Silversmith



The silversmith was an elite artisan/craftsman working in colonial Albany. The lasting value of their creations has made the silversmith more visible historically than most other metal crafters!

silver tankard made by Coenradt Ten EyckThe Ten Eycks and Lansings were prominent silvermithing early Albany families. Like all "People of Colonial Albany" presentations, this community history expositions is primarily concerned with the lives of the makers and owners/users of any of their material legacies. The object-first or fine arts (or museum/curatorial/antiques) approachs to the topic represent the opposite ends of our presentations.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, New Yorker Cornelis Kierstrede made silver items for at least one Albany resident. He also trained Albany silversmith Coenradt Ten Eyck.

Son of an Albany silversmith, Jacob C. Ten Eyck was appointed mayor of Albany in 1748. His brother was a prominent silversmith as well.

Jacob Harsen was among the Albany-born silversmiths working on the frontier beyond Albany. The legendary presence of Albany silversmiths in the Great Lakes country has been portrayed in lyrical form.

In 1756, three silversmiths were listed on the census of Albany householders.

Thoughout the second half of the eighteenth century, a number of Manhattan based silversmiths set up shop in Albany. These included: George Fielding; Henry Will;

After the War for Independence, a number of newcomer silversmiths established themselves in Albany elevating and commercializing the trade in "Albany Silver." They were prominent among the founders of the Albany Mechanics Society.

The first city directory in 1813 listed six silversmiths working in Albany. Additional Albany silversmiths of the early nineteenth century included William Boyd.

A number of online resources further describe the process! The silver collection of the Albany Institute of History and Art showcases the work of the individual artisans whose lives are being studied by the Colonial Albany Project.

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notes

Sources: The reigning published work on "Albany silver" is by Norman S. Rice. Online;

Follow this link to more information about the silversmiths of early Albany on this website



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first posted: 2003; last revised 10/11/10