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SILVER PEPPER POTS OF THE 19th AND 20th CENTURY
An Elegant Article for the
To spice the taste of our meals, using a pepper pot, is
an everyday custom for all of us. Actually pepper casters or
dispensers of pre-ground pepper are manufactured in all kinds of
materials and shapes; even silver pepper pots or crystal pepper
pots topped with a silver lid are still in use in households for
special occasions. In past centuries only nobility and the
wealthy bourgeoisie used silver objects to beautify their table
setting and impress their guests.
It is known that ground pepper loses flavour and aroma quite
quickly through evaporation or when exposed to light. Hence the
application of a pepper pot to preserve pepper’s original
spiciness during a longer time.
A pot or shaker for pre-ground pepper, invented in the 19th
century, is a container with several small holes in the top. By
shaking the pepper pot an appreciable amount of pepper is
released to dispense it onto food.
The screw-top pepper shaker was invented by John Landis Mason, a
citizen of New York, U.S.A., and patented on November 30th 1858.
Handheld pepper mills, crushing whole pepper corns, are also
used to preserve pepper’s aromatics for a longer time.
Over the years rare and decorative pepper pots became a
collector’s item. A look at some examples of silver pepper pots
once more confirms the imagination and craftsmanship of
silversmiths who designed and created different shapes of these
Silver Pepper Pot - London 1896
Victorian, octagonal, solid sterling silver pepper pot or
pepper caster in the ‘Arts & Crafts’ style, made in London,
England in 1896 by the silversmith Charles Boyton II at his
Upper Charles Street workshops.
Both the body and the pierced lid are fully hallmarked for
London 1896 and carry the maker’s mark of the silversmith. The
push on lid has a spiral pointed finial and still fits
tightly on the body. The pedestal
pepper caster is gilded inside and is not engraved with initials
or a crest.
It stands 85 mm high from base to finial, measures 35 mm at the
widest point of the waist and weighs 31 grams.
Hallmarks: lion passant for sterling silver, leopard’s head for
London and date letter ‘a’ for 1896.
The sponsor’s mark ‘CB in 2 conjoining circles’ (mark entered in
1855) stands for Charles Boyton (note 1).
Solid Silver Pepper Pot - Birmingham 1898
Small solid sterling silver pepper pot with well fitting
cobalt blue glass liner made in Birmingham in 1898 by the
Victorian silversmiths Edward John Haseler & Noble Haseler at
their Branston Street workshops.
It has a lovely geometric pierced design around it. Both body
and finial of the pepper pot are hallmarked and carry the
sponsor’s mark ‘EJH over NH in a shield’ (entered August 1888 in
Birmingham and June 1895 in Chester), for Edward John Haseler &
Noble Haseler, also known as Haseler Brothers
The pierced finial fits still tightly on the body.
Hallmarked with lion passant for sterling silver, anchor for
Birmingham and date letter ‘y’ for 1898.
The pepper pot measures 50 mm height, with a diameter of 25 mm
and weighs 18 grams (46 grams with liner).
Solid Silver Pepper Shaker - Sheffield 1905
Edwardian pierced solid silver pepper shaker with the original cobalt blue glass liner made
in 1905 in the firm of manufacturing silversmiths and platers Atkin Brothers
(note 3) at their Truro Works,
Matilda Street, Sheffield.
The cylindrical body is pierced with a geometric design revealing the
original cobalt blue glass liner and the pierced push-on finial still fits tightly on the body.
The pepper pot is fully and clearly hallmarked on the bottom and on top of the push-on finial with a
crown denoting the Sheffield assay office, lion passant for standard sterling silver, date letter 'n'
for the year 1905 and the sponsor’s mark ‘HA in a rectangle with cut corners’ (entered in 1853)
standing for the silversmith Henry Atkin of Atkin Brothers.
The push-on lid is marked on the side with figure '8' and the side of the pepper pot is marked with
The pepper shaker measures 49 mm high by a diameter of 22 mm and weighs 33 grams in total.
