The Kalo Shop Hand Wrought Sterling Silver Arts & Crafts Seven Piece Coffee and Tea Service with Tray, Chicago, Illinois - c. 1916-17
This coffee service is one of the most spectacular examples of Chicago arts & crafts silver we have ever seen. The individual pieces are rare and to have a whole service with tray is just amazing, not to mention the sizes, weights and designs of the pieces.
Melon-shaped bodies are beautifully hand-raised with dramatic lobing attached to domed, stepped pedestal bases. Hinged, dome covers to the pots are surmounted with ivory and silver bead finials. The curved spouts and dramatic handles with their original ivory insulators are lovely. Entirely hand-raised, the pieces sparkle with wonderful hammering to the surfaces. Adorning all the pieces is a lovely applied 'B' monogram on one side. One of the most striking hot water kettles we have seen is this example with its original stand and burner. The shape of the stand and the curved supports and pierced feet are amazing.
The large tray in itself is quite an accomplishment for any silversmith to execute. It has a raised edge with wide border. A shaped design which complements the lobing is incorporated into the ends. As with the other pieces, there is an applied 'B' monogram (on both ends) and a beautifully hammered surface.
The Kalo Shop is known for its 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'.(1)The Kalo Shop Hand Wrought Sterling Silver Arts & Crafts Seven Piece Coffee and Tea Service with Tray, Chicago, Illinois - c. 1916-17
Provenance: Lena and Centennial Harry Benedict Manson Benedict private collection.
C. Harry Benedict was a metallurgist and inventor of the ammonia leaching process for the recovery of copper from its ores. His son, Manson, was an important nuclear physicist - a supervisor at the Manhattan Project and the first professor of nuclear engineering at MIT.
This extraordinary coffee service is marked 'STERLING/ HAND WROUGHT/ AT/ THE KALO SHOP' along with model/inventory numbers on the pots, kettle, creamer, sugar and waste bowl. The stand to the kettle is marked 'KALO/ STERLING' and the tray is marked 'STERLING/ HAND WROUGHT/ AT/ THE KALO SHOPS/ CHICAGO/ AND/ NEW YORK'. The kettle on stand measures 13.5 inches high and the tray measures 26 inches long by 17.5 inches wide. The total weight of the service is 223 troy ounces (minus the burner) and it is in excellent antique condition. An engraved social security number can be seen only underneath the pieces.
Sharon S. Darling, Chicago Metalsmiths, (Chicago: Chicago Historical Society, 1977), p. 48.
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