Choosing the Right Fork — or Spoon

August 4, 2013

IdentifyingFlatwareIf there is an Ice Cream Fork is there also an Ice Cream Spoon? How can I tell whether this is really a Punch Ladle? Who knows the difference between a Luncheon Fork and a Dinner Fork — or Medium Fork, or Salad Fork, or Pastry Fork, or Fish Fork? The American Silver Booklet Identifying Flatware Pieces answers these questions. Piece-by-piece you examine the flatware used to serve and eat the meal. Most pieces are illustrated, using images from the catalogs of Oneida Community Ltd. and the International Silver Company.

In addition, a comprehensive index of Flatware Names and Measurements lists all the pieces described, with alternate names and usual measurements.

All this information is free.

Click on Identifying Flatware Pieces to download it, read it on screen, or print it out. Please share the information with others, but do not sell it or use it for commercial purposes. For a full listing of all booklets available and planned, click on American Silver Booklets.

History of Oneida Community and Its Silver

May 22, 2013


My former page The Oneida Community was based on information contained in my book The Community Table. That book is going out of print, but I would like to keep the information available for collectors — without the need to print and mail copies. I am breaking it up into booklets and adding more pictures and more color. The first result is a digital booklet summarizing the history of Oneida, with many illustrations.

Click on American Silver Booklets for links to all available digital booklets. You can read them on the screen, print them out, save to your own computer, and share them with others. Always credit the source. Do not use them for commercial purposes.


That Lady Hamilton Woman

August 14, 2012

Flatware, china and crystal, all in the Lady Hamilton pattern by Oneida Community.

For readers of my pages about American silverplate, I have added a new one. That Lady Hamilton Woman shows pictures from the exhibit of Oneida Community objects from the 1930s at the Oneida Community Mansion House Museum in 2012. Click here.

How I Set the Community Table

May 25, 2012

For those interested in the history of the American silver industry, I have added a new page: How I Set the Community Table.

The gentleman with the beard is John Humphrey Noyes, founder of the utopian Oneida Community. The members of the Community made and sold many items to support themselves, including silverplated flatware. Pierrepont Noyes, one of the sons of the founder, led Oneida into design and production of the high-quality Community line of silverplate.

I have been a collector of Community artifacts and a student of its history for many years. Last year I donated much of my collection to the Mansion House and they asked me to explain, in their Journal, how I had come to set the Community table. Click here for the page and the story.

Silver Is Here

December 18, 2010

For 20 years I bought and sold American silverplated flatware, then moved on to research and write about some of my favorite patterns and companies. I self-published books and maintained a website. I’m not providing the link to the website because I am transferring most of the information to this blog, after which I will discontinue the separate site.

Silver manufacturing was an important industry in the eastern U.S. between 1850 and 1920. It is a piece of our past which I have enjoyed helping to preserve. I invite you to take a look at some of my pages under the heading American silverplate.

The picture at the top of this page shows the “1847 Girl,” an important symbol used by the International Silver Company to emphasize their genteel origins. By 1948 — 100 years later — the advertising image below shows a livelier spirit, although the image is still a romantic one.

Old Silver Catalog

September 20, 2009

+SilhouetteWho could resist this very deco lady! She lives behind the plain brown cover of a Silverware Catalog issued in 1930 by J. W. Johnson (wholesalers?) of Maiden Lane and West 47th Street, New York.JohsnonSilverwareCatalog_1930

I bought the catalog years ago and have used it as a source for several of my books about American silverplated flatware and hollowware.  When American companies designed, manufactured and sold their own products, they presented them with pride, affection and style. It has been pure pleasure getting so much information mixed in with design.

+Silhouette2So time to move on. Before I sell the catalog, I am scanning some of the pages and uploading them to Flickr for other collectors to enjoy.  Planning to part with my collection has finally motivated me to upload other Silver Documentation also.