I have recently acquired what I call a lampshade vase in an EