Pocket flask

New York
1886
Tiffany & Co. (American, active 1837–present), Designed by Edward C. Moore (1827–1891)


Object Place: New York, New York, United States

Dimensions

13.1 x 8.2 x 3 cm (5 3/16 x 3 1/4 x 1 3/16 in.)

Accession Number

1979.410

Medium or Technique

Silver

Not On View

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Silver hollowware

The front and back halves of the flask’s oval body are seamed at its perimeter. Both body and cap are deeply repoussé chased with roses, peonies, violets, daisies and ferns. The flask’s capacity is 1 1/2 gills (1 gill equals 1/4 liquid pint). Though the cap screws down and is fitted with a cork to prevent leakage, the cap is secured to the neck of the flask by a ring which is part of the 5-part hinge which allows the cap to be swung aside for drinking.


Slipped into a gentleman’s pocket, this richly decorated silver flask signified the taste and wealth of its owner and served the practical purpose of a portable source of about six ounces of liquid refreshment. The sumptuous Rococo-revival decoration served especially well for a flask. Made to be held in the hand, its gently rounded form and highly textured surface offered a pleasant tactile experience and gave no evidence of fingerprints to mar its appearance. In the late nineteenth century, Tiffany and other luxury jewelers advertised an overwhelming variety of personal items made in sterling silver and decorated in many styles for men, women, and children. Along with pocket flasks, “Presents for Men” in Tiffany’s 1880 catalogue included almost fifty categories, including silver-mounted canes, compass cases, ash receivers, telescoping drinking cups, silver bells for library or dinner table, claret pitchers with silver mountings, horse bits, match boxes, whistles, and wine labels.

This text has been adapted from “Silver of the Americas, 1600-2000,” edited by Jeannine Falino and Gerald W.R. Ward, published in 2008 by the MFA. Complete references can be found in that publication.

Inscription

"CCC" in script in a central rounded reserve.

Markings

Struck incuse "TIFFANY & Co. / 8929 M 1635 / STERLING / 1 1/2 GILLS" in Roman letters. The pattern number "8929" indicates a production date of 1886. The initial "M" is for Edward C. Moore.
Ada Mark X

Provenance

Early history unknown. Acquired by former MFA curator Kathryn C. Buhler and made a gift.

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Henry Buhler