Antique Silver - Can you identify?

sweebyJanuary 3, 2010

There are so many 'oddball' pieces of antique silver that were designed for specialized uses, so I thought it might be fun to start a thread collecting some of them in one place.

If you know what they are or want to hazard a guess -- chime in and join the fun.

And if you have a piece you want identified, feel free to post your own pictures. It won't be 'derailing' the post since that's what this post is all about.

This piece (I'll call it #1) was handed down through my mother's side of the family, and the first owner that I know of was my grandmother. (She started collecting antiques in the 1940's, so it could be much older.) It's heavy, silver plate, and has a nicely-engineered screw knob on the bottom that adjusts the spacing of the three prongs on top. The round base is about 6" in diameter on the bottom, about 3" across on the smooth part. Here are the photos:

(I actually know what this piece is for -- at least, according to Grandma -- but I'll keep it secret for now so I don't spoil the fun.)

Any guesses?

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harebelle

I'm totally guessing here! This piece is way out of my knowledge but I did work in archaeology a few thousand years ago and our best fun was in figuring out what purposes artefacts had originally held. Since it has a handle obviously meant for manipulation of something, I'm throwing out the notion that it's to hold a hot jug or bowl for pouring. It's pretty, it looks about 1930s-40s. Your Gran set a handsome table, didn't she? Don't say anything yet, not until a few others chime in.

What a great thread this can be!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 1:06PM
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Ideefixe

Looks like part of a chafing dish set--holds the sterno or whatever keeps the missing top piece warm. Or holds an orb of some type?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 3:05PM
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lindac

Ham stand....

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 3:17PM
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sweeby

Some good guesses ;-)
But it's not quite big enough for a ham stand.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 4:06PM
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justlinda

A candle holder?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 4:09PM
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lindac

Ham stand....

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 4:54PM
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DLM2000

I'm totally stumped. The prongs have to hold something that will vary in size, but the item has to be stable and fairly flat on the bottom because what it sits on is smooth and flat. Or maybe it holds a melon that has been scooped out and refilled with a melon baller? I have no clue as you can tell from my guesses but it's fun trying!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 4:55PM
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lindac

Amazes me how sometimes my post appears twice and other times not at all....but/
So....smaller than a bread box....er "ham stand"....
That center mirror like part raises and lowers so that something that it holds will fit.....and that handle has serious finger ridges in it to hold it with.
I might have guessed that it held a center decorative bowl....but that handle is plainly for using.
Could it be to hold a pie plate and that "handle" is really a server?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 5:05PM
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sweeby

Wondered what you meant by that Linda! ;-)
And knowing your expertise, I did Google 'Ham Stand' just to be sure...

Just to clarify, that center portion *does not* move in any way, and is solidly part of the base, as is the handle. The only moving parts are the prongs, which move together or apart by using the screw mechanism on the bottom. The third photo shows the maximum opening; the top photo shows a 'middle' setting. The smallest it can go is about the same diameter as the smooth center portion.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 5:14PM
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antiquesilver

I'm anxious to hear what this is - I don't have a clue!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 12:17PM
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calliope

I've never seen anything like it, but just looking at the prongs, and how they have a groove in them, it looks like a bowl would fit in it, and the groove in the prong would fit over the lip of the bowl. Why would one put a bowl in there? If you had something very hot, the pedestal base would serve to keep it off a fine wood table, the prongs would hold the bowl very securely, and the handle would provide a cool place to hold it. Just a wild guess.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 2:11PM
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lindac

It holds a bowl for passing.....??

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 2:12PM
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justlinda

For holding a block of ice (or ice sculpture)?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 3:15PM
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sweeby

Time to tell? Or should I drag this out?...

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 6:11PM
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pris

OH! OH! I know. You string dental floss thru the prongs and use to floss your teeth. Used by the elite and was pretty sitting on the vanity. (just kidding so give us the answer already.) LOL

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 6:25PM
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DLM2000

spill!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 6:32PM
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sweeby

Talk about your oddball single-purpose silver gadgets!

