MARK: Struck on face of square plinth base with an intaglio “LBuichle” (script) mark in a rectangle reserve flanked by intaglio spread-wing eagles in oval reserves. Eagle marks are found on many pieces of Baltimore silver, beginning shortly after 1800 and continuing after 1814 when the city’s official Assay Office was established. It is believed that the marks were first used in the city by a group of Baltimore silversmiths to signify the quality of their silver. It was through the efforts of this group that the Baltimore Assay Office, the first of its kind in America, was established. Eagle marks are also found on silver made in many cities throughout America during the Federal period and may have served as an informal national mark, similar to the lion’s head, thistle, and harp used, respectively, by British, Scottish, and Irish guild halls. They marks may also have been used by large manufacturers selling their wares to be retailed by other silversmiths and jewelers. See Catherine B. Hollan, “Eagle Marks on American Silver” (McLean, VA: Hollan Press, 2015).
MAKER: Although quite a bit of silver marked by Lewis Buichle survives, very little is known about the silversmith and his life. He was a member of the Zion German Lutheran Church an two flagons at the church are attributed to him. Buichle conducted his business at 4 Baltimore St. from 1788 through 1802. In the American Gazette and Daily Advertiser of 8 July 1799, Lewis Buichle, “GOLD and SILVERSMITH,” announced that he had commenced business at a stand near Philpot’s Bridge where he had, “a few articles of PLATE on hand which he would sell low, or exchange for GOLD or SILVER.” In 1802 he left Baltimore for Europe and in September of that year his apprentice David Barriere was re-indentured to silversmith Simon Wedge, indicating that Buichle’s absence from Baltimore was to be permanent. See Jacob Hall Pleasants and Howard Sill, “Maryland Silversmiths, 1715-1830” (Baltimore, MD: Lord Baltimore Press, 1930) and Jennifer Faulds Goldsborough, “Silver in Maryland” (Baltimore, MD: Maryland Historical Society, 1983).
FORM: For most of the eighteenth century the accouterments of the tea ceremony were acquired separately and did not necessarily match in style and shape. By the 1790s, all elements of a tea service (coffeepot, teapot, sugar bowl, waste bowl, and cream pitcher) were made somewhat uniformly in style, with the smaller pieces following the form of the coffee and teapots. Silver pitchers in Colonial America were most often small cream pitchers in the rococo fashion that were used as part of the tea ceremony to serve milk. The term “pitcher” is most commonly used in the United States and can be applied to any container with a spout for pouring liquids. In other English-speaking countries, the term “jug” is use more prevalently.