INSCRIPTION: Engraved with script initials “SWA” on the blade.
MARK: Struck on blade with intaglio marks of a spread eagle in an oval reserve over the initial “L” in a diamond reserve over a silhouette in an oval reserve.
MAKER: Traugott Leinbach (1796-1863) was born in Salem, North Carolina and at age fifteen was apprenticed to the town’s silversmith and watchmaker John Volger (1783-1881). In March 1820 Leinbach requested permission to travel to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania–presumably to work as a journeyman silversmith–and begin his own shop upon returning to Salem. A year later Leinbach did return to North Carolina and opened his silversmith’s business in Salem. Only two months later, in March 1821, he was back in Pennsylvania where he married Maria Theresia Lange (1799-1860) of Bethlehem. The couple settled in Salem where Leinbach continually operated his shop over the next forty years. For a time in the 1850s he formed a partnership (T. Leinbach & Son) with one of his sons, Nathaniel Augustine Leinbach (1832-1877). In 1860 he moved with his wife back to her hometown of Bethlehem, where Leinbach died on 30 April 1863. He used marks with two spellings of his last name, “Leinbach” and “Linebach,” throughout his career. See John Bivins and Paula Welshimer, “Moravian Decorative Arts in North Carolina: An Introduction to the Old Salem Collection” (Winston-Salem, NC: Old Salem, 1981) and George Barton Cutten and Mary Reynolds Peacock, “Silversmiths of North Carolina, 1696-1860”, 2nd rev. ed. (Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History, 1984).
George Lindner (b.c.1798-d.c.1872) was born in Hanover, Germany and had emigrated to the United States by the 1840s. He owned $2,000 in Philadelphia real estate in 1850 and $3,000 ten years later. His son Herman Lindner (b.c.1831-1891) was also a silversmith. Traugott Leinbach (1796-1863) of Salem, North Carolina seems to have had a long and successful business relationship with George Lindner’s Philadelphia shop. There are many silver items sold by Leinbach and with Salem provenances that possess Lindner’s intaglio manufacturer’s marks of a spread eagle in an oval reserve over the initial “L” in a diamond reserve over a silhouette in an oval reserve. See Catherine B. Hollan, “Philadelphia Silversmiths and Related Artisans to 1861” (McLean, VA: Hollan Press, 2013) and George Barton Cutten and Mary Reynolds Peacock, “Silversmiths of North Carolina, 1696-1860”, 2nd rev. ed. (Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History, 1984).
FORM: Butter knives were used to serve pats of butter from a central butter dish to individual diners’ plates. The knives are usually sharp pointed and dull edged, often with a sabre-shaped blade. The specialization of knife forms and other flatware began in America during the early nineteenth century with the rise in popularity of forks, which quickly surpassed knives as the most popular cutlery item.