Who Were You Frank M?

Awhile ago, I found this beautiful set of silver ashtrays and lighter in its original box. Boy, they really knew how to package things back then. These are from the 1920s. Whether you smoke or not, you cannot deny the craftsmanship of this set. The glass and silver are beautiful together.

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Frank M. Whiting Ashtray and Lighter Set

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The mark on them denotes “Frank M. Whiting Sterling.” So who is this Frank M. Whiting who does such gorgeous work? When did he start working in silver? I need to know, so let’s jump into this rabbit hole together and find out a little bit about Mr. Frank M. Whiting!

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Frank M Whiting Sterling Nut/Candy Dish (available at Nathan H Antiques)

According to a thesis on the Whiting Manufacturing Company by Abigail Barnes Nova, the story actually starts with his father, William Dean Whiting (1815-1891) who was a silversmith. William Dean worked his way up through different apprenticeships and firms until he helped found Whiting Manufacturing Company in 1866 in Attleboro, Mass. After an extensive fire that destroyed the operation, they rebuilt in Attleboro before they moved to New York City in 1875.

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Frank M Whiting Ink Well or Toothpick Holder (available at Grammahadthat)

This is important information in that it shows the progression of Frank M. Whiting’s early life. He would have moved with his family as the company moved. The company excelled in lines of Japanese-inspired silver in competition with Tiffany. As a side note, Charles Osborne was also a designer for Whiting Manufacturing Company, and he was later associated with Tiffany.

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Frank M Whiting Silver Porringer (available at BirneyCreek)

In 1880 we see Frank Mortimer Whiting enter the scene. As the second son of Frank Dean Whiting, he and his dad returned to Attleboro and opened the F.M. Whiting Company. He had worked for his father’s company in both Attleboro and New York City as an assistant. He also worked the sales end of things as a traveling salesman. He wasn’t actually a designer at Whiting Manufacturing Company; which is interesting, he was a businessman.

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Frank M Whiting Silver and Glass Compotes (available at UglyDucklingLex)

His dad, William Dean may have actually done most of the designing with other silversmiths  doing the work. Unfortunately, poor Frank M. appears to have died early. He died in 1892 about a year after his dad. His sisters ran the business under the F.M. Whiting Company after that until they had to change the name in 1895 to “Frank, M. Whiting and Company” and get a whole new trademark. This was  because the Whiting Manufacturing Company didn’t want them to make any money off of the name association.

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Frank M Whiting Pheasant Coaster (available at CreativeDesignsbyFL)

The Frank M. Whiting Company ran until the 1940s when they were bought up by the Ellmore Silver Company and ceased to exist (Metropolitan Museum of Art, “In Pursuit of Beauty: Americans and the Aesthetic Movement.” p. 485). So that places my set of ashtrays and lighter as manufactured sometime between 1895 to 1940. It happens to be a 1920s design but that’s how you date your items. Frank M. Whiting & Company didn’t come into existence until 1895 and F.M. Whiting was only in business from 1880 until 1894.

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Frank M Whiting Silver Tazza (available at Whatnotgems)

So there is the story of Frank Mortimer Whiting and his silver company. I hope you have enjoyed reading! Have a great week!

I Tilt My Cap for Capsco

I found this lovely little cup in a box the other day.

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Capsco Demitasse Cup circa 1950 (available at Vintage Eve’s)

It’s just one of those cute little demitasse cups you would pick up in a souvenir shop. This one has a picture of the White House in Washington, D.C. On the bottom is a foil sticker marked “A Capsco Product.” It’s a pretty retro collectible from the late 1960s.

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Capsco Plate circa 1950 (available at The Vintage Egg)

Capsco actually stands for Capitol Souvenir Company and it has a longer history than I thought. My original thought was that this company was a pop up in the 1950s but it actually started in the early 1920s. In 1922 a man named Jacob Goozh opened Empire Photo Studio at 917 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Capsco Dragon Vase (available at Melrose Memories)

He was someone with a lot of drive. He grew his business by going out onto the streets of Washington and photographing soldiers returning from WWI. He used “tin-type” photography so within minutes, the soldiers could take home their souvenir.

