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Metals (FG) - Encylopedia Of Antiques

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FENDER: A guard of pierced metal or wire, to place before an open fire. They were often made of sheet brass with a design cut from the metal in the desired pattern. First used about the middle of the 18th century.

FIRE BACKS: Plates of cast iron set into the backs of open fireplaces to prevent the destruction of the back wall of the hearth. The outward surface of these was usually covered with a relief design for ornament. Fire backs have pedimented tops which distinguish them from stoveplates (q.v.).

FIRE DOGS: Fire dogs was the early name given to andirons, due to their shape, more or less resembling dogs. See ANDIRONS.

FIREPLACE TOOLS: The tools and accessories of the fireplace in Colonial times were usually made of iron and were of many kinds, for a great variety of purposes. They included the crane (q.v.), pot hooks, shovel, tongs, slice bar, fire fork for manipulating the logs, pots and kettles (cauldron, q.v.), spit for roasting, clock jack (q.v.), gridiron (q.v.), skillet (q.v.), trivet (q.v.), frying pan, toaster (q.v.), toasting fork, skimmers, ladles, and, of course, the fire dogs (andirons, q.v.). Kitchen paraphernalia was shaped mainly on English lines, although in some of the Colonies examples show the influence of other European countries.

FLAGONS: The flagon was an elongated tankard (q.v. ) of silver or of pewter, which generally served as a sacramental vessel, although not confined to such purpose. At first the lid was flat, but later it was shaped as a dome with a finial. Sometimes the flagon was made with a spout. It was not until early in the 18th century that the flagon was made in this country.


FOOT WARMER: A sheet iron or tin plated box, usally about nine inches square and six inches high, with holes punched in the sides and top and set into a wooden frame with a wire handle to carry it by. They were used for keeping the feet warm when traveling or were taken to church, where in the winter time there was no heat. They were filled with live coals from the fireplace.

FORKS, TABLE: Forks first appeared in Italy in the 15th century, but they did not come into general use there until the next century. Their use gradually spread to other European countries and appeared in England early in the 18th century. With two, three or four prongs, the stems or handles followed designs of contemporary spoons. Forks were not made to any extent by Colonial silversmiths, although iron or steel forks with bone handles, sometimes with silver handles, were in common use in this country in the 18th century.



GADROON: An ornament on silver or pewter similar to fluting or more correctly, reeding, as the repousse (q.v.) work between the lines is usually convex. The term gadroon is generally applied to the narrow borders or edges, while the deeper work on the bodies is called fluting.

GARNISH: The pewterer's trade term for a complete set of a dozen platters, a dozen flat bowls and a dozen small flat plates.

GILDING: The processes of applying gilding to metal and to wood are very unlike. With metals, the early method was to apply to the metal surface a nitrate of mercury solution, then to rub this over with a thick amalgam consisting of gold and mercury. The article was then subjected to heat, which caused the gold to adhere and the mercury to evaporate. This process was known as mercurial or fire-gilding, and was very expensive. It was, however, effective, and under favorable conditions permanant. The modern method of gilding is by electroplating the article.

GIMBAL LAMP: A lighting device for ships, suspended so as always to remain level.


GOBLET: The name of goblet was given to the standing cup (q.v. ) in Colonial times in this country.

GODDARD: A drinking cup.

GRIDIRON: A wrought-iron kitchen utensil much in use in Colonial days for cooking over the fire. The form has changed but little during the long period of its usefulness.