German “Japanese”

Hiram Hayden, of Holmes, Booth & Haydens, designed some gorgeous flatware patterns….”Corinth” and “India” are two that I have in my personal collection.  But the 1879″Japanese” has been another that I’ve long admired.

Hiram Hayden's 1879 "Japanese" Patent No. 011314

Hiram Hayden’s 1879 “Japanese” Patent No. 011314

The patent design drawing above shows bamboo and a butterfly on the front and a corner cartouche with a bird on a branch on the reverse. 

I have been keeping my eyes open for just the right piece to purchase of this “Japanese” design.  And I found a very unusual one recently.  It wasn’t stamped with the “Holmes, Booth & Haydens” mark, it was marked “Argonid” with an arrow symbol.

Front of "Japanese" Handle with Argonid Backstamp

Front of “Japanese” Handle with Argonid Backstamp

Back of "Japanese" Handle with Argonid Backstamp

Back of “Japanese” Handle with Argonid Backstamp

Argonid, what was Argonid?  It was completely unfamiliar to me.  After some research, I found the following on the internet:  “The arrow was one of the logos of the German metalware and silverplate factory Gebruder Noelle (Noelle Brothers) of Luedenscheid.  The company was founded in 1814, and the arrow was trademarked in 1889.  Argonid was one of the many fanciful names they gave their various base metal alloys, and the name was trademarked in 1893.  The company was still in business up into the 1930s.”

After a little more research, I found the following ad in the 1896 “Guide through Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium”:

1896 Februder Noelle Advertisement

1896 Gebruder Noelle Advertisement

Did this German manufacturer actually produce flatware in this design there, in Germany?  Or did Holmes, Booth and Haydens produce it here in Connecticut for export with the Argonid backstamp?  Research has indicated that several of the U.S. silverplate manufacturers were exporting their goods worldwide back in the late 1800s.  Why not Holmes, Booth & Haydens. 

But the Gebrueder Noelle arrow trademark was trademarked in 1889 and “Argonid” was trademarked in 1893.  At that point, Holmes, Booth & Haydens was no longer in business.  Rogers & Hamilton succeeded them in 1886, and they, too, manufactured this pattern as did Meriden Silver Co.  Meriden Silver Co. did have an office in London and perhaps they had a relationship with Gebrueder Noelle.   I believe this flatware in the “Japanese” design with the “Argonid” backstamp most likely was made right here in Connecticut, but by whom I am not certain. 

Holmes, Booth & Haydens Ad Featuring "Japanese" and "India" Designs

Holmes, Booth & Haydens Ad Featuring “Japanese” and “India” Patterns

But I do have a lingering doubt.  I’ve seen photos of what appear to be hollow handle knives in this Argonid “Japanese” design.  But I’m not aware of Holmes, Booth & Haydens, Rogers & Hamilton or Meriden Silver Co. manufacturing hollow handle knives in this pattern.  I do know that Holmes, Booth & Haydens did make flat handled knives, as I have one in the “Roman” pattern for sale at my Etsy shop:

Maybe “Japanese” was made in Germany?  Does anyone out there have any info?

To read more about Holmes, Booth & Haydens, see a related post here:

This entry was posted in aesthetic, Argonid, Gebruder Noelle Germany, Gebrueder Noelle, Hiram Hayden, Holmes Booth & Haydens, Japanese Pattern and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to German “Japanese”

  1. KerryCan says:

    What a gorgeous design that is! I’ve never seen anything like it–I hope you get the info you’re looking for!

  2. SilverSeason says:

    Thank you for your very interesting post. I had never seen that Holmes Booth & Haydens ad!

    For years I collected American silverplate and had several pieces in the Japanese pattern. To the best of my recollection they were all marked Holmes Booth & Haydens. I have seen an occasional arrow mark on old silverplate but never the word Argonid. I believe that American companies would buy blanks from other companies and then add the plating. They also bought knife inserts from abroad. If it is an American design patent, would that only protect the design in this country?

    Hollow handle knives are very scarce in all flatware from this period. I did find and own two pieces of Japanese with hollow handles. It was a fish set and both the serving fork and the slice had hollow handles. They were substantial, well made pieces.

    I have gradually sold or given away my collection during my retirement years. I once had a website but consolidated much of my research information at my blog You may have seen some of it there. I also have a lot of pictures at a Flickr site:

    • queenofsienna says:

      Thank you for your informative comment; it’s very much appreciated!

      Yes, I believe a US patent would only apply to US interests. So it is entirely possible that this pattern was made by the German manufacturer.

  3. Mohamed says:

    I have same and I would like to know about the price

    • queenofsienna says:

      I haven’t tried to sell mine so I don’t have first hand knowledge. It is made of an alloy so the metal value is not much.

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