Important American Silver

12 Oct

Martele (silver)

Martelé is a limited hand-wrought production line of silver.

“This work, a departure from machine-made commercial hollowware, was named Martelé, from the French verb marteler, “to hammer”. It was made from 1896 through the 1930s by the Gorham Manufacturing Company of Providence, Rhode Island under the direction of Gorham’s chief executive, Edward Holbrook, and his chief designer, William Christmas Codman who was brought over from England in 1891.

According to Charles Carpenter (Gorham Silver) the metal used in Martelé was softer and purer than the sterling standard (950/1000 parts of silver, where sterling is 925/1000) in order to make the silver more malleable and easier to work by hand. Pristo (Martele: Gorham’s Nouveau Art Silver) indicates that the higher standard was likely used to meet the French standard of .950 for the Paris exhibition, and the .9584 to match the Britannnia standard so the silver would be of the highest grade and could not be considered “inferior,” especially in light of the awards won.

For early items, each object began as a flat piece of silver, raised with hammering to the desired shape (maker) before being passed on to the chaser (the craftsman that added decoration). The finished pieces show the hammer marks because they were not buffed, another reason they were called Martelé.”- 


Gorham, Martele, Chamberstick, c.1900JPG

Gorham, Martele, Chamberstick, c.1900


Gorham, Martele, Compote, c.1899JPG

Gorham, Martele, Compote, c.1899

Gorhan Martele, TureenJPG

Gorhan Martele, Tureen

Martele candle sticks

Martele candle sticks


Six piece martele tea and coffee servicewith tray Monogram- MWP

Six piece martele tea and coffee servicewith tray Monogram- MWP (Doris Duke)


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