It looks like silver, but somehow softer and more soothing to the eye. In an elegant classical form, this is a rare example of aluminium (aluminum) being used, at a time when it was rare and valuable, as the precious metal it then was.
Aluminium was once considered a precious metal more valuable than gold. Napoleon III, Emperor of France, is reputed to have given a banquet where the most honoured guests were given aluminium utensils, while the others made do with gold. The Washington Monument was completed, with the 100 ounce (2.8 kg) aluminium capstone being put in place on December 6, 1884, in an elaborate dedication ceremony. It was the largest single piece of aluminium cast at the time, when aluminium was as expensive as silver. Aluminium has been produced in commercial quantities for just over 100 years.
Aluminium is remarkable for the metal's low density and for its ability to resist corrosion due to the phenomenon of passivation.
This very handsome ink stand measures 9.75inches by 5.3 inches around the base, and in height about 3.4 inches. It still has its original fine clear glass liner, very delicately blown and with the base polished flat, an indication of the overall quality of this piece.