Collections › MESDA Collection › Beaker


Duhme & Co.
Place Made:
Cincinnati Ohio United States of America
Date Made:
HOA: 3-1/2″
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Silver agricultural fair premium in the form of a beaker with applied ring molding at rim and around base. The body of the beaker tapers very slightly from the rim to base.

INSCRIPTION: Engraved on side of body: “Premium Best Prize Bull Bourbon Co Agl. Society 1859 Samuel Clay” and “J.C.G.” The beaker was a premium awarded at the 1859 Bourbon County Agricultural fair held in Bourbon County, Kentucky.

MARK: Struck with an intaglio “DUHME & CO” and “1” marks on underside of base.

MAKER: The business was begun in Cincinatti, Ohio by Hermann Duhme in 1839. The firm changed its name in The Duhme Jewelry Company in 1896.

FORM: Agricultural fair prizes, or premiums, were often engraved silver pitchers, goblets, cups, and beakers rather than cash money. The silver premiums, it was hoped, would become treasured family mementos and foster continued innovation in farming communities because agricultural experimentation and adaptation were paramount to the success of American farmers of the nineteenth century. During that period, as lands in the American Deep South, Midwest and Far West were settled, the unique soils and unfamiliar climates of those new regions required experimentation with crops, farming practices, and tools in order to establish a thriving agricultural economy. Agricultural and mechanical societies fostered and encouraged such innovations. By the 1850s, considered the golden age of the movement, there were nearly 1,000 agricultural and mechanical societies in America. The Civil War severely curtailed their growth, especially in the South, and by the late nineteenth century nearly all privately operated agricultural and mechanical societies had ceased to function. By the final decades of the nineteenth century the encouragement of agricultural innovation largely became a role for governmental agencies, many of which began to sponsor state and county fairs similar to those still operated today. See Gary Albert, “Of Troughs and Trophies: A Collection of Silver Agricultural Premiums,” The Magazine ANTIQUES, May/June 2017, 110-117.

The beaker was a premium awarded at the 1859 Bourbon County Agricultural fair held in Bourbon County, Kentucky.
Credit Line:
Loan courtesy of Hank and Mary Brockman