A dear lady and friend of mine presented me recently with a dozen forks in a lovely design that I had not seen before. They were backstamped with a mark I had never seen before: “Ives Mfg. Co.”
The pattern was floral and it looked to me like a trillium or a variation thereof.
The background to the floral design was stippled and fleur de lis appeared within the design toward the top and lower down the handle. At the base of the handle was a three leaf pattern.
My friend knew that I enjoyed researching the less well known silver manufacturers and their patterns from the 19th century. She believed these forks fit the bill and she almost delighted in providing me with yet another silver manufacturer to track down and identify. I have to admit, I loved the challenge.
And so, my search began. An Ives Manufacturing Co. did exist in Connecticut in the 1800s, but that company manufactured toys and toy parts; they were and are especially well known for their model trains. Perhaps they diversified a bit and manufactured flatware as well? No. That train of thought (ha) brought me to a dead end.
Ives was a relatively common family name in Connecticut in the 19th century. A few of these Ives related individuals were involved in the silver industry. Almer Ives Hall being one of them.
Although I have found no specific information with regard to the silver manufacturer named Ives Manufacturing Co., I do have a theory. Upon leaving Hall, Elton & Co. (see my prior post on Hall, Elton & Co.), Almer Ives Hall formed a company along with several other individuals one of whom was E. H. Ives. See the last paragraph from the 1892 History of New Haven County below:
I suspect they were looking for a name for the new company and the Ives had it! This company was formed in the late 1850s and only lasted for a few years. Almer Ives Hall then went on to become one of the principal founding members of Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co. If I am correct, that would date these forks to pre Civil War. They have the look and feel of that period of time.
The pattern name of these forks (if there was a pattern name) is still unknown. I have seen “Olive” pattern flatware with the Ives Mfg. Co. mark. I have also seen the “Medallion” pattern with the Ives mark. Actually, I have seen two variations of the “Medallion” pattern with the Ives mark. See below.
Interestingly, Hall, Elton & Co. also manufactured the “Medallion” pattern as did Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co. Perhaps Almer Ives Hall was extremely fond of this classic design and brought it with him from Hall, Elton & Co. to Ives Manufacturing Co. and then on to Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co.
If I find more info on Ives Mfg. Co., I will update this post!