Colmore's Patent Close Plating Method

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dognose
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Colmore's Patent Close Plating Method

Postby dognose » Tue Jun 03, 2008 5:09 pm

I thought I would post these images of a set of close plated knives as they are something of a rarity.

Image

The Birmingham firm of S. Colmore patented this method of plating in the 1780's. Close plating is a very different process to that of Sheffield plating and Electro plating, it entails soldering thin sheets of silver directly onto the steel of pre-made items.

The difference in the thickness of the silver in close plating compared to that of electro plating is considerable as hopefully can be seen from the photographs. I would judge that the thickness would be similar to the plaster filled silver ornamentation that was applied to glass jars, vases and walking sticks of the early 20th Century.

Image

These knives would date c.1790 and show the marks of S. Colmore perhaps in some kind of partnership with the Sheffield knife blade maker John Harrison.

Harrison was one of the early entrants at the Sheffield Assay Office which opened in 1773 and he submitted his first batch of silver knife blades there in July 1778.

Image

The marks are fairly uniform in their stamping, which suggests the use of a stub (a device which enabled two or more punches to be struck at the same time). On one of the blades though, the Colmore Patent punch has been inadvertently been duplicated at the expense of Colmore's SC punch.

Trev.

dognose
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Postby dognose » Tue Dec 16, 2008 6:32 pm

This would be Samuel Colmore, 25, Digbeth, Birmingham.
Working period: 1770-1793.

Trev.

dognose
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Postby dognose » Sun Mar 21, 2010 6:02 pm

Link to the trade card of Samuel Colmore:

http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/s ... _id=421178

Trev.

davesays
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Re: Colmore's Patent Close Plating Method

Postby davesays » Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:22 pm

Many thanks for the exellent views of these knives. What was Colmore's patent? How did it vary from that of Ellis of London entered in 1779. It has been suggested to me that Colmore's Patent effectively shut out other close platers until 1807 when we see the rush to register under the 1784 Act . Are there any thoughts on this? davesays

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Re: Colmore's Patent Close Plating Method

Postby dognose » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:05 am

Hi Davesays,

As I understand it, Richard Ellis's Patent refers to the ingredients of the solder used in the close plating process. I am unsure of what Samuel Colmore's Patent was issued for, but it was certainly issued much later and with the advances in this ever growing trade in the search to bond silver to steel, I would suspect that Colmore's Patent was also to be regarding solder.

I had not heard that Colmore's Patent shut out his rivals. I wonder if this thought is rooted in the fact that so few Birmingham manufacturers registered, as required, at Sheffield. Although, I'm sure, there was a reluctance by Birmingham makers to be ruled by those of another city, the real truth, I believe, with the exception of the real big guns eg. Boulton and a few others, is that there was little in the way of manufacture of the products that we associate with 'Sheffield Plate' carried out at Birmingham, the trade there was mostly confined to everthing in the small line, buckles, cutlery, jewellery, buttons, etc.

As for the rush in 1807, again, I can only guess, that in the preceeding few years, with technology and demand advancing, more makers entered the market at Birmingham. Perhaps this, in turn, prompted a clamp down by the guardians at Sheffield, and with the threat of a £100 fine, caused an influx of registrations at Sheffield.

Does the above fit in with your thoughts, or do you have a different mindset on the above?

Regards Trev.

davesays
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Re: Colmore's Patent Close Plating Method

Postby davesays » Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:15 am

Hallo Dognose,
Many thanks for your reply to this query. I was thinking along the lines that, as shown on the photo of the set of knives, Colmore at least on these examples, used or caused to be used a soft solder to adhere the silver foil. Ellis describes what are obviously recipes for grades of hard solder including one for gold. it would be fascinating to see the actual specification for the Colmore patent, was it it for a novel process in the manufacture of the blades rather than its coating for example? How long was it for? The apparent surge in Birmingham registrations in 1807 may have many causes. I am sure the threat of a huge fine would concentrate the minds of the delinquent Brummies; however they seem to have been slow in paying the 2s 6d over the period of a year. Some or most of these workers may have been "new" to the trade, registering for the first time. Not so sure about the scale of the Sheffield Plate trade at this time but it does seem to be fairly large and a rival to Sheffield itself. The Close Platers, although not entirely based in Birmingham, seem in some instances to have worked in both materials as well as in silver.

