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tline3open  Application of crests / armorials

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Author Topic:   Application of crests / armorials
cbc58

Posts: 267
Registered: Aug 2008

iconnumber posted 03-19-2018 07:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cbc58     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When looking at flatware, is there anything to watch out for in terms of the application of crests / armorials ? I ask because some clearly are engraved, while others appear pressed or punched into items. Was it common practice to do it either way... and would they have been done at the silversmith or sent to a specialist?

While I am at it - would records have been kept for orders so you could actually trace back who something was made for? That also goes for American smiths as well - did they keep detailed records?

Any info is appreciated. Tks

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agleopar

Posts: 847
Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 03-19-2018 08:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cbc58, crests on flatware have to be engraved. There might be an exception I can't think of/don't know but it seems that if you were lord so and so to have your flatware personalized it would not make sense to have very expensive dies made or to have them chased, which would also be expensive and not very satisfying.

I'd be curious to see an example of "pressed or punched", not because I think it not possible but I can't remember ever seeing that.

Engraved flatware is done where the engraver is. A large firm might employ one or more (Gorham, Tiffany) a small shop would send it out..

As to records - they are as rare as hens teeth. When I die the kid will be lucky to get a few drawings and receipts for jobs done saved for taxes. But I doubt they will be of interest to his kid or further along? Most firms ended with no place or more importantly no interest in things that were thought of as utilitarian and uninteresting.

There are exceptions, Gorham, Tiffany ( do you see a pattern here?) and historically one American firm and one English firm, neither of which I can remember their name. The English one had its day books pulled out of the rubbish and now they have a home in the V and A or British Museum (also can't remember).
Some one else with a memory chip in here! The English firm might begin with a W but it's not Wakely and Wheeler... George Wicks? There are some examples of colonial smiths day books - Revere and some others. Most are pretty dry.
3 shillings six pence to make a cream jug for Mr Bloggity Blogs...
There is little in the way of the day to day of the shop or apprentices and journey men let alone what anybody thought about the work and life.

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ahwt

Posts: 2173
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 03-19-2018 10:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Parker and Wakelin Partnership 1760-1776 is a book by Helen Clifford that explores the business of silversmiths in London. That was the one reference I remember that showed that the repair of silver was a profit center within a going and successful business of making new silver items. She explored other aspects of the business, but it stuck with me because it showed how customers really used the silver items they brought and how things that are used do break.

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cbc58

Posts: 267
Registered: Aug 2008

iconnumber posted 03-24-2018 09:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cbc58     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Agleopar,

Here is a pic of some designs that appear to be pressed into the tops of the handles of some serving spoons, vs. engraved. At least that is what it looks like to me. Maybe I am not using the term armorial correctly - these are designs that might have been common at the time and guessing a silversmith would have had a die to make them. Would that have been a common thing - for them to have dies for various designs? I can see where family crests would have to be engraved but have seen these type of "pressed" designs on a number of pieces.

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Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 03-24-2018 10:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are differences...so it appears to be hand work. A clearer sharper photo would be helpful.

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ahwt

Posts: 2173
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 03-24-2018 08:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think skilled engravers make images like your eagles better than anything that can be stamped out. I think this was and is a separate profession from silversmithing, but sometimes the same person would learn the skills of each.
I think your eagles could be considered crests and may have been chosen by some family as part of their coat of arms. We have many people on this forum that know much more than I do about such things.

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agleopar

Posts: 847
Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 03-26-2018 08:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cbc58 it is hard to explain the difference between engraving, die stamping and flat chasing. That is because they do look similar depending on how they are done (each can look like the other or very different depending on the way they were done).

The example you show is further confused by their age and wear. They are hand engraved. As I thought, while die striking something like this is possible it would not be done for dozens only hundreds due to the time and cost of making the die and the machines to strike it.

The thing you might enjoy seeing is a hand engraver at work - a really good one. It is quite incredible to watch because the precision and confidence of cutting is extraordinary. Another thing is it is very easy for a good engraver to copy and do repeats. Copying is the bread and butter of engravers. It is the exceptional engraver who does original art, Eric Gill comes to mind or the contemporary English engraver Malcolm Applebee.
A flat chaser can do this also but again it is slower, therefore more expensive. There are few flat chasers and the only one I can think of in the past was Arthur Stone. It is a difficult art to master at a level to compete with an engraver.

A good thing is to look at engraved spoons with a loop and then look at chasing and die struck work also. You will see 3 differences, a cut line, a plowed line (sort of like the tool was pushed down and along the metal, not removing any so that it was slightly pushed up on either side of the line) and a pressed line that has no evidence of the other 2 characteristics. Wear will make it hard to see the difference but if you look long enough you will be able to spot them.

If you look at YouTube, hand engraving, Steve Lindsay is a master at cutting and watching him at work is mesmerizing!

I hope this takes away some of the mystery...

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Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 03-26-2018 09:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
see: Hand engraving video

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cbc58

Posts: 267
Registered: Aug 2008

iconnumber posted 03-26-2018 07:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cbc58     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you for the information on the different types of techniques used for engraving. The rounding of the sides of some engraved lines is what led me to believe some crests were pressed in and I'll have to look with a more discerning eye from now on. Pretty amazing that the same design can be copied so closely by hand.

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asheland

Posts: 925
Registered: Nov 2003

iconnumber posted 03-27-2018 12:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for asheland     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From what I've seen, most of them are hand engraved. Nice crests by the way. smile

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