Thursday, April 22, 2010

Little Cup from the Van Bergh Silver Plate Company and Some Company History

This past weekend on Super Silver Saturday I also picked up this little cup for a pittance. It does not look like much right now because of the tarnish, but the plate is underneath. I gave it a quick once over and that made a small dent in the black and nasty but it will take a bit more to get it clean. Sometimes tarnish comes off like a breeze and sometimes it takes seven or eight polishing sessions to recover a piece. 

This piece on the outside wall has a very fine texture, a floral motif and a scrolled handle. It is marked Van Bergh Silver Plate Co. Rochester New York, Quadruple Plate and "738". The rim could be in better condition, but I still like it. 

The Van Bergh Silver Plate Company was founded in 1892 by Fredrick W. and Maurice H. Van Bergh. They were brothers. In 1925 they incorporated as the Van Bergh Silver Plate Company Inc. In 1926 they were absorbed by Oneida Community Limited and moved from Rochester to Oneida New York. (Rainwater, 2006) According to Rainwater they also used a mark reading "Britannia Metal Co." (with or without a star), V B Co N S (letters in boxes,  NS I am guessing means nickel silver) as well as with marks bearing their name.

Van Bergh gets a brief mention and a picture of their works in the trade magazine The Metal Industry Vol. 20 1920.

Electroplating Room of the Van Bergh Silver Plate Company Rochester NY

The Van Bergh Silver Plate Company's plant in Main street west is the only concern of its kind in Rochester. Frederick W. Van Bergh is president of the company. George Hesselink, president of the Rochester Branch, is in charge of the plating department.

Van Bergh seems to have been expanding in May of 1920 as Merchandising Week reports that they had filed for a patent on light fixtures.

The Metal Record and Electroplater in 1902 Vol 3 Issue 11 mentions a connection with the Ordnance Department, but not what it was.

"M. H. Van Bergh, vice-president of the Van Bergh Silver Plate Co., Rochester, N. Y., recently offered his services gratis to General Crozier of the Ordnance Department. On Wednesday, Nov. 7, he received a wire to come to Washington. Mr. Van Bergh arranged his business and left Thursday for the capital."

Their plant Experienced a fire at some point and relocated according to Platers Guide Vol 1 1905 it seems that they remained a small firm during this time:

"The Van Bergh Silver Plate Company, of Rochester, N. Y., whose plant was recently destroyed by fire, will rebuild, and have purchased the site of the Roby Building on Main street, West. The new building will cover the whole site from Main and Hill streets to the canal. Part of the building will be rented, as it will be too large for their own use."

In 1898 The Van Bergh Silver Plate company was also a member of the Humane Society.

Van Bergh gets a small paragraph about the opening of the Silversmiths Building in Chicago in The Jewlers Circular May 24 1897. The whole article about the building is well worth a read.

The Van Bergh Silver Plate Co., J. C. Carroll, manager, occupy quarters on the 4th floor of the Silversmiths' building, and Chas. A. Allen, silver plater, will be ready this week to use his improved appliances on the 5th floor. The fixtures for his factory are all new, and were being placed in position last week, C. A. Allen having cut short his Florida visit to return here and superintend the new work."



  1. Hi, I have a question about van bergh. What does the number mean after the logo? Thanks.

  2. The number is the piece number and probably corresponds with the number in their catalog. Unfortunately I don't have a copy of any of their catalogs and I don't think that anyone reprints them. Many silver companies did this so that further pieces could be ordered.

  3. Hi, I just bought a beautiful silver tea set from Van Bergh. I got it at an unreal price but there are a couple dents in the bottom of one teapot. How does one go about hammering these out?

    Also, what polish does one use on quadruple plate?

  4. Ginger,

    I would recommend not hammering out the dents. There are professionals that can do this because they have very specialized tools. You should Google "silver and replating" in your area and see if one does silver restoration. If you try this at home you may destroy the pieces.

    To polish the pieces is easy at home. The only product I can recommend is Hagerty Silver Polish. It comes in a blue plastic bottle. The other polishes are garbage. You can pick so mu at your local jewelry store, hardware store or online. Just follow the directions on the bottle and use only 100% cotton cloth.

  5. Hi
    I have a van berg creamer 1898 and wondering if it has any value? It looks like the cup pictured above.

  6. Value always relies on the condition and the market the piece is placed in.

    I would recommend submitting your material to this website:

  7. I have a silver plate bowl, quite ornate, with a different The Van Bergh Silver Plate Co. mark from those shown on the site listing three for that company over the years. It reads exactly:

    Made and Guaranteed
    The Van Bergh S. P. Co.
    Rochester, N.Y.

    I know the company began in 1892 and was absorbed into the Oneida Community in 1926, but I'm trying to pinpoint when this bowl was made and its ballpark value.


    Jeanne P.
    Santee, CA

  8. The best way to do that is by looking at the style of the bowl. Send me a picture to redavis001 (at)

  9. I am so glad to find this site. I know nothing about silverplate, and I have a Van Bergh Set including a teapot, creamer, sugar bowl, sauce boat, and two other bowls (one with handles, one without).

    I would lod love to learn more (when made, value, etc). Do you have suggestions for where I can look?

  10. I have a piece of Van Bergh quadruple silver plate. It consists of an ornate footed ring about 12 inches in diameter topped by a heavy mirror. Please tell me what is its proper name and use. Thank you very much!