Copy of `Langford & Co London - Silverware terms`

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Langford & Co London - Silverware terms
Category: Agriculture and Industry > Silverware
Date & country: 15/12/2007, UK
Words: 62

Applied decoration
A term for any decoration such as swags or garlands, stampings or castings made independently from the main body of the piece and then attached to it.

Argyll (Argyle)
A sauce or gravy pot designed to keep the contents warm by means of a hot-water jacket or central cavity. The design is attributed to one of the Dukes of Argyll, possibly the Third.

The compulsory process of testing the purity of metals. Take from the French word essayer - to test or try. All silversmiths are required to register their marks and details with an Assay Office and submit all work for examination. If the pure silver content is as represented the work is officially stamped or hallmarked. If not, the item is confisc…

Blacksmith's repairs
Rudimentary repairs often carried out by the village blacksmith or by a craft worker other than a skilled silversmith.

Bleeding bowl
In England this is a simple shallow dish with a single pierced handle used for letting blood, while in America this type of dish is known as a porringer and was used as a feeding bowl. The English version of a porringer always has two handles.

Bright-cut engraving
A facet-cut engraving, particularly popular in the late 18th century, giving the effect of an inset diamond.

Britannia metal
Silver-like alloy of tin with some antimony and copper.

Britannia Standard
A silver standard of 958 parts per thousand.

Caddy spoon
For spooning tea from the caddy to the teapot and usually about two inches long.

A decorative shield applied to an article to allow a coat of arms or inscription to be engraved.

A means of production by pouring silver (or other metals) into a mould. Casting is often applied as a decoration, generally producing a heavy quality finish.

Chafing dish
A silver or silver-plated serving bowl with handles and cover. The handles are usually detachable. Many chafing dishes have hot water jackets (i.e. are double skinned) and were used to serve either hors d'oeuvres or vegetables.

The highly skilled art of hammering metal in order to produce either a relief or an indented pattern without incurring any metal loss.

A clip used by the mistress of the house or housekeeper from which hung chains for attaching keys, scissors, needles and other household notions. The châtelaine was hooked onto the wearer's belt and was an object of common use from the Middle Ages until well into the 20th century.

Used during the 18th century for everyday objects such as spurs, knife blades and buckles. A thin foil of silver was soldered onto polished steel that had been dipped in tin. More cost-effective methods rendered this process obsolete during the 19th century.

Dish cross
An adjustable cross, used to hold a serving platter, often with a central burner to keep the dish hot.

Dish ring
A stand with chased or pierced sides to support and elevate dishes. Dish rings were never very common objects.

Egg boiler-coddler
Used to cook eggs at the table, this was a popular piece during the Victorian era and available primarily in silver plate. The eggs were placed inside the container with a detachable frame, boiling water poured in, the cover replaced and the burner set alight. The eggs were ready approximately seven minutes later.

Egg cruet
A frame holding eggcups and spoons - usually four or six of each.

Metal is electro-deposited either into a mould and removed when sufficient thickness has been achieved to produce a solid, freestanding object, or onto a non-metal article to produced a filled model. This production method allowed intricate items to be reproduced for a fraction of the cost of their handmade equivalents. Almost any object can be pla…

A method of coating a metal object with silver by passing an electric current from a block of pure silver to the article to be plated through a solution of cyanide and silver salts.

Well-known decorative technique achieved by cutting into metal. Engraving is extremely versatile, lending itself to simple inscriptions or to grandiose decorations.

Electro-plated Britannia Metal, Britannia metal being the base metal plated.

An ornamental structure designed to house a central bowl, with branches holding small subsidiary dishes. Candleholders and brackets for containing casters are often additional features. Usually used as a table centrepiece.

Electro-plated Nickel Silver, with a nickel based alloy being the base metal to be plated.

Articles, notably candlesticks and knife handles, that have a central cavity filled with plaster or other substances to give stability.

An adornment found, for instance, on top of a teapot lid or on the tail of a spoon.

The generic term for silver spoons and forks, although Americans will be more familiar with the terms 'silverware' or 'flat silver'.

Gilding or Gold Plating
The electro-plating process is used to apply a thin layer of gold to a metal surface.

