The term filigree is derived from the Italian word Filigrana, which is originally from the Latin word filum, meaning a thread of wire and granum meaning a grain or bead. Various American silversmiths produced filigree decorated flatware during the late 1800's. One notable firm was the Dirksen Silver Filigree Co. of Freeport, Illinois. Founded by Garrit Dirksen, a German silversmith who came to America about 1844, and operated a small shop from the from the early 1880's until 1905. He purchased sterling pieces from various manufacturers for his shop. This item, from a Freeport, Illinois estate, is not marked but was undoubtedly created by the Dirksen Co.
This beautiful cream or sauce ladle measures 6" in length and weighs 1.065 ounces. The bowl has a satin finish and may originally have had a gold wash. The piece is stamped "Sterling" with the logo for the A F Towle & Sons Silver Company, Greenfield, MA, which was in existence from 1890-1902 and was an offshoot of Towle Silversmiths. The firm was absorbed into Rogers, Lunt and Bowlen. Near mint condition with no filigree damage.