Fish Slice

Schulz & Fischer American
Retailer Hain & Pollard

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774

The mid-nineteenth century witnessed an efflorescence of creativity in the American silver industry, fueled by the burgeoning middle class’s increasing demand for refined luxury goods. Silversmiths devoted considerable time and creative energy to generating an endless variety of new designs and patterns. During the 1860s and 1870s silver flatware ornamented with portrait medallions inspired by antique coins and cameos enjoyed widespread popularity, with virtually every American silversmith producing their own proprietary "medallion" pattern. This fish slice is in a striking medallion pattern created by a partnership of German immigrant silversmiths named Wilhelm Schulz and Emil Fischer. The firm of Schulz & Fischer provided silver to a well-heeled clientele in San Francisco through retailers such as Hain & Pollard, whose mark appears on the fish slice. From the coast to coast, Americans sought medallion flatware for their tables.

Fish Slice, Schulz & Fischer (American, 1868–1887), Silver, American

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