James W. Tufts started his business in 1875 in Boston, MA and the company ceased operations by 1915. It made silver-plated goods of the highest quality and was famous for elaborate pieces, especially soda fountains. Mr. Tufts turned over the operation of his business to others in 1895 due to poor health and bought 5,000 acres in the sand hills of North Carolina, where he founded the resort town of Pinehurst. He died there in 1902.
This exquisite boat-shape serving tray was originally part of a large serving set. Executed during the Aesthetic era of the mid-1800's to the turn of the 20th century it portrays the grandeur and opulence of the period. The base of the tray is divided into two embossed or chased cartouches exhibiting two species of blossoms, buds and leaves, which I believe are California Poppies and Asters. The cartouches are separated by arched bands with geometric scrolls in the center and ends. Surrounding this central design is a fluted border. The deep side of the tray has a nice sculptured contour. At each end of the tray are large, winged sea serpent handles.
The piece measures 21" in length, 11" in width, 1 1/2" in depth, with the handles 4" in height. It is stamped on the bottom "James W Tufts - Quadruple Plate - Boston - Warranted -4001" along with the trademark "T" surrounded by four triangles. Quadruple means four layers of silver-plate. Excellent vintage condition with no damages; lovely old patina. Could be polished to bright shine if desired, but I like it this way. Please visit two other items from the same original set here in my store. Great piece from a premier silver-plate company.