Captain spoons

For information you'd like to share - Post it here - not for questions
Scotrab
contributor
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:35 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Captain spoons

Postby Scotrab » Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:51 pm

Nice spoon, Hose.

The commercial House Fenger & Co. was founded in the mid-1700 by Johann Joachim Fenger, originally from Wismar in Germany, as J. J. Fenger. On his death in 1785 the firm became Fenger & Co. and later J. J. Fenger Wittwe & J. G. Böttcher until the son of the founder took over the firm and changed the name back to Fenger & Co. which remained unchanged since. The firm had numerous commercial and financial activities and in later years was closely connected with the firm Kriegsmann & Co. In 1875 Fenger & Co. celebrated its 100-years anniversary, with the participation of members of the City Council of Riga and of the Riga Stock Exchange. Entries for Fenger & Co. can be found in the address books for Riga for several years from 1861, and it is possible that a connection existed until 1926/27, in the newly-founded Republic of Latvia. Several members of the Fenger family in later years were Royal Danish Consuls.

The maker for the spoon is Georg Michael Vendt (Wendt), born 1781, son of the goldsmith Georg Vendt, became master and member of the guild 1805. Died in 1854.

Scotrab
contributor
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:35 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Captain spoons

Postby Scotrab » Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:57 pm

I forgot to add.

The assay master was Vladimir Alekseyevich Galkin, assayer in Riga 1841-45

SilverK
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:46 pm

Re: Captain spoons

Postby SilverK » Wed Oct 07, 2015 4:34 pm

I came across this topic and thought I would add my own example of what I think is a Captain's spoon.

It has a very detailed die-stamped finial depicting a picture of what I think is a barque (I'm happy to be corrected) and the intertwined serpents typically used in medicine. It would be very interesting if anyone knows how these these two elements come to be on the same spoon. It also has a cartouche which I think has been erased, so doesn't give me a clue as to the Captain.

Pricked to the reverse of the finial is: 'Jacob Jacke & Comp Pernau 186?', the exact year being hidden by an inconvenient black mark which I should clean at some point, but is possibly a 7. Unfortunately, there's no maker's mark.

Image
Image
Image

Jacob Jacke was a well known shipping company, see the following, extremely informative articles from The Finial:

http://www.bexfield.co.uk/thefinial/pdf/20-04.pdf
http://www.bexfield.co.uk/thefinial/pdf/21-02.pdf

The spoon is much later than most of the examples shown on this topic, perhaps the latest to date. There is a remarkable difference between those at the turn of the 18th/19th century, which are very plain, whilst mine is extremely detailed. However, hose_dk's example, dated 1843, is much closer, probably indicating an increased level of sophistication as the 19th century wore on.

Scotrab
contributor
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:35 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Captain spoons

Postby Scotrab » Wed Oct 07, 2015 6:08 pm

Your spoon is indeed a Captain's Spoon. As you indicate, it was given by the commercial house of Jacob Jacke in Pernau in 1867. Pernau was then in the province of Livonia (Livland) in the Russian Empire. It is now know as Pärnu and is in Estonia.

The pattern is typical for the spoons from Pernau from the late 1860s and well into the 1870s. It shows the vessel typical for the Baltic trade, called a kof(f) (also kofschip in Dutch, Kogge in German), rigged with two masts as shown, flat bottomed and with a tonnage typically of 75-150 tonnes. The two intertwined snakes come from the staff of Mercury, the god of commerce. The cartouche may or may not have the initials of the captain, or quite often of another member of the family, to whom it was given to celebrate a birth or a christening or a marriage. The initials were usually inscribed later. The remarkable thing is that spoons from Pernau of this type and these years are in general not marked with maker's mark or with assayer's and town mark. The reason is not really know and it can be speculated upon, but this makes the spoon technically illegal! I have seen very many spoons of this kind from various commercial houses in Pernau and none of them is marked. Incidentally, Riga has also spoons with a nautical/commercial pattern, as shown in hose's recent post. His spoon is fully and correctly marked.

SilverK
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:46 pm

Re: Captain spoons

Postby SilverK » Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:06 am

Thanks very much indeed Scotrab for that really well informed reply and I only posted this yesterday!

Hose_dk
contributor
Posts: 1461
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 1:39 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: Captain spoons

Postby Hose_dk » Fri Dec 25, 2015 6:41 am

Image
Image
Image
Image
Thm Clayhills & Sohn Reval 1872

http://www.clayhills.ee/en/about/history.html
And a forefather Burgermeister in Reval - spoons with a nice proviens.
http://www.geni.com/people/Thomas-Clayh ... 5045744043

Scotrab
contributor
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:35 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Captain spoons

Postby Scotrab » Fri Dec 25, 2015 9:04 am

Hose_dk wrote:Image
Image
Image
Image
Thm Clayhills & Sohn Reval 1872

http://www.clayhills.ee/en/about/history.html
And a forefather Burgermeister in Reval - spoons with a nice proviens.
http://www.geni.com/people/Thomas-Clayh ... 5045744043


I see that Julemanden with his Julenisser have been to your house, Hose!

