In the 19th century sterling silver reached its height of popularity in America, especially in “The Gilded Age,” the latter years of the period. Sterling was often used to commemorate events or the personal achievements of individuals, and often the lives of these individuals were interwoven in history in significant ways. This is especially true of our museum feature, the Ball, Black & Company Addison Day 5-piece sterling silver tea and coffee set.
Ball, Black & Company operated in New York City 1851-1875. In 1876 Ball, Black & Company was succeeded by Black, Starr & Frost, with William Black being an owner in both companies. Author Dorothy Rainwater notes in her reference, “Encyclopedia of American Silver Manufacturers,” that Ball, Black & Company in the 1860s “bought Reed & Barton wares ‘in the metal’ and operated their own plating establishment.”
The 5-piece sterling Ball, Black & Company silver tea and coffee set in our collection is inscribed, “Presented to Addison Day Esq. by the Employees of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Rail Road Co. December 1st 1868.” Day had served as a superintendent of the rail line. According to materials accompanying the 5-piece sterling set, Day helped to bring a main line of the New York Central Rail Road into Rome, NY, and as a result, the Rome Iron Works began production in 1866. Day continued to encourage the development of other businesses in the city. The Rome Iron Works evolved into the Rome Brass & Copper Company, taking advantage of new materials and new markets. By 1920, Rome, NY, was sometimes referred to as “The Copper City,” producing 10 percent of all the copper consumed in the U.S. at the time. An offshoot of the Rome Brass & Copper Company was the Rome Manufacturing Company, which in 1936 introduced the first copper-bottomed steel cooking utensils now known worldwide as “Revere Ware.” The full legacy of Day’s service to Rome, recognized by his employees shortly after the end of the American Civil War, would not be fully realized until shortly before the beginning of World War II.
Please note the exquisite detailing in the pieces in our 5-piece Addison Day sterling silver set, particularly the Spartan helmet finials. The set includes a teapot, coffee pot, creamer, sugar bowl, and waste bowl – total weight, 100 troy ounces.
Replacements, Ltd. has a remarkable array of sterling silver and silverplate items – crafted by some of the finest silver makers in the world – that can be seen in our museum or purchased in our showroom. Our showroom and museum are open from 9:00am to 7:00pm ET, 7 days a week (except holidays); free tours are available from 10:00am - 6:00pm, ET, 7 days a week. The showroom and museum are conveniently located between Greensboro and Burlington, NC, at exit 132 off Interstate 85/40. We look forward to seeing you!