A Harvey Filley & Sons Julep Strainer

Ever on the lookout for antique bar tools for my Etsy shop, I came across a julep strainer with a backstamp with which I was unfamiliar.  The stamp read “H. Filley & Sons 2”.  I’m always intrigued by rare hallmarks…it gives me a chance to research.  And how I love to research (and learn).  So the hunt was on for H. Filley & Sons.

Following is a photo of the mark on the strainer.  What was also unusual was the star shape cut-out on the handle.  A star cut-out is relatively common on julep strainers, but this one had rounded points and the inside of the cut-out had almost a scallop shape, like little jags, to it.  I had never seen anything quite like it. 

H. Filley & Sons backstamp

H. Filley & Sons backstamp

As it turns out, I had come across H. Filley a while back when I was researching John O. Mead.  In my post “Ames, Mead & Smee – The Beginnings of Silverplate in Hartford”, I had included a section from the 1859 edition of  “Philadelphia and Its Manufactuers” by Edwin T. Freedley.  Later in this post I have included the same parapgraph from Freedley’s 1867 edition of the same book. 

As in most of my posts, I like to keep track of some of the information that I find for future reference.  In this post, I have simply listed items of interest in chronological order.

1839 1844 1851

1839 1844 1851

So from the above, we learn that Harvey was first working with tin, and then became associated with John O. Mead manufacturing nickel silver ware.  And the following article shows that he was part owner of a silver mine, the Pequea mine, near Lancaster, PA.  And in 1855 the estimated value of the mine was over one million dollars!  Harvey must have been quite a guy….

1855 The New York Teacher Vol. 4

1855 The New York Teacher Vol. 4

The following shows that Harvey opened a silverplate establishment next to the tin shop at 436 Market Street.  Also note that in 1858 he has a new address, 1222 Market Street.

1856 1858

1856 1858

And here’s the Freedley references:

1858 1863

1858 1863

So from the above, we see in 1863 it’s Harvey Filley listed alone and below in 1867 the business now becomes Harvey Filley & Sons.  I’ve also seen another government document that records the business as Harvey Filley & Sons in 1865.

1867 Philadelphia and Its Manufacturers

1867 Philadelphia and Its Manufacturers

The above ad includes quite a listing of nickel silver and silver plated items manufactured by Harvey Filley & Sons.  I’m almost surprised not to see barware included in this listing.  Following is a photo of the H. Filley and Sons julep strainer.  It could well be nickel silver and not silver plated.  The star cut-out is not mass produced.  It has the feel of being earlier than most.

H. Filley & Sons Julep Strainer

H. Filley & Sons Julep Strainer

Harvey Filley & Sons is still at 1222 Market Street in the 1870s.

1870s Billhead

1870s Billhead

Harvey Filley died in 1877 and the following shows that his sons continued in the silverplate business for a while.

1876 1878 1880

1876 1878 1880

On Christmas Day, 1881, Harvey Filley & Sons had a fire:

1881 1884 1889

1881 1884 1889

The sons have moved to 13th Street and later to 11th Street and it seems that after 1890 their interests were more in aluminum plating.  You will see they had a business called Harvey Filley Plating Works and then Harvey Filley Aluminum Plating Co.

1890 1899 1900

1890 1899 1900

Apparently, they were known for perfecting the aluminum plating process which is mentioned in more than one article. Below is a poor copy of one, from the 1890 “The Manufacturer and Builder” Vol. 22 pg102

1890 The Manufacturer and Builder Vol. 22 pg102

The julep strainer sits very nicely atop a glass.  This strainer can be found here at my Etsy shop:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/249294811/h-filley-sons-silver-plated-star-julep

H. Filley & Sons

H. Filley & Sons

Harvey Filley was well known, perhaps best known, for his beautiful tin work.  If I remember correctly, his colors had an Amish flavor, as does the star in this julep strainer.

An excellent resource book regarding the Filley Family is “The Filleys: 350 Years of American Entrepreneurial Spirit” by Donald Southerton.

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This entry was posted in antique barware, H. Filley & Sons, Harvey Filley, julep strainer, PA, star julep strainer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Harvey Filley & Sons Julep Strainer

  1. KerryCan says:

    What a beautiful item! That variation on the star shape really sets it apart. I envy you your ability to track down the history of the things you sell. My linens almost never have any kind of tag or identifying marks so their stories are lost.

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