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Washington D.C. Spoon by Capsco (available at Found Treasures 77)

By 1930 Jacob had relocated the business, which was by then Capitol Souvenir Company, to 105 Pennsylvania Avenue. The move allowed the company to catch the tourists visiting Washington D.C. by train and sell them souvenirs. This new location was minutes from Union Station. Location! Location! Location! Am I right?!

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Capsco Wood Relief (available at Dew Drop Daisies)

I have to say, he knew what he was doing and really worked hard to make this life in America, where he had moved to in the early 1900s from Europe, be his dream.

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Capsco Plaque with Sentiment (available at Alice’s Attix)

As time went on, Jacob branched out his business into Virginia and Maryland. He hired more salesmen and opened a retail shop. He also began visiting the Asian markets to import the souvenirs directly. In the 1940s his son, Joseph, took over the business which was growing into a national company.

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Vintage Lucite Capsco Paperweight (available at Cordial Encounter)

Then during the 1960s Joseph’s sons, Jay and Martin joined the business and  Capsco became one of the most well-known names in souvenirs. They are still in business, actually. Under Jacob’s great-grandson, Capsco is still running out of Washington D.C. They also provide souvenirs at historic sites, museums, zoos, aquariums and more.

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Souvenir Shoe by Capsco (available at Dandeedion)

It’s always amazing to me how people can make their own destinies. An interesting company for sure.I got most of this information from Capsco-inc.weebly.com in case you want more in depth info.

If you have any memories of a Capsco souvenir, share it with me. I love to hear from all of you! I will be partying at the link parties listed on the right this week. Great blogs, all of them. Have a great week!

 

 

 

Wandering Through the Wedgwood

Many of us have at least heard of Wedgwood (yep, there is no second “e” in Wedgwood). We may even have admired a piece of it without knowing that it was Wedgwood.

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Wedgwood Creamer in Josephine Pattern

Why is it famous? What is it about Wedgwood that makes it so collectible? Come on along and let’s find out.

First, Wedgwood is British. The company is named after its founder Josiah Wedgwood. According to the Wedgwood Company the company started in 1759 when Josiah became an independent potter out of Burslem, Staffordshire, England. He was 29 years old at the time.

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Edwardian Wedgwood circa 1910

He liked to experiment with different types of clay and developed three of Wedgwood’s most distinct forms; Queen’s Ware in 1762, Black Basalt in 1768 and Jasper in 1774. People still love to collect these types of Wedgwood.

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Queens Ware circa 1940s

He is called the “Father of English Potters” as his experiments led to an explosion of English pottery and put it in the mainstream.

Queen’s Ware is called such because it was literally a design of cream-colored earthenware that was commissioned by Queen Charlotte. She loved it.

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Queens Ware with Wedgwood Blue Decoration

Catherine the Great of Russia wanted some, too. So much so that she requested a set of 952 hand-painted pieces with English scenery (Wedgwood.co.uk).

Jasperware is an interesting form.

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Jasperware Sugar Bowl circa 1950s

It was created in 1774 after quite a few failed experiments. It is easily identifiable on sight. The Wedgwood website says it is an unglazed vitreous fine stoneware that was made in blue, green, lilac, yellow black or white. On top of which there were reliefs or 3D pieces in classical or modern themes.

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Lilac Jasperware Salt & Pepper circa 1960s

Black Basalt is from reddish brown clay that turns black when fired. Noted by the Wedgwood Museum, it had manganese added to the clay which gave it a rich black color.  It is also unglazed like the Jasperware.

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Black Basalt Bowl circa 1800s

Why is Wedgwood so collectible? From the very beginning, Wedgwood designs and innovations were synonymous with quality. That has not changed. Wedgwood is still in production and it commands higher-end prices.

 

There are a number of other types of Wedgwood than just the three mentioned. There is Caneware which is pale yellow, Rosso Antico which is a type of red ware, Pearl Ware which is more white than the Cream Ware and is glazed.

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Rosso Antico Cambridge Jug

All of them are beautiful and worth collecting. Check out the Wedgwood Society for more detail about all of these forms.

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Pearlware Hand-Painted Plate

Thank you for taking a quick look at Wedgwood with me. If you want to find out more, the three websites referenced in this post will help you. There is a wealth of information still to unearth!

I hope you enjoyed this post. Come visit me at Vintage Eve’s and take a look around my shop for some old Wedgwood and more vintage treasures.