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These items were acquired at an estate auction in Maine. The owner was A.W. Kimball, the property had been in his family for several generations.
Incudes: Black Beaver Bicorn Hat with Ostrich Feathers
Black Velvet Apron with Nickel Silver Accents
Trunk Fitted for Items
The beaver bicorn hat was made by The Ames Sword Company of Chicopee, MA. Ames was established in 1834, they made cutlery and tools at this time. During the Civil War they expanded operations to include swords and light artillery. They also began casting bronze statues during this period. Post Civil War, they found that they needed to diversify and began making items to supply the Masons and other organizations.
This hat is in very good condition, the beaver felt is intact, the satin lining is without damage. The leather hat band is in place and also undamaged. There is a silver name plate, A.W. Kimball is written over the name Ingraham. The top of the inside of the hat is stamped in silver, “Ames Sword Company Chicopee, Mass.” The cross is red velvet with silver bullion thread surrounding. It is shedding a few feathers, to be expected for the age. My research indicates this was made between 1868 and 1893.
The gauntlets are, I believe, either lamb or calf. The buttons are silver with the Knights Templar symbol, cross through crown. The thread attaching the buttons is silver bullion. There is elaborate, flowing overstitching on the gauntlets. These are as found and uncleaned. The buttons are all in place as are the crosses. There is some tarnish on the buttons and the crosses. This could be polished if desired, but I will leave this to the buyer’s discretion. These were likely made between 1870 and 1890.
The cap is made of a very soft, velvety wool type material. This was made by The Armstrong Uniform Company of Chicago. This is stamped on the inside of the cap which is lined with silk. The cross is red velvet with silver bullion thread surrounding. The silver buttons are in place, the band is silver bullion. This was made around 1890, which is when Armstrong moved to Chicago from Detroit. The cap is in very good condition, I can only see a couple tiny holes in the lining and a bit of tarnish on the buttons.
The apron is a beautiful black velvet with nickel silver skull and crossbones, and crossed swords. The trim around the edges is made with silver bullion thread and material. There are no holes or tears in the velvet. The back of the apron is also in very good condition. Evidence of hand stitching is visible around the edges where the silver accent trim was applied. There is a bit of red on the velvet, please see photos. The apron strings are showing wear at the ends where they would have been tied many times, please see photos. The nickel silver skull, crossbones and crossed swords are a bit tarnished, but this could be polished if desired. I will leave that to the buyer’s discretion. This was made between 1880-1890.
The custom fitted trunk is a bit rough but solid. The tacks are all copper, the hinges are in place and work well. There is a leather carrying strap which stretches over the top and can be buckled on the opposite side. The leather has dried over the years, this could be conditioned. The paper lining is intact, it does have a few spots. The divider has come loose but is in place and does its job! There is an etching of men bird hunting on the inside cover, it is signed W. Biscombe Gardner. The outside covering is coming loose from the trunk, this could be repaired. The material is very sturdy!
This is a wonderful, collectible set and a rare find!