Sunday, January 9, 2011

Identifying Makers

As is often the case, one bit of information brings more, and today's comes from Charlie who shared with us photos of his collection of servers. This also relates to a server but also calls to attention many of the identifying techniques used by different companies.

Arthur Armour fork
Right: Closer view of rivets used by Arther Armour. Quoting Charlie: "They are the clue to the maker. As far as I know, ONLY Arthur Armour did these pentagons with facets."

I was aware of these rivets being used by Armour but had never thought of them as being of his exclusive use. I am now amazed that I can not find a single example of their use in my collection! I have many items using rivets in their construction: silent butlers, casseroles, magazine racks and even a few footed hot pads, but not one using these unusual rivets.   I have found tiny rivets and  larger rounded ones but none of the pictured style.

This brings an interesting question or two besides where have I 'hidden' my examples!  #1: Is there a time frame in which this type were used? If there were a limited time of use, it would add a bit of interest in dating pieces in our collections. #2: Were these rivets used only on serving utensils? If so, their use would be especially useful in identifying the maker, because serving pieces are often unmarked.

In addition to the unusual rivets used by Arthur Armour, his hammer marks are generally larger than those of most other companies and although the handles that he used can help in spotting a piece of AA, other makers used similar materials and techniques.

Palmer-Smith also had a favorite design which he incorporated into the majority of his items: that of a ball, used in many different ways as part of a handle or finial, or on a footed dish.

Many of the older pieces of Wendell August can be easily be spotted by only a glimpse of their notched edge. The story connected with this touch is that Mr. August was walking through his shop one day, and paused by a worker's bench and picked up a piece, gave its edge a few blows, notching it, and suggested that that form of edging be used. Whether or not, this is accurate, I have no idea, but this finishing touch was used for years.

 Jim DePonceau also used this edging on many of his early products. DePonceau worked at the Forge for years, before forming his own company and many of his older pieces followed the trends of the Forge.

Many of these techniques of the companies have aided us in identifying unmarked pieces, and have often drawn us toward certain items displayed upon the shelves  when we're shopping. The hammering, the handles, the finials...they send out their message.

A Facebook message from Susan Ericson Susan Ericson has given us an advance notice of her intention to sell a few pieces of her collection. All are quality items as shown in the group of photos below. 

So there!  You have the scoop. Susan is on Facebook and might be contacted there and following the link to her web site you can make an inquiry in the site's comment box. These items may soon go on sale on Etsy or Ebay. You can find more sale pieces by clicking on the For Sale tab at the top of this page. These are only a small part of items I plan to list later. Later I will have each piece's price listed, but have not yet finished that project.