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Winckler, John, Sr. ||Winckler, John, Jr.
Place Made:
Mecklenburg County Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
LOA: 9-1/4″
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Silver tablespoon with pointed shoulders and fiddle-shaped handle.

INSCRIPTION: Engraved with initials “ER” (script) on back of handle and “AMS” on face of handle.

MARK: Struck on reverse of handle with an intaglio “IW” mark in a rectangular reserve.

MAKER: John Winckler Sr. (1730-1803) was born near Stuttgart in what is today Germany to the silversmith John Nikolaus Winckler. He probably apprenticed under his father and worked as a journeyman in London before emigrating to Charleston, South Carolina in 1761. According to family tradition he moved to North Carolina in 1770 or 1771, near where the town of Raleigh would founded. In May 1771 he was named among those who had committed “Treasons, Insurrections and Rebellions” and excluded from pardon by Royal Govenor William Tryon. The name John Winckler appears on a list of Regulators but without a county of residence to confirm identity to the silversmith. He moved again in 1778 to Mecklenburg Co., Virginia and the 1800 county tax list records both John Winckler Sr. and his son, the silversmith John Winckler Jr. (1775-1854). The tax list also includes cabinetmaker James Crow, who made a desk and bookcase (MESDA Acc. 2543) for Winckler, probably for use in his shop. By the time of Winckler’s death in 1803 the operations of his shop were almost certainly being managed by John Winckler Jr. as his will did not mention the silversmith shop, although an inventory of his estate did include a small stock of jewelry and small silver items. John Winckler Sr.’s touchmark, an intaglio “IW” in a rectangular reserve, was probably also used by his son during the first half of the nineteenth century.

John Winckler Jr. (1775-1854) was born to silversmith John Winckler (1730-1803) and Selina Catherine Winckler, probably in North Carolina. The family had moved to Mecklenburg Co., Virginia by 1778. John Jr. most likely trained under his father and groomed to take over his business. John Sr. died when his son was 28 years old and the father’s will did not mention the silversmith shop, indicating that the son was then in charge of the business. John Winckler Sr.’s touchmark, an intaglio “IW” in a rectangular reserve, was probably also used by his son during the first half of the nineteenth century. The 1820 Census of Manufacturers for Mecklenburg County recorded John Winckler as a silversmith with a shop that used $500 in gold and silver metal a year and had a capital investment of $1,000 in the business. The shop employed two men, a man named John and an unidentified journeyman was was paid $105 a year in wages. By 1850 Winckler was listed in the Federal Census as a farmer.

See Catherine B. Hollan, “Virginia Silversmiths, Jewelers, Watch- and Clockmakers, 1607-1860: Their Lives and Marks” (McLean, VA: Hollan Press, 2010) and George Barton Cutten, “The Silversmiths of Virginia” (Richmond, VA: The Dietz Press, 1952).

FORM: By the nineteenth century, spoons were crafted for such specific purposes as serving salt and sugar (salt spoons), food items (serving spoons), punch and soup (ladles), and for stirring tea or coffee and/or eating custard or ice cream (teaspoons).

Credit Line:
Gift of Frank L. Horton