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tline3open  Gorham 'ex' mark on 1879 vases - but look like Martele?

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Author Topic:   Gorham 'ex' mark on 1879 vases - but look like Martele?

Posts: 4
Registered: Feb 2022

iconnumber posted 02-18-2022 04:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ETaillon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Excuse me if this has been discussed on an existing topic but I couldn't find anything regarding Gorham' "EX" mark in my search!

Anyways, I recently acquired this lovely pair of Gorham vases with the rarely seen "EX' markings. Spenser Marks sold a wonderful water pitcher also made in 1879 with the 'EX' mark and in their listing they write:

"The 'EX.' designation is very interesting. No one has learned the precise meaning of the 'EX.' marking.

According to Charles Carpenter, Jr in Gorham Silver 'The EX... may represent Extra or Experimental' (p. 287). This pitcher has 'extra' (exceptional) chasing. This designation may also have been briefly used to indicate a 'sample', or internally generated special order, before Gorham developed a unique numbering system for 'samples'."

Exceptional vs. experimental is in some ways splitting hairs, but what intrigues me is how much these look like the Martele line but pre-date the arrival of William Codman - Codman designed Martele and joined Gorham in 1891 but these have a clear L stamp relating them to 1879.

I wondered if anyone might know more about the 'EX' mark? And on the lily pad vase there is a little heart next to the date stamp which I can't seem to find any information on - has anyone come across such a mark?

[This message has been edited by Scott Martin (edited 02-18-2022).]

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Richard Kurtzman

Posts: 768
Registered: Aug 2000

iconnumber posted 02-21-2022 01:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Kurtzman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This was somewhat addressed in the thread:
Unknown Gotham Hollowware Symbols

[This message has been edited by Scott Martin (edited 02-21-2022).]

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Posts: 4
Registered: Feb 2022

iconnumber posted 02-21-2022 04:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ETaillon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks so much for finding that Richard! A tally mark or journeyman mark does seem to make the most sense for the little heart stamp based on that thread. I had thought it could have been something along those lines but assumed we would know more specially what they related to. I have a hunch this will remain a mystery for some time!

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Posts: 2334
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 02-21-2022 05:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Your vases are lovely.
I do not know what happened to the Gorham name as the name was sold several times and winding up with Lenox.
I think Lenox went bankrupt so perhaps Gorham is now just a memory.
Do you know what happened to all the old stuff that a company like Gorham must have accumulated?

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Posts: 91
Registered: Jun 2020

iconnumber posted 02-22-2022 12:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Silverpath     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A large collection of of the Gorham archives was saved and catalogued by Sam Hough at Brown University, the John Hay Library. Gorham photographed many of their works and compiled them in oversized albums. I suspect access is limited now but it's a wonderful resource.

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iconnumber posted 02-22-2022 12:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ETaillon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To add to that, anything not at Brown is at RISD where they just had a big Gorham exhibit. The collection of silver objects and even more records are at RISD but the older records are at Brown - I think it’s something like 6000 feet of records. I’m sure there is some insight to these marks somewhere in that but it’d be a huge undertaking to find.

I heard Sam Hughs had put together scans and offered them for sale on CDs. I don’t know exactly what’s on those scans but to my understanding it’s mainly catalogs and the scan quality is a bit low - I imagine they were scanned a long time ago and had space limitations on the CDs. Does anyone know if those CDs could be bought anywhere?

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Scott Martin
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Posts: 11520
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 02-22-2022 12:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe the The Gorham Design Library cd's are using out dated Java. Therefore most newer PC's will not run the CD collection.

I always felt the scans were very poor quality. Nevertheless it is better than having nothing. Or having to start from scratch at RISD or Brown.

See: The Gorham Catalogs Index CD-ROM

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Posts: 91
Registered: Jun 2020

iconnumber posted 02-22-2022 03:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Silverpath     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I bought the CDs and did not find them helpful. It was a struggle to access them because of the old Java. The catalogue images were generic and not great quality. The set was pricey, too. I don't remember anything about marks.

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1792
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 02-27-2022 06:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Over 20 years ago I had a small shaker with the EX mark (it, too, was from 1879). My suspicion was that it indicated experimental, as in a prototype or sample.

Your pieces and that of Spencer Marks are quite wonderful, but the piece I had was rather undistinguished. A simple hammered body with a narrow die-rolled decorative band at the neck (I bought it for the unusual marks). The fairly pedestrian design of my example leads me to think that EX did not stand for extra or exceptional.

Interesting that all of the examples we mention are from 1879.

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