Friday, September 17, 2010

Palmer-Smith- more Continental

     While glancing through my notebook of Continental information, my memory got a jolt when I saw there a few copies of Ed Gangawere's beautiful little publication The Continental Report. Ed had an extensive collection of the pieces made by this company but unfortunately his collection was destroyed by fire.

     What caught my eye in his publication was three new Continental motifs.  I knew this but had forgotten!  One was a dahlia appearing flower appearing in conjunction with the Wild Rose motif. Another was described as a Bull's Eye design. The third was a wreath.  How could I have forgotten?  Very easily, it appears!
      These additions to the Continental list may not be the last. I hope someone viewing this has a piece with one of these motifs.

Left. A sketch made from one of Ed's pieces, unofficially named Dahlia.  Right, a rubbing made from the motif on another piece, and called Wreath.
     There is no image of the Bull's Eye  to show, but if anyone has one it will be no problem to identify.
     Ed also passed along information of another popular Continental line: the items are made of solid copper with a thin coating of tin leaving only the motif showing in. copper. Both the Mum and the Pansy motifs were done in copper. Many collectors have wondered about these pieces which are hammered but definitely not aluminum.

Moving on....
     After the blog on Aluminum That is Not Hammered, Seaneen sent this photo of a beautiful Palmer-Smith tray. 

The horse and rider attached at either end are an example of the many attachments with which Arthur Palmer enhanced his products. All were painstakingly created and most followed the sporting interest of the day although one of my favorites is a delicate, slender flamingo.

      Arthur Palmer was employed at the Wendell August Forge for a number of years before he left to start his own operation. While at the Forge he traveled extensively, exploring the market places for trends future buyer interests. He was extremely adept in noting these trends, yet his products remain almost timeless in design.
      All Palmer-Smith aluminum ware was made before the outbreak of WWII As with the entire aluminum giftware industry, the Palmer-Smith forge had to close during the WWII demand for aluminum, and it did not reopen afterwards although the Palmer-Smith line was continued in a new field: that of beautiful linens and a group of other accessories.
      WWII brought mass production into the hammered aluminum field and made possible the flooding of the market with these products. Although very attractive items continued to be made, many collectors insist they can feel the difference: that they can sense the presence of those long-ago artisans!
     The Wendell August Forge was a company that resumed its operations at the end of the war and continued their custom of producing only handmade items. We are grateful that the Forge has survived another setback from losing so much in last winter's fire and are happy that they are carrying on their tradition of handmade products. Their new catalog is ready as is a new line of jewelry.

A Palmer-Smith Collection:

The Nordic motif on this large tray is also used on the salad set below.

 R. Paper weight with tiny cast bird.

Rope motif  on square tray
with Ring and Ball  handles.
Right: Candy dish with cast Sea Horse stand.

Left: Leaf shaped tray with cast acorn decoration
 Right: Oval tray with Wheat motif.


Left: Pipe "knocker" with Pine motif.
Center knob "knocker" is
Note: I assume I was told correctly that was the purpose of the item on the left! I can 
not find information in my files.
Right: Lily motif on shallow


Left: Vine & leaf motif on flat
Right: Bowl using Square Fern


Left: Flower chain motif on shallow tray with                                      Ring and Ball handles.                                                        Right: Simple motif of Ducks  on small bowl.

Right: Small oval tray with Cherry Branch. 

Greek Key motif decorates the handles and lines the enter edge of the tray.

Right:A bracelet # 1 and napkin ring, #1 shown with a motif that may be titled Curvilinear.
   The two small dishes  with their cast decoration are examples of the many cast items used by Palmer-Smith.    Others include in addition to the ones shown in the above listings::
Elephant          Flamingo           Gun            Dolphin
Dachsund        Horse head       Parrot          Monkey
Right: An unusual ash tray
listed in an old catalog as
a Triangle Lip Ash Tray.
Shown here in the Thumbprint motif.

Left: The Petunia  motif is    
 rather rare.
Right: The Ivy motif edging the deep tray, was a very
popular one in many areas.
Remember the ivy patterned wallpaper of the '40s-'50s?


The Wheat Motif is on this tray, which was a gift to me. Badly bent in several places, my metal working husband restored it to almost perfect condition. He laughingly insisted that the giver must have ridden a motorcycle over it several times to create such damage. Great memories!

I can find no official name or image of this motif. Help!
I thought this would be a simple blog. It hasn't been! Palmer-Smith was extremely prolific in its years of operation, making many unique items that we may never see in the market place: their timeless design may assure them a place as family heirlooms. I look forward to a follow-up as some of you may have interesting pieces to share.... just as Seaneen's started this entire blog subject today.



  1. Thanks, Dannie - lots of interesting Palmer-Smith. I didn't know he stopped production with the War. (you even say so in both books...) The tray with the fence-leaping horse handles was from an estate which also had many later Equestrian publications. I gathered the tray was commissioned by one of the groups.

    My favorite Palmer-Smith of mine is the wheat staff candelabra. It reminds me of the 1936 Olympics. I bought it in Boston in 1994 while vacationing. Coincidentally, I have a Continental pedestal bon-bon dish with a shaped rose and oak leaves on the cover and neck behind it. They pair up nicely. I'll send a photo via e-mail.

  2. To comment on my own blog is only a test. A reader's took too long and then didn't come through. Plus I've worked all day trying to correct the mess "publishing" made of my blog (using another copy) and working with photos is just begging for trouble!

  3. not positive, but i think the seahorse piece is cellini.

