The J. K. Basye Julep Strainer

I’ve envisioned antique julep strainers being used at fashionable bars in the Gay ’90s, or in a dark speakeasy during Prohibition, and later, perhaps, by Nick Charles as he poured martinis for Nora and himself.  But I didn’t envision a julep strainer being used in some saloon in the wild west.  I guess I thought those cowboys, gunslingers and other sorts were ordering shots of whisky or a shot and a beer or something similar.

Then I came across a julep strainer with no mark other than “J. K. Basye”.


The strainer had a large star cut-out in the handle.  It was tarnished and showed some wear.


The star and the shape and placement of the holes were the same as shown in the 1883 Derby Silver Co. catalog (image follows).  Derby changed that design several years later.

Derby 1883 catalog

Those of you who follow this blog know I love a good mystery and I immediately began my search to discover who J. K. Basye was.

The first thing that came to light was an article mentioning a watch which had belonged to a Colonel Potter being pawned at J. K. Basye’s shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The article date was in November of 1880.  Colonel Charles Potter was the stepson of Rhode Island Governor Charles Van Zandt.  Potter was a surveyor for the U. S. Geological Survey.  He went missing in the canyons outside of Albuquerque in October 1880 and his watch turned up at J. K. Basye’s jewelry store the following month.  It was later discovered by Sheriff Perfecto Armijo that Potter had been murdered by a band of outlaws.

In 1880, Basye was located in what is now known as Old Albuquerque.


He moved to New Albuquerque (built to take advantage of the new train route) in 1881.  Following are some articles and advertisements related to Basye’s store.


Albuquerque was a rough and tumble town back then.  Saloons were many and included the Bon Ton Saloon, The Elite, The White House, Fat Charlie’s Retreat, Marble Hall, The Boss Saloon, Railroad Palace Saloon and Zeiger’s Metropolitan Saloon.  Following is a photo of the Metropolitan on the corner of 1st and Railroad:

1st & Railroad Ave. Metropolitan

What surprised me was the fact that bartenders back then were called mixologists. Here are two articles from the Albuquerque Journal mentioning mixologists. The first describes mixologists behaving badly.  The second mentions a mixologist doing “the Tom and Jerry act”.  For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Tom and Jerry is a sort of eggnog.


In April of 1882, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday spent a few days in Albuquerque.  The two men had their famous “falling out” there at the Retreat Restaurant.  Here is a picture of Wyatt:


Albuquerque was growing by leaps and bounds and by 1886, this is what it looked like (the red dot shows where the Metropolitan Saloon was. Basye’s store was just up the street a bit):

1886 detail 2nd 3rd

J. K. Basye left Albuquerque sometime between 1888 and 1890, next showing up in Seattle.  The following excerpt came from a publication on the Basye Family history. It is interesting that Albuquerque isn’t mentioned.  He would have been only in his mid 20s when he first went into business in Albuquerque.

The Basye family in the United States, by Otto Basye 1950

Following is James K. Basye’s 1919 obituary:


If any family members are interested, I do have more info on James K. Basye. Please ask.

So, this julep strainer has quite an interesting history.  It could have been in a smash or julep served to Wyatt or Doc.  I’d love to know who actually owned it.  Maybe it was James Basye’s own personal julep strainer.

It is available for sale here at my Etsy shop:

Posted in Albuquerque History, antique julep strainer, Doc Holliday, J. K. Basye, James K. Basye, mixologist, Uncategorized, Wyatt Earp | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Curious Story of a Strainer

I came to acquire a julep strainer with “Central Park Garden” on the handle.


The handle is back-tipped with a star cut-out and no maker’s mark.


Never having heard of the Central Park Garden, I started my research.  It turns out that it was a restaurant and entertainment complex on Seventh Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets.  Looking for an image, I found the following:

1. Hotel

The building right on the corner has a sign “Central Park Hotel”. Next to it is the Central Park Garden (sign on top) Restaurant (sign above the second floor windows). I was curious about the hotel.  Was the hotel connected with the restaurant?  I searched New York City directories and found that the hotel was listed in an 1859 directory. 1859! Wasn’t that about the time that Central Park was being planned by Frederick Law Olmsted?  Searching Central Park I found that the park was established in 1857 and Olmsted  and Calvert Vaux won a design competition to improve and expand the park in 1858.  The park’s first area was opened to the public in the winter of 1858.

