James W Tufts , Boston c.1897. Fine Plated Tableware Catalogue Supplement, identifies this very fine piece of silver-plate with its "Original Illinois Star Cut Glass" for us as "A Jelly Dish" (A laminated copy of a photo from the catalogue and its cover page will be supplied with the purchase of this item for its new owner and are shown with it here place 4 and 6.) The Tufts silver-plate frame stands 10 1/2 inches tall by 5 1/2 inches wide with a 5 inch square base. The original Illinois Star Square Glass measures (outside) (Toe to Toe) 3 1/2 inches square and 2 3/4 inches tall (outside). The signature incorporates the piece's id number 2498 it's formed by an elongated triangle with its lettering. Along the top "Plate Guaranteed" and the bottom triangle is formed with "James W. Tuft, Boston. " in the center of this form is a Capital 'T' surrounded by 2 etched triangles. There are other numbers etched on base on the bottom of this piece; consistent with era previous (?) inventory type numbers? Even though the late 1800's catalogue show this as a jelly dish, it will serve well today in other functions as well: as an extra special chocolates or mints cache or as your business card holder these are just a couple thoughts that immediately come to our minds. Please see photo of the bottom as it indicates that this piece's mint condition it's very possibly the result of an excellent professional past life's re-silvering?
Victorians were very into symbolism, and we have tried to decipher the piece with a little help. We were told the draping flowers were 'Locusts' and yes that is a type/kind of flower; according to the book and Illustrations from the era. 'Floral Poetry and the Language of Flowers' (1877) states that the Locust Flower means - Affection Beyond the Grave. We are also sure there were some underlying subtle meaning to these that we today total miss and they would have never been so, so, soo unromantic as to have just said... "LOVE NOW and FOREVER," flowers would have said it so much better. ( N0623 )
James Walker Tufts (1835 – 1902) the designer and producer of this beautiful piece was a well-known silversmith, who if history bears truth, opened his business in Boston in 1875. He also founded the Arctic Soda Fountain Co., which eventually merged with several other companies to form the American Soda Fountain Co. He had begun as an apprentice at age 16 in a drug store and had risen to become a very wealthy business man, eventually after all the a fore mentioned accomplishments, he had the vision to build a "health resort for people of modest means" and with his own money purchased 500 acres initially and later 5500 acres more to build Pinehurst, NC (you know this city, of the famous resort and golf courses) from the ground up! Much more than a silversmith, I'd say.
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c.1897 JAMES W TUFTS no.2498 ~Bookpiece ~S.P. Jam/Jelly Holder w/Orig. Cut Glass
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