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tline3open  Polar Bear? Pitcher

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Author Topic:   Polar Bear? Pitcher
nautilusjv

Posts: 249
Registered: Nov 2008

iconnumber posted 12-20-2010 09:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nautilusjv     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recently acquired this pitcher because I have a thing for polar bears. I decided to take a chance on it even thought it is unmarked and usually I would pass on an unmarked piece, but I guess at times silverplate was made without marks. The seller claimed her great great grandmother bought it in England which seems dubious and incorrect as I am pretty sure the form is American from what I have seen, but who knows maybe it was an imported piece.

So, I guess I'm looking for feedback on this piece particularly as to date. I am thinking 1860-1870 perhaps.

Also, if anyone has other polar bear motif items I would love to see them.

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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 12-20-2010 09:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would guess Reed & Barton manufactured "in the metal" for a finisher like Meriden. Look on the bottom for a very small RB mark.

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 12-31-2010 08:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the figure on the spout, this falls into a class of plate known as Old Man of the Mountain, which I suspect is a dealer's term. Received wisdom is that anything bearing that image was made to coordinate with a pattern glass that contained the same image. And that these were sold by pattern glass makers not silver firms. Which is consistent with its lack of a mark: when new it would have had the same paper labels as the goblets that went with it.

Does it have a double wall for insulation?

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nautilusjv

Posts: 249
Registered: Nov 2008

iconnumber posted 01-15-2011 09:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nautilusjv     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you Dale, that is fascinating information. I know a very good glass dealer, I will have to ask her if she has any "Old Man of the Mountain" glasses. It does have double insulation, but the interior part is metal not ceramic.

Wev- The bottom has no mark except an incised 60 or 09 that was etched into the piece, not stamped.

The pitcher has had a hard life, but I couldn't resist it. I would like to have it restored. Could anyone recommend a silversmith? I have used Dave Friedman in Washington State before and he has done very good work, but he is fixing a spoon for me at the moment.

Thanks, Kelly

PS I will update this thread if I manage to find matching glasses for the piece.

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Marc

Posts: 414
Registered: Jun 2002

iconnumber posted 01-15-2011 04:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Kelly,

Really neat piece!

I have a few silversmiths I use who are very good in doing this type of work. They have both done work for my "animal" collection, and I am quite pleased by the results. Have Scott give you my email address, and I would be happy to pass along their phone #s.

You should also be aware that this is not an inexpensive undertaking.

Happy to help.

Marc

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nautilusjv

Posts: 249
Registered: Nov 2008

iconnumber posted 01-16-2011 07:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nautilusjv     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Marc. I will email Scott for your addy. And I realize that this will be an expensive undertaking, but it will be worth it when the piece is looking like its original self again.

Best, Kelly

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bascall

Posts: 1626
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 01-16-2011 09:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Couldn't that be a Bacchus spout on your pitcher?

It does look like a good resemblance of a polar bear on the lid, but the artist may not have been too concerned about an exact representation.

Anyway, a California connection for the pitcher is just a thought.

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Ulysses Dietz
Moderator

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 01-28-2011 03:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
These are ice water pitchers and were hugely popular but ONLY in electroplate--I have never seen a sterling example. The polar bear was a symbol of the arctic--land of eternal ice. Thus is became a symbol for commercially available ice, and hence the ready availability of ice water (and pitchers) in parlors and dining rooms all across America. I suppose you could technically have used any cold beverage, but ice water was the thing--how spoiled we are not to realize the joy of having ice water on tap, so to speak. The idea of matching glass goblets (rather than a plated one) is interesting, and suggests a very smart marketing ploy on the part of pattern glass makers. However, the old man's face a motif that crops up a lot in the late 19th century in architecture and decorative arts in general--so this may be dealer mythologizing--I'd love to see proof of it being so. Unmarked electroplate is not so uncommon, is it?

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nautilusjv

Posts: 249
Registered: Nov 2008

iconnumber posted 01-28-2011 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nautilusjv     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Ulysses for your thoughts. I have emailed a friend who is a very good glass dealer to see if she has any goblets that might accompany the pitcher. If she does, I will definitely post the info and hopefully pics of goblets!

Best, Kelly

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bascall

Posts: 1626
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 01-28-2011 05:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now that Ulysses has nailed this item, the mention of another thought which is the purchase of Alaska and commemorative articles that went along with that, won't hold much water either.

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nautilusjv

Posts: 249
Registered: Nov 2008

iconnumber posted 06-19-2012 03:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nautilusjv     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Everyone!

I thought I would share pictures of the newly restored polar bear water pitcher. The silversmith did and excellent job and it is now a gorgeous piece in my collection.

Enjoy!

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Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 06-19-2012 10:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To begin with it looked good. Looks like you had it re-plated? Did it need any other restoration?

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nautilusjv

Posts: 249
Registered: Nov 2008

iconnumber posted 06-19-2012 11:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nautilusjv     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It was indeed replated and it had numerous dents that needed repair when I acquired it. The dents are not so apparent in the original photos.

Kelly

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Polly

Posts: 1939
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 06-21-2012 09:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Beautiful! It's a perfect day for polar bears and ice water today (I think it got up to 98 F today in these parts).

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