Whoever owned that hotel must have been pretty smart as the City Directory was published in 1859 but the information for it was gathered the preceding year.  (How on earth did they do that back then? Have you ever seen one of these directories?  Hundred and hundreds of pages of information all in tiny little print.)

So, it turns out that the owner of the hotel was Hermann Knubel.  The City of New York had acquired some of Hermann Knubel’s land for Central Park.  So Mr. Knubel had apparent advance knowledge and quickly put that knowledge to work.  Central Park was directly across from his hotel and the Broadway and Seventh Avenue train terminus was nearby. The photo below was taken from the train tracks.

3. Music Hall from tracks

But the 1859 directory said nothing of the Central Park Garden, only the Central Park Hotel. Central Park Hotel was located at 902 Seventh Avenue.

Central Park Garden (900 Seventh Avenue), I learned, opened in May of 1868.  It was built as a permanent home for the famous Theodore Thomas Orchestra. In addition to the restaurant, there was an open air auditorium and beer garden.

2. Music Hall

Following is an 1872 article describing Central Park Garden and Thomas’ concerts. Note in the second paragraph where it says “Refreshments and liquors of all kinds are sold to the guests; but the prices are high”.  Keep in mind this post is about that julep strainer.

4.Lights and Shadows of New York Life 1872

The following illustration was in the February 1875 issue of Scribners Monthly:

5.Scribners Monthly Volume 9 Issue 4 Feb.1875 pg465

The Theodore Thomas Orchestra’s final season opened at the Central Park Garden on May 17, 1875.  After that it was used for various sporting events, including boxing, wrestling and walking matches (also called competitive pedestrian matches).  It reopened in 1877 as “Central Park Garden and Hart’s Summer Theatre”.

6. 1903 A History of the New York Stage pg595

Note that the following article mentions that the property was converted to a riding academy in 1878.


The following article was published in 1878 by the New York Times.  It describes a court case involving Warren Soule who had taken a loan and used the furniture and silverware of Central Park Garden as collateral, claiming that he owned these items. However, the furniture and silverware were actually owned by Leonard Appleby. Mr. Soule, unable to pay the loan, was arrested.

Although not mentioned in this New York Times article, court documents show that Mr. Soule took the furniture and silverware under cover of night sometime before June 16, 1876 and sold them (to whom, I do not know).  And this is where the julep strainer comes in.  The strainer was apparently part of the stolen loot!  Talk about a history!

1878 NY Times March 13

Following are a couple pages from that court case I mentioned.  A more complete listing of the items used as collateral by Soule is included.


And note at the very bottom of the next page it states that “Soule carried off in the night…almost the entire stock” of the Central Park Garden.


And this article describes the demise of the Central Park Riding Academy. The property was converted to a theater complex.


This julep strainer is available for sale at my Etsy shop.

The second half of the nineteenth century seems to have been an interesting time. The following article discusses what some working class women did to pass the time.


Pedestrian matches and endurance walks were quite popular in the 1870s. Betting on pedestrian matches was prevalent.  I had no idea!  You live and you learn.

And I just wanted to add the following which provides a further discussion of the Central Park Garden.

1.1911 Memoirs of Theodore Thomas 1911 Rose Fay Thomas building

This was written by Theo Thomas’ daughter.


Posted in 900 Seventh Avenue NYC, antique barware, Central Park Garden, Central Park Hotel, cocktail strainer, Hermann Knubel, julep strainer, New York City, star julep strainer, Theodore Thomas, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Who is “Plato”?

In researching a backstamp on a silver plated tea strainer, I hit a dead end. Although there were numerous listings on the internet for silver plated items with this same mark, I could find absolutely no information as to who they were.

