All original and in excellent condition yet with good evidence of age to include a pleasing natural patina with the expected short single age crack along the grain of each natural bovine horn grip; this rarely surviving matching eating knife and fork pair offers the strong cutler marking J. ASHMORE PHILADELPHIA with an American Eagle and U. S. on the knife blade. Listed in Houston's knife collectors guide as being in operation 1832 - 1858, John Ashmore crafted cutting implements to include razors, utility items such as axes and hatchets and all manner of cutlery to include bowie knives. (They give Ashmore's work their highest collectability rating.) Of most interest to American military historians will be that per Bazelon & McGuinn's Directory of American Military Goods Dealers & Makers , delivery receipts for the Schuylkill Arsenal record numerous receipt of Ashmore's goods to the well-known Army Quarter Master Depot. Best known today as suppliers to the Lewis & Clark Expedition the Schuylkill Arsenal was built in 1800 to function as a quartermaster facility in support of the U.S. military. The depot at Schuylkill Arsenal became a primary provider of military goods for the Civil War. Seldom surviving as a pair in any condition, this cutlery pair is worthy of special notice and with the maker and US marking will be of special interest to enthusiasts of the Mexican War through Civil War use eras.
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