that we have been to.

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asheland

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iconnumber posted 07-01-2019 12:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for asheland     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a pair of tablespoons by Charles White of Mobile and they have MOBILE stamped after the name. I love when the city is added!

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ahwt

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Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 07-02-2019 10:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Asheland, I think many of the silversmiths from Mobile included their city name. In the US the inclusion of the silversmith's home town was not universal by any means but it was not unusual.
I think inclusion of the silversmith's home town was almost never done for European silver or at least I do not recall ever seeing any such markings. Maybe having an assay mark was sufficient identification.

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