Plato strainer

My strainer was marked ” “Plato EPNS England”:

Plato mark

Surfing the web, I found another “Plato” mark but it was not attributed to any manufacturer. This mark was obtained at … a wonderful website full of very helpful information.

Thinking perhaps the company name might be “The Plato Company”, I persisted in searching and found something!

Pearson's Magazine Vol. 16 1903

This ad came from a 1903 issue of Pearson’s Magazine.  Plato Silver Polish, so the ad says, allows you to do your own replating….depositing silver on all worn parts as you polish.  Wow!  Just what I need.  But it appears this polish is no longer available; perhaps it was too good to be true.  Was this Plato Co. in London the Plato who manufactured my strainer?  That was the question.

I knew my strainer was marked”Plato EPNS” so I tried searching “Plato electro plate”. This interesting article came up at :

It mentioned David Hollander at Plato works manufacturing plated wares. This was in Birmingham.  So maybe that Plato Co. in London had nothing to do with my little tea strainer.

I began searching “David Hollander” and “Plato” and finally found the following:

The Electrical Journal, Volume 120 1938

This was just a snippet view found in an 1938 issue of The Electrical Journal but it pretty much clinched it for me. David Hollander and Sons, Ltd “will show their Plato table standards”.

I realized I hadn’t looked at Grace’s Guide ( ) which is a great site for the history of British industry. This is what I found there:

1949 from

Is this ad a thing of beauty or what?

There really isn’t that much out there about David Hollander either. But I have seen some of his sterling items and they are gorgeous, especially his miniatures.


The gin decanter label shown above is made by Plato and is available for sale at my Etsy shop queenofsienna.



Posted in Birmingham England, David Hollander, Plato EPNS, Reg'd Plato, Reg. Plato, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

One Fiddle Too Many

In some prior posts I have written about aesthetic flatware patterns and have attempted to identify a good amount of them.  Although I have written individual posts about some of the earlier flatware designs, I did not attempt to broadly identify them.  Following is information regarding silver plated patterns from the mid 1840s to about 1875. The pattern name (if known), manufacturer(s), date and patent information (if any) is included in the detail that follows the images.

A number of these patterns originated in England. I have included some information regarding these English patterns as well, prefixing the entry with a (B) for British.

Pattern names varied by manufacturer and country. A “Fiddle” pattern in England is not the same as an American “Fiddle”. Even within the same country different patterns were named the same.  For example, look at numbers 2 and 5 below.  Both British patterns, both named “Fiddle” but different.  It gets confusing.  Now I know why I didn’t attempt to write this blog a long time ago.




I’ve included two English ads at the end of this post which show how they suggested pairing “Fiddle” and “Old English” patterns, which appeals to me.  Pairing of many of these early classic patterns seems to work well.




I have been unable to find a patent for the “Olive” pattern as well as others during this time period.






Of note, the “Medallion” pattern was patented by Luther Boardman and his son.  This was the only design that I could find patented by this company.






In my opinion, Joseph Fradley’s “Lily” and “Bouquet” patterns brought silverplate flatware patterns to a new level, ushering in the aesthetic patterns that followed.



If anyone has information they could offer on any of these patterns, I’d be happy to hear from you.

Posted in 1847 Rogers Bros., antique, British Silver, Brown & Bros., Cottage pattern, Derby Silver Co, E W Sperry, early spoon patents, England, English silver, flatware, gorham, Gothic pattern, Grape pattern, Grecian pattern, Hall Elton & Co., Hiram Hayden, Holmes Booth & Haydens, Jewel pattern, L. Boardman, Le Roy White, LeRoy White, Lily silverplate pattern, luther boardman, Noel Turner, Olive Pattern, pattern, Persian pattern, Redfield & Rice, Reed & Barton, Rogers Brothers, Roman Pattern, silverplate, Tuscan pattern, UK flatware | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Early Combined Liquor Mixer and Strainer

The following image is of what appears to be an early tin cocktail mixer and strainer.


