There was a fascination with the devil in the second half of the 19th century. I’ve already written a post called “The Devil You Say” regarding that obsession. Devil images appeared in silverplated flatware and hollowware made by major manufacturers such as Reed & Barton and Meriden Britannia, especially in the 1880s. There was one devil image, however, I haven’t discussed. It’s the one shown in the following patent.
This 1887 patent, designed by Robert Klingel and Walter Wilks, was assigned to Holmes & Edwards. I have seen flatware made in the floral pattern shown in the patent; the name of the design is “Hiawatha”. But I have never seen a piece of flatware with the devil face shown within the patent application.
What were Mssrs. Klingel and Wilks thinking when they included that devil face along with the floral design in their patent? Did they intend for the devil face to be used on a certain piece of flatware, for example a nutpick? We’ll never know. All their patent specification dwells on is the contour of the handle, the swells curves and beads. Not one word is said about the devil!
If any of you dear readers have ever seen this devil face version of Holmes & Edwards “Hiawatha”, I’d love to hear from you!