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Berry Service

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Berry Service

Maker: Gorham Manufacturing Company (active Providence, Rhode Island, 1831-present)

Date: 1887
Medium: Silver, silvergilt
Overall: 5 x 8 1/2in. (12.7 x 21.6cm)
Signed: marked G M Co
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Ross Davis Spangler
Object number: 73.135.1-5
Label Text
Rich bands of buds and foliage-patterns found throughout Gorham's flatware production-enhance this berry set. By the 1880s development in railroad system and in refrigeration cars made fresh fruit available throughout the year and silversmiths seized the opportunity to create specialized serving sets. This service survives in its original presentation box, and the engraved date on each piece, 1837-1887, indicates that this was a birthday or, more likely, an anniversary gift. The set includes a berry bowl, a sugar bowl, a serving spoon, and a sugar spoon sifter, the smaller spoon with pierced holes that allowed sifting sugar on to the berries while avoiding the lumps.

“Plated tea services, castors, salvers, pitchers, ladles, cake and fruit baskets, etc. are too common to be noticed…[H]ardly any comfortable young couple now begin house keeping without a fair show of genuine table silver, as far at least as spoons, forks, butter, fruit, pie and fish-knives, napkin-rings, and such trifles.”

“The Silver Age,” Scribner’s Monthly, December 1874, as quoted in Charles Venable,
Silver in America, 1840-1940: A Century of Splendor (1995).