Indulging myself once again in early California flatware, I recently received nine teaspoons by the San Francisco maker/retailer William Lawler. There are four slightly different types in sets of four, two, two and one, pic of single examples below:
Given that the spoons within a set match well, but don't match those in a different set, and given the simple form of all (unembellished fiddle pattern), it seems likely that some or all of these were actually made by Lawler rather than only retailed by him. All the location stamps are the same, an incise "SAN FRANCISCO." with a period at the end.
However, there are two different maker (or retailer?) stamps as shown below. Note the top maker/retailer stamp (incise) is the same on all of the spoons except the one set of two shown at the bottom with the incuse maker/retailer stamp (but with the same incise location stamp). The second example from the top is of a spoon I thought I was going to get, but didn't, showing the incise maker/retailer stamp over another, more original stamp, ending in "& CO" and with a different location stamp, namely "SF CAL". I believe this more ornate, beaded pattern spoon was made by Vanderslice, whose maker mark was over-stamped by Lawler as the retailer.
So was the incise "Wm LAWLER & CO" stamp only a retailer mark, or was it used for both in-house and purchased production? Was the incuse "W. LAWLER" stamp only used for in-house production? And what arre the dates that both stamps were in use? Inquiring minds! ;o)