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Metals (C) - Encylopedia Of Antiques

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CAMPHENE LAMPS: A lamp made in early 19th century to burn a fluid known as camphene and very inflammable. The wick tubes are smaller and longer than those of the whale oil burner, and they point away from each other.

CAN: A drinking cup important in Colonial America, of silver or other metals, with a rounded bottom and molded base. See MUGS, and TUMBLERS.

CANDELABRUM: This may be described as an ornamented, branched candlestick, as the name was applied to the candle-holder (girandole) with two or more branches attached to a mirror, as well as to the more elaborate branched candlestick, also sometimes called girandole, mounted on glass, pottery or marble bases, with two or more branches. These last were usually made in sets of three (two of them for a single candle) for the mantle, and were, as a rule, fitted with hanging glass prisms. They were introduced in the late 18th century and became very popular.

CANDLE BOX OR HOLDER: This was made of sheet metal, usually of tin plate, and hung on the wall, horizontally. In common use in England and in the Colonial period here.

CANDLE MOLDS Made of tin, tin plate, or of pewter, in tube form, into which the melted grease was poured after the wick had been hung in place. The number of tubes ranged from two upward. This process was much quicker than dipping.

CANDLE SNUFFERS: These first came into use in England in the first quarter of the 17th century and were used to trim or snuff the candlewick when the flame became yellow and smoky, or to extinguish the candle. They were at first made of iron, later of brass and silver. Those of silver are very rare. Usually a tray was provided for the snuffers to rest upon, and in the Georgian period short legs were attached to the snuffers to raise them from the surface of the tray. In the 18th century the snuffer formed part of the equipment of every household. With thes nuffer the extinguisher (q.v.) was usually to be seen.

CANDLE STANDS: The wooden or wrought-iron floor stand of the Colonial period for holding candles. It was usually adjustable by moving up or down on the pole or standard. Often branched for two or more candles.

CANDLESTICKS: A support with a socket for holding candles. The earliest candlesticks, however, were surmounted by a pricket (q.v.), which, although common in Europe, was not used in this country. Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries the candlestick was of a somewhat dwarf pattern. In this country in the 17th century, tall candle-holders or stands were made of wrought iron with tripod support. From the middle of the 17th century the candlestick constantly gained in use, until it was being made of pewter, brass and silver, rather taller and more ornate. Candlesticks of American silver of the late 17th or early 18th century are extremely rare, as are the English candlesticks dating earlier than the reign of Charles I. Many candlesticks were made with a slide for ejecting the stump of the candle. Some of the old brass candlesticks were cast in two parts and show a seam where they were welded together. The bedroom candlestick had a saucer at the bottom, with a ring for carrying and a coneshaped extinguisher attached. Later candlesticks were also made of glass and of pottery.


CASTERS: (or Castors) The roller casters for furniture were used onEnglish furniture earlyin the 18th century, and they were imported here along with other brass furniture hardware. They were at first generally of wood, but soon after made of brass.

Casters for holding condiments at table were small vessels of silver, cylindrical in shape, tapering toward the top with a high domed lid or cover, perforated and with a finial in the center. They were first made in England during the reign of Charles II, and they are among the early 18th-century products of the American silversmiths. They were later made of cheaper metals and became very common.

CAUDLE-CUP: (Also called Porringer or Posset-Cup) A gourd-shaped silver or pewter drinking cup with two handles. Its origin is traced to the time of Henry VIII, but during the reign of Charles II it became very popular, and next to the tankard in common use. Frequently it was made with a cover. It was a forerunner of the so-called loving cup of a later day. Although the caudle'cup was copied and made by Boston silversmiths as early as 1665, it does not appear to have been made by any other Colonial silversmiths. See POSSET'CUP.

CAULDRON: From earliest historic times the cauldron (called also kettle and pot) has been among the most important of household utensils. Usually made of iron, but often of brass or copper, it was constantly in use for cooking all boiled foods. In Colonial times meat was more often cooked by boiling than it was by roasting or baking.


CHALICE: A sacramental cup with a stem and foot, with straight or flared sides, often with a cover. The earliest piece of silver, whether ecclesiastical or secular, with an English hall-mark is a chalice with the London date letter 1479. The chalice was usually of silver, but pewter was sometimes used in Colonial times, and it was the only vessel in the Colonial churches that was never used for domestic purposes.

CHANDELIERS: The term applied to lights suspended from the ceiling. Chandeliers of rock crystal were made in England shortly after the Restoration. Wood, carved and gilded, or silver was employed. In the second half of the 18th century, chandeliers of cut glass and crystals, modeled after those of Versailles, became very elaborate. See LIGHTS.

CHARGERS: The largest of the pewter flatware. They were made in three or more sizes, the largest being nearly two feet in diameter.

CHASING: Chasing is much employed in the decoration of silver. It is usually done with tools without a cutting edge, that displace the metal by pressure, contrasted with engraving the metal by means of a sharp tool, which removes a portion of the metal surface. The term is also applied to refining the rough edges of castings.


CHINESE PEWTER: This product dates back at least two thousand years, and it has ever since then been a leading industry.


CLOCK JACK: (Also called Roasting Jack) A contrivance for turning roasting meat, hung on a hook in front of the fireplace. Those made in England were heavy and cumbersome. Simon Willard, of clock fame, made one lighter and more compact, enclosed in a brass case.





COPPERSMITH: The coppersmith has taken a prominent place among the craftsmen of all nations, and at all periods, and in many instances he has been acknowledged as an artist of no mean order. The product and the activities of the coppersmith in England were for centuries regulated by the Worshipful Company of Founders. During the first half of the 18th century coppersmiths from England came to this country and by the middle of the century were making here a large part of the brass and copper utensils used. The tools with which the ancient coppersmiths wrought and fashioned the most beautiful works are still used by the modern coppersmith.

CRANE, CHIMNEY: A wrought-iron bracket hung against the wall of the fireplace in the 17th and 18th centuries and made to swing to and fro over the hearth. In large fireplaces there were sometimes two of these cranes in place. Pot hooks were attached to them for suspending the cooking utensils.


CURTAIN-HOLDERS Metal curtain-holders for holding back window draperies made their appearance in the second half of the 18th century. See ROSETTES.

CUT-CARD WORK: This is a surface ornament on silver in relief, cut from a separate sheet of metal and applied. Usually it is employed as a border or as a decorative plate to receive the rise of a knob or handle. The style was derived from France and, it was in use in England and in this country from late 17th century until well into the 18th. Early examples were usually solid. Later they were frequently pierced.