ORM 2017/178 Napkin ring, Gift of the Gartrell family Stokes & Sons, EPNS napkin ring with engraved floral motif and beaded edges
An object can tell many stories, and sometimes a bit of investigation is required to find out all of its secrets.
Most pieces of silver or plateware will feature a manufacturer’s mark. These marks can help you identify where the object was made, by whom and when. This napkin ring, recently donated to Orange Regional Museum, has a manufacturer’s mark featuring a six pointed star with an “S” within, and an upturned boomerang above. Under the star and boomerang are the letters “EPNS S&S”.
ORM 2017/178 Napkin ring
We know that “EPNS” refers to the material the napkin ring is made of, electroplated nickel silver. To identify the other marks on the napkin ring we used a few simple online resources; firstly the directory of Australian Silversmiths (http://www.silvercollection.it/AUSTRALIASILVERSMITHSA.html) which gives an alphabetical list of silversmiths and marks. Assuming that the “S” is significant as it appears within the star and is also feature in the last section of the mark “S&S”, a quick look under ‘S’ leads us to a very similar mark by Thomas Stokes who was active in Melbourne from the 1850s.
Using this information we then verify the mark through a matching example in another museum’s collection. On this occasion we searched the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences’ (MAAS) collection. Searching by the term ‘Thomas Stokes’ in the online catalogue (https://collection.maas.museum/) we find a decorative napkin ring made by Stokes and Sons in Melbourne c1920 with a matching manufacturer’s mark (https://collection.maas.museum/object/11681#&gid=1&pid=3).
Having positively identified the mark we conclude that the “S&S” refers to Stokes and Sons. Thomas Stokes emigrated from England in the 1850s and by 1856 had established himself as prominent a metalwork silverware producer. From 1896 Thomas’s sons, Harry, Thomas Jr. and Vincent, joined the firm and it began trading as Stokes & Sons. The MAAS has undertaken research into the manufacturer allowing us to establish a date range of manufacture as being between 1896 and 1920 by Thomas Stokes and his sons at their factory on Caledonian Lane, Melbourne, Victoria.
Why not see if you can find out about your own objects at home? We would love to hear about any discoveries.
A fascinating link to Orange’s past is presented by a glass cordial bottle with the name ‘F.H BROWN EAST ORANGE’ moulded on the front. Held in Orange Regional Museum’s collection, the bottle was found in the East Orange Channel by Orange City Council staff during works undertaken in 2016.
Glass cordial bottle, ‘F.H BROWN EAST ORANGE’, found in the East Orange Channel during works in 2016. ORM2016/227 Orange Regional Museum collection
Mr. F.H Brown was not Orange’s luckiest man, his cordial factory on Autumn Street in East Orange was up for sale in September 1914. However the sale did not go ahead as another article published by the Orange Leader reports his breach of the industrial act in July 1915. F.H Brown was fined for failing to keep time sheets and for pay sheets not being correctly written. His defense was that they were most likely placed in the waste paper basket. Found guilty Mr. Brown was fined £1.
Bad luck continued when Mr. F.H Brown’s cordial factory was destroyed by fire on Friday 13th December 1918. £1050 (over $50,000 in today’s money) worth of damage was done to the factory and machinery.
The fire seems to have been the final nail in the coffin for Mr. Brown as between February 1919 and late 1920 notices for the sale of a car, carts, wagons, scales, pumps and pipes were advertised in the local paper.
The bottle is a codd design that was used for carbonated drinks. This type of bottle is closed by a glass marble in the neck and a rubber seal in the lip. The bottles were filled upside down and the pressure of the carbonated drink closed the marble against the rubber seal. When opened the marble would fall into a larger chamber in the neck allowing the drink to be poured.
Because of the inclusion of the marble many of these bottles were broken after use to retrieve the marble for children’s entertainment. The bottle in the museum’s collection seems to have be broken for this purpose.
In October 1909 Mr. Walter Edgar Barrett was busy enlarging his factory to fit a new state of the art carbonating machine. At the time Mr. Barrett of Summer Street, Orange was the owner of the largest aerated water, cordial and ice works in the Western Districts and had recently been awarded prizes for his ‘non-intoxicating ale’ at the Royal Agricultural Show.
Barrett’s Cordial Factory, Orange, Catholic Press, Sydney, Thursday 14 October 1909
The Barrett’s cordial empire started with Walter’s father Thomas Barrett, who came to Orange from Bathurst to set up his business. By the time of Thomas Barrett’s death in 1916 the cordial business had been sold to a Mr. Cartwright. Cartwright held on to the business for about 12 months before selling to Mr. T.G.A Williams in 1917.
Found during excavation of the Orange Regional Museum site and held in the Museum’s collection, is a glass cordial bottle with ‘BARRETT ORANGE’ stamped on the side, indicating it’s use in the Barrett cordial factory on Summer Street. The bottle is a torpedo shape, designed to stop the bottle from being stood up. The cordial would then keep in contact with the cork so that the cork would not dry out and shrink, falling into the bottle.
Green glass torpedo-shaped cordial bottled marked ‘BARRETT ORANGE’. ORM2016/49 Orange Regional Museum collection
Cordial making in Orange was well established after the rush for gold at nearby Ophir in 1851. George Weily is believed to be one of the first manufacturers of cordials and ginger beer during in the 1860s. By the 1870s there were several firms specialising in making cordials in Orange.
