Maker: John C. Moore (ca. 1802–1874)

Retailer: Ball, Tompkins and Black (active 1839–51)

Date: 1850

Geography: Made in New York, New York, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Silver

Dimensions: Overall: 17 3/16 x 9 3/4 x 8 9/16 in. (43.7 x 24.8 x 21.7 cm); 75 oz. 12 dwt. (2351.3)
Body: H. 13 1/4 in. (33.7 cm); 50 oz. 15 dwt. (1578.9 g)
Stand: H. 4 1/4 in. (10.8 cm); 20 oz. 14 dwt. (644.3 g)
Lamp: 2 5/16 x 3 1/16 in. (5.9 x 7.8 cm); 4 oz. 2 dwt. (128.1 g)

Classification: Silver

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. F. R. Lefferts, 1969

Accession Number: 69.141.1a–d


This tea and coffee service was presented to Marshall Lefferts (1821–1876) upon his retirement as president of the companies that installed the first telegraph wires to link New York with Boston and Buffalo. Each piece is engraved with a version of the following inscription: "To MARSHALL LEFFERTS, ESQ. President of the New York and New England and New York State Telegraph Companies, from the Stockholders & Associated Press of New York City. As a token of the satisfaction and confidence inspired by his efficient services in advancing the cause and credit of the Telegraph System, the noblest enterprize of this eventful age. New York, June 25, 1850." The service, which originally included several other pieces, is decorated with the robust, naturalistic repoussé motifs typical of the Rococo Revival style. The kettle features a symbolic allusion to Lefferts' achievements in the figure of Zeus holding lightning bolts, which is affixed to the cover as a finial. Although designed and manufactured by John Chandler Moore (who later worked for Tiffany & Company), the service was retailed by the New York firm of Ball, Tompkins & Black. The Sheffield, England, firm of James Dixon & Sons manufactured the substantial accompanying tray, also retailed by Ball, Tompkins & Black and engraved with the same inscription as on other parts of the service.