This is a page of A Small Collection of Antique Silver and Objects of vertu,
a 1500 pages richly illustrated website offering all you need to know about
antique silver, sterling silver, silverplate, sheffield plate, electroplate silver,
silverware, flatware, tea services and tea complements, marks and hallmarks, articles,
books, auction catalogs, famous silversmiths (Tiffany, Gorham, Jensen, Elkington, Mappin & Webb, WMF, Reed & Barton),
history, oddities ...
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- maker, town, assayer marks and hallmarks of antique and modern silver: Russian, Italian, English, American, French, German, Austrian, Mexican, Hanau,
Silver plate, Electroplate silver, Sheffield plate, Old Sheffield Plate and much more ... presented by SILVERCOLLECTION.IT -
A SMALL COLLECTION OF ANTIQUE SILVER
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THE SILVER HALLMARKS DIRECTORY
|STERLING SILVER OF USA AND CANADA
|SILVERPLATE OF USA AND CANADA
|STERLING SILVER OF ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, IRELAND, CHANNEL ISLANS AND COLONIES
|BRITISH ELECTROPLATED SILVER - SILVERPLATE - SILVER PLATE
|DIRECTORY OF CONTINENTAL EUROPEAN SILVER PLATE MAKERS
|DIRECTORY OF FRENCH SILVERSMITHS / REPERTOIRE DES ORFEVRES FRANCAIS
|THE DIRECTORY OF 20th CENTURY ITALIAN SILVERSMITHS (SORTED BY PROVINCE)
|LISTING OF AUSTRIAN SILVERSMITH FROM THE 18th TO THE 20th CENTURY
|BRITISH SILVER MAKERS: MARKS, HISTORY AND INFORMATION
|AMERICAN SILVER MANUFACTURERS: MARKS, HISTORY AND INFORMATION
The two common forms of plated silver are Sheffield plate and silverplate/electroplate.
Sheffield Plate is a cheaper substitute for sterling, produced by fusing sheets of silver to the top and
bottom of a sheet of copper or base metal. This 'silver sandwich' was then worked into finished pieces. At
first it was only put on one side and later was on top and bottom.
Modern electroplating was invented by Italian chemist Luigi V. Brugnatelli in 1805. Brugnatelli used his
colleague Alessandro Volta's invention of five years earlier, the voltaic pile, to facilitate the first
electrodeposition. Unfortunately, Brugnatelli's inventions were repressed by the French Academy of Sciences
and did not become used in general industry for the following thirty years.
Silver plate or electroplate is formed when a thin layer of pure or sterling silver is deposited
electrolytically on the surface of a base metal.
By 1839, scientists in Britain and Russia had independently devised metal deposition processes similar to
Brugnatelli's for the copper electroplating of printing press plates.
Soon after, John Wright of Birmingham, England, discovered that potassium cyanide was a suitable
electrolyte for gold and silver electroplating.
Wright's associates, George Elkington and Henry Elkington were awarded the first patents for electroplating
in 1840. These two then founded the electroplating industry in Birmingham England from where it spread
around the world.
Common base metals include copper, brass, nickel
silver (an alloy of copper, zinc and nickel) and Britannia metal-a tin alloy with 5-10% antimony.
Electroplated materials are often stamped EPNS for electroplated nickel or silver, or EPBM for
electroplated Britannia metal.
E.P.N.S. (Electroplated Nickel Silver) and EPBM (Electroplated Britannia Metal) are the most
common names attributed to silver plate items. But many other names are used for silver plate:
EPWM - Electroplate on White Metal, EPC - Electroplate on Copper, Argentium Argentine Plate, Argentum,
Ascetic B. B. S. Ltd, Ashberry, Austrian Silver, Brazilian Silver D&A Trademark of Daniel and Arter,
Buxbridge - Trademark name of JT&Co., Electrum, Encore TT&Co Trademark of T. Turner, Exquisite,
HH&S , I.XL Geo. Wostenholm & Son, Insignia Plate, JB&S EP A1, JD&S = John Dixon & Sons,
K & TL , M&W Mappin and Webb, N.S. New Silver, Nevada Silver D&A Trademark of Daniel and Arter,
Norwegian Silver; Trademark of WG&S, Pelican Silver JGNS, Potosi Silver N&S WP, RN&S EP Neill,
Silverite = Trademark of W P & Co , Sonora Silver = Trademark of Walker and Hall, Spur Silver =
Trademark of E B & Co for Edwin Blyde & Co, Stainless N. S., Stainless Nickel, Stainless Nickel
Silver, Venetian Silver - Trademark of Deykin & Sons, WF&SS EP
HALLMARKS OF BRITISH SILVER
The hallmarking of British silver is based on a combination of marks that allow the identification of
the origin and the age of each piece. The marks are:
Town mark, corresponding to the mark of the assay office that has verified the piece
Lion's passant guardant or Britannia or lion's head erased certifiying the silver's quality
Maker's mark, identifying the silversmith presenting the piece to the assay office
Date letter, in cycles of twenty/twentyfive letters of the alphabet of different shape identifies the year in which
the piece was verified by the assay office
A further mark was used in the period 1784 - 1890:
Sovereign head ('duty mark'), certifying the payment of duty