Francis I by Reed and Barton

An explination of the origin of the Francis I pattern by Reed and Barton

  

Francis I by Reed & Barton

Francis the 1st by Reed & Barton
Francis I by Reed & Barton

 

Francis I pattern was introduced in 1908, after 3 years of design work by Ernest Meyer. His goal was to emulate the design work of a chief court artist and sculptor for King Francis I of France, Benvenuto Cellini. The pattern is in the Renaissance-Baroque styling, displaying 15 fruit and flower designs, paying tribute to Francis 1st throne entrance in the year 1515.

 In figure one, you will see the old maker’s mark of Reed & Barton signified with an Eagle, a Lion and the letter “R” accompanied by the word sterling. The old mark was made prior to the 1950’s, after which the maker’s mark changed to “Reed & Barton” accompanied by the word sterling.

Maker's Marks by Reed & Barton
Maker's Marks by Reed & Barton

Francis I pattern by Reed & Barton has been one of the most recognized and collected patterns:  Known as the pattern of presidents and princes. In fact Eisenhower, Truman and Wilson were among the many leaders who collected this very pattern!

Burgundy, introduced in 1949,  is the sister pattern of Francis I that has less intricacy that can be paired to make a beautiful less busy set. Below is a picture that can be used for comparison.

 

Burgundy Handle by Reed & Barton

Checkout all of our other patterns by Reed & Barton at:

 Beverly Bremer Silver Shop

 Beverly Bremer Flatware Patterns

 

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History of Reed and Barton

A brief history of the origins of Reed & Barton Manufacturing Co.

 A History of Reed & Barton

Reed & Barton manufacturing company dates back to the founding of a jewelry shop in 1822 in Taunton, Massachusetts by Isaac Babbit. The shop later turned its focus to pewter in 1824, where Babbit worked on innovating his materials and developed Britanna Metal, a combination of tin, antimony and copper, making a material more lustrous and white than pewter. After Babbit gained popularity with his craftsmanship and quality, two designers, Henry Reed and Charles Barton, partnered with the business. The company began to experience hardship and Babbit sold the company and factory in 1834 to Reed & Barton.

Taking their knowledge of crafting and innovation, Reed & Barton produced “in the metal” flatware and holloware, meaning that raw unplated pieces were sold to plating factories. They maintained this practice until the discovery of the Comstock Lode in Virginia City, Nevada in 1859, making silver widely available in raw form in the US.

With their knowledge of creating raw metal goods and recent fame, they soon created and cast the first Reed & Barton sterling pattern, Flora, circa 1890.

Sugar Shell in Flora by Reed & Barton
Sugar Shell in Flora by Reed & Barton

A focus towards more sterling patterns in holloware and flatware such as Francis I led them to great success as an American sterling producer.  For example, among the most popular patterns was a Francis I sterling silver 7-piece tea and coffee service and tray. Maker’s mark of Reed & Barton, Taunton, Massachusets: Comprising a tea kettle, teapot, coffeepot, cream jug, covered sugar bowl, waste bowl and tray; the tea service pieces with baluster form bodies, chased with fruit, blossoms, and foliage, with cornucopiae enclosing a vacant cartouche on either side, the shaped oval tray with bracket handles and conforming decoration.

7 Piece Francis I Tea & Coffee Set by Reed & Barton

In the 1996 Olympics, hosted by Atlanta, Reed & Barton was chosen as the designer and creator of all the medals for the awarded athletes.

Gold Medal Designed for 1996 Altanta Olympics
Gold Medal Designed for 1996 Atlanta Olympics

Currently, Reed & Barton is known as the oldest independently owned American producer of sterling flatware and holloware patterns. They have expanded into other divisions of tableware including stainless steel, crystal, china and even plastic ware; They are also the world’s largest producer of wooden chests. Despite changes in leadership and economy, living by the motto of high quality pieces and excellent customer service, Reed & Barton has been able to thrive for more than 185 years.

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