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Author Topic:   Porringer
bascall

Posts: 1621
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 09-19-2009 12:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My latest find which was labeled silverplate, so it doesn't matter what the details about it turn out to be too much. The weight is approximately six troy ounces. The cast handle has one small crack that does not go completely through the segment that is affected. It is solid silver but unmarked.

The long handle was the first thing that attracted me to this porringer, and when I bought it I wasn't fully convinced that it was solid silver. After giving it a good cleanup and a long hard look over, there is no question that it is silver. Also the handle is angled up a little instead of coming straight away from the bowl as seems to be usual.

Best of all, it displays beautifully.

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swarter
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Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 09-19-2009 04:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice find - a fairly typical Federal period keyhole porringer. The handle is a bit narrow, as you say. Since these handles are cast, it might be possible to trace it at least to an area, if not a maker Start looking at pictures - there are quite a few, so it will keep you out of trouble for a while! wink

[This message has been edited by swarter (edited 09-19-2009).]

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bascall

Posts: 1621
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 09-20-2009 12:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Swarter, thank you for the information.

Looking through the online images of porringers, the closest one was by Edward S Moulton which was made in Saco, Maine in 1834. The handle had one slight difference and the bowl shape looked the same. That doesn't mean much other than a possible New England attribution, but it's something.

The angle of the handle on my porringer is something that I'd like to see on another one of these for whatever light it might shed on the matter.

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FredZ

Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 09-20-2009 08:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am curious why you say that the handle is cast. Are there pits in the casting? I would have thought the handles to most porringers would be pierced out with a saw from heavy sheet.

Sand casting an intricate handle could prove problematic and I suspect there would be failure in the castings as well.

Fred

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Ulysses Dietz
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Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 09-20-2009 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm interested in the whole idea of how late silver porringers are made. My training has lead me to believe that amongst elite urban clients, silver porringers were really passe by the end of the 18th century--although I know pewter porringers (whose handles are cast, by the way) survive well into the 1830s.

Can folks come up with examples of silver porringers, like the Saco, Maine example cited above, that are as late as that?

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bascall

Posts: 1621
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 09-20-2009 12:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fred, even before receiving swarter's reply, I had shown this piece to a master silversmith who said that the handle was cast. Otherwise, the thought would not have crossed my mind. There is just the slightest bit of pitting that is noticeable on the back of the handle, but not enough to initially lead me to suspect that it was cast.

The silversmith I mention made the comment that making porringers never stopped. He also said tentitavely that the piece was nineteenth century and done with a lathe and not raised. However, the ping on the bottom maybe from polishing on a lathe and not manufacturing.

Hopefully, the subject of making porringers in the nineteenth century will be explored further on the forum.

Thank you all for your comments.

[This message has been edited by bascall (edited 09-20-2009).]

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swarter
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iconnumber posted 09-20-2009 01:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There have been a number of Federal period porringers offered on ebay over the years. Porringers of course are still being made, but not by the old methods. I have seen examples into the 1840's- If I can remember any of the makers, I'll add them - I don't think I made any sort of record of them. A&G Wells I think was one, and at least one by one of the Moultons (bearing an 1800's date, another. Known provenance and/or original script rather than block initials would be an indication for makers whose dates overlap the Revolutionary period (as a Colonial/Federal boundary). At first I was surprised to see them, as my impression was that they were strictly colonial, but I think it is just that builders/donors of most older published museum collections may have spurned them as "out of period." A similar lack of demand may also explain their appearance on ebay.

I said that they were cast because I thought I had read that they were, so I could be wrong, Pewter ones certainly were, but that is an entirely different matter - I suppose my aging memory could have conflated the two (It is possible, as has been done, to attribute unmarked pewter porringers by their characteristic handles). Even if cut by hand, certain makers could have identifiable variations - keyhole handles tend to be rather similar, so when one is recognizably different it may be significant.

[This message has been edited by swarter (edited 09-20-2009).]

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FredZ

Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 09-20-2009 02:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A number of porringers were handmade during the Arts & Crafts movement and most of the handles were saw pierced during that time. I have seen examples by Katherine Pratt, George Gebelein, Arthur Stone, and the Kalo shop made a wonderful series of them with repoussed and chased handles.

