William Staniforth’s silver-plated Biscuit Box
William Staniforth’s Biscuit Box.
A silver plated mechanical Biscuit Box with gilt interior presented to Staniforth by Fenton Brothers for Christmas 1877 ‘as a Memento of the Success of his Design‘.
William Staniforth [1840-1902], the son of an Innkeeper, was born at Handsworth and apprenticed in 1854 to Townend and Schofield, die-sinkers in Sheffield. On completion of his apprenticeship, he was self-employed for a period before joining Fenton Brothers at their South Moor Works in 1870 as a designer, modeller and die-sinker. He rose to become managing director of Fentons and a partner in the business.
The design for this hinged double ‘Biscuit Casket’ [pattern number 3598] was registered on the 2nd September 1876. A variety of other patterns and iterations followed and proved extremely popular – most were made in silver plate but a small number in silver also [see an example marked in 1876 sold by Woolley and Wallis, auctioneers].
John Culme, ‘The Directory of Gold and Silversmiths, Jewellers and Allied Traders‘, (1987), notes that an example was on board the Dundee train which crashed in the Tay Bridge disaster but survived because well-packed and was subsequently on view in their showrooms.
By 1894, the firm had introduced a triple compartment version of the ‘biscuit satchel’ Later examples of these biscuit boxes are usually also stamped ‘Staniforth’s Patent’.
This box is sold with a number of family papers, including the apprenticeship indenture of William Staniforth, and a photograph of Staniforth.
Good with some surface marking.
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