Regards,

Davesays

davesays
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Re: Colmore's Patent Close Plating Method

Postby davesays » Sat Feb 12, 2011 6:56 pm

One further thought about the rise in Birmingham registration in 1807. Bernard Hughes, Antique Sheffield plate 1970, p 12 suggests that the platers applied to "The Assay Office" for permission to strike marks on their wares and also suggests that this was granted in 1806! This would help to explain the large number (15) who registered in 1807 . Unfortunately there seems to be no other record of this permission. Did Hughes see some documentation not now surviving or is this scenario just not correct? Davesays

dognose
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Re: Colmore's Patent Close Plating Method

Postby dognose » Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:14 am

I came across this reference:

....The device had to be approved and registered by the Guardians of the Sheffield Assay Office, a provision which not unnaturally gave offence to the men of Birmingham, for the 100-mile radius clause made it necessary for them to register out of their own town. Between 1784 and 1824 forty-eight Sheffield firms and eighty Birmingham makers registered, but it is significant that it was not until 1806 that the men of the Midlands accepted the situation, only six registering earlier than that year. In 1824 an effort was made to rectify what was felt to be an anomaly, but without success. Birmingham from that date began to ignore the regulations, and by the time Queen Victoria succeeded William the fourth they had fallen into disuse even in Sheffield.

Source: The Silver & Sheffield Plate Collector by W A Young

No further forward in explaining the rise in registrations in 1807, but still searching.

Trev.

burnisherboy
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Re: Colmore's Patent Close Plating Method

Postby burnisherboy » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:41 pm

Some further thoughts on Colmore's patent.

Colemore does not appear in R.B. Prosser's listing of all Birmingham patents from 1722 to 1830. However we find p146 "In 1794, John Hand was granted a patent for a method of plating cutlery by which the operation was performed at a comparatively low heat thus obviating the risk of injuring the temper of the blade. The knife having been prepared by filing or grinding is pickled, scoured, tinned, and anointed with sal-ammoniac. The plate of silver is then folded over it and placed between a pair of tongs, the jaws of which contain heated copper blocks suitably recessed as to hold the blade. When cold it is taken out, hammered,and polished." The suggestion is made that "Colmore plater of patent cutlery in general Birmingham" as per his trade card collected in 1797, was in fact using Hand's close plating technique at least for knife blades. I have found no reference to John Hand other than this record and would love to know what connection, if any, there was between the two. Did Colmore buy out the patent in 1794 or just use the appellation of "Patent" to enhance his trade without reference to John Hand at all? Intriguingly the initials IH as shown could apply to him although it would require either the suggested Sheffield maker's mark to be available in Birmingham or the plated blade to be passed back to Yorkshire to be marked. Another possibility emerges that, if the patent was the typical length of 14 years, it would expire in 1808. Apart from other factors being researched could the year-long boom in plate registration of 1807 also be related to a desire to be ready to utilise the method when free? Burnisherboy

dognose
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Re: Colmore's Patent Close Plating Method

Postby dognose » Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:59 pm

Hi Burnisherboy,

I think you're on to something. It is interesting to note, that if the pencil date of Colmore's trade card is correct, then at that date, he does not claim to be the Patentee, only the 'Plater of patent cutlery', a subtle difference that perhaps involves an agreement with John Hand. The mark 'Colmore's Patent' is perhaps later than the trade card, and possible evidence that Colmore acquired Hand's Patent at a later date.

As for the 'IH' mark indicating John Hand, It does indeed make sense to me, as does the 1807 registrations.

Trev.

burnisherboy
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Re: Colmore's Patent Close Plating Method

Postby burnisherboy » Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:31 am

A folding knife in the Sheffield Museum collection , (ref 2004.614), once part of the Bill Brown collection is marked Colmore Patent . It is however dated by the experts at Sheffield to 1790 and in "British Cutlery" p 121, to 1791. Both these dates conflict with the idea that Samuel Colmore started using the patent mark after 1794 having either brought out or paid a royalty to John Hands who took out his patent for plating cutlery in that year. Could someone confirm the date of the Knife at Sheffield and if it is based on a clear date letter or not. Samuel Colmore did not register a platers mark in 1790 as is sometimes stated and it would be useful to help date his marked output if this could be done Burnisherboy

dognose
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Re: Colmore's Patent Close Plating Method

Postby dognose » Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:40 am

Died

At Camphill, Mr. Samuel Colmore, formerly an eminent plater of Birmingham, but who had retired from business.


Source: Monthly Magazine or British Register - 1st August 1805

Trev.

dognose
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Re: Colmore's Patent Close Plating Method

Postby dognose » Thu Sep 16, 2021 12:22 pm

Member 'silvermakersmarks' noted:

Samuel Colemore was apprenticed to "Joseph Findall of Birmingham Silver plater" on 29th November 1753.

Member 'Heamatite' noted:

The entry for the duty paid in 1753 clearly records Colemore. The marriage to Mary Hutton on the 28th October 1765 lists the groom as Samuel Colemore. Recorded surname variations may reflect the whim of the clerk but I imagine the man himself, as per his mark, thought he was a Colmore.

Related topic: viewtopic.php?f=61&t=59034

Trev.


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