Henry Jarvis Silversmith


Back in July I acquired a tool chest.
(Note to see any of the photo's full size just click on it and use your back button
to return to the page)

Upon opening the chest the following contents were revealed

Digging deeper into the box

There was almost a complete set of silversmith's tools.  They had all been dipped into some kind of tar
to protect them from rusting and put into the box.  The newspaper in the bottom of the box is from
Jan 26 & 27 1945.

Well upon cleaning them one of the items that I found was a try square, user made, I think from German
Silver.  This is signed Henry Jarvis Newburyport 1900.  It has the same J stamp as do most of the tools.

One of the other items found was this shovel.  A silversmith would always collect the "saw dust" and
remelt it.  This is also stamped and engraved.

All the hammers and almost all the stakes were hand forged.  There was a total of 31 hammers in the box.
26 silversmiths hammers, 1 small straight peen, 3 regular cross peen hammers in various sizes and one
silversmith hammer that was pretty well destroyed (interesting that he saved it).  There were 18 hand held
stakes, 6 hardie style stakes, 2 unusual anvils or swages and one holder for most of the hardie stakes.  
Some are nicer, some are functional.

Also out of the box were a number of machinist tools, the one Darling & Swartz try square dated between
1855 - 1866.

Most of the rest of them could be dated before or very close to 1900.

Henry was quite the artist, as you can see from his hammers and stakes.  Every one
for a specfic purpose. To see them follow these links

 Silversmith Hammer Page

 Silversmith Stake Page

A lot of the hammers have either silver or German Silver wedges!

There were a number of other tools in there.  Most of his engraving tools he made himself.  Jewelers files.
 Couple of jeweler saws that appear to be user made. Burnishers, all user made.  There also a number of
what I can false faces for hammers, made of metal and held in place with wire.  There were a number of
various pliers in there (and of all the tools, they were in the "most" used condition.  The one cigar box is
full of wire clips, looking at the discoloration, they were used for holding pieces while they were soldered.
There were also 3 hand vises, one was pretty early looking to my eye, the other two are 19th century
vintage.  There is a small tin box, that has some odds and ends of silver in it and a couple of pieces of
ivory as well.

What's missing?  There were no drills other than one brace bit.  No piercing saw either.  Also gone are his
stamps.  Couple of light weight tongs are there but no soldering irons, torches or blowpipes.  They may
have been removed or in a seperate box now lost.  (The more I think about it, there was probably a
second box).

I have had no luck at all finding anything out about the man.  My guess is that he started working in 1900
(possibly the square marked the end of an apprenticeship).  He was getting near the end of days and
having no one to carry on the business,  he carefully preserved his tools and put them in the box.  They
probably were not touched until they acquired by an antiques dealer from Massachusetts from whom
I got them.

Took a lot of work to get them cleaned up (still have some ends and odds to do).  I was accused of
having way too much fun with this...

Tony