It stands about 6 and 1/2 inches tall with the strainer in the down position.  It has a copper bottom. And it has no maker’s mark.  No hint whatsoever as to who made it.

In looking through my cocktail strainer pictures and patents, I came across one that was very similar, a September 26, 1882 patent by Thomas Miller, No. 265,126.


The strainer cut out was different but otherwise, to me, it looked the same.


I zeroed in on the paragraph from the patent detail that discussed the opening or perforations of the strainer “which may consist of one large opening, having a corrugated wire soldered in it, as shown, or consist of several smaller openings made through it, or one long narrow opening in its edge to form a slit in conjunction with the edge of the mixer.”  I took this to mean there could be variations in the strainer design.

But who was Thomas Miller?  The patent description said he was a subject of the Queen of Great Britain and resided in Jersey City, New Jersey.  My search began.

I found an earlier patent of Thomas Miller’s.  It was for an ale or beer measure and the patent date was February 26, 1878, No. 200,744.


Although this beer measure patent predated the one for the liquor mixer by four years, he didn’t mention anything about the Queen.  But he was living in Jersey City at that time as well.


An example of Miller’s beer measure was found at the Hagley Museum and Library in Delaware:


I noticed the description called this an “improvement” in ale or beer measures.  Why were they measuring beer back then?  I have to admit that I’ve never done much research on beer related patents or items.  Cocktails are more up my alley. So I had to take a little side trip and find out what was going on with beer measures back then.  And I found that people were taking pails of beer home from the saloons….beer to go.  So if you go into the bar and ask for a pint to go, it would make sense that the pint would be measured.  Additional research shows that that was not always the case, but at least now I understood the need for a beer measure.  And, being the babe in the woods as far as all things beer is concerned, I also learned that these take out pails were called growlers.  They frequently had tops on them and the frothy beer inside seemed to make a growling noise, or so it was reported.  I also learned that children were often sent to the bar to pick up the beer and bring it home.

Growlers are still very popular today.  How did I live so long without knowing that!!!  Can you use a growler to get a martini to go?  Pint of martinis to go, please.


The impressive ad shown above comes from a George Winters 1884 book, “How to Mix Drinks”.  It shows the Thomas Miller has a business address at 118 Worth St, New York.  He lived in Jersey City and worked in New York City.  How did he commute?  My mind seems to wander off sometimes.  But, really, how did he commute?  Well, the answer is, he took the ferry.  He could drive his carriage right onto a ferry at the docks of Jersey City, cross the Hudson, and be in lower Manhattan a few minutes later.


The above illustration dates to 1883 and shows the boat traffic and ferries near the Jersey City port.

Following are more images of patents produced by Thomas Miller in 1892.


Following is a portion of a page from an 1884 B. A. Stevens catalog. It includes Miller’s Combination Lemonade Shaker and Strainer (remember, this is the period when the Temperance Movement was in full swing).  The Miller shaker came in small and large in both “planished tin” with copper bottom and “composition metal”, nickel plated with copper bottom.  The large size was 6 and 1/2 inches tall, the same size as my tin shaker.  The strainer openings, however, were the same slotted type as shown in the patent.


Although B. A. Stevens credited Miller for the shaker, the “Pat. Combination Lemonade Shaker and Strainer” at the bottom of the page appears to be the Edward J. Hauck strainer, patented June 24, 1884, No. 300,867, and the Hauck name does not appear.

I looked up the definition of “planish” and found: “flatten (sheet metal) with a smooth-faced hammer or between rollers”.

The next illustration shows a page from an L. & M. Goodsticker catalog circa 1890. The Miller and Hauck strainers are referred to as ” milk punch shakers”.


And the following came from the same Goodsticker catalog. It includes various measures including the Miller measure.


Trying to stick to a chronological listing of images, the following came from the April 5, 1894 issue of “The Iron Age”:


The following images come from a Budde & Westermann catalog dating to circa 1895. What appears to be both the Miller shaker and beer measure are shown. It also appears that the Hauck strainer is included although neither the Miller nor Hauck names are mentioned.