Fred

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Ulysses Dietz
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Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 09-20-2009 03:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh yes, porringers are among the most popular of colonial revival forms, long after people knew what a porringer was, they called it by its name and used it for nuts or candy. Babies, too, got porringers, which came the closest to serving their original function...

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bascall

Posts: 1621
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 09-28-2009 12:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fredz, after looking this porringer over for some time, I have question it being cast too.

And it does look like porringers pretty much died out after the Federal Period or there abouts.

Some notes on porringers:

Porringers were universal in colonial wills.

Porringers served as cup, spoon, ladle and bowl for sailors.

Porringers were also called pipkins in reference to Norman pottery.

Porringers hung by their handles.

Porringers were in common use for drinking porridge until tea and coffee banished
them and cups and saucers were introduced.

'Prentice porringers were an inch and a
half in diameter.

Small porringers were also known as posnets which may have orignially referred to a posset cup. There are variations of the term posnet.

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bascall

Posts: 1621
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 02-09-2018 08:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just came across an identical porringer to this one on the big online auction site. Unfortunately, it does not have a maker's mark, and I don't think it has an accurate attribution.

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agleopar

Posts: 824
Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 02-10-2018 10:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It might be possible to match the handle to a marked one...? A long shot I know but the handles were, I think, sort of repeated and this shop did it differently from that shop.

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vathek

Posts: 961
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 02-11-2018 07:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I posted this in 2012, an unmarked porringer with an inscription dated 1856 and a similar handle. It has not been determined if it was newly made at that time or an old one:
Unsigned American Coin Porringer

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bascall

Posts: 1621
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 02-11-2018 12:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you for the replies. Now that I have come across one identical handle to mine, it does give me hope that others will surface with some accompanying information.

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ahwt

Posts: 2022
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 02-15-2018 10:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a little off the subject, but I saw bowls of the type referred to as bleeding bowls on an English website. I have never heard that before an wonder if this is true.

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Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11202
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 02-15-2018 01:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are several posts that mention bleeding bowls. For example, D.C. Denham, New York maker?

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swarter
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Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 03-02-2018 11:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If my recollection [from reading, not from the period smile ], bleeding bowls were marked with lines for volume to avoid drawing too much (or not enough ? ) blood, whereas how much porridge was contained might not have been much of an issue. Remember that in the past, the use of bloodletting was a common practice when "bad blood" was thought to be a cause of disease, so in an ill informed attempt to remove the cause of the infirmity either leeches or a fleam (a form of lancet) with a bleeding bowl were used. I have often wondered if an already weakened patient could be further weakened or how often blood-borne diseases might have been transferred from one patient to another in this manner!

[This message has been edited by swarter (edited 03-03-2018).]

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Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 03-03-2018 12:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've read that some historians think George Washington died at least partly because of excessive bloodletting by his doctors. On the other hand, there's a disease that's pretty common among people of Northern European ancestry, hemochromatosis, where patients have too much iron in their blood, which can cause various organs to fail; the treatment is bloodletting. I had a boss who had it.
If I were a vampire in the 19th c, I would become a doctor so I'd have an unremarkable method of getting hold of fresh blood.

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vathek

Posts: 961
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 03-06-2018 07:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bascall:
I believe I may have found probable attributions to both our porringers. I believe yours is by William Simkins as it has that extra notch in the cutouts nearest the handle. Mine seems to be an exact match for an Edward S. Moulton one. Simkins:
Moulton:

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bascall

Posts: 1621
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 07-17-2018 01:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've overlooked this post. Sadly the handle is not an identical match. I think that the handle on mine is different in that there is only one set of notches. Other porringers that I have looked at have multiple sets of notches.

Vathek, Thanks for posting the example with an attribution.

[This message has been edited by bascall (edited 07-17-2018).]

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bascall

Posts: 1621
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 07-17-2018 02:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had just decided that a regular routine of looking for an example of my porringer with a mark was going to be necessary in order to ever find it, so I began to look (again) and there it was. No attribution, but the mark was SW with serifs separated by a bullet in a rectangular cartouche. The mark was prominently located on the top of the handle.
Now to identify this mark. Any advice is most welcome.

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bascall

Posts: 1621
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 08-29-2018 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another identical porringer spotted. The most recent one has the year 1811 engraved on the top of handle along with a script monogram, no maker's mark. Maybe again someday and with a convincing attribution.

[This message has been edited by bascall (edited 08-29-2018).]

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