Expand your Knowledge of Gorham Silver Antiques
Jabez Gorham founded Gorham Silver in 1843 in Providence, Rhode Island. The company originally made coin-silver flatware, but it expanded to make sterling silver items in 1868. The company patented the process to make Martelé silver.
How did Gorham date pieces?
Almost all Gorham pieces have a hallmark on the back or bottom providing you this information. Here are some of the hallmarks used throughout Gorham’s history:
- 1848 to 1868: Wares from this time bore the mark of a lion, anchor, and the letter G to symbolize the maker. While the lion faced right in the first five years of the companys history, it faced left starting in 1853.
- 1868 to 1884: The company began to implement the specific year that the piece was manufactured by notating it with a capital letter from A up to Q. For example, A was 1868 while B was 1869 and C was 1870.
- 1885 to 1933: During this period, the company began using symbols to denote the years. Some of the icons included a wolf’s head, sword, fish, and other symbols.
- 1933 to 1941: The year is not denoted on items produced during this time.
- 1941 to 1980s: Starting in 1941, the company used geometric shapes to display the decade, and put the year inside of the shape. Plates made in the 1940s, for example, featured a square with the year engraved inside it. Originally, the decade was denoted by the number of points on the geometric shape.
What are some Gorham patterns?
Gorham produced many different patterns, including the following:
- Strasbourg: It has reverse scrolls beginning with the tines and bowls before ending with a shell motif at the point.
- Chrysanthemum: This pattern features the leaves and buds of the chrysanthemum with the flower shown in full-bloom on the shoulder of some serving pieces.
- Buttercup: A slender central panel is surrounded by an interwoven motif of buttercup flowers and leaves on this pattern.
- King Edward: Scrollwork is seen on both sides of a slender central panel, and this pattern ends with a plumed tip.
- Chantilly: Long slender lines and elongated curves on the tip characterize this design.
How are silver-plated and sterling-silver antiques different?
Silver-plated wares have a layer of silver plated over a base metal, usually brass or copper. These items won’t have a special marking. Sterling silver consists of 925 parts of pure silver and 75 parts of an alloy to help strengthen the metal. These sets will often be marked with a notation showing 0.925.
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