There was not much to be found between 1894 and 1907, the date of the Bruce & West Manufacturing Co. catalog from which this page came:


The lower right of the page above shows an image of what looks to be similar to the Miller shaker.  It is offered in spun brass, nickel plated and planished tin, copper bottom.  Of note, the straining slots are more spread out than in the patent illustration. Following is an enlargement of this section:


Sean Hubert of Portland (Etsy shop StumptownAntiques) was kind enough to provide the following two photos.  It’s wonderful to see these two strainers side by side, the plated with the T. Miller mark, next to the tin:


A close-up of the mark:


For my own sanity, I kept a timeline on Thomas Miller which follows.  You’ll note that A. G. Miller is listed as being the successor to Thomas Miller in 1899.  The last listing I found for A. G. Miller was 1918.


The question remains, did Thomas Miller actually make the copper bottomed tin mixer / strainer?  If not, who did?  And which one came first if they were not made during the same time period?

If anyone has info they can share, I’d be delighted to hear from you.

The tin mixer / strainer shown in the first photo is available here at my Etsy shop:


Posted in A G Miller, adoseofalchemy, Antique cocktail shaker, Beer measure, Combination liquor mixer strainer, Jersey City NJ, T Miller cocktail shaker, Thomas Miller, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

James Pooley’s Julep Strainer for J. Baum

In my previous blog about the H. C. Reed Jr. & Co. julep strainer, I stated “I believe this is the oldest julep strainer that I have come across.” H. C. Reed Jr. & Co. was only in business from 1865 through 1867…three years. And, just a short while ago, that was the oldest julep strainer I had come across. But, guess what? I’ve found even an older one. And this one, I believe, is coin silver.


The strainer is marked “J. POOLEY” (the “J” is very faint) and is followed by three marks, marks that are referred to as “pseudo marks”.  They look similar to British hallmarks.  The three marks are a “D”, a bird and a bust.


The front of the handle is engraved “J. Baum” in a lovely old timey script.


It is designed differently than any other julep strainer that I have seen. It has the scallop shaped bowl, but the bowl is more flat and the sides curve up.


The handle is in the “Tipped” pattern.  The handle bends up slightly but doesn’t have the up and down bend in the handle common to other julep strainers. It measures 5 and 1/2 inches long and 2 and 3/4 inches wide, typical dimensions for an antique julep strainer. The staining holes are not symmetrical, they were obviously made by hand.


I have been unable to find a patent for the scallop bowl julep strainer. Speculation is that early strainers were based on the scalloped sugar sifter design and modified to fit in a glass and strain liquids.  This strainer has holes only about 3/4ths of the way across and definitely made to strain liquid from a glass or beaker.  If it were a sugar sifter or tea strainer, the holes would be across the entire bowl. This strainer fits well in a glass and feels comfortable and secure in the hand when pouring.


So,  having said all of that, who was J. Pooley? After exhaustive research, I believe I know.  J. Pooley was James Pooley who was born in Scotland in 1825.  He came to America as a young man and was traced to Amsterdam, New York in 1848.  He married Ann Augusta Barnum in Amsterdam in November of 1849, and their first child, William, was born there in 1852.  James Pooley was listed under “Watches and Jewelry” in the 1850-51 New York Mercantile Union Business Directory. See my following notes:

1. Amsterdam

James Pooley and family moved to New Albany, Indiana around 1853.  He continued in the jewelry and watch business there.  Two more sons were born, James in 1855 and Edward in 1857. Notes and ads from New Albany follow. Note the last ad which states that Charles Bradford is the successor to Jas. Pooley:

2. New Albany

3. 1856-1857 New Albany city directory and business mirror. ... 1856-1857

4. 1856 Putnam Republican Banner May 21 1856

5. 1858 New Albany Daily Ledger Oct.22 1858

5a. 1861 G.W. Hawes' Commercial Gazetteer and Business Directory of the Ohio River