This one is an Edam and Gouda cheese holder -- Yes, really!
The hard ball of wax-covered cheese sits on the little platform secured by the prongs. The top is cut off and then pieces are cut from the middle.

I can't wait until my annual wine & cheese party to use it.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 6:38PM
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justlinda

Lucky you....just what every high-class, well-dressed table should have.

That's great!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 7:29PM
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calliope

LOLOL That makes me feel like Granny Clampett.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 7:35PM
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lindac

Shucks!! I knew that...just didn't get it posted in time.
Is there a makers mark?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 8:41PM
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colleenoz

No home complete without one :-)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 12:02AM
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Ideefixe

How cool! Do you have a cheese scoop, too?

"You may use the Edam or pineapple cheese, if you prefer passing it in a silver cheese holder and let each person help herself with the scoop"

Here is a link that might be useful: Google Books link

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 2:12PM
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sweeby

No matching 'cheese scoop', but several cheese knives -- none silver.

Linda, there are some makers' marks, but they're hard to read. I'll dig out the holder and try to decipher them.

Now we need another DooDad -- Someone post something quick!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 2:27PM
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antiquesilver

Sweeby,
If you're missing a sterling cheese scoop, I'd be happy to provide an age-appropriate loaner for the wine & cheese affair - more than worth it to have seen this thing. I thought I was fairly knowledgeable about Victorian silver but I've learned something new today. Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 2:36PM
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sherrmann

I didn't even know Victorians ATE Gouda and Edam cheese, never mind had a fine gadget for it! You definitely need a cheese scoop now.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 3:06PM
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lindac

Not to brag....much.
I don't know what that smear is in the middle of the picture....but...

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 4:10PM
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sweeby

Those are fabulous Linda! And thanks for the offer AntiqueSilver -- I may just take you up on it. ;-)

But looking at the pieces Linda posted, I actually may have one... There's this 'spoon' with a fairly sharp 'lip'... I'll have to dig it out and check.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 4:15PM
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antiquesilver

"a fairly sharp lip"......don't remember any that I've had or seen being particularly sharp & most seem to have never been used enough to show wear on the edge. What are the edges like on yours, Linda? Beautiful collection BTW - it's unusual to see that many at one time!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 2:56PM
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mahatmacat1

I laughed out loud at this:

"Not to brag....much."

As they say, if you actually have the goods, it ain' braggin' :)

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 6:17PM
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antiquesilver

While we're still discussing silver cheese implements, here are a few others.

A medium sized cheese scoop from c.1900, a small knife w/plated blade c. 1905, & an all silver cheese knife with a comb top c.1880

The knife with the comb top was originally designed as an individual place piece but they never caught on & became serving pieces instead; it's about 7-3/8" long.

Detail

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 10:00PM
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lindac

*******sigh****
Love that comb top cheese knife.......

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 12:19AM
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antiquesilver

I thought you might like that; you don't see them that often & this one was a steal a decade ago - regardless of the scratch across the face. The pattern is 'Grecian' by Gorham.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 1:11AM
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antiquesilver

Ready for the next mystery item????
This isn't as exotic as Sweeby's cheese holder but it's not often seen - probably never that many made.

Profile

Detail

It is c.1902 & the pattern name is 'Yetive'; it's approx 6" long.
I'll be interested in hearing what people think it is although I'm sure some of you already know.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 2:28PM
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justlinda

Looks like it would be an orange spoon...to scoop out the flesh of an orange.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 4:31PM
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antiquesilver

Nope - citrus spoons have pointy ends, & I forgot to mention that this is a serving piece.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 4:37PM
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mahatmacat1

Not only pointy ends, but sometimes serrated sides...I'm about to buy some for the neverending craving I have for grapefruit recently!

