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Author Topic:   Stymied by this spoon
vathek

Posts: 961
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 10-19-2018 02:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Recent acquisition. My first thought is American Federal but I can't find a Wallace in Wev's site that is early enough for that or online. Also the 'fins' are almost exageratedly pointy and I can't find a match for the form. Is it possible they may by provencial?


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ahwt

Posts: 2022
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 10-20-2018 08:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There was a John Wallace from Pittsburgh working 1818-1842 that is listed in McGrew. The mark shown has block letters as your spoon has, but instead of being incised they are raised within a rectangle.
The book by Whisker on Pennsylvania notes that a John Wallace was a clock, watchmaker and silversmith. One listing in Pittsburgh shows him working with Beggs in 1829-30 and a Wilson in 1841.

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vathek

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iconnumber posted 10-20-2018 08:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ahwt: thanks for the reply. If John Wallace was working around 1818 I would think this spoon would fit in around that date.

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ahwt

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iconnumber posted 10-20-2018 08:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
His working dates are right. I really do not know anything about Pittsburgh silversmiths, but maybe we have someone else that is familiar with that city and can confirm your mark.

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vathek

Posts: 961
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 10-20-2018 08:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have also found a mention of a William F. Wallace working in Westerly RI, no specific dates given but listed with late 18c smiths so he could have worked until ca. 1830 but no marks given.

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ahwt

Posts: 2022
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 10-20-2018 09:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you have Hollan's book on Eagle Marks two of John Wallace's marks are shown there. They both have a J. in front of WALLACE, have different eagles and one has a period after Wallace.

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vathek

Posts: 961
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 10-20-2018 09:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Perhaps William F.would be a more likely suspects as the marks you describe for John don't seem to fit.

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avalata

Posts: 52
Registered: Feb 2003

iconnumber posted 10-21-2018 12:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for avalata     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is one of John Wallace of Pittsburgh's earlier marks - he has at least five known marks. The shoulders and monogram style are also typically Pittsburgh.

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avalata

Posts: 52
Registered: Feb 2003

iconnumber posted 10-21-2018 12:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for avalata     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As you can see, there is also a crescent-shaped wrigglework drop, which in that particular shape is only known in Pittsburgh. This spoon would date to the 1820s or very early 1830s, as that form of drop was out of fashion by about 1830.

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ahwt

Posts: 2022
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 10-21-2018 02:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If Wallace was in Pittsburgh by 1818 I suspect he was one of their earlier silversmiths. Avalata do you know who the first silversmith was in Pittsburgh? That is an area that not much has been written about.

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vathek

Posts: 961
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 10-21-2018 03:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
thanks all for the info, I'm happy to know the origins of my spoons (I have a pair).

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vathek

Posts: 961
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 10-21-2018 03:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ahwt: there seems to be little info on Pittsburgh silver.

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avalata

Posts: 52
Registered: Feb 2003

iconnumber posted 10-24-2018 06:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for avalata     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi,

There is very little aside from an essay by Michael Malley in "Made in Western Pennsylvania" and some entries in Whisker, etc. I am working on something more comprehensive, though just starting. Gregg & Barker were perhaps the earliest advertising silversmiths, though I haven't seen an extant example of their work. I have seen examples from before 1800 by John Johnston and Zachariah A. Tannehill (the most prolific pre-1800 Pittsburgh silversmith, working until his death in about 1813). There were a handful of silversmiths working in the 1800-1820 era, and many more who advertised but for whom examples are not known. Wallace is from the middle period of Pittsburgh silver, and as noted, this is probably his earliest mark, though I have a similar incuse example that is J.WALLACE that might be this mark before he might have had to cut down the die. The spoons under discussion here are within a few years of his start date, although the very earliest were thin, small coffee-sized spoons that are slightly earlier in form.

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avalata

Posts: 52
Registered: Feb 2003

iconnumber posted 10-24-2018 06:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for avalata     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a link to a late 18th Century soup ladle by Zachariah A. Tannehill, in the Carnegie Museum of Art (and on display!).

You can also just google it if you (as you probably should not) don't click on links!

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ahwt

Posts: 2022
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 10-24-2018 09:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for that information about early Pittsburgh.
Wikipedia notes "by 1800, the town, with a population of 1,565 persons, had over 60 shops, including general stores, bakeries, and hat and shoe shops."
It is interesting how early silversmiths appeared on the scene in Pittsburgh. I think that an early arrival for silversmiths was the case for most cites during that time period.

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