Durham Silver Plate Co.’s Rendition of Joseph Fradley’s “Lily”

I was recently researching a silver plated spoon I had…I wasn’t familiar with the pattern and I wasn’t familiar with the name on  the backstamp “Durham Silver P. Co.”

Unknown Pattern on Spoon Marked "Durham Silver P. Co."

Unknown Pattern on Spoon Marked “Durham Silver P. Co.”



The pattern on my spoon is a lovely aesthetic design which you can see above in the first photo above….however, I have not been able to identify it.   I did find a knife marked “Durham Silver Plate Co.” so I know that is the full name associated with my “Durham Silver P. Co.” mark.  I have found one other pattern manufactured with this backstamp…and that is a variation of the “Lily” pattern…a variation with a bird.

1871 Jospeh Fradley Patent #5298

1871 Jospeh Fradley Patent #5298

The “Lily” pattern of which I speak is the 1871 pattern designed by Joseph Fradley, shown above and described below:

Design for a Spoon Handle Specification

Design for a Spoon Handle Specification

Mr. Fradley does not include a bird in his design and I could not find a related patent that included a bird.

There are over a dozen different manufactures who made Fradley’s 1871 “Lily” pattern over the years, and some of those renderings varied slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer.  Following is a comparison of just a few:

Comparison of a Few Lily Patterns

Comparison of a Few Lily Patterns

But Durham Silver Plate Co. is the only manufacturer that I could find that included a bird within their design.  It is my understanding that they made this pattern without the bird as well.

At one point my research into silver on steel (which I have seen made with the Durham mark) made me think that perhaps this was produced by Wallace, for he was well-known for his careful work with a steel based product.  However, the only other reference to “Durham” that I have found with regard to flatware manufacturing is that from an Holmes & Edwards ad as well as a list of metal content in “Iron Age” that both refer to “Durham Silver Metal”. 

So…the question still remains…who is Durham Silver Plate Co. and what is the pattern of my spoon.   Anyone have any suggestions?

My Durham Silver Plate Co. spoon is currently for sale at my Etsy shop here:


I also have six dinner forks available in this pattern by Durham Silver Plate here:


And four teaspoons available here:


Durham Silver Plate Teaspoons

Durham Silver Plate Teaspoons

This entry was posted in aesthetic, antique, Durham Silver P. Co., Durham Silver Plate Co., Etsy, holmes & edwards, Joseph Fradley, Lily of the Valley, Lily silverplate pattern, queenofsienna, silver plate, silver plated, silverplate and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Durham Silver Plate Co.’s Rendition of Joseph Fradley’s “Lily”

  1. Geneva Garner says:

    Joseph Fradley is my great-great grandfather, so I was thrilled to see your blog with pictures of his patent. His granddaughter, my beloved grandmother for whom I am named, had for many years on her dressing table an elaborate repousse sterling silver vanity set in the Lily of the Valley pattern. Sadly, in the late 1970’s someone broke into her house in northern NJ and stole the set. Our hearts were broken. I now collect my ancestor’s silver, but have never found any vanity items in this pattern. I would love to know how to find more of his patents of you would be willing to share that. Thank you so much for this interesting information! Geneva

    • queenofsienna says:

      Geneva, I’m so glad you found my blog. I never really did much research on Joseph Fradley, other than related to his “Lily” design patent. I did know that he had obtained patents in 1875 ( Patent Nos. 8369 and 8369 ) and 1895 ( Patent Nos. 24332 and 24379 ). You can go to Google Patents (just search Google Patents) and then search Joseph F. Fradley.

      I did a quick search just now and see that he started his own company in 1866 and manufactured sterling silver items. It doesn’t appear that he assigned his patent for Lily to anyone ( that is why so many other companies produced this lovely pattern ). But perhaps he produced this pattern himself in sterling. His company mark was a cross I believe. Look at http://www.925-1000.com/ax_fradley.html and http://www.smpub.com/forum21/html/001059.htm

      I see that he also manufactured cane heads. Go to Google Books and search both Joseph F. Fradley as well as J. F. Fradley and you’ll find info. You’ll see The Jewelers Circular there with his obituary including a photo.

      Hope this helps!

      There was a very nice


    • queenofsienna says:

      Oh, and Replacements.com will search for J. F. Fradley & Co. items for you (free of charge) if you ask.

      And when you search on the internet search “J F Fradley” silver. ..put the quotation marks arond J F Fradley and then put the word silver after it. You’ll see that an auction house by the name of Nye had an entire vanity set…the photo is there. Don’t hesitate to ask me me questions and best of luck with your search!

  2. Geneva says:

    Thank you for generously sharing your knowledge. Years ago I was outbid on eBay for a catalogue of the company’s work. Hope to come across that again someday! Are you aware that there was a practice in New England towns of bestowing a cane to the eldest citizen in town? These canes were manufactured by JF Fradley. If you ever have queries about Fradley that I might help you with, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

    On a different topic, I was also pleased to see info on Joseph Heinrichs. I have from my mother a small sugar and creamer with the company’s stamp. I very much enjoy your posts. Thank you for all the time and effort you must put into this.

  3. wally says:

    I found one of these spoons today metal detecting but its gold in color. I think it may have been in a fire at some time do to the ash I kept finding threw out the day.I was trying to date it an was wondering why gold in color. If you may have any info or point me in the right direction would be a huge help. I was passing over lots of targets in area but its a 2+ hour drive.

    • queenofsienna says:

      Without knowing the manufacturer, it’s probably from the 1880s. The gold color is the base material, either brass or nickel.

  4. Sylvia says:

    Greetings! Interesting post on this company and the “Lily” pattern. I found a master butter recently at an estate sale in Chicago. (Mine is the 1865 Wm Rogers.) It hadn’t been used for a while and was very black. After cleaning it I saw the lovely pattern. There are some problems with the plate and most likely will end up in my “interesting but unsaleable” box. Sad story about the sterling vanity set.

  5. Brenda R Gregory says:

    I have a cocktail fork of the lily design by George Eakins. Do you know much about George Eakins.

    • queenofsienna says:

      All I know is that George Eakins was a manufacturer and jobber of silverplated ware and novelties located in Philadelphia, PA. He started in business in 1855. I see there are some of his 1879 catalogues available on line

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