Could this be to scoop out melon? Or to make butter curls? But it looks too beautiful to do those things, which are more functional.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 5:14PM
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lindac

I have seen one before....but forget...seems to me some sort of shell fish....mussels?
I'm going to say an olive spoon, even though many of them have holes for draining the brine...
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 6:22PM
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antiquesilver

Keep on guessing!!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 6:44PM
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sweeby

That's a lovely whatchamacallit, AntiqueSilver...

I was going to guess melon scoop, but Fly beat me to it, and it doesn't seem to be right. Let's see... A serving piece. Looks like it would be ideal to serve something about the size and shape of a gherkin. Could that be it? (Though I'd prefer a fork) Or baby carrots. Or lemon wedge? Somehow, the curve makes me want so 'scoop' though... What about aspic?

In modern times, I've seen narrow spoons like that for spooning things out of tall skinny jars. Though what would have been served from a tall skinny jar in 1902?

Good brain-teaser!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 7:56PM
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antiquesilver

Ahhhhh Sweeby, you're on the right track about scooping something out of a jar, although it wouldn't have been a very tall jar/castor/pot (not sure what the proper serving container was).

Definitely not for aspic - they used a sickle shaped cutter for that (I don't have one & have never figured out how you can cut through a log of gelatin with a concave blade). Most American ones were made by Tiffany & can easily command $500+, with an emphasis on the +! I do have a jelly knife that cuts & serves jellied cranberry sauce very well, LOL.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 8:28PM
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sweeby

What about capers? A caper spoon?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 11:03PM
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antiquesilver

I've never heard of a caper spoon - how did the Victorian silver makers miss this opportunity??????

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 11:34PM
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pris

How about olives??

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 9:44AM
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mahatmacat1

I would think that anything tiny and kept in water/vinegar/oil, like capers or olives, meant to be scooped out of a container would have holes for drainage?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 2:03PM
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Ideefixe

Claret spoon

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 2:53PM
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antiquesilver

Ready for the answer?

It's a HORSERADISH spoon - & it's excellent for that purpose!

FYI - olive spoons are usually pierced but occasionally I've seen some that aren't (makes more sense for relish than olives) & claret spoons are very long - like maybe 12".

Who has the next mystery item????????

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 3:29PM
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sweeby

A horeseradish spoon -- makes perfect sense...
I generally just misuse a mustard spoon (how gauche!)

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 4:04PM
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mahatmacat1

Je suis *plus* gauche, sweeby--I use a butter knife!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 5:12PM
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lindac

I have posted this before....but maybe some didn't see it.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v298/chabbysmom/P1000650.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v298/chabbysmom/P1000650.jpg
Hmm....the picture is not showing up in the preview.....what's up wit dat??

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 5:49PM
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lindac

That's better!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 5:54PM
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antiquesilver

I'm only semi-gauche; I use the horseradish spoon but serve the HR in a covered mustard pot - & it's restaurant ware, at that!

Linda, your tongs are prettier than the ones I have but I won't reveal their purpose.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 6:34PM
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sweeby

Toast? Or asparagus?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 6:40PM
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antiquesilver

Linda,
How long are the tongs? Size matters ***biting my tongue not to expand on that statement*****!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 6:46PM
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lindac

Nine and a half inches long.

On the horseradish spoon....I have seen them many times advertised on eBay....and obviously made form a spoon that had been damaged....I thought it was an invented item....like a baked potato fork...

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 7:20PM
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antiquesilver

I forgot about all the fakes when I posted the HR spoon - I'm so used to blowing past all the 'custom made by our inhouse silversmith' cr*p, I tend to forget it. If someone is selling more than one of a rare piece, especially in patterns that weren't around in Victorian times, caveat emptor. Matching services are infamous for selling this kind of stuff.

