Sunday, May 9, 2010

From This Saturday in Shawnee Oklahoma Pairpoint Mfg. Co. Spooner

This little beauty was also found in Shawnee. Once again on a back shelf hidden from view. The owner of the shop Jackie, was a little upset because he had meant to purchase this piece but had forgotten about it. He collects Art Nouveau silver and been at the auction where this was originally sold. He had gotten distracted at the auction and missed the piece and then had forgotten about it in his own shop. 

To his credit he had just opened his shop three months ago and had been particularly busy getting it up and running. We talked a bit about the trade and I picked his brain for advise about running an antique shop. His shop was on the higher end of the scale. He kept referring to it as a gallery, rather than a shop.  In fact I thought to suggest better signage because we almost did not go in because we were unsure what it was. 

Still it was quite pleasant. Much better than the antique shop that has two things from the fifties and a bunch of feathered pens and crap from Two's company. These shops are the worst. They are like some sort of sick Hallmark store and because I go to a lot of shops in rural areas, they have a very strange idea about marketing to middle class white women. I mean these are hard to describe, it is as if the decorator section of Hobby Lobby has vomited into a small town. 

But I digress. The shop owner Jackie pointed out to me that this was a spooner and I agree.  Had he known that I was a writer for the leading silver blog I am sure he would have asked me what I thought but we can't be famous everywhere. In honesty this piece has spent some time as a "penner". When I gave it its inital wash, a good step before polishing, the water from the inside ran out blue. Seems there was a whole splotch of dried ink on the bottom of the inside. When I first checked it I knew there was some muck in there but did not realize what it was. So it spent last night filled with water on the counter soaking. 

The piece itself is in good condition. It was made by Pairpoint Manufacturing Company of New Bedford Massachusetts.  This company was founded in 1880 as the Pairpoint Mfg. Co. and named after Thomas J. Pairpoint a founder that left the Meriden Britannia Company. Mr. Pairpoint is noted for his ideas about silver as a form of art and for the introduction of intricate design into the manufacturing process. I think if we compare Victorian silver with earlier pieces we can see some of his influence. Renaissance silver is very figural and decorative. Colonial silver is very plain. Victorian silver begins by copying the intricacies of the Renaissance. Thomas Pairpoint was partially responsible for this. 

The Pairpoint Mfg. Co. became the Pairpoint Corporation in 1900 due to financial difficulties. Prior to this Pairpoint had acquired the Mt. Washington Glass Corporation in 1894. they continued as a dual company making glass and silver until the depression on 1929 forced them to shut down silver production. The Niagara Silver Co.  purchased the flatware lines in 1900. Some patterns for holloware were purchased by the Rockford Silver Plate Co.

I really like everything I have see from Pairpoint. While quite a few of my colleges feel that Meriden Britannia Co. is one of the top corporations for silver plate, and I agree that they created work, I think Pairpoint often exceeds them in terms of design. Now I am known in the industry for liking smaller makers and smaller pieces, but I think there are a number of collectors that would agree with me on this point. Pairpoint on the whole had beautiful designs. I would have to say that they are in my top five manufacturers.

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