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Flatware – Spoon – Franklin Porter, Bar Spoon, 13.5″, American Arts & Crafts

$595.00 $595.00

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Franklin Porter (American, 1869-1935)
Arts & Crafts Stirring / Bar Spoon
hand-hammered; sterling silver
13 ½” long; 86.4 grams

Description: A pierced and hand-hammered stirring spoon made by important American silversmith Franklin Porter (American, 1869-1935), known as ‘The Paul Revere of the 20th Century’. The design comfortably bridges the Arts & Crafts and Modernist movements with a minimalist hand-crafted aesthetic. For use as a stirring spoon for lemonades, iced teas, martini’s and other stirred drinks.

 Markings: ‘STERLING’ ‘FP’ ‘F. Porter’

Condition: Antique, Excellent

Biography: PORTER, Franklin (Providence, Rhode Island, 9 May 1869-1935). Franklin Porter (1869-1935) was an important arts & crafts silversmith who worked in Bristol Ferry, RI, Middleton, MA, and finally Danvers, Massachusetts. Educated at the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown and Sharpe he became a machinist for a variety of American companies to support himself as a supplement to his silversmithing passion. First opening a shop and salesroom in Bristol Ferry, RI, he moved to Middleton, MA where Ethel B (Chase) Porter, his wife, adopted a son Edward Sherman Dwyer as an apprentice. Finally, they moved to Danvers to be both closer to work and to be caretakers for the 1670 Judge Samuel Holten House, in exchange for free rent and the convenience of a workshop that he called ‘Saint Dunstan’s’ after the patron saint of silversmiths.  Outside the shop was displayed the Kipling quote:

“All we can do is learn how to do our work, to be masters of our materials, instead of servants, and never to be afraid of anything.”

His long experience as a machinist helped him make many of his own tools. Extremely frugal, he constructed templates for his pieces out of whatever was at hand — sheets of aluminum cut from an old car, salad oil cans, and the sides of a used copper bathtub.

He never had any partners, and preferred to work alone or with his daughter metalworker and occupational therapist, Helen Louise Porter Philbrick (and for a brief period with their adopted son Edward, and a line of apprentices, none of which stayed around long). Described as fiercely independent he never joined Boston’s Society of Arts & Crafts, eschewing the commercial pressures of that organization.

Ethel sold each piece accompanied by a note which read in part:

“Embodied in this piece of Silver … are the ambition and love and some of the life essence of the Craftsman and it is offered to you in the belief that by its daily use and appreciation your artistic sense will be nourished and the Gospel of its maker ‘Simplicity and Service’ be extended.”

Examples of his silver holloware are uncommon, always hand-raised and of good quality. A four-piece demitasse set by him is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and his masterpiece, The Resurrection Communion Service, is in the treasury of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.” (Source: Spencer Marks, Ltd.) At Porter’s death in 1935 his daughter, who had shared the space since 1928, took over the shop. Their motto:

“This was indeed a lesson to our workshop: if you make handmade articles, keep them handmade and don’t compromise.”

(Sources: ‘A Family Tradition: The Silverwork of Franklin Porter and Helen Porter Philbrick’, Boettcher, Graham C.; Danvers Historical Society; Chicago Silver; Spencer Marks Inc)

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franklin porter sterling silver bar spoon
Flatware – Spoon – Franklin Porter, Bar Spoon, 13.5″, American Arts & Crafts
$595.00 $595.00