But horseradish spoons were made in most popular patterns if the old catalogs I have are any indication. The bowls tend to be a little special & not quite as spoon-like as the ones I just looked up on ebay, i.e. mine has a very sharp upward curve whereas the 'custom' ones are the same as a tsp.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 9:42PM
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sweeby

Is this not cool!? I found the patent application online. Seems this device was patented in 1894 by the Meridien Silver Plate company.

In further research, I've found other references to silver cheese holders, but none more recent than 1903. Do you more knowledgeable folks think this piece could possibly be that old? Honestly, it doesn't look it to me...

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 11:41AM
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antiquesilver

WOW! Is that the same patent date & maker that's on the bottom of your piece? The pattern of yours is timeless but I doubt if it was manufactured for long.

I don't know about holloware, but the craze for a million different serving & place pieces declined around WWI (fewer people had servants, I guess) & the patterns became plainer. Sometime around 1920 (I'm guessing about the date but I know someone will correct me), economic concerns caused legislation to be passed to reduce the number of pieces in sterling patterns because Jewelers couldn't afford the huge inventories needed. Somehow, I think a cheese holder would have fallen by the wayside so 1903 may very well be an accurate date. A larger library may have books & reprints of catalogs from Meriden.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 1:31PM
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lindac

I have seen a thing that looked sort of like that in a hotel buffet...
Years ago....and likely more than once.. .I didn't give it a thought, any more than I would give a thought to a large silver chafer or the ice sculpture.....could you find something like that in Hotel silver?
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 4:38PM
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sweeby

This just keeps getting more interesting! ;-)
I dug out my jeweller's loupe and read the hallmarks. It was made by the 'Wilcox Silver Plate Company' which, according to Silvercollecting.com was located in Meriden, CT (same place as the patent-holders) and was one of the original companies to join together and found the International Silver Company in 1898. The markings are identical to these, including the Quadruple Plate notation. There's also a number 40 which I'm guessing refers to the style - but could be age? 1940?

Though if Wilcox joined International in 1898, and the patent was taken out in 1894, seems like this piece might logically have been made in the mid 1890's...? Though I see pieces were still stamped Wilcox until much later...

Here is a link that might be useful: Hallmark

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 5:19PM
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antiquesilver

If Meridan held the patent (7? years), would Wilcox have made a similar cheese holder before the patent expired? Both companies were owned by International so it's possible, but still....

Rainwater's Encyclopedia of American Silver Manufacturers notes Int'l continued to use the trademarks of its predecessors. After 1917, Rogers Bros s/p was made in only 1 quality & all"quality" marks were discontinued. There is no mention as to whether this applied to all brands of their silverplate or just Rogers Bros. but since yours is marked 'quadruple' maybe that's a sign that it was made prior to 1917. There is also mention that Intl's line of hotel silver was marked 'Quintriple' but I don't know which brand.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 7:37PM
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rare_antiques_101

Hi

This item is used for holding small vegetables such as onions in order for a person to cut them without slipping. As you turn the central mechanism located in the base of the holder, the arms a gradually drawn in to hold the item on the central plate. This way, an Item can be cut and held then passed around a table or carried so everyone can take a slice or wedge of whatever has been cut. The item itself has been coated with Silver 4 times, hence the impressed "QUADRUPLE PLATE". Normal Silve plate contains a single coating of silver. Quadruple plate means that this item was produced for an upper class and was quite expensive when produced. The Wilcox Silver Company is located in Meridan, Connecticut in the US untill it was taken over by the International Silver Company in 1898. International Silver has absorbed many smaller Silversmiths and is now a major conglomerate controlling many well known Silver manufacturers.

Dean

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 7:05AM
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Fori is not pleased

/giggle@dean. That's not how you play! You have to read the other posts in the thread!

So Linda, what is it? Pork chop server? It looks like it would be good for serving something slippery.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 4:37PM
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antiquesilver

A pork chop server - I like that idea! I bet it would work great.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 4:56PM
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lindac

Nope....but I guess it would work for that.
As for Fineantiques....ya missed the mark, not only that but you missed the solution! LOL!
And I repeat....a little learning is a dangerous think....and the rest of the quote is "drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring. Shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, but drinking laregly, sobers us again".
Yep English and American Poets....about 55 years ago! LOL.