In 1858, James Pooley turns up in Memphis and his son, George, is born in Memphis that same year.  James Pooley is listed in the 1859 Memphis City Directory. His son, Frank is born in 1862. The 1865 Denson’s Memphis Directory lists his business as “diamonds, watches, jewelry, etc.”.  And then James Pooley met an untimely death on March 25, 1865 as a result of a freak accident.  His daughter, Martha, was born a little more than two months after he died. My notes follow:

6. Memphis

James Pooley had been thrown from a horse on his way home in the dark.  His brother and also his brother-in-law had been thrown from a horse before him in the same spot on their way home from work in the dark.  Some say it was the same horse involved in all three accidents, some say not.  But something spooked the horse (or horses) resulting in three deaths.

Here are some ads from Memphis:

7. 1859 Memphis Daily Appeal Aug 8 1859



The following ads are from after James Pooley’s death.  His wife, Ann, (nee Barnum) and her brothers were involved in running the business at that point.

8a. 1866 Memphis City Directory Halpin pg40


8b. 1867-68 Memphis City Directory Halpin pg84

And there is an article from the Elmwood Cemetery Association about the Pooley brothers:



I have not been successful in finding another piece of silver with the J. Pooley mark.  The three pseudo marks, however, are the same marks (“D”, bird, bust) that were used by James Mix. Jr. of Albany, New York on his coin silver.  James Mix. Jr. was born in 1822 and a silversmith in the mid to late 1800s.  All the pieces of his work show his name followed by those three marks.  It is possible he made this strainer for Pooley, or perhaps some one else made it for Pooley, or maybe Pooley made it himself. Who knows?

So where does J. Baum (the name engraved on the strainer) fit in, you ask.  Aha!  This is the good part. This is the clincher.  J. Baum & Co., doing business as a “saloon”, is in the same 1859 Memphis Directory as James Pooley.  James Baum’s saloon was just around the corner from Pooley’s business.  Maybe Mr. Baum had an idea for a julep strainer and asked Mr. Pooley to make or find him one.  Or maybe it was a gift from Mr. Pooley.

J. Baum’s saloon is marked in red in the following map.  James Pooley’s store was on the edge of the green a little to the right:

10. 1870 Memphis

Here are some directories with John Baum listed.  He was a wine and beer merchant in addition to owning a saloon:

11. Baum

James Pooley’s sign today hangs in the Tennessee State Museum:


I suspect this will be the earliest julep strainer I will ever find.  Now if it could only talk.

This strainer is available here at my Etsy shop:


Posted in Amsterdan NY, Ann Augusta Barnum, antique barware, bar tool, bar ware, Barnum geneology, barware, coin silver julep strainer, earliest julep strainer, J. Baum, James Pooley, John Baum, julep strainer, Memphis Tennessee, New Albany Indiana, Pooley & Barnum, Pooley geneology, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

H. C. Reed Jr. & Co.

I came across a julep strainer in a design that I hadn’t seen before.  Yet, it looked so familiar to me.  It was marked “H. C. Reed Jr. & Co.” I hadn’t seen that mark before either.

Reed nark


The pattern was plain, no cut-out, no fancy design.  Then it dawned on me.  I had seen an image of this same plain julep strainer in the 1867 Meriden Britannia catalog.


The photo above shows the H. C. Reed Jr. & Co. strainer on the page from the 1867 Meriden Britannia catalog.  They called it a “toddy strainer” in the catalog, said it was plated on Albata, and came in the Plain and Olive patterns.

But who was H. C. Reed Jr.? I found a reference book that stated he was Henry Carpenter Reed.  Clearly, I needed to do more investigating.

I found mention of H. C. Reed Jr. & Co. in two 1865 publications. One was the Proceedings of the Board of Councilmen of the City of New York giving Mr. Reed permission to place a sign in front of his business at 13 Maiden Lane. The other was in a business directory.


The 1866 city directory shows J. C. Reed Jr. & Co.  (Henry C. Reed Jr., along with William P. Fanning and Edward O. Carpenter).  The December 8, 1866 New York Evening Express ran an ad for H. C. Reed Jr. & Co. indicating that he sold a line of Manhattan Plate Company items.


