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tline3open  Tiffany's silverplate production

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Author Topic:   Tiffany's silverplate production
Ulysses Dietz
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iconnumber posted 04-22-2005 03:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thomas Shaw was the man from Birmingham who made Tiffany's silverplate from 1870 on. He first appears as the principal of Adams & Shaw in Newark in 1877. But by the 1880s he is styled as "Tiffany & Co." and the factory is making silver only for Tiffany's. This coffeepot was made for the family use in ca. 1880, and the chasing and engraving was all done by his son, Frank, who would live only long enough to make a great plated table for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Newark owns a number of plated pieces from the Shaw family, as well as the family's own set of plated "King" flatware (and the original dies from the Tiffany factory). There is also a plated neo-grec tea tray in Newark's collection from the Shaw, which probably represents the only documentable example of Tiffany's plating factory in PROVIDENCE, RI.

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Dale

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iconnumber posted 04-23-2005 12:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The history of Tiffany's plated wares seems to be an unfathomable subject. We know that plated things were made, because we can see them. Beyond that we don't know much.

I once handled a set of 12 forks and place spoons, European size and style, marked Tiffany and bearing a very early insignia of the Rock Island Rail Road. AIR, a collector of railroadiana bought them. She confirmed that this was definitely a RI RR mark, one she could also find on other items of the 1860's period. What seems on point here is that these were: Tiffany, plated AND vaguely commercial. IE used by a company not an individual.

Beyond that, I don't know much.

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Dale

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iconnumber posted 04-24-2005 01:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have over the last 30 years looked at a lot of silverplate. I have bought and sold. And in this time there have been very few things marked Tiffany. The ones I have seen have all been in some way commericial items. Flatware and holloware from upscale hotels and clubs. A few trophies, another area needing study. But almost nothing, in fact nothing I can recall, that was intended for home use.

In Denver, I do recall a set in the Islamic style that was associated with a prominent family. I advised on an appraisal of it. Beyond that, no ordinary household Tiffany silverware.

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William Hood

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iconnumber posted 04-24-2005 06:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for William Hood     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can you give more information about Tiffany's plating factory in Providence?

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Ulysses Dietz
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iconnumber posted 05-08-2005 05:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Carpenter touched on it in his book twenty-five years ago. It was a very brief moment, if I recall correctly, when Tiffany set up Thomas Shaw in Providence, specifically to duplicate the plating process Gorham was developing in Providence. But Shaw was making electroplate for Tiffany as early as 1874 in Newark, and exclusively for Tiffany as early as 1877, according to city directories.

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Dale

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iconnumber posted 05-09-2005 12:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dumb questions.

Did Shaw produce for any other retailers?

Did Tiffany offer their plated wares through venues other than their stores?

Did Shaw produce things other than silverplate? IE like pewter, brass or copper. All of which can be precursors to plated ware. Or can be sold as is. Like brass stands for picture frames. Or pewter tea sets. Or copper bowls.

Is there any known marking for Shaw other than Tiffany?

Did Shaw ever produce a utilitarian line of things?

Can trophies and commercial ware be traced to Shaw via the Tiffany mark?

Just wondering,
Dale

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Ulysses Dietz
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iconnumber posted 05-09-2005 11:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Shaw used an A=S mark for Adams and Shaw in his first years in Newark. It appears both alone and with the TIFFANY & CO. stamp. They received a medal at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia for their plated wares. In 1878, when they were listed in Newark, Charles L. Tiffany is listed as the Secretary of the firm, with Thomas Shaw as its Head of Manufacturing. C. C. Adams doesn't do much and disappears fairly early.

According to Stuart Johnson in his 1966 publication for The Newark Museum for the city's 300th anniversary, "Electroplating [was] added to [Tiffany's]business in 1870 withy shop at 55 Park Street in Newark.

As to SHAW, he came to the US in 1866 and first worked for GORHAM in Providence (having come from Elkington); Set up his own shop (Thomas Shaw & Co.) in Providence, basically funded by Tiffany & Co., whence Adams & Shaw in Providence, and quickly to Newark. Tiffany produced electroplated goods for domestic use until the Depression made it economically unfeasible. You see a lot more hotel plate from Tiffany (i.e. only the fanciest hotels) but there was a huge amount made for domestic use. I don't know why you don't see it more, but my own family owned quite a bit from ca. 1900, only it's all gone now.

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Dale

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iconnumber posted 05-10-2005 12:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My understanding is that Tiffany sold through their store. That the company did not use the catalog method favored by other retailers. From dealing I know that Chicago makers have silver scattered all over the midwest and south. Tiffany tended to be scarce. It may have been that Tiffany plate was concentrated in the northeast for this reason.

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