Now back to the tongs...hint....they were meant for a serving platter.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 5:34PM
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moonshadow

You've cranked on rareantiques so much it's almost coming across like you're feeling threatened, linda. The guy apologized already for linking to his store, he wants to participate, why not let it go at that?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 6:01PM
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sweeby

I can see those tongs being perfect for picking up hot moist hand towels...

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 7:09PM
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Fori is not pleased

Aw shucks. I thought maybe you'd use them in a vet's office for--never mind.

(I think when guessing, Dean perhaps might want to maybe just maybe consider including "I think" or "I'm pretty sure" before his statements instead of presenting them as FACT. A little humility doesn't detract from a correct answer and it makes one look less silly when one is incorrect. Remember that on the internet, we can't tell you're guessing unless you let us know. And this was obviously a guess, but presented as fact.)

(We have the patent copy for goodness' sakes! And so would anyone who read the thread, which is sort of important for "participating"!)

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 8:26PM
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lindac

Thanks Fori....I guess I feel protective of people just learning about "stuff" and get more than a little annoyed when someone presents as fact, that which I know not to be.
And am very annoyed by anyone that suggests that you have to buy and sell to know about things!
I have "stolen" more things from dealers for 10% or less of the usual value to make me realize that you only know what you know!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 9:13PM
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moonshadow

Couldn't agree more, fori and very well put. Only that's been prevalent here long before Dean showed up.

It's a shame someone new has gotten such ridicule. This is a public forum open for anyone who wishes to contribute. The perpetual p*ssing contest to fulfill some kind of need to be right all the time really gets in the way of those who want to learn what's accurate.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 9:31PM
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colleenoz

The mind boggles at what would happen if one placed an onion (or anything for that matter) into the cheese holder and sliced it up. It would fall apart before you could even think about passing it to someone else.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 10:32PM
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Fori is not pleased

OK. Sandwich tongs? Smoked fish holders?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 6:14PM
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lindac

Try asparagus....
Picks up a nice serving from a platter and places it neatly on your plate where you can use your individual tongs.
Incidentally....note the pattern of those in the linked photo.
Who said I am not an enabler!!
Linda C

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 6:52PM
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antiquesilver

Sorry, I don't have any individual asparagus tongs (most are newly made), but below is an asparagus tray w/drainer (probably not as old as Linda's tongs). The Frontenac fork is also for serving them but doesn't work nearly as well as large tongs. The link is another kind of asparagus server that was made - this one is recently madeup but the shape is correct.

I've also seen MCM trays that had an attached sauce boat as well as a holder for the tongs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hooded Asparagus

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 9:57AM
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lindac

****sigh****
That tray is beautiful!! Could it be Old Sheffield?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 10:13AM
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antiquesilver

I wish. I forget who the maker is & I'm not home to look but it's most likely American early 20th century. It's plated over copper & the grape detail is fabulous 'in person'. Also, it has little ball feet that don't show in the photo.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 10:24AM
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Fori is not pleased

Ahh those are the asparagus servers I was thinking of. I serve asparagus with tongs that look like Linda's at the functional end, except for being an ugly silicone cooking utensil. I guess I need a tray! And an asparagus plot!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 12:49PM
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antiquesilver

With a tray this size, growing your own would definitely be the way to go! I don't think I've ever used it for asparagus because it would take a min. of 3 lbs. just to avoid looking stingy.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 2:34PM
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sweeby

What a gorgeous piece!
I can see how you chose your screen name ;-)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 4:13PM
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antiquesilver

Sweeby, what are some of your Grandmother's other fabulous finds? Anyone who had a cheese holder probably had a treasure trove of other oddities.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 3:08AM
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sweeby

Oh goodness... Well that Grandma bought a little silver baby cup made by Paul Revere's smith/forge (what do you call it?) at a garage sale. It's sitting in a museum in Boston now -- don't know which one.

