In early 20th century women were demanding equality to men and were beginning to smoke. Women in North America and northern Europe pressed for smoking to be socially acceptable though it wasn't socially desirable. This meant that most smoking was with other women and not in a social context with men. The tobacco industry capitalized on changing social attitudes towards women by promoting smoking as a symbol of emancipation, a “torch of freedom”. This set was manufactured circa 1910 for that market. The caddy holds four individual ashtrays and a matchbox decorated with flowers and shells, this would have been stored a woman's sitting room to share with her female friends. This set was made by E.G. WEBSTER & SON (as marked on back of ashtrays) of Brooklyn New York. Founded in 1860 by Elizur G. Webster. Formed E.G. Webster & Brother in 1865. Incorporated in 1867 as Webster Manufacturing Co. Sold to the International Silver Co. in 1928. These are rare because in the early 20th century only .5% of women smoked.
Silver Plate over Copper, plate is worn through in places due to polishing, does not distract from its beauty. Condition is excellent for its age, some scratches, wear to the plating and a need for polishing. See photos for more detail.
Edwardian Ladies Parlor Ashtray Set with Match Box Holder, Silver Plate over Copper, Rare, made by E.G. Webster & Son