Bernard Rice’s Family

You might be familiar with the company known as Bernard Rice’s Sons.  They are well known for cocktail shakers bearing their mark (sometimes accompanied by the Apollo mark) during the 1920s and 1930s.  But little hard documentation can be found about their history.  Some reference has been made that this company is somehow related to or succeeded Redfield & Rice, a company that went out of business in the early 1870s. I could find no connection or link between Redfield & Rice (James Rice) and Bernard Rice’s Sons (Jacques and Louis Rice).  Let me share with you what I did find.

It really all started with Ignatius Rice (1838 – 1910), Bernard’s brother and Jacques and Louis’ uncle. New York City directories show that Ignatius was in business with an gentlemen by the name of Gustavus Oberndorf in the mid 1860s.  Rice & Oberndorf were manufacturers of and agents for various items such as pocketbooks, combs, brushes, perfumes and notions.  In 1866 Ignatius obtained a patent for a comb design and that same year he was assignor to another comb design patent.

Following are snippets of directories and patents from 1864 to 1884:


The 1867 – 68 Trow’s New York City Directory shows that Ignatius went into business with his brother Bernard (1836 – 1896).  The following article comes from an 1884 publication “New York’s Great Industries”:

1884 New York's Great Industries pg206

The two brothers continued in business until 1891, the year that Bernard went into business with his eldest son, Jacques ( 1869 – 1935 ).  The business was known as Bernard Rice & Son.

1891 New York Herald Jan. 28 1891

The above notice from the January 28, 1891 New York Herald also mentions that Ignatius went into business with William Rice Hochster manufacturing tortoise shell, celluloid, rubber and horn novelties. Their firm was call Rice & Hochster.

Bernard Rice died in 1896.  Bernard Rice & Son was succeeded by Bernard Rice’s Sons in 1897 with brothers Jacques and Louis ( 1872 -1933 ) at the helm. The 1901 Trow’s Directory lists Apollo Silver Co. (registered trade name) as belonging to Jacques B. and Louis W. Rice.  The April 10, 1906 Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office shows the trademark as a “fleur-de-lis inclosed (sic) in concentric circles, with the words “Apollo Silver Co.” between the circles granted to Bernard Rice’s Sons.

I have seen speculation that Apollo Silver Co. existed prior to Bernard Rice’s Sons involvement but I could find no evidence of that.

Jacques and Louis also originated “Riceszinn” a pure non-tarnishable metal of secret composition! The following is from a 1902 publication, Geyer’s Stationer:

1902 Geyer's Stationer pg17 June 12 1902

And this is an ad from a 1902 Jewelers’ Circular:

1902 Sept. 1902 Jewelers Circular

Some beautiful items were made combining Riceszinn and iridescent art glass.  I don’t think many are aware of the connection between Bernard Rice’s Sons and Riceszinn.

Following is a chronological listing of information from directories and publications from 1889 through 1909:

Rice notes 2

Bernard Rice’s Sons continued in business into the mid 20th century.  Quite a successful run for a company with roots that began almost one hundred years earlier.

I intend to write a separate blog post on Bernard Rice’s Sons cocktail shakers.


Posted in Apollo Silver, Bernard Rice, Bernard Rice & Son, Bernard Rice's Sons, Jacques Rice, Louis Rice, Rice & Brother, Rice & Oberndorf, Riceszinn, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Herman Strater’s Hawthorne Strainer

Original Hawthorne strainers showing D. P. Sullivan’s name, the Oct. 11, 1892 patent date and the manufacturer, Manning Bowman & Co. are not easy to find these days.  Finding one with an additional name, Herman Strater & Co., Boston, is pretty much a miracle.


Dennis P. Sullivan operated the Hawthorne Gentlemen’s Cafe and Restaurant on Avery Street in Boston in the late 1800s. William Wright, of Boston, patented a “strainer for mixed drinks” in 1892 and assigned it to Dennis P. Sullivan, also of Boston. It was manufactured by Manning, Bowman & Co. of Meriden, CT.


The ad shown above is from the 1896 Harvard Advocate. Note it says “No Student’s Sideboard complete without the Hawthorne Strainer…” Pretty good, those Harvard students had sideboards with cocktail apparatus back then.


Herman Strater & Sons, located on Sudbury St. in Boston, produced high grade workboards, electric pumps, bar faucets and fittings, as well as copper funnels and other bar sundries for clubs, hotels and saloons. They started in business in 1834 and continued into the 20th century.


How Herman Strater got his name stamped on the front of the handle of this Hawthorne strainer, with D. P. Sullivan’s name on the back of the handle, I don’t know. They were in related businesses in the same city during the same period of time. Most likely they knew each other, I would think.  Avery Street is less than a mile away from Sudbury Street.


Sudbury St. is at the top left side of the above map in Section 11.  Avery St. is in Section 16 in the lower left corner.


