Gorham Manfucturing Co. History and samples. ( American Whistle Manufacturers), Vesta case whistle combo, Match safe whistles, and other samples. ( At work)

Gorham Manfucturing Company, Gorham MFG. Co.  

SEE NOTE ( I had also updated list of American  and  british whistle manufacturers with links to history and samples)

== General History ==

Gorham silver was founded in Providence, Rhode Island 1831 by Jabez Gorham[, a master craftsman, in partnership with Henry L. Webster The firm's chief product was spoons of coin silver. The company also made thimbles, combs, jewelry, and other small items. In 1842, a tariff which effectively blocked the importation of silverware from outside the United States was passed, which aided the American silver industry. 
In 1847 Jabez retired and his son, John Gorham, succeeded him as head of the company.
John Gorham introduced mechanized production methods, . In 1852 Gorham toured many of Europe's silver workshops and manufacturers, speaking with individual specialists, including master craftsmen and toolmakers. He also sought out highly skilled foreign workmen to train his American workers. George Wilkinson, a premier designer and workshop manager, was hired from England.

During the heyday of American silver manufacturing, approximately 1850 - 1940, Gorham was highly influential.
The name  "Gorham Manufacturing Company"  was grunted to the firm in 1865.
In 1890 the company relocated to a factory on Adelaide Avenue in Providence
390 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan (NYCLPC)

In 1905 the firm opened a show and sales office on Fifth Avenue in New York City, which was designed for Gorham by renowned architect Stanford White.
In 1906 Gorham purchased another long-time rival, Kerr & Co, which was based in New Jersey.
The company was purchased by Textron in 1967, a move that some critics claim decreased quality due to management's lack of understanding of Gorham's specialty, producing high-quality sterling silverware and holloware.]Gorham was owned by Brown-Forman Corporation from 1991 to 2005 until it was sold to Department 56 in the Lenox holdings transaction.


 Gorham's whistles are rare and hard to find but present a large vareity of designs and shapes fron Beaufort whistles to teethers and to other whistle gudjets  made for the high class . I will bring few photos in the next few days.

There are many models that had not yet been found or documented yet ,

Vesta case Match Holders whistle combinations

 I bring here  , thanks to Mr. Vesta , some rare information discovered by him by years of research
 and hopefully you would be the first to identify these small treasures among your whistles or next time you watch ebay  ,
None of tese next catalog samples had been yet found as far as I know.
Gorham made over 1300 designs and variations of Match safes, we know of 4 early models made in the 1870's.
These samples were made 1876- 1887 by Cost records ** found at the Gorhamws company archives.

Gorham's match safe, the earliest cost (3) record found for this #180 was 10/10/1876.

Note that the whistle part is in the cover.and not as the European designs which have the whistle in the body case
This was typical of american designs I had previously observed..

 #181 was 3/5/1877
Gorham made a special sample of #181 with diamonds and rosettes, costed on 12/31/1877

First cost found in Gorham's archives for  #185 was dated 10/5/1876.

An early Beaufort whistle made of silver, and stamps, L; 2.5 Inc.

Top close up

Ram's horn shaped whistle by Gorham MFG. Co.

Whistle and rattle with all the 'Bells and Whistles' Jester face design, note the unique window desgin tho drawing on French and British style elements of the time it is an original American rattle and whistle design.

Another Gorham's rattle and whistle ( missing two bells) L; 2.5 inch


Below a compass whistle combo from 1925 by Gorham.


Compass dial close up view, note original hand written compass dial design, See thru Crystal on both sides

To be cont.

For vesta case enthusiasts
The International Match Safe recently published a book a and CD about Gorham's match safes.

Also Gorham was not just a 'Whistle manufacturer' and whistle making was certainly a very small portion of the endless silver works, silver ware and products  they made I consider the part of his whistle making important as the samples shed light on the making of some unique whistles that were made over a long  period 1870's to late 1920's reflecting propably more than any other  single American whistle manufacturer  the changes in whistles styles and designs made for the upper classes .

**Gorham company website  and see Wikipedia, from which the General History was adopted.

*** (3) The cost record is a summary of the time, money and materials spent to produce an item.
During these early years all the costing information was kept in a ledger, Starting around 1890 they used individual slips of paper of each item.

Article by Avner Strauss , Special thanks  to Mr. Vesta for his kind great help pictures and contribution on the match holder whistle combos.
 WHISTLE MUSEUM 2010 courtesy of Http://www.straussltd.com ( Art education in Israel)


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  • 8/30/2010 9:52 PM kleidigger wrote:
    How can i send you pictures of my whistle from the 15th century, from silber founded on a rally in 2009 in your country. Dont have mailing adres from you. I tell you its a beauty..

    Greetz from the netherlands
    Reply to this
  • 11/19/2010 3:02 AM TERESA BLAKE wrote:
    hi have a RA Walton Provisional protection no 10492 city police whistle. it is old and used. there is a dent by the end of the words provisional and protection. i am looking for the value and a buyer. thank you
    Reply to this

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