Gorham spoon pattern date and name? Sweet Pea?

If you know the maker, but not the pattern. - PHOTO REQUIRED
SnoodinOrange
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Gorham spoon pattern date and name? Sweet Pea?

Postby SnoodinOrange » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:30 pm

And my other question about a spoon from my personal collection - Can anyone help me identify the name of this Gorham pattern? It appears to be a Sweet Pea vine? but I could not find it on the flatware patterns list. Perhaps it is from one of their "series" like the numbered series but I couldn't find an exact match. I like to keep a log of the history (dates and names) of my silver flatware pieces as I collect them. Thank you for your time!
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SnoodinOrange
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Re: Gorham spoon pattern date and name? Sweet Pea?

Postby SnoodinOrange » Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:51 pm

So sorry, I see on the guidelines that I need to include minimum two photos so here are the others.
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Re: Gorham spoon pattern date and name? Sweet Pea?

Postby Aguest » Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:02 pm

I was thinking it is "Eglantine" (1870), but I only see three examples of that multi-motif pattern, and the Eglantine spoons do not have full floral designs right down to the bowl, the Eglantine pattern seems to have a plainer, non-designed part when the handle meets the bowl...

I have found a few Gorham spoons over the years which I could finally only claim as "pattern unknown," although I have heard rumors of a huge Gorham information database which was offered on CD-ROM quite a few years ago, to these "pattern unknown" spoons might be in that huge database...

All that aside, I get a general feeling of "higher quality" about your spoon, it has certain qualities which remind me of the "Narragansett" pattern, just replace the sea-life elements with flower elements, and you would have a spoon exactly like this one. I can't be certain, but your spoon might be "fully cast" which is a more labor-intensive and more difficult than the regular Gorham patterns which were "stamped" on a spoon blank.

And the hallmarks of your spoon are struck kind of "diagonally" on the bowl, and this reminds me of the way the hallmarks are stamped on the very high quality "Birds Nest" and "Isis" patterns, and this is another clue which (perhaps) points to your spoon being of higher-than-average quality for Gorham.

I know some of this post is kind of just a general kind of "feeling" that I get, but I have actually owned many of the rarest Gorham patterns over the years so i have had a chance to study these rare and highest-quality Gorham spoons in person, so hopefully this helps, but as of yet I have not found the pattern name, and unless it can be found in that Gorham CD-ROM set, I really have not been able to figure it out.

SnoodinOrange
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Re: Gorham spoon pattern date and name? Sweet Pea?

Postby SnoodinOrange » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:06 pm

Dear Aguest, You are unbelievably kind to take such time to reply so thoroughly - THANK you!
I'm happy to hear you think it's a good quality. It has a nice weight to it for its size and has definitely become one of my favorites in my collection (I love spoons).
Are there any clues I should look for to determine if it is fully cast?
I think the mark indicates it's from the end of the 19th century, according to the section on this site, because it has that type of G and the characters with no outline. So that may be all I can learn about it but it's nice to hear from an expert!
Re: Gorham's cast pieces, Just recently as a gift to each other and with a coupon, my hubs and I bought Gorham's H158 large serving spoon - Swoon! It is by far the nicest piece we have as we mostly only have very small / affordable to the common man flatware pieces. I believe it is cast and I've been searching online to learn more about that process but haven't found much as it relates to Gorham. If it is cast, is that what gives the H158 that hammered looking finish? Are the more detailed flower designs applied after then? I know H158 isn't a Martele piece so maybe only the Martele pieces were done that way but was just looking to know more about its history as well, besides the pattern dating to 1900.
I apologize if I was to have started a new thread / separate topic about H158 but my question relates to Gorham and casting as mentioned below so I just thought I'd ask. I can post separately too! Didn't see any search results about that piece.
Thank you all!

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Re: Gorham spoon pattern date and name? Sweet Pea?

Postby Aguest » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:28 am

I learned about "fully cast" vs. "die stamped" Gorham spoons when I found a piece of the rare Bird's Nest pattern when I bought a huge spoon collection of 1000+ spoons, most of which were coffee spoons (demitasse). There is a big article that talks about how some pieces of Bird's Nest were "fully cast" and these were more expensive than other pieces of Bird's Nest which were "die stamped" and thus less expensive. Honestly, I can't really tell the difference, all Bird's Nest spoons look great to me, but there is a way to tell the difference between "fully cast" and "die stamped."

After you collect Gorham for awhile, you just get a good feeling about the higher-quality pieces, and there is something about the asymmetrical placing of the floral elements and how the edges of the spoon are not completely straight, so it seems like your spoon was made using a very detailed mold, at least for the handle. If your spoon was "die-stamped," I would expect the edges to be straight lines and the spoon would have a more uniform border along the handle. Rather, on your spoon, the flowers fall over the edges and I don't see how that could be achieved with the "die stamping" process, it seems like something that would be cast.