The spoon was made by Carl Reinhold Hefftler, active in Wesenberg (now Rakvere) 1835-1880. Apprenticed to A. F. Lundmann in Weissenstein (now Paide) and from 1826-29 to J. H. Schubert in Wesenberg (Rakvere). From summer 1835 he was also joint master (Mitmeister) in Reval (now Tallinn). He died in 1880. The spoon was assayed in 1872 by V. A. Khatuntsev, in office in Reval 1869-73.

The firm was established around 1633 by the Reval merchant, Thomas von Drenteln. After his death the company was left to the Clayhills family, which originated from Dundee in Scotland. Thomas Clayhills was born as a merchant's son in 1626 and moved to Danzig and further on to Riga around 1639. His sons, Johann, Thomas and Hermann, moved to Reval. Johann Clayhills, who obtained the burghership of Tallinn in 1684, married the daughter of Thomas von Drenteln and inherited the company of his father-in-law. His son Thomas Clayhills, the mayor (Bürgermeister) of the town, left the company to his son Hermann Johann Clayhills (1719-1770), who gave the company its name Thomas Clayhills & Sohn. After the death of Hermann Johann Clayhills, the company passed into the hands of his widow's relatives, the Girard family, in 1782. It remained in the possession of the Girards until the early twentieth century. In the late eighteenth century, the company bought its first ships. It imported mostly salt, iron, herring (in particular the young spring herring from Western Norway), codfish, tobacco, hops, etc. and exported flax, grain and timber products, later also asbestos and cement. The company developed strong business contacts with several towns in Germany (Hamburg, Lübeck), Denmark (Copenhagen), England (Liverpool) and Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg). The business continued to grow and extend its scope. In the nineteenth century, a cement factory was set up in Kunda, and an oil-shale mine in Uppia (now Ubja) and a gypsum mine in Irboska (also called Izborsk) were bought. The company made investments in many of the most important industries both in Estonia and Russia and had a very substantial part of the Estonian import and export business. The company was nationalised by the Soviets in 1940/1941.

The building of the firm Thomas Clayhills & Sohn has become a successful gastropub in Tallinn, retaining the same name.

Do you have any information about the captain who received the spoons?

Hose_dk
contributor
Posts: 1461
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 1:39 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: Captain spoons

Postby Hose_dk » Fri Dec 25, 2015 6:16 pm

Sorry no idea of origin.
And yes they are very nice - but not mine, saw them to late :(

Hose_dk
contributor
Posts: 1461
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 1:39 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: Captain spoons

Postby Hose_dk » Thu Oct 13, 2016 1:31 pm

Image ImageImage
Image
Image

Scotrab
contributor
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:35 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Captain spoons

Postby Scotrab » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:06 am

On 28 September 2017 Goldstein presented in an entry in the chapter on Russian Silver a Captain's Spoon from Riga from the merchant house Hill Gebrüder and in a second entry another spoon from J. Fenger & Co. The entries are at
http://www.925-1000.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=48787

I had indicated there that I would provide some more information and I mentioned that I would enter it here in this forum, where it is more appropriate.

The first spoon shown by Goldstein was made in 1859 by Carl Theodor Beyermann for the merchant house of Hill Gebrüder (Brothers Hill), is perhaps the nicest of the captain's spoons known and is quite rare: only few of them are known, one in the Northern Maritime Museum in Groningen and now Goldstein's spoon. Another one was described in an article in the Papenburger Blätter Nr. 5, 1/84, p. 14. The article is interesting because apart from mentioning the spoon it says also that "the nicest of these presents to skippers is probably a knife, the handle of which shows a 6 x 2 cm view of the Baltic city of Riga". This of course is precisely what Goldstein's spoon shows. The author says that the knife carries the assay mark of St. Petersburg and the engraving Hill Gebrüder. Unfortunately the author does not show the maker's and city marks and therefore we don't know whether it is really a silversmith from St. Petersburg, or C. T. Beyermann or someone else from Riga.

The merchant house Hill Gebr. was very well known and very active in Riga both as freight and ships' agents and as merchants in their own right during the middle to late part of the 19th century. James Henry, Richard and Nicholas Hill appear in the 1861 address book for Riga. Richard Hill was also vice-consul for Great Britain. The firm was actively trading until later years and went into liquidation in 1898-99. The liquidation was still ongoing in 1901 and was completed by 1904. A much better and clear picture of the activities of Hill Gebr. can be obtained by inspecting the cargo lists of the Imperial Russian Customs Authority (they are called Waage-Bücher), held in the archives of the Historical and Maritime Museum in Riga. The books were compiled yearly and show for each departing ship the name of the vessel, the captain, the cargo and its composition, its destination and, more interestingly, the names of the merchants exporting the merchandise and the names of the ships'/cargo agents. From these books we can get a good idea of Hill Gebr. activity and of course also of other merchant houses.

Regarding the 1843 spoon by Georg Michael Vendt from the merchant house J. Fenger & Co., the spoon is identical to the spoon shown by Hose_dk on 2 August 2015 in this chapter, where there is also a short note on the Fenger merchant house. Here I would only like to add that several other example of spoons from J. Fenger & Co. are known: most are plain, normal spoon with only the firm's name, Riga and the year engraved. Goldstein's specimen belong to the types of spoons made specifically to be given to ship's captains and several different patterns of decoration are known. Many spoons from Pernau (now Pärnu in Estonia) of the 1860-80's years are decorated in this way.


Return to “Contributors' Notes”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests