silver argyle (silver argyll) is a gravy-warmer made in various shapes similar to a covered coffee pot with one handle and one spout. The gravy is kept warm by means of hot water contained in a compartment created by a double exterior wall, a compartment created by a false bottom or a central vertical attenuated tube or a central vertical cylindrical tube in which is placed a previously heated iron rod.

John Campbell 5th Duke of Argyll Inveraray Castle Argyll Scotland

John Campbell, the fifth Duke of Argyll, and his wife Elizabeth Gunning, Baroness Hamilton of Hameldon, hated the way that gravy arrived cold to their table from the kitchens of their Inverary Castle during the cold Scottish winters.

gravy tureens with spouts on either side

The Duke (1723-1806), succeeding his father, the fourth Duke of Argyll in 1770, was the promoter of a new piece of tableware designed to maintain the warmth of the gravy in its vessel. This, with a bit of imagination, was the origin of a warmer called 'argyle' (silver argyle, silver argyll) in honour of the Noble Family that first made a wide use of this device. The first example was a gravy tureen with spouts fitted on either side to hold a piece of hot iron, wich maintained the gravy's warmth.

argyle with internal cylinder double jacket argyle: lip to pour hot water is on the left

Later, the system was improved upon by the introduction of a jacket to contain hot water or an internal cylinder into wich a hot iron was placed.

bulbous body and small foot bulbous body and small foot

Argyles were made in a variety of shapes and sizes but most had a rounded body and a small foot, which maximized the capacity for the gravy or sauce.

spout rests at the bottom of the bowl spout rests at the bottom of the bowl

Usually the spout was placed at the bottom of the container, which allowed the gravy to be drawn off from underneath the layer of fat that settled out on the top.

Georgian plate coffee pot obtained by a modified argyle

Argyles were produced up until the Victorian period in both silver and Sheffield plate. They are very rare and only a limited number now survive, as many of the early examples were later converted into coffee or tea pots. On the left a Georgian plate coffee pot abtained, presumably, by a modified argyle


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