A recent acquisition to the collection of Orange Regional Museum is a green glass bottle with wooden stopper, marked “W.S. STABBACK ORANGE”. William Samuel Stabback purchased the Phoenix Soda and Cordial Factory from Josiah Parker in 1871. The factory was located in a lane off Anson Street, now Stibbard’s Lane, (possibly a misspelling of the name Stabback).
Cordials were sold in a range flavours including; lemon, lime, raspberry and orange. The bottles were expensive to manufacture and were reused many times for the owner to make a profit. Often bottles were marked with the name of the manufacturer as can be seen with the Stabback’s bottle pictured below.
Advances in refrigeration and transport led to the decline of small cordial manufacturers. Whileys stopped manufacturing cordial in the 1960s.
Following from Josiah Parker’s carrier in cordial manufacturing he was Mayor of East Orange from 1888-1889. Similarly William Stabback was Mayor of East Orange in 1889, 1891-1893, 1895-1897.
Moulded green glass bottle with wood stopper, marked “W.S. STABBACK ORANGE”. ORM 2017/115 Gift of Denise Moriarty.
An 1894 dictionary of cookery, published by Cassell, Petter and Galpin, gives insight into the time intensive process of making cordial during the late 1800s. A recipe for Hops and Sherry Cordial involves shaking and pressing hops covering them with sherry and leaving for a month for the flavors to infuse. Following this the mixture is strained and sugar is added. The final product must be kept in ‘closely corked bottles’ and should be mixed with water to consume.
For more Victorian recipes including ginger, cinnamon and aromatic cordials check out the Cassell’s dictionary of cookery here.
Hops and Sherry Cordial Recipe, Cassell’s dictionary of cookery containing about nine thousand recipes, 1894
Making a donation
With generous support from the community, Orange Regional Museum is developing a heritage collection for use in the museum. Caring for the region’s history and heritage is an important part of the work of the museum. Developing the collection is a way of preserving unique stories about the region so they can be shared with current and future generations.
The museum is looking for objects that tell stories about Orange and the region, its history, people and places. Objects do not have to be beautiful, old or valuable to merit a place in the museum’s collection.
What sorts of objects are relevant to the museum? Here are the themes shaping the museum’s exhibitions and collection
Do you have an object that might be suitable for the museum?
- Tell us about your object
- To help the museum consider your offer of donation please tell us about your object by providing the following information
- Your name, phone number and email address
- A description of the object and its date
- Information about who owned and used the object and its connection to the history of the Orange region
- Is there any supporting information such as a photo of the item in use or the original owner, a film clip or other documentation?
- How did you come to own the object?
- Attach a photo of the object
Please do not send the object or original photos or documents, and do not leave the object at Council.
Contact us by email with the above information to have your offer reviewed firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 6393 8170
How the Museum will assess your offer
All offers of donation are considered by the Museum and Heritage Co-ordinator, drawing on expert curatorial advice if required.
Orange Regional Museum’s Heritage Collection Policy guides decisions on offers of donation. Sadly not all offers of donation can be accepted. The museum will assess your offer by considering its relevance to the museum’s collecting themes, its significance, condition and whether the museum has the resources to care for the item.
The museum does not accept items on long term loan but will consider short terms loans if the item is suitable to the exhibition theme. See Orange Regional Museum Heritage Collection Policy. ST131 – DRAFT – Strategic Policy – Orange Regional Museum Heritage Collection
Image: Tea pot, Orange Regional Museum collection, gift of the Gartrell family
Villages of the Heart is a major project currently being developed by Orange City Council, in conjunction with Blayney and Cabonne Councils with funding from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
Villages of the Heart aims to capture stories from the past to the present through the themes of; village secrets, village produce; village places and village gold.
Stage 1 of VOH in 2013 developed a contextual history of the villages, together with around 30 oral histories.
Stage 2 in 2014-16 built on this work through a Regional Partnership Grant between Orange Regional Museum and Sydney Living Museums (SLM), with funding support from Arts NSW. The work with SLM focussed on a key theme in the Villages research – From Paddock to Plate, about the produce, food and culinary history of region and its villages and people. This included building skills in the community museums in developing public programs abound their distinctive food stories. Among the public programs delivered in the last two years, Carcoar Hospital Museum held a ‘Farewell Dr Rowland Dinner’ framed around an 1867 dinner to farewell its local doctor, with food inspired by the original menu. http://blogs.hht.net.au/cook/farewell-dr-rowland/ Molong Museum celebrated the Packham pear with legendary CWA cook and MasterChef star Merle Parrish, cooking a pear and spice cake with the Packham pear, ORM hosted a masterclass with SLM’s gastronomer Jacqui Newling on food programming in museums and organised a community picnic in Lucknow village inspired by a community picnic held in the 1880shttp://blogs.sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/cook/?s=lucknow&submit=Search .
It is expected this work will help to inform and shape the Paddock to Plate exhibition and its public programs, supported by research for the thematic history
Visiting the museums and historic sites of the Orange, Cabonne, Blayney District provides an opportunity to experience the rural lifestyle of Australians at the time of Federation. Being able to see a 100 year old photo, farm machinery or tools used to craft the pioneer homes gives an appreciation of rural technology as well as the spirit of personal endeavour.
Explore the region through its Regional Museums Heritage Trail. Absorb the history and heritage of Australia’s colourful past. Explore Central NSW Museums