Solid Silver Pepper Pot Shaker - Birmingham 1907
Large Edwardian solid silver pepper pot made in Birmingham
1907 by the silversmith Edward Souter Barnsley at his Frederick
Street workshops. It has plain smooth sides and a decorative
rope twist rim, a pierced well fitting top finial and is fully
hallmarked on the front and on the rim of the top finial for
sterling silver, Birmingham 1907.
The pepper pot is supported by four pad feet.
Hallmarks: lion passant for sterling silver, anchor for
Birmingham, date letter ‘h’ for 1907.
The bottom bears the number of the patent RE297548, released for
this model by the UK Patent Office in 1897,
as well as a journeyman’s mark ‘x’.
The sponsor’s mark ‘E.S.B in a rectangle with rounded corners’
stands for E. S. Barnsley & Co Ltd - Edward Souter Barnsley (mark
entered at Birmingham Assay office on November 1887 and
The pepper pot stands 100 mm heigh and weighs 60 grams
Solid Silver Pepper Pot - Birmingham 1919
Small George V solid silver lozenge shaped pepper pot shaker
made in Birmingham 1919 by the silversmiths E.S Barnsley & Co
Ltd (Edward Souter Barnsley) in their Frederick Street workshops.
It has plain, smooth sides, a decorative rope twist rim and a
pierced, well fitting top finial and is supported by four pad
feet. It measures 80 mm high and weighs 32 grams.
Hallmarked with lion passant for sterling silver, anchor for
Birmingham, date letter ‘u’ for 1919.
The maker’s mark ‘E.S.B in a rectangle with rounded corners’
stands for E.S Barnsley & Co Ltd (mark entered at Birmingham
Assay Office on September 1908).
Sterling Silver Pepper Pot - Origin
Unknown (possibly India)
Sterling silver pepper caster, which is part of a boxed
cruet set including a mustard pot and a salt cellar. The pepper
caster, supported by three pad feet, is richly decorated with
repousse work, representing colonial scenes such as an elephant,
a tree and flowers.
The lid has a gadrooned border and a chalice like top finial.
The pepper pot is hallmarked ‘sterling silver’. There is no
maker’s mark present.
The pepper pot is 73 mm high and has a diameter of 30 mm. It
weighs 30 grams.
Silver Pepper Caster - U.S.A.
Pedestal silver pepper caster manufactured by Gorham. It has
a plain smooth body and a decorative rope twist rim. The
screw-top pepper pot is pierced with fancy holes and has a
The bottom bears the marks ‘Sterling 835’ and the sponsor’s mark
The pepper pot stands 110 mm high, has a diameter of 40 mm at
the widest point of the waist and weighs 36 grams.
Silvered Handheld Pepper Mill - Italy c1950
Silvered handheld pepper mill of modern design, made in
Italy. It has a plain smooth body with two separating rings as
only decoration. The reeded top finial screws onto the internal
rod to grip firmly the complete stainless steel milling
The bottom plate is marked ‘Garantito’ followed by a lozenge
with a faded mark inside and followed by ‘Acciaio’(steel).
The bottom plate holder is marked ‘Made Italy’.
The pepper mill stands 170 mm high, has a diameter of 51 mm and
weighs 239 grams.
Bought in 1950 in Antwerp, Belgium
in a shop selling modern silverware.
Silver & Crystal Pepper Pot - France 1972
Small crystal pepper pot with solid sterling silver
gadrooned and screwed top lid made by Cardeilhac
(note 4)/Christofle (note 5)
France. It is part of a boxed set of four pepper pots.
The lid is hallmarked on top with ‘OC’ standing for the master
silversmith Cardeilhac and ‘925’ for the silver fineness of
925/1000. The crystal body is signed on the bottom ‘Orfèvrerie
The pepper pot is 41 mm high, has a diameter of 27 mm at the
widest point of the body and weighs in total 18 grams.
Bought in a shop in Paris, France
- 2009 -