Some snippets from Boston directories and other info are shown above.

1895 539965

Herman Strater is probably best known for his copper funnels.  He patented the funnel design shown above in 1895.


The Strater ad shown above is from a 1916 Current Architecture publication.


The “Practical Christmas Gifts” ad shown above was published in 1915 in Vanity Fair. I know I would be delighted to receive any of these items for Christmas. I especially like the “Something Novel” grouping shown in the lower left corner. Note the cocktail strainer at the bottom…I have a feeling that this might be a Hawthorne strainer with Strater’s name on it similar to what I have. Remember, this is 1915 and the strainer was patented in 1892. Maybe Dennis Sullivan had a few boxes of surplus strainers that he sold to Strater.  And note the book…Strater’s famous Recipe Book for Cocktails. I haven’t been able to find a copy anywhere.  This ad was in a high class, popular magazine, Vanity Fair. He must have made some sales as a result. Why can’t I find this book? How come there are no Strater strainers out there except for the one I’ve come across.  Maybe your great grandfather got this set for Christmas a little over one hundred years ago and it’s still in its Strater box in your attic, basement or barn. Go look! It was offered for sale at $6 back then, delivered. I’d be willing to pay a little more than that.

This Strater Hawthorne strainer is available for sale at my Etsy shop.



Posted in Boston MA, cocktail strainer, Hawthorne strainer, Herman Strater, Manning Bowman, Massachusetts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Michael Seips 1885 Patent Cocktail Shaker

In the second half of the 19th century there were industrious individuals trying to come up with a better way of mixing, shaking and straining cocktails. I applaud them for their creativity and contribution to society! A while ago I wrote about a combined liquor mixer and strainer manufactured by Thomas Miller of Jersey City, New Jersey.  Mr. Miller obtained his patent on September 26, 1882 for a mixing tin that had a movable strainer attached to it.  Two years later, in 1884, E. J. Hauck obtained a patent for the first three piece cocktail shaker.  And one year after that, Michael Seips patented his idea for a two piece, sliding top, cocktail shaker.


Mr. Seips’ contention was that the top or cap on the three piece shaker was apt to get misplaced or bent out of shape. His invention eliminated the separate cap and built in a sliding mechanism on the top piece of the shaker that could be moved up to expose the straining holes for pouring.

1885 324173 Seips Manning Bowman

Seips’ patent was assigned to Manning, Bowman & Co.





The following photo shows the top in the “up” position, exposing the strainer holes.


For some reason, the Seips’ patent doesn’t get much play in the published history of the cocktail shaker. Manning Bowman did actually manufacture this design.  An example of the Manning Bowman strainer can be found here at the Museum of New York: . And, interestingly, so did Tiffany & Co.  In Tiffany’s 1893 edition of their Blue Book they describe it as a mixer with  a “patent strainer top” and in their 1907 Blue Book they refer to it as “Patent Mixer with Strainer and Cover”.  Instead of a beaded detail, the Tiffany shaker had a roped design.  Perhaps the seven year patent expired, and Tiffany thought enough of the design to manufacture it themselves.  Or perhaps they had an arrangement with Manning Bowman.  I don’t know.

1893 Blue Book pg114 & 1907 pg163

Gorham also made a shaker with this sliding straining mechanism. They made it in sterling silver, item A3527. Exactly when they manufactured it, I don’t know.

The Seips name, apparently, was spelled both “Seips” and “Seip”.  His patents (there were several) all show “Seips”. However, his grave stone at Walnut Grove Cemetery in Meriden, CT shows “Seip”.  His grave stone shows that he was born January 11, 1835 and died February 2, 1903.  His family came from Easton, PA.  Michael married Eliza Jane Huston on March 3, 1856 at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Philadelphia. They had a daughter, Ida Virginia.

By 1870 Michael Seip(s) and family were living in Middlesex County in Connecticut. Manning Bowman & Co. was located in Middletown, which is in Middlesex County.

In 1880 the Seips family were in West Meriden. Michael Seips and E. H. Manning together applied for a patent (handle) in September 1880.

Then, in 1885, Michael Seips (alone) applied for the patent of the shaker the subject matter of our research.

An 1886 Meriden Directory shows Michael Seips as Foreman at Manning Bowman & Co. (home at 178 Cook St.)  The 1887 Directory shows him as Superintendent at Manning Bowman. It appears that he applied for his last patent in 1902.

The shaker I have listed at my Etsy shop does not have a maker’s mark.  It has the beaded band top (two rows), beading at the bottom of the top section and beading at the very bottom.

My listing can be found here:

UPDATE: This shaker has been sold.


Posted in Antique cocktail shaker, cocktail shaker, Manning Bowman, Michael Seip, Michael Seips, Tiffany Cocktail Shaker, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

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 , , , , , , , , , | 3 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