Concurrent with the discovery of the Comstock lode, which produced a massive amount of silver from 1860-1885, we see an explosion in amazing silver patterns produced by Gorham. This is when patterns like Bird's Nest and Narragansett were produced. I would guess that silver was inexpensive and abundant during this time, so this could have something to do with the prevalence of cast spoons.

All history aside, your spoon doesn't have a pattern number, and it doesn't match any pattern I have ever seen, but I did find a picture of my Bird's Nest spoon, so at least I can show you the detail about the "horizontal hallmarks" theme that I was talking about:

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See the similarities to your spoon? That detail, combined with the fact that your spoon looks more "fully cast" than "die stamped" gives me the impression that your spoon is of higher quality than most other Gorham spoon patterns.

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Re: Gorham spoon pattern date and name? Sweet Pea?

Postby Aguest » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:04 pm

I meant to say "diagonal hallmarks" and here is a better visual comparison between the Bird's Nest and the Unknown Floral Pattern:

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Re: Gorham spoon pattern date and name? Sweet Pea?

Postby dragonflywink » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:14 am

Can't tell you the name of your pattern, but it's very similar in design to a circa 1890 Gorham pattern called 'Violet', and believe yours would date about the same, and was also most likely named for the flower depicted - have only seen 'Violet' in pattern guide illustrations, so no idea whether it was die-struck or cast, yours does look like it might be cast, but some die-struck patterns can be quite intricate and deeply detailed. Honestly can't tell enough from the pictures whether your spoon is cast or die-struck, but typically a cast piece will be thick, having, for lack of a better term, a sort of 'softer' look and feel - handling a lot of silver can give one a feel and an eye for how it's made. Gorham's cast flatware pieces usually had die-struck working ends (there were exceptions like fancy bon-bon type spoon bowls, smaller pieces, etc.), often decorated to complement the handle, and chasing, engraving and/or piercing was common - doubt this had much to do with cost, but would guess more to do with strength, since striking and hammering hardens the metal.

Illustration of the 'Violet' pattern (note the similar blunt cut-off of the pattern at the bowl):

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Gorham used two methods for their cast pieces, sand casting and lost-wax - a design like this would have most likely been sand cast, while a fully three-dimensional design like Birds Nest would have been produced using the lost-wax technique. Have never seen any or even heard of the Birds Nest pattern being die-struck, and frankly, it just couldn't have been produced in that manner - however, in the 1880s Gorham did produce a die-struck 'Hammered Antique' pattern that had added cast elements of silver, bronze or copper, and there was a bird's nest among the numerous motifs. There were several Gorham cast, or with cast components, flatware patterns - the desirable 'Narragansett' pattern and associated designs were cast, with added applied cast elements, so every piece was slightly different, and they also produced a good number of one-piece cast souvenir spoons in the early-mid 1890s, as well as using cast handles, finials and elements on other souvenir spoons. The 'H' series were pieces of Gorham flatware that weren't associated with a named pattern, the 'H' prefix was used on widely varied pieces, including cast designs, from 1898 to around 1907, though also on some pieces a bit beyond then, and if the pieces were earlier numbered designs, the 'H' was added to those numbers.

As an example of different components that might be used in production, this is an 1860s-70s coffee spoon in a Lily of the Valley pattern that was made in just a few different type pieces - the leaf finial with curlicue decoration is cast, with the attached tiny blossoms formed of sheet silver on wire, the stem of the spoon is a solid fluted rod, with another cast piece, including a rat-tail, soldered to a die-struck bowl:

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~Cheryl

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Re: Gorham spoon pattern date and name? Sweet Pea?

Postby Aguest » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:29 am

Thanks for the best information; many patterns we only have crude Xerox copies such as the crude pic of "Violet" shown above; the details often cannot be accurately determined from these Xerox copies, as will be made obvious in this comparison when I found Pattern 67:

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Now to show the actual spoon with all its hand-painted (or possibly enamel, I can't recall) details:

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The "Violet" pattern does seem the closest match to the above spoon, and I guess if the plant show is a "sweet pea" then it might be called the "Sweet Pea Pattern" but at least the closest match has been found, even if it is a different flower altogether.

SnoodinOrange
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Re: Gorham spoon pattern date and name? Sweet Pea?

Postby SnoodinOrange » Thu May 10, 2018 11:30 pm

You folks are awesome, thank you so much for taking the time to teach me all this and you are right, I can definitely see the resemblance to the Violet pattern. How interesting! Now I will be on the hunt for a violet piece to add to my collection to pair with it! Please forgive my delay in responding. I didn't get a notification of a posting so I didn't realize it had been added to. Really appreciate it, I've learned a lot.


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