A system of marks impressed on silver or gold items by an Assay Office with the purpose of establishing its purity. In Britain, the hallmark consists of the assay mark (e.g. the lion passant for sterling silver) and other symbols denoting the place of assay, date, and maker. With its comprehensive records, the system helps the public to identify it…

The technique of hammering hot metal over an anvil.

Generic terms for items of household silver other than flatware.

Import mark
A special hallmark stamped onto a foreign silver article at the time of importation into Britain.

Knife rest
Traditionally used for carving knives when not in use.

A clear coating applied to silver to prevent tarnishing.

Let-in Shield (Silver Shield)
Since it was not practical to engrave Old Sheffield Plate because the copper underneath would be exposed, a section of solid silver or 'shield' was set into the surface for engraving.

Marrow scoop
An elongated, rectangular spoon for extracting the marrow from bones.

A black alloy in granules used to fill engraved decoration in order to contrast with and enhance the silver. The alloy is placed in the cuts of the design and melted until the granules fuse. Any excess is polished away. This process is particularly prevalent in Russian silver.

Old Sheffield Plate
More correctly known as 'fused plate', this is an early type of silver-plating, where a sheet of silver is fused to a sheet of copper, and then used for manufacturing. This process was the accidental invention of a Sheffield cutler in 1743 and enjoyed a production period of approximately 100 years before being superseded by electro-plate. The manuf…

A lipped, boat-shaped child's feeding bowl first in evidence around 1710 and the 100 years following.

The beautiful, deep blue/silver sheen that silver acquires with the passage of time caused by numerous tiny, almost imperceptible, surface scratches. This effect is lost with machine polishing.

A term used pre-1743 to describe all articles of solid silver and gold. Derived from the Spanish word plata for silver, the term correctly describes all early solid silver but is often mistakenly used to refer to Old Sheffield or electroplate.

See Bleeding Bowl

Quadruple plate
An American trade term to indicate that an object has been dipped in the plating vat four times during the electroplating process.

Registration mark
A diamond shaped mark, first introduced during The Great Exhibition in 1851, to denote the date that a design of particular interest was first registered. This system continued into the 1870's when a numbering system replaced the diamond mark. These symbols were not restricted to silver, but can also be found on wood, glass, china and other metals.…

Embossed decorations hammered from behind as opposed to chasing hammered from the front.

Silver gilt
A thin covering of gold over solid silver. Cf Vermeil

A method of producing circular shapes such as bowls, plates and cups from sheet silver. The ancient Egyptians were the first to employ this process.

Spoon warmer
A Victorian invention used at a time when kitchens were often a long way from the dining room. A variety of articles that could contribute to keeping food warm were essential. Spoon warmers were often made in the form of a nautilus shell, although other designs do exist. They were filled with boiling water and left on the table, and all serving spo…

Forming silver items such as plates and cutlery, using presses and dies.

Sterling silver
The standard alloy of 925 parts of pure silver to 75 parts copper that gives it durability and workability. Cf Britannia Standard.

Stirrup cup
A drinking cup handed to a mounted huntsman, often cast in the form of his quarry.

A lockable frame containing decanters usually made in wood or silver-plate. It was designed to prevent the servants and children of the household from tippling while the master was away. Its name was derived from the eponymous Greek mythological figure that was subjected to a particularly ingenious form of punishment in Hades that denied him the po…

Taper stick
A small candlestick used to hold a narrow candle for melting sealing wax.

Tea caddy
When first imported in the late 1600s tea was very expensive. This was compounded in the 18th century with heavy taxation so lockable tea caddies were always in demand. Occasionally the lid was designed for use as a tea scoop or measure.

A cost-cutting method used in the Old Sheffield process where tin is used instead of silver for unseen areas, eg the interior of a teapot or the underside of a tray.

Triple plate
As the name implies, triple plate is one thickness less than quadruple plate.

The French term for silver gilt.

Wall sconce
A wall mounted candleholder.

Wax jack
Becoming popular in the 18th century, they were kept on the desk and used to melt the sealing wax onto letters and also as an additional form of light. The wax jack frame was fitted with a spiral candle roll made of soft wax that could be extended by twisting the jack handle.

Whalebone handle
Twisted whalebone was introduced for punch ladles from 1740 onwards and used instead of silver and wood.

Wick trimmer
Scissor-action candlesnuffers often incorporated the wick trimmer too. The scissor action extinguished the wick and the sprung blade trimmed it.