  4. I'm giving the comment one last try. Of course I didn't save it. Said basically Thanks for all the info and photos - I had forgotten that all Palmer-Smith was pre-WWII.

    My favorite is the wheat shaft candelabra. Reminds me of the 1936 Olympics. Coincidental with this blog, I happen to have a Continental rose and oak leaf pedestal bon-bon dish behind it as displayed. Will e-mail a photo when I can.

  5. I'm giving the comment one last try. Of course I didn't save it. Said basically Thanks for all the info and photos - I had forgotten that all Palmer-Smith was pre-WWII.

    My favorite is the wheat shaft candelabra. Reminds me of the 1936 Olympics. Coincidental with this blog, I happen to have a Continental rose and oak leaf pedestal bon-bon dish behind it as displayed. Will e-mail a photo when I can.

  6. tried to comment again - I think you have to approve the comment and perhaps it is in your e-mail? 0r your Blogspot page?? [I have no clue how these work]

    If so, the second one is there also. Just delete one or the other.

    The comment:
    "I'm giving the comment one last try. Of course I didn't save it. Said basically Thanks for all the info and photos - I had forgotten that all Palmer-Smith was pre-WWII.

    My favorite is the wheat shaft candelabra. Reminds me of the 1936 Olympics. Coincidental with this blog, I happen to have a Continental rose and oak leaf pedestal bon-bon dish behind it as displayed. Will e-mail a photo when I can."

    The only way I could comment is thru my Google account. I opened a Blogspot account way back when you started, but if I signed out - which i don't recall doing, I cannot find my password. I think I used Google before. I know there has to be approval on another blog I comment on.

    Anyway, the sign in says the Blogspot sign in was transferred to the Google Account sign in.

    Then the comment area is blank after I submit and it says underneath: Your comment will be visible after approval.

    your companion in total frustration,

    p.s. sending some photos after I have then uploaded

  7. Seaneen, transferred your email here for easy referral just in case it the email got lost.
    I've gone into every related site I can find and may have fixed the comment problem. Blogger had added some Setting changes and one change may have included monitoring comments. Also, I think that when a reader signs as a follower, there is none of that stuff you've been experiencing.

  8. Aluminutman tried to post a message and failed, then sent an email. Thanks, you are entirely correct....I goofed in including the Sea Horse dish in the Palmer-Smith group. Its maker was Cellini Craft and is so marked on the base! My subconscious was noting that this piece did not have the smoothly sculpted look of PS but I ignored it.
    Thanks for the correction. I appreciate it.

  9. G-Mom, be careful... You may have created a monster... I don't know what took so long, but now I'm fascinated with the stuff. I've become more and more interested in things from that era. I've taken to trying to find vintage dresses from the 50s and 60s as well. Have any old copies of your book that I could read?

  10. Found a box packed with 100 of Book II. It has more history and more items featured, but the pics aren't as outstanding as in the first book.

    Can mail it or wait until you're up here.

  11. Seaneen, your line of "Wheat" candelabra were named " Regency". Could be because they're so elegant or could be because the name fitted the current trend of the time. Remember the names of most of the Kensington that had names calculated to appeal to image of an elegant society?

  12. I'm finally getting to catch up on blog posts and comments and really enjoyed this Palmer-Smith photos and info.

    I was lucky enough to come across a piece similar to the "Flower chain motif on shallow tray with Ring and Ball handles" but in the Ivy pattern.

    I'm wondering if any Palmer-Smith collectors on this list might be interested in it, as I'm trying to specialize in pieces with either great blue herons or musical motifs, but I couldn't resist buying this Palmer-Smith piece, as I'd read about the history of the company before.

    I can send photos if anyone's interested.

  13. I found a Palmer Smith aluminum bowl in a thrift shop. The # 2301 is stamped on bottom with the Palmer Smith logo. The bowl measures 7 1/2 inches with a trifoil leaf stamped design around inside edge.Can anyone tell me what it might be worth or more about its provenance? Laura J.

  14. I have a Palmer Smith serving tray that is round on one end and a waffled 'tail' on the other. Looks very 'art deco'. Had no idea who this artist was until today when I researched him. Found your blog. Looks to me as if his pieces aren't that expensive even if they ARE old. Am I wrong? susie

  15. There are many collectors who are not interested in the plain items that the Palmer-Smith company produced. The same applies to those of Cellini Craft. An interesting thing about the PS pieces is the timeline of their production, with the company's switch to custom linens after the end of WWII, we can date the aluminum to pre-war days.
    The quality and production date should, in my opinion make them more valuable. BUT if they are not popular enough with collectors that are willing to pay the price, the prices will remain reasonable compared,for example the Rodney Kent pieces, which are post-war and of much lighter guage metal.


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  19. I have a Rope Design 12"Bowl. Rope on Rim and Center. Would like to know age and value. Aluminum.

    1. Can't give exact dates foe the Palmer

      smith designs, but all his aluminum work was made between early 1930s and the beginning of World War 11.

  20. hi~
    i just picked up a lovely oblong tray (?) in the Leaf & Vine motif, I would love to send a picture of it. It was in a pile of 'free stuff' at the side of the road. It's in great condition, I haven't even washed it yet. Please let me know how to upload or send a picture. Love your blog!

  21. We have a 13.75 inch Palmer Smith (#266) punch bowl with three legs with ducks or dophins.
    Imbossed with Palmer Smith hallmark and the number 266. Anyone have any idea of worth??