Tea set with tray

ARTIST / MAKER: Tilden-Thurber Co. (retailer)
William B. Durgin Co. (maker)
DATE: early 20th c. (made)
PLACE: New Hampshire (made)
Rhode Island (retailed)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Silver and ivory, tray electroplate

Throughout the 19th century, tea-drinking was considered by Americans as unpatriotic due to its central role in Britain’s imperial and economic rule over North America. The coffee plantations in South America and the Caribbean also made coffee a cheaper beverage, that was easier to access. Nevertheless, tea was still imported into America in significant quantities, and elaborate tea sets such as this were still being produced at the end of the century. Although the silver vessels in this set bear the marks for the William B. Durgin Company, it is possible that the set was in fact produced by the Gorham Manufacturing Company – to which the company was sold in 1905 – as Gorham continued to produce under the Durgin name until the 1940s.