She also had a house full of hand-blocked Zuber wallpaper, including a nearly complete set of 'The Four Climate Zones' -- a huge mural depicting the various geographies of the world. There was another Zuber paper in the stairwell, but I don't remember the name, and I don't think it was that rare.

She also collected early American antique furniture, and had a pretty good eye. She sold most of her collection before moving into retirement houseing, and apparently, the furnishings she sold went for enough to pay her lifetime buy-in fees at a pretty nice spot.

Here are a few more of Grandma's hand-me-downs:

Whiting & Lennox Demitasse for 12:

Castleford Butter Crock (ca 1830's)

Mason's Double Landscape Jug

'Sheraton'? Loveseat (Anyone know for sure?)

Victorian Loveseat

Pinapple Game Table

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 7:15PM
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lindac

I think I want to be your sister!!!
Are all those wonderful things in your house?
And yes that love seat is certainly Sheraton in style!
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 7:34PM
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antiquesilver

WOW- I wish she had been my grandmother. Mine collected nothing, disliked her grandchildren, & was only mildly fond of her own children! Those things are beautiful; thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 10:40PM
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sweeby

"Mine collected nothing, disliked her grandchildren, & was only mildly fond of her own children!"

Well, at least mine collected! ;-)
She wasn't overly fond of children either... Kept saying something about "seen but not heard" and thought giving compliements would swell their heads
(As long as I knew her, she was never in any danger of that...)

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 2:20PM
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antiquesilver

I recently won this on ebay & since it's a bit unusual, thought it might fit in the 'mystery' category. Anybody want to guess its purpose??

The pattern is 'Meadow' by Gorham, c. 1897; it is 6-3/4" long & extremely heavy for its size. Most of the time, forks of this size with splayed tines (usually curved) are called Beef or Chipped Beef Forks but occasionally I've heard them referred to differently. Due to the weight & long simple tines, I think it was used for a different food. What is it?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 12:36AM
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lindac

Lettuce Fork?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 10:24AM
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bostonpat_gw

Would that be a lettuce fork antiquesilver??

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 10:26AM
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antiquesilver

Nope, a lettuce fork is long handled with 3 sharp, flared tines. The ebay seller I bought it from advertised it as such but she was completely wrong - these tines are quite thick & not particularly sharp & that's another reason I don't think it was ever considered a beef fork.

Below is an actual lettuce fork - in the same pattern - for sale on ebay.

Here is a link that might be useful: Meadow lettuce fork

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 10:55AM
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lindac

Boy...it's a short fork....could it be for serving fish?....but I would think that would be larger...
oysters on the half shell? Not for eating but for taking from a platter??
Grabbing at straws here!
Linda c

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 12:51PM
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antiquesilver

It's the length of a luncheon fork but definitely the wrong weight. At first I thought someone had 'handcrafted' this from a luncheon fork but to my knowledge LF's were normally manufactured in only one weight - & depending on the mfgr, that wt. was 30-50% less than this piece . I like the idea of picking up oysters but I bet it would be messy - even for the butler who was plating! This fork should work very well for the intended food although I haven't tried it yet.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 1:16PM
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bostonpat_gw

OK... How about a Strawberry Fork?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 1:32PM
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lindac

Nope....strawberry forks have long skinny tines.
This is for something fairly heavy...
Fried chicken?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 2:10PM
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antiquesilver

Keep on guessing! Individual berry forks are delicate & usually under 5" long with 2 or 3 long, thin tines. For serving, I've only seen the large bowled berry spoons. Whole strawberries would probably roll off of my fork & it wouldn't be nearly as effective as a spoon for cut up berries.

Think of a food that probably came from Europe with the immigrant population at the turn of the century.

