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Author Topic:   Buster Brown shoes Fork and Knife
gourdlady247@hotmail.com
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iconnumber posted 08-11-2003 04:57 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello,

My Uncle recently passed away and when we were going through his belongings (which I hated to do) In his kitchen drawer I found a Buster Brown shoes Fork and Knife. They have the little Buster Brown boy on it and his dog on the handle. On the back it says EXTRA coin silver PLATE. Can any one help me with the date of these items. I contacted the Buster Brown shoe company and they have no record of these items. I know they exist because I have them in my lock box waiting to clean them up. They are very badly tarnished. If you can help me find out who made them and how old they are I would appreciate it.

Thank You
Marla Garber

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Patrick Vyvyan

Posts: 640
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 08-11-2003 12:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Patrick Vyvyan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
First, a question: do your fork and knife specifically say Buster Brown Shoes?

If not, given the food connection, I imagine they formed part of a promotion for Buster Brown Bread:

According to the Brown Shoe Company, the Buster Brown character was "Created in 1902 by Richard Fenton Outcault. "Buster" was a mischievous youngster who, with his sister Mary Jane, and his dog, Tige, were as famous in their time as Orphan Annie and Charlie Brown became for succeeding generations. Buster's Lord Fauntleroy clothes and antic behavior were as familiar to those who read the "funnies" at the turn of the century as Annie's blank eyes or Charlie's inability to coach a winning baseball team.
The late John A. Bush, who at that time was a rising young sales executive with Brown Shoe Company, saw the value of the Buster Brown name as a juvenile shoe trademark. He persuaded the company to purchase the rights to the name from Outcault, and the brand was introduced to the public in 1904 during the St. Louis World's Fair.

However, according to Kansas City Public Library Smith Bakery

"Smith's Steam bakery, with B. Howard Smith, president, is listed in Kansas City directories of the 1880s and '90s at several different locations. Bryce B. Smith, young son of this pioneer baker, learned the business early, and in 1893, when only 15 years old, talked his father into a campaign of "Buster Brown Bread." A Chicago advertiser with a midget and dog for rent put on a promotional scheme, which proved highly successful. Later bread under the Holsum and Bond labels was baked there."

So, did Richard Fenton Outcault base his Buster Brown on an earlier concept? And what is the relationship between the artist, the bakery and the shoe company? Do I smell legal copyright problems mingling with the aromas of fresh bread and leather?

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Anuh

Posts: 190
Registered: Jan 2003

iconnumber posted 08-12-2003 08:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Anuh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gourdlady247@hotmail.com:
Hello,

In his kitchen drawer I found a Buster Brown shoes Fork and Knife. They have the little Buster Brown boy on it and his dog on the handle. On the back it says EXTRA coin silver PLATE. Can any one help me with the date of these items.


Marla, Extra Coin Silver Plate was a mark used by the Niagara Silver Co., formed in 1899 "to manufacture and sell silver and silverplated wares". Their marks are now listed under Oneida Silversmiths.

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Anuh

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 08-13-2003 01:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since this was not a full line pattern, apparently limited only to children's pieces, information can be hard to come by. I have seen these charming knives, forks and spoons before. They appear to have been made, or available, for a long period of time. Probably well into the 30's. Enjoy them.

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Patrick Vyvyan

Posts: 640
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iconnumber posted 08-13-2003 01:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Patrick Vyvyan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I now discover that the creator of Buster Brown, Richard Outcault, licensed the character VERY extensively. Around the time of the St. Louis World Fair in 1904, he issued some 200 licenses for products including cigarettes, sugar and flour in a strategy he had began with his earlier Yellow Kid. Thomas A. Edison made silent films of Buster Brown in 1904 and the following year Buster Brown was even published in Brazil. In 1906 the image was used to promote the Buster Brown Camera, a rival to the Kodak Brownie. In 1909 the artist opened the Outcault Advertising Agency in Chicago, presumably to manage his interests.

So, all in all, Buster Brown enjoyed enormous diffusion. I still feel your pieces may be part of a promotional campaign, although equally they may have been a product in their own right.

The Buster Brown cartoons lasted until around 1921 (although at the end they were apparently drawn by other artists), and this I guess marked the finale of Buster Brown's general popularity. Thereafter, Buster Brown became more and more exclusively associated with the Brown Shoe Company brand.

I now believe the dates given by the Kansas Public Library are wrong, although the story is essentially correct, and Buster Brown bread was certainly a reality.

So, if your knife and fork are not specifically part of the shoe company promotions, a date from 1902 at the very earliest up to c.1921 seems probable to me.

Dale, why do you think these pieces were made "well into the '30s"? Have you seen different styles, different makers etc.?

The Niagara Silver Company merged with a Canadaian company, William A. Rogers, in 1902. William A. Rogers in turn sold out to Oneida in 1929. The Niagara factory closed in the early 1930s as a result of the Depression, although Oneida continued to use the Niagara brand.

Anuh, do you have any additional information on how long the "extra coin silver plate" mark was in use?

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Anuh

Posts: 190
Registered: Jan 2003

iconnumber posted 08-13-2003 08:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Anuh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Patrick Vyvyan:
Anuh, do you have any additional information on how long the "extra coin silver plate" mark was in use?



From the patterns I've seen made by this company, I'd say that the 20's would be pushing it! Of course, Oneida could have continued making some of these specialty patterns long after they acquired the mark. There is no way to tell that I know of.

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Anuh

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