Calder, William – American pewterer

A Providence, Rhode Island pewter porringer bearing the touch of William Calder

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A pewter porringer by William Calder

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A Providence, Rhode Island pewter plate by William Calder

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A Providence, Rhode Island pewter flagon by William Calder

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William Calder (1792-1856)

William Calder of Providence, Rhode Island began pewtering circa 1824 and worked until his death in 1856. He and Thomas D. Boardman of Hartford, Connecticut are responsible for the great majority of the surviving porringers of early American origin. Calder’s porringer output is second only to Samuel Hamlin also from Providence. Most Calder porringers measure from four and seven-eights to five and a quarter inches and carry the Eagle touch. His mark is believed to appear on other works as well.

Calder is known also to be one of the very few makers of the so-called “courting” or “sparking” lamps. These circa 1825 Calder lamps are about three and a half inches tall.

Not only are Calder pewter pieces scarce, but a somewhat mysterious vogue for his work has been continuous in New England and makes specimens of his handicraft harder to come by than they otherwise would be.


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