Here is a link that might be useful: Individual berry fork

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 2:36PM
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antiquesilver

Fried chicken is a good guess - & it's likely I'll use it for that more than the real purpose. Thanks for suggesting it.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 2:41PM
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lindac

Ah Ha....potatoes!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 4:01PM
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antiquesilver

It will work (probably quite well) for potatoes but that's not what I have in mind. Supposedly the original potato fork had 2 tines & is just like the 'custom made' ones that're so plentiful. I've never seen a photo of one in an old catalog but I have seen them listed as items within a pattern. I never thought the things existed until recently someone showed me the old pattern listing.

Interesting possibility that may be accurate although I still like my use better.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 4:58PM
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Fori is not pleased

Linguine!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 7:48PM
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bostonpat_gw

Fori beat me to it - I was thinking some form of pasta.... or noodles.

I'm trying to think of peasant foods but things like eggplant or cabbage would probably need a more "solid" surface with maybe some drainage holes.

You know Hester - you have me looking at silver again on the 'net! That can be bad, very bad!
Pat

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 7:57PM
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antiquesilver

Fori, I'm not sure if it would work for linguine but I can see macaroni or some other chunky pasta salad being lifted with it, although that's not the intended purpose. A true macaroni server/knife, as they were called, is a large, flattish server with a raised edge on one side & graduated teeth on the other. They're spectacular & tend to be rather pricey!

Pat, you're on the right track with cabbage. I bet you're going to be looking for one of these forks now. That's how is starts & Ebay is the collector's equivilent of a crack house.
Welcome to Silver Anonymous. My name is Hester & I haven't bought any flatware for 4 days. I thought I'd kicked the habit but I've fallen off the wagon.... again.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 11:11PM
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antiquesilver

Fori, this is a fine example of a macaroni server. I guess 'macaroni' covered all kinds of pasta - & for that price, I'd be eating pasta for the rest of my life!

Here is a link that might be useful: Macaroni server

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 11:23PM
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bostonpat_gw

I'm still thinking about that fork, but as far as being a crack addict, I am working very hard to convince myself that I DON"T NEED ANYTHING in this pattern:

Here is a link that might be useful: Whiting Violet I just think it's so Pretty!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 11:41PM
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lindac

La La La....I don't hear you!!
I have a new vice...silver bangle bracelets! Much cheaper per item than serving forks....and I can wear them every day....and jingle-jangle-jingle to my heart's content!
Don't need no damned fancy forks....
You hear??? No more fancy forks!!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 11:52PM
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antiquesilver

That's the problem, Pat - we don't need any of these pieces but we like to treat ourselves - & it's so easy to rationalize because they're useful. ROTFLMAO. Useful, yeah right - all of us use our grape shears & sardine forks on a weekly basis, just couldn't function without them!!!!!!!!
Whiting's Violet is a pretty pattern but some of their silver is light weight so if you're buying on the internet ask the seller to weigh it.

And Linda, you'll be back! The forks are calling your name.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 1:08AM
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antiquesilver

And the answer is..........drum roll please........ a Sauerkraut Fork. Don't you think it would be perfect for that? I've never seen an old catalog with this in it but then I only have copies of about 10 catalogs so there are a lot of unknowns. I've heard it referred to as this before & then Martha Stewart's Living had an article on Victorian silver a few years ago & there was a fork like this - identified by somebody important - as a sauerkraut fork.

I'm convinced this is NOT for beef - the tines are too blunt to spear anything. I'm not that fond of sauerkraut but it should work with any food of that texture. Pesto is a probable candidate, too since I don't have a $1200 macaroni server, just a $39, rare, sauerkraut fork!

Is everybody feeling enabled?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 11:27PM
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lindac

Now I have to go looking for a sauerkraut fork.....

