These plates are both exceedingly rare and beautiful. The large plates have raised sides with a wide rim. Made from individual sheets of silver, they are of heavy gauge and have a stunning, hammered surface that shimmers. Each of the plates has a rolled edge for smoothness and strengthening.
True to the famous Chicago arts & crafts style, the chased border of flowers and heart-shaped leaves are spectacularly executed. Kalo silver chasing in the arts & crafts style is very rare.
Chased in the center of the plates is a stunning 'JFM' monogram ornamented with the same flowers and leaves. The monogram is for James F. Meagher.
Plates 2 - 12 are inscribed on the back:
is number 2 [or 3, etc.] of a set of 12 Plates
James F. Meagher
The full presentation is inscribed on plate number 1 and reads:
is one of a Set of Twelve
James F. Meagher
as an evidence of the High Appreciation of
The Peoples Gas Light & Coke Company
for the Unusual Service rendered by
him during Many Years as Counsel,
The Peoples Gas Light & Power Company was first organized in Chicago in 1855 with original capital of $500,000.00. Ten years later, their capital grew to $4 million and by 1897, the capital was $25 million.(1)
James Francis Meagher was 'chief counsel for the People's company; from 1906-1912 he was vice-president of the company, and from 1912 to 1915 its president.... Born on Long Island, New York, on Jan 26, 1858, he was brought to Chicago by his parents immediately after the Civil War. The father died soon after and the boy was thrown of his own resources at the age of 11'. At age 13 he started working as an office boy in a law firm. He studied law and was admitted to the Bar in 1880 and started his own law practice in 1886. 'Mr Meagher devoted all his time to the practice of law and the affairs of the People's gas company'.(2)
The Kalo Shop is known for its bold hammered surfaces and creative, forward looking arts & crafts designs. It was started by Clara Barck Welles who was 'known for her fair employment practices and for giving opportunities to women to become metalsmiths'.(3)
These magnificent plates are marked underneath 'STERLING/ HAND WROUGHT/AT/ The KALO SHOPS/ Chicago/ AND/ NEW YORK/ 324/ L'. They measure 11 inches in diameter, weigh an impressive 189.70 troy ounces and are in very good/ excellent antique condition.
Investor's Manual, (Chicago: Economist Publishing Company, 1909) , p. 86.
American Gas Journal, volume 107, November 10, 1917, p. 440.
- Sharon S. Darling, Chicago Metalsmiths, (Chicago: Chicago Historical Society, 1977), p. 48.