H. C. Reed Jr. & Co. was still listed in the 1867 business directory. But in 1868 a copartnership was formed…Hiram Young & Reed.  They were manufacturers of silver plated ware under the trade mark “Manhattan Plate Company” and also importers of cutlery and fancy plated goods.

1867 1868

I could find no other reference to Henry C. Reed Jr. & Co. at this point.

The February 14, 1870 issue of the Watchmaker and Jeweler announced that the firm of Hiram Young & Reed was dissolved and Henry C. Reed Jr. would be continuing in business at 8 Maiden Lane.  I found two other ads for H. C. Reed Jr. in 1870.  Note that the name was just J. C. Reed Jr. (no longer & Co.)


I found a listing for H. C. Reed, Jr. in the 1872 Annual Report of the American Institute of the City of New York regarding the annual exhibition. And the last reference I obtained was in the 1872-74 New York State business directory.


What I deducted from this information was that H. C. Reed Jr. & Co. was only in business from 1865 through 1867…three years. He was affiliated with Hiram Young in 1868 and when that association terminated his company was called “H. C. Reed Jr.” The strainer has that H. C. Reed Jr. & Co. mark so the strainer dates to 1865, 1866 or 1867.  And the same design strainer was in the 1867 Meriden Britannia catalog.

I believe this is the oldest julep strainer that I have come across.  I have another old strainer in the “Grape” pattern which was patented by Egbert W. Sperry on April 30, 1867.  This strainer is marked “Derby Silver Co.”  This pattern was made by Redfield & Rice in the late 1860s. Edwin Brittin worked for Redfield & Rice and when they went out of business their machinery was brought to the newly formed Derby Silver Co. by Edwin Brittin in the early 1870s.  This “Grape” pattern strainer might have been made with one of the Redfield & Rice moulds.

UPDATE: Since writing the above, I have come across another “Grape” pattern julep strainer marked “Curran & Co. A1”. J. F. Curran was in business since 1857, at least according to his following advertisement:


I have compiled a timeline on Curran & Co. for those of you who have interest:


I am uncertain if J. F. Curran actually manufactured this strainer. I suspect that Redfield & Rice might have made the strainer for Curran, which would date this strainer earlier than the Derby strainer. This Curran strainer is available for sale at my Etsy shop.


The Grape strainer is in the lower left corner of the photo below. The H. C. Reed Jr. & CO., Wm. Holmes and Olive pattern strainers are also pictured.


I also had (and sold) a Wm. Holmes strainer which was old; I estimated it conservatively to date around 1875.  Wm. Holmes was from Baltimore and the strainer could have been made anytime between 1850 and 1876.

This H. C. Reed Jr. & Co. strainer as well as the Derby “Grape” strainers are available for sale at my Etsy shop:

And one final thing.  I didn’t believe H. C. Reed Jr. is Henry Carpenter Reed at first.  Henry Carpenter Reed’s father was Henry Crane Reed and since the middle names are not the same, Henry Carpenter Reed is not a Jr.! Yet the 1860 wedding announcement to Maria J. Wright states his name as Henry C. Reed Jr. I’m so confused…

Posted in antique barware, bar strainer, bar tool, bar ware, barware, cocktail strainer, Curran & Co., Derby Silver Co, E W Sperry, Edwin Brittin, Egbert Sperry, Grape pattern, Henry C. Reed Jr., Henry C. Reed Jr. & Co., Hiram Young, J. F. Curran, julep strainer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Name That Pattern!

I’ve been thinking about writing a post on electro plated English flatware for some time now as I have not been able to find one central source of this information. I’ve identified about forty pattern names thus far. These pattern names have come from either catalog pages or advertisements. But I’m at a loss to identify twenty more.


If you have a catalog page or advertisement containing any of the patterns shown, I would greatly appreciate receiving a photo of or link to that documentation. My email address is


The following list is really the only information I have regarding these twenty patterns.  The first picture in this post contains images taken from catalogs and the second contains images of actual pieces of flatware.


