Monday, September 6, 2010

Continental Silver Company: their patterns

 Blogging is in many ways simpler than the printing, separating, folding, addressing, stamping method of old. The problem remains that I feel sure that I'm not reaching everyone on my address list. That is a problem yet to be remedied. 
A second problem lies within the Blogger system; regardless of the way my finished article appears on my computer screen, it will be changed when the "publish"
 button is clicked. Even the recently "new and improved" statement that the preview will show exactly how the writings will appear is not accurate. This is the reality:
   1.  Several hours will be spent writing and arranging photos.
   2. Spelling will be checked...maybe.
   3. Preview button is clicked and the material is edited if necessary.
   4. The publish button is clicked and in three seconds, huge gaps appear in the 
       article.  Sentences are started and are finished elsewhere. Words are sometimes     
   5.The nice, neat material exists no more, so the blog is removed for editing and 
       the process is repeated...and again and again, as long as the writer wishes to 
      repeat the editing attempts. 
Score I for the computer. Score 0 for the writer. 
This is a work in progress!

Continental motifs:
Although I failed to list three Continental motifs that I have or have seen, in the previous blog, I do have here examples of a large number of motifs.

The Pansy
motif must not have been a success or perhaps it didn't adapt well to applying to other items. I have one other piece, a sandwich tray, and have never seen another.

This is my favorite tray to pile high with snacks.

Bird books and a dictionary were brought into use to identify this tropical bird. Others closely resemble this image but were not a total match as was the Bird of Paradise
During the period of the aluminum gift ware's popularity, there was an emphasis on certain types of sporting events such as sailing, polo. and scenes such as this of fox hunting. Although aluminum became known as the "poor man's silver, Arthur Armour once remarked that in the cities, the price of a choice line of aluminum could not be considered at all cheap as the companies designed their good to appeal to the more affluent. Notice the different styles of handles 

This scene was used on several trays of  different styles and shapes.

A Daisy motif was used by Continental in three different arrangements. I think the name Daisy was used on all three at different periods. The daisies on the tray below are so large they could be called sunflowers, but I have seen anything in print to support that title. Note the daisy styled handles.

Iris in a bouquet, is another of their flower motifs. The Iris, Daisy, Mum, and Rose motifs were patterns used on trays of the same size and all with chopped corners 

Roses, below
in an intricately shaded pattern which, when the tray  is moved, highlights the rose

The Wild Rose pattern is a delicate one with tiny thorns showing on the rose stems. It is exceptionally pretty on some styles but gets "lost" on others.

Many styles of candle holders were made by this company. Some had the mum motif, others, like those above, had many shapes and petal styled candle cups. 

This little tidbit tray was on my unmarked list for years before accidently discovered the Continental mark almost completely hidden in its pressed Paisley
pattern. Its style, so completely different 
from other Continental pieces and its 

hard-to-see mark  had me badly fooled.



    Pieces done in the Corduroy pattern very often
     had wooden handles.
    The ice bucket has the wide strip of
    ridged "corduroy" lines running across the lid.


The Pussy Willow motif is another rather delicate one and it's much more attractive than this very poor picture shows. Its rolled handles are completely different from 
the often used concave band ones used on so many other trays.

This Continental ice bucket is not a part of my collection---but I wish it were!
The Oak Leaf and Acorn design is the same used for one style of salad bowl and is also the same as that holding their punch bowl. The punch bowl has a more tapered base than either the salad bowl or this ice bucket

In Book II a tray with a scene of mountains is shown. That is the only other motif that I can think of but there may be more. 

Most of the motifs shown above, were manufactured in a variety of styles, but none were as widely used as that of the chrysanthemum. Some day in the future, we'll compile a list of the items the company produced. 

Mail and Comments:
As a collector of many, many years, I had never seen but the one Palmer-Smith candelabra shown in the Looking Back issue. This one is part of my collection. Finally another has appeared: Teresa found hers at a church rummage sale, paid what she considered an outrageous price for a rummaged sale item, and has turned down an offer of $100 from a dealer, leaving her husband rather puzzled.  They often are! Mine would have doubted my common sense had he known some of the prices I paid and we soon adopted a policy: he didn't ask and I didn't tell.

The purchase of the candleholder started Teresa's collection which has grown to the point she is considering selling part of it---but not her favorite serving pieces and NOT the large chargers she has hung over the fireplace. They are against a red wall, and that should be quite an outstanding display

Irene has made another striking display with about a dozen of the pieces with plates, hanging above her kitchen cabinets. A question, Irene: Does each plate have a different motif? It would be interesting  to display here in the Aluminist, a collection of as many as possible of these motifs. I have another of those "one of a kind" pieces with a vivid motif of tropical flowers to include. As soon as I post it's picture, I'll soon hear of another, I'm sure! Irene also spoke of wishing to sell part of her collection.

Seaneen reminded me that I did not caption two pieces shown in All Aluminum is not Hammered. 
The small square tray is Coffee by Wendell August and the pair of vases were Palmer-Smith. Referring to the same article and the mention of Arthur Court, Seaneen sent some pictures of his work which is always unique and interesting. These and other photos she enclosed, I hope to include in later blogs. Although I have not been able to store the photos where I wished, I think I have them safely located in a future blog.

There has also been a request for cleaning instructions. First, do not wash in the dishwasher. Once might do no harm but it is chancy.  Dirty items may be washed in mild soapy water and an old toothbrush or other small, not very stiff brush may be used to clean beneath handles if they appear to have collected grim. The preferred cleaner is Mothers, a cleaner/polish  used on aluminum auto wheels and that may be found in automotive departments. I have used other brands but like this one best. 

The procedure should be..
   Wash away the dirt
   Rub lightly with fine steel wool (courser if the piece has scratches
   Rub with #0000 steel wool
   Apply Mothers and buff until completely clean
   Wash again and dry 
One should wear rubber gloves to apply and rub the cream onto the item for the oxidation that is being removed is a black mess! Use an old soft rag and RUB!  Depending upon how groggy the piece is, this is not a quick or easy job. When you are finished, the appearance of your piece makes the work worthwhile.  

 One should always experiment with any drastic actions on a worthless-beyond-repair item.  Most of us have discovered that pits/corrosion cannot be removed: the piece is permanently damaged. All gritty, coarse cleaners are going to leave scratches that will need to be buffed away.

I hope this is available to most of the old Aluminist subscribers. I'll probably never know because there have been many address changes, both land and internet. We were once a large group and perhaps we will be once more.
Also, this is not limited to aluminum collectors. Join in and explore a different world!