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 12:04AM
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bostonpat_gw

I was racking my brain and surfing the 'net - I'm glad you gave the answer!
I bet you could also use it for spearing baked potatoes or,as was mentioned, fried chicken.
It's a lovely piece you have there....congratulations!
I'll know what it is the next time I see one!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 1:50AM
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antiquesilver

FYI - Below is the plainest Gorham Beef Fork in a pattern of the same era that I could find. It's the same overall length & the tines appear flat, shorter & more tapered. It's half the weight. Most others have similar shape but have a pierced bowl like the Imperial Chrysanthemum one that's also for sale; there's no weight listed for a comparison.

I wish I could find another with exactly the same tine shape & weight as mine. Then I could more easily justify that Gorham made them for a different purpose.

Imperial Chrysanthemum
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=400126576538&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

Here is a link that might be useful: Luxemburg Beef Fork

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 3:35AM
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sherrmann

MORE! MORE! I want to see more goofy things!

I have a few "goofy things" from my mom and grandmothers, but they're packed away - and, um, I don't have a digital camera at the moment anyway. But.....I have a beautiful Bride's Basket in those boxes. What were bride's baskets used for? It's beautiful, but it's shape and size seem so impractical....

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 10:30AM
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antiquesilver

I'll be interested in hearing the answer to this, too.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 2:14PM
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lindac

A bride's basket is just a "thing" a centerpiece or a shelf piece....not for anything but for giving.
I have heard tales that it was something for the bride to put her wedding bouquet in after the wedding but I don't think that's so, because mostly in the 1880's brides carried things like a few lilies or a few roses not bouquets.
What I have also heard and believe is true is that theyw ere called that because they were so often given as a wedding gift.
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 3:23PM
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sherrmann

That's funny, Linda..... My grandmothers always said the same thing - it's just a pretty thing! It just seems unlikely because they seemed like such practical people, but you just confirmed it. I also have a lot of their American Brilliant crystal pieces, so I guess they had a little room for whimsy, too.

I think I'll give the basket to my dtr. She's crazy about pink, and this one is pink. She also likes having a connection to her past, and this basket was her great-great-grandmother's from the late 1890s.

Thanks.....

Sherry

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 7:11PM
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lindac

Victorians were anything BUT practical....it's all form over function....where else in history wo7uld you find sterling asparagus tongs and saurkraut forks and a silver gouda cheese holder?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 10:18PM
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antiquesilver

Their specialized flatware usually works exceedingly well for the intended purpose - much better than a generic fork or spoon. I doubt it would ever be considered practical from an economic standpoint but is was very functional.

I googled brides basket & didn't come up with much except pieces for sale; maybe it was just another nick-nack. I wish somebody with a Victorian book of etiquette would chime in.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 10:08AM
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AndrewCampbell

Well , it has taken me a while to get through this chat but i had a lot of fun on the way ! It is often the case that some silver pieces have you puzzled about their uses. I particularly love the silver flatware queries above - they have had me guessing also lol. However can you guess this one

This post was edited by AndrewCampbell on Thu, May 30, 13 at 9:21

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 10:42AM
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mfrog

You probably should have started a new thread rather than tagging on to the bottom of this one. Also using this forum to promote your shop is in bad taste & frowned upon.

I thought I was helping someone out who didn't know what their item was, but as you have a shop you know your item is a marrow scoop. mfrog

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 1:40PM
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AndrewCampbell

I do apologise if i caused any offence. I was genuinely not aware of any wrong doing on this thread. I am new to forums and clearly misunderstood. I thought as people where posting pieces of silver and asking people what they are for, etc that I would join in and let people on the thread guess what the image was. I know its use but simply thought you may like to guess.

Again sincere apologies.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 9:13AM
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mfrog

Thank you for understanding that advertising your shop on here isn't in good taste.
You are most welcome to start a new thread offering up pieces for identification, we all love a challenge & can lead to some interesting exchanges.
Hope to see you jump in to help out especially with silver ID, which seems to stump people the most. mfrog

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 2:20PM
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