Posted in British Silver, English silver, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments


I was recently researching the various backstamps of Williams Bros. Mfg. Co. One of those marks was W.B.1900. I believed this to be a Williams Bros. mark but I hadn’t been successful in finding an advertisement or a catalog from that time which corroborated my belief.  It left an uneasy feeling with me. Sometimes you think you know something. And sometimes you can be very wrong.  I knew this from experience.

As luck would have it, persistence paid off and I found the following article in a 1902 issue of Current Advertising:


The article shown above mentions Wallace Brothers of Wallingford, Connecticut and their advertisement for the “Essex” pattern.  “Essex” was a pattern that had the W.B.1900 backstamp which I believed to be Williams Bros.  Warning bells started to ring.  Elsewhere in this blog I had stated that W.B.1900 was a Williams Bros. mark.  Maybe the Wallace “Essex” pattern was a different pattern than the Williams “Essex” pattern? But then I found this:


The 1908 Hardware magazine article shown above discusses the Wallace Bros. “Poppy” teaspoon. It states “This is the brand called W.B.1900”. Well, that settled that.  I was wrong about William Bros.; this was a backstamp of Wallace. The 1914 article below on Advertising also discusses this Wallace “Poppy” pattern:


The little “Essex” spoon I have with “W.B.1900” and “Junket” on the back is not a Williams Bros. spoon as I had thought, but instead Wallace Bros.


This little spoon reminds me of my youth…I ate quite a bit of Junket rennet custard back then. And it doesn’t matter at all to me who made my spoon…I love it!

I have amended my blog post on J. B. Williams and William Bros. Mfg., “Soap to Silver”. And I apologize for providing incorrect information earlier.

Posted in Uncategorized, W.B.1900, Wallace Brothers, Williams Manufacturing, Williams Silver | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Trenton Aesthetics

Looking at the following photo, you might think that these plates with aesthetic patterns were manufactured by Staffordshire potters.


The cartouche and scroll designs as well as bamboo, birds and flowers all point to the Aesthetic Period in Great Britain during the 1880s.  But surprise!  All three of these plates were made in Trenton, New Jersey.

Trenton had many potteries in the second half of the 19th Century.  The three plates above are samples of pieces produced by Mercer Pottery Co., Burroughs & Mountford Co. and Willets Mfg. Co.


The plate shown above is by Willets Mfg. Co. and the pattern name is Tropics. It is similar to the patterns of Gildea & Walker (Melbourne), W. H. Grindley (Burmah), Brownhills Pottery (Kioto) and Edge Malkin (Tonquin).

The following illustration is taken from Willets letterhead:


And the following article was taken from the 1888 Illustrated New York publication:



The example shown above is the Newport pattern by Burroughs & Mountford. The asymetrical design seems to go right off the edge of the plate.


The above article on Burroughs & Mountford was taken from the 1887 Quarter – Century’s Progress of New Jersey’s Leading Manufacturing Centres.


The plate shown above is by Mercer Pottery Co. Unfortunately, I do not know the name of the pattern. The following article comes from that same 1887 Quarter – Century’s Progress book:


I have located a few other aesthetic type patterns manufactured by Trenton potters as follows:


I always found it curious that while England was known for its beautiful aesthetic pottery, it was the United States that was known for aesthetic designs in silver and silverplate.  It was common for me to pair a Staffordshire plate with American flatware.


But now, at last, I am able to combine American made dinner plates with appropriate American flatware.  Shown above and below is a fork in the Japanese pattern manufactured by Holmes, Booth & Haydens.  The bamboo on the front of the handle works wonderfully with the Mercer plate.


Even the back of the Japanese handle works with the cartouches on this plate!


The picture above shows other aesthetic flatware designs with these plates.  The Mercer plate and some of the aesthetic silverplate shown above are available at my Etsy shop:

Posted in aesthetic, Mercer Pottery New Jersey, Staffordshire, Staffordshire pottery, Trenton NJ, Uncategorized, Willets, Willets Pottery | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments