SILVERPLATE TRAYS CAN HAVE A VARIETY OF USES

By: John Hogan

Silversmiths have manufactured beautiful trays in many shapes and sizes with ornate to simple designs all the way from the grandiose rectangular serving trays down to the little round wine bottle coaster.

Birks ''Regency Plate'' Antique Silver Plate Round Tray, C. 1900-10

Birks Regency Plate Round Tray, C. 1900-10

Cavendish Vintage Silver Plate "Well & Tree" Tray, C. 1940

Cavendish Plate Well & Tree Tray, C. 1940

English Vintage Silver Plate Rectangular Gallery Tray, C. 1930

English Rectangular Gallery Tray, C. 1930

ENGLISH TRIPLE DEPOSIT ANTIQUE SILVER PLATE OVAL TRAY, C. 1900

English Triple Deposit Oval Handled Tray, C. 1900

Homan Vintage Silver Plate Art Deco Octagonal Tray, C. 1930

Homan Plate Art Deco Octagonal Tray, C. 1930

Webster & Wilcox, Antique Silver Plate Square Tray, C. 1910

Webster & Wilcox Square Tray, C. 1910

From the grandiose rectangular serving trays that measure 27" or more in length by 17" in width all the way down to the little round wine bottle coaster that may measure 3.50 ", silversmiths have manufactured beautiful trays in many shapes and sizes with ornate to simple designs. Silverware has been in existence for a mighty long time, nearly two centuries, to appease the elegant and affluent in their presentations of formal dinners and stately affairs -all the way to the vanity table of the lady of the house such that she could display her beautiful cologne and perfume bottles and other trinkets.

Opulent silverware trays were manufactured throughout the world by many silversmiths to serve many functions all the way from the the elaborate affair of after-dinner tea and coffee, to serving poultry, roast and seafood, to serving fancy breads and pastries, to serving cocktails, to the after dinner liqueur in the library.

Being of North American origin we are more accustomed to seeing silverware that was manufactured in USA, England, Scotland and Canada.

We have a host of silverplated trays that come in different shapes, sizes, designs, motifs or patterns. As for the base metals used by the various silversmiths of the time, they may range from a white metal commonly referred to as Britannia Metal, to brass and copper. Usually the older antique and vintage silverware was electroplated on these three basic base metal whereas today many of the more current pieces are electroplated on a zinc, tin or steel base. Brass is still widely used today because of its cheap cost to produce. Copper and Nickel Silver are known as the best two base metals for electroplated silverware. Copper is number one and has been used as a base metal since Georgian times in England where the first silver-plating process was known as "rolled silver" and is cherished by the connoisseur collector of early silverware and on occasion can fetch higher prices than actual sterling silver pieces.

Silverplate trays may range in shape from rectangular, round, square to oval and on occasion to octagonal. Patterns or designs may range from simple lines to acanthus leaves, rosettes, seashells, scrolls, to the grape or vintage motif. Trays may range from round cocktail, "well & tree" oval and clip corner meat platters, rectangular and round gallery trays to large oval, rectangular and round serving trays. Clip corner rectangular serving trays are always a little treat in terms of uniqueness.

Makers that are well known in Canada range from Wm. A Rogers of Hamilton, Ontario, Birks of Montreal who originated in England and usually marked their pieces "Regency Plate", Roden Brothers who were formerly from Montreal who moved to London, Ontario early circa 1900, Benedict Proctor of Trenton, Ontario, Mappins of Montreal and Lipman Brothers of Toronto. Some familiar English names are Birks of England, Barker & Ellis, Derby of England who also opened a branch in Toronto circa 1900, Gnun of Sheffield, England, Mappin & Webb, Elkin & Knight and Johnson & Hutchinson Ltd. Some familiar American silversmiths that surface in Canada are International Silver Company who originated in USA who opened an outlet in Toronto, Ontario. Then there is Homan Silver Plate Company, Ohio, Meridian Silver Plate Company, F.B. Rogers, Webster & Wilcox Silversmiths and we most definitely cannot forget the illustrious Pairpoint Corporation of Massachusetts and Gorham Silver Company. These are just some of the famous manufactures of the time of which many of the smaller factories have closed shop and basically were bought out by larger American silverplate companies.

To the right of this article are some illustrations of such trays.

For further illustrations and readings, click www.passionforthepastantiques.com/store/products/categories/trays/

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