Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: B7-L12 Silversmith
Title: Sims Silver shop
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 Material Information
Title: Sims Silver shop
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: B7-L12 Silversmith
Physical Description: Report
Language: English
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
12 Charlotte Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Sims Silversmith Shop (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine -- 12 Charlotte Street
Coordinates: 29.896045 x -81.312121
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00091339
Volume ID: VID00005
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution.
Resource Identifier: B7-L12

Full Text


This is a frame house-shop combination typical of the kind built by
English refugees from the American Revolution in the 1780's. A silver-
smith named William Sims from Charleston operated such a shop in St.
Augustine during the British era, migrating from South Carolina with all
his tools and possessions. The exact location of his establishment is
unknown; this building only reproduces the edifice.


Sims was a bachelor, whose meals were prepared and laundry done
by a Negro slave woman who lived and worked in the small matching shed
to the west. He utilized the center area as a living room, show-room, and
reception room. The gateleg table is a late 18th century antique. So is the
pitcher. Against the east wall is a 19th century copy of a Chippendale chair.

The small display case contains an assortment of antique sterling silver
spoons from various periods between 1750 and 1800, plus a heavy pewter
one from the early 1700's. The northeast wall case contains on its upper
shelf a pair of Georgian pewter candlesticks, an 1800-model candle-wick
trimmer (sometimes wrongly called a "snuffer") and tray of silver plate, a
cutwork sterling silver basket dated 1785 by its hallmarks, and a plated-
silver ladle; the lower shelf displays a modern reproduction of a 1790-model
English tureen or serving-dish, a mid-19th century sterling silver copy of a
1760 "pipkin", (used for pouring hot water or milk into a cup or pot), a
typical 1785-model English pewter "tea-caddy" with bone-handled lid and a
lock and key (to keep servants from removing tea in the owner's absence),
and a modern reproduction of a 1760 English pewter pitcher.

The double case in the southeast corner contains on its upper shelf an
early 19th century silver-plated desk set with two inkwells and a center holder
for a sealing-wax candle, a pewter double-lens fish-oil reading lamp recorded
from 1790, and a 1780 antique cylindrical pewter one-pint measure; below on
the lower shelf stands a pair of antique silver "baluster" style candle-sticks
(so called because they are shaped like balusters on stairways in classical
Georgian architecture), a brass ladle, and a late 18th century pewter pitcher
with hinged lid and bearing an English hallmark on its bottom. Hanging on
the exterior of the showcase is an antique copper cooking pan.

I' ,

The western half of the large room served as the silversmith's shop.
The dozens of assorted iron tools such as the miniature vise-anvils and
hammers are antiques of the period. So is the accountant's desk, on top
of which sets an even older silver-plated coffee pot with walnut handle and
bone rosette lid-knob. Likewise of early 19th century manufacture are the
keys and the brass scales on the wall.

Other featured items of furnishing are modern reproductions made in
our shop: the wire-reducer with its thick belt, massive handles, and set
of dies for shaping silver wire as well as reducing its diameter; the work-
bench against the north wall, with spaces for three apprentices to work, the
huge bellows beside the fireplace where casting is done; the reed chairs, of
a type probably made locally in the 18th century. On the railing between
workshop and reception area is a small display rack for exhibiting different
styles of spoons available to the customer.

The north wing of the building was used by Mr. Sims as a bedroom and
dressing room. Antiques of the period are: the dresser, with its wig stand
and jewel box; the large "blanket chest", used principally to store clothing
in an era without closets; the Turkish rug on the floor; and the candle-holder
on the table.

Early 19th century pieces are: the wash-stand with mirror, pitcher,
and bowl; the table in "Chinese Chippendale" style; and the Hepplewhite lyre-back

Modern reproductions of period items are the bed, the reed chairs, the
table items, and the two wall decorations (soldier print and map of Florida).

Rev. 1.7D

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