It all started with research on a demitasse spoon…. It had a marvelous scarab design and the only mark on the back was an “O” in a diamond shape. It turned out that the pattern was named “Antique Egyptian” and the designer was George P. Ittig assignor to the E.H.H. Smith Silver Co., Bridgeport, CT. The design patent number was 40,257, dated September 14, 1909. This design was manufactured by E. H. H. Smith as well as others.
What is interesting about this pattern is that this flatware was used at “The Cafe de L’Opera” which opened in 1910 in New York City. A great write-up on this unusual and opulant restaurant can be found here: http://restaurant-ingthroughhistory.com/2011/09/29/spectacular-failures-cafe-de-lopera/
This is a photo of my spoon with a photo of one of the dining rooms of The Cafe de L’Opera in the background:
My spoon did not have the E.H.H. Smith Silver Co. mark, but instead had the “O” in a diamond shape. This could be an Oneida mark, as one of the other manufacturers of this pattern was Wm. A. Rogers which is part of Oneida. I don’t think the “O” was connected with the Cafe de l’Opera as those pieces were marked with the full Cafe name.
In the late 1800s Eugene H. H. Smith was employed for some time as a traveling salesman for Holmes & Edwards (more than likely out of New York). Holmes & Edwards was located in Bridgeport and Sidney Smith, whom I’ll discuss a little later, was a designer for Holmes & Edwards. This is an important connection, because in an earlier post on Dr. Leonard Waldo http://queenofsienna.wordpress.com/table-wares/, I had mentioned Sidney Smith’s design of the “Rialto” pattern.
Following is a time line of E.H.H. Smith’s business activities:
In 1899 Eugene H. Smith went into business for himself. From “Jewelers Circular and Horological Review”, Vol 38, 1899: “E.H.H. Smith, who recently started in business as a manufacturer of high grade flat ware, has opened a New York office at 38 Murray St. Mr. Smith is also interested in the Silver City Plate Co., Meriden, Conn., and is also acting as their New York agent at the above address.” (Note: An 1895 issue of “The Jewelers Circular, Vol. 29, stated “Henry Felix is associated with three other gentlemen in the venture (of Silver City Plate Co.) at South Colony St., Meriden, Conn. A 1908 issue of “The Platers’ Guide” states that this company was purchased by International Silver). The “Smith Silver Company” mark on hollow ware was possibly produced at the Meriden plant for they only manufactured hollow ware.
The May 10, 1899 issue of Jewelers Circular states: “E.H.H. Smith, silversmith, Bridgeport, has recently been granted a patent on a knife he will try to interest Bridgeport capital in manufacturing. The invention is a knife with a good cutting steel edge and with a surface of softer metal that will not rust. The edge portion of the table knife blade is composed of a central and inserted strip of steel and two blade sides or veneers of a softer metal mechanically secured thereto, and in both the steel is so thin as to require no sharpening at all.”
In March of 1899, a patent for a knife was obtained by Henry V. Smith (I believe Henry to be the brother of Eugene) of Hartford, CT of which one-half was assigned to E.H. Smith of Bridgeport, CT, see following:
The E.H.H Smith Knife Co. Bridgeport, CT, was established sometime in 1899, the exact date is unknown, but I’m thinking it was later in the year as he was trying to raise capital earlier that same year.
1902: Eugene designed the “Iris” pattern, April 15, 1902, design patent 35862. At this time only the Knife Company was operating in Bridgeport, the flat ware company was still at 28 Murray Street in New York. This “Iris” pattern predated G.P. Ittig becoming involved in E.H.H. Smith design work.
1903: Home Furnishing Review Vol. 23 page 119 “The E. H. H. Smith Silver Co. of New York has purchased the Skidmore factory and adjoining property in Bridgeport, Conn. New machinery will be installed, and the manufacture of knives, forks, spoons and silver tableware will be begun at an early date.”
1903: In the History of Bridgeport and Vicinity, Vol 2, by George Curtis Waldo, Jr., dated 1917 (could this be Dr. Leonard Waldo of Waldo Foundry relative?) ”Fred William Nettleton, coming from Meriden Britannia Co., became one of the organizers of the E.H.H. Smith Silver Co. of which he became department manager and remained with the firm until 1907″.
1904: Two design patents by George P. Itting assigned to E.H.H. Smith Silver Co. (see more on Ittig below).
1907: Located at Silversmith’s Building in Chicago (per 1907 ad).
1908: Motor vehicle registered at Hartford / Bridgeport CT address (note: see address of Henry on knife patent above).
1909: Chemical Abstract Service, Vol. 3 by the American Chemical Society: Elektrochem A New Process for the Electroplating of objects such as spoons and forks. Abstract 16151.
1909: Eugene obtained a patent, 924,849, for a Serving Platter on June 15; patent application indicates he resided in Bridgeport at that time.
1909: Located at Silversmith’s Building, New York and also at Otto Young & Co. Chicago (from a 1909 ad).
