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by David Mckinley:
Goldsmiths in the Margas family of Rouen and London
On page 591 of his invaluable work "London Goldsmiths 1697 - 1837 Their Marks and Lives" the late Arthur Grimwade makes the following observation: "The disentangling of identities of the Margas family is not easy from the documentary evidence and repetition of Christian names".
How right he was and it has to be said that, if anything, as more of this documentary evidence has come to light, the task has become more difficult.
The earliest record of a Margas so far found dates to the mid 16th century in Rouen in northern France when a Jacques Margas, whose background has not yet been established, had three children the eldest of whom was a boy, who, in accordance with tradition, was named Jacques after his father. The family were Huguenots and Huguenots of 17th century France were of that class of society known as the bourgeoisie. They were mostly merchants or craftsmen and the Margas family originally fell into the merchant category.
This second Jacques Margas became a merchant and in 1574 he married Marion Le Faux. He and Marion had four children, two boys and two girls. The first boy was named Jacques and became a merchant like his father. He was followed by a daughter whom they named Catherine and in 1605 she married a goldsmith named Nicolas Morisse who had been apprenticed to his father as was the usual practice since the tradition was for a craftsman to pass his skills on to his sons.
Catherine was followed by another daughter who was baptised Madeleine and lastly a second son was born in 1593 and he was baptised Jean. This son did not follow his brother into the family business but instead became a master goldsmith and although there is no record of his apprenticeship it seems almost certain that he learnt his craft from his brother-in-law Nicolas Morisse......
and the widely revised and updated version of Article # 180 by Dr. David N. Nikogosyan, Bonn, Germany
Marks of French silver-plated cutlery in the XIXth century
CHRISTOFLE , VEUVE CHARLES HALPHEN, GOMBAULT-DESCLERCS & MANUFACTURE DE L'ALFÉNIDE
So far I was not interested by the marks of silver-plated
cutlery. However, the early pieces of Christofle cutlery seem to
be remarkable. First of all, they are excellently designed.
Second, they are convenient, beautiful and robust. Third, they
are self-documented, as every piece is marked by its year of
production. And, fourth, they are world-wide spread. It should
be reminded that around 1844 the Christofle company pioneered
the mass production of silver-plated cutlery and continued until
at least 1930. As a result nowadays you can find Christofle
cutlery from the XIXth century practically everywhere on the
globe, in any antiques shop or on any flea market. In addition,
many other French and foreign jewellery firms, producing
silver-plated cutlery, copied the pieces of Christofle cutlery.
I can easily mention a dozen of European jewellery firms,
issuing silver-plated cutlery "à la Christofle cutlery", amongst
them the French firms Ercuis, Halphen, Desclercs, Frenais, the
German companies WMF, August Wellner Soehne, Bohrmann, Hartmann,
Henniger, the Austro-Hungarian factories Arthur Krupp Berndorf,
Herrmann, the Russian foundries (situated in Warsaw) Fraget and
Norblin and many others.
In this paper I will describe the marks used by Christofle and
his partner companies Halphen, Gombault-Desclercs and
Manufacture de L'Alfenide on spoons and forks during the XIXth
century. Some of the marks are published for the first time. I
had to omit the cutlery marks used on the knives as such pieces
are rather rare and absent in my collection.....
Welcome to new ASCAS members:
Tyler Barber - USA
Gerry Carton - Australia
Genevieve Celentano - USA
Bernard Hallée - France
Jerry Munro - Canada
Hilary & Malcolm Underdown - Australia
Daniel Dori writes:
...Could you please help me identify this silver mark??
I believe it could be Russian, but no amount of searching has helped me at all figure who made it, where and when?
Russia, town of Kostroma, silversmith Maurice Ratner, assayer A. Solidihova, 1899/1905
This month ASCAS presents an image of a 1951 advertisement of
FISHER SILVERSMITHS INC.
Jersey City, NJ and New York, NY
Fisher Silversmiths was founded by Sam Fisher, an immigrant from Russia, in Providence, RI and later in New Jersey succeeding to M.Fred Hirsch Co.
When Sam ritired, the business was continued as Fisher Silversmith & Fisher Diamonds by his sons expanding into the loose diamond business (silver manufacturing ceased in the 1970s).
Fisher Jewelers & Silversmiths, INC founded in 1978 by Raymond (Sam grandchildren) and Jo Ann Fisher is still active in present days in Florence, South Carolina, trading fine jewelry and gifts.
In this column we present an abstract from a page of the "SILVER HALLMARKS WORLDWIDE OVERVIEW"
DUTCH MARKS AND HALLMARKS FROM 1807 UNTIL PRESENT