1909: E.H.H Smith provided flatware designed by George P. Ittig (Antique Egyptian) for Café de L’Opera.
1911: E.H. Smith built house in P.T. Barnum’s prestigious Marina Park section (now a Historic District) of Bridgeport on Park Avenue.
1911: The EHH Smith Silver Company contracted with the Whitehall Club in the New York City Whitehall Building and “designed and executed the silver service, following motifs of the early English period for the special use of the club,” per 1911 Architects’ and Builders’ magazine, Vol. 43, Issues 1-15.
1913: Silver service with Ritz Carlton monogram per 1913 “Architecture and Building” article.
1913: Henry Lee was appointed receiver for the E. H. H. Smith Silver Co. in Bridgeport. In September of 1913 Supreme Court allows E. H. H. Smith Silver Co. to continue for four months. Also from Waldo’s 1917 book, Mr. Lee, “applying sound business methods to the management of the business, he has brought it around to a stable financial basis and at the present time he is manager and treasurer of the company.”
1914: E.H.H. Smith was reorganized as the Blackstone Silver Co.
1919: Albert Pick acquired the E.H.H. Smith Silver Co. plant in Bridgeport and incorporated the Albert Pick & Co. on December 15, 1919. From 1922 Moody’s Manual.
1920: “The B. F. Gilmour Company, Brooklyn, has been incorporated with a capital of $50,000 by E.H.H. Smith and B. F. Gilmour, 264 Stratford Road, to manufacture iron and steel products. (Steel and Metal Digest, Volume 10, 1920).
1921: Eugene obtained patent 1367568 for ”Spoon for Making Tea, Coffee and Other Drinks” on Feb 8 (indicates he resided in New York).
1921: Irving V. Smith of Glastonbury, CT (believed to be Eugene’s brother) obtained design patent 59,385 on October 11. What is interesting is that he assigned this patent to the Williams Brothers, who were also located in Glastonbury and not the successor to E.H.H. Smith Silver Co., Albert Pick who was then in business.
1922: Eugene, along with Irving V. Smith (believed to be Eugene’s brother) obtained patent 61,612 for “Spoon or similar article” on October 24.
1926: Eugene obtained patent 70,512 for ”Knife handle” on July 6.
Several George P. Itting designs were produced by E.H.H. Smith Silver Co. George was born in Germany in 1872 and was living in Bridgeport at the time E.H.H. Smith Silver was in operation. The designs that we know of are listed (and illustrated) below:
1904: “Holly” design patent 36,891 dated April 26.
1904: ”Marseilles” design patent 36,890 dated April 26 (EHH produced a variation of this design).
1906: ”Oak/Royal Oak” design patent 37,791 dated January 23.
1906: ”Thistle” design patent 38,384 dated December 25 (the Patent Office was open on Christmas Day!!! Would make more sense if this were the “Holly” pattern.
1908: ”Martha Washington” design patent 39,050 dated February 4.
1908: ”Colonial” design patent 39,397 dated July 7.
1908: ”Wisteria” design patent 39,471 dated September 1.
1909: ”Antique Egyptian/Scarab” design patent 40,257 dated September 14.
1911: ”Portia” design patent 41,966 dated December 12.
1930: Unknown name and not illustrated below, design patent 80,762 dated March 18 for Blackstone Silver Co., Inc. (Although Albert Pick was in operation at this time, the Blackstone name is on the patent).
1930: Unknown name and not illustrated below, design patent 81,241 dated May 27th for Blackstone Silver Co., Inc.
Now, back to Sidney Smith, another “Smith” from Bridgeport. As stated above he designed patterns for another Bridgeport company, Holmes & Edwards among others. Some of Sidney’s patterns are listed and pictured below:
1893: Delsarte, design patent 22,680 on June 26 (Note: this patent was assigned to Holmes & Edwards.)
1894: Rialto, design patent 23163 on April 3 (Note: this patent was assigned to Holmes & Edwards. This design was made by Holmes & Edwards in both silver plate as well as the aluminum gold alloy of Dr. Leonard Waldo; see related post referenced above).
1894: Ormonde, design patent 23236 on June 5 (Note: this patent was assigned to William Rogers Manufacturing Company)
1895: Dunraven, design patent 24498 on May 14 (Note: this patent was assigned to William Rogers Manufacturing Company)
1897: Unique, design patent 27,164 on June 8 (Note: this patent was assigned to Holmes & Edwards. What is interesting is that “Unique” is one of the patterns that was manufactured in South American Silver Solid, see article post http://queenofsienna.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/david-h-mcconnell-beyond-avon/ ).
1904: Imperial, design patent 37,024 on July 5 (Note: this patent was assigned to the International Silver Company which was formerly Holmes & Edwards)
1906: Sweet Pea / Arvilla, design patent 37,850 on February 27 (Note: this patent was not assigned to anyone by Sidney but this pattern was produced by E.H.H. Smith Silver Co. as well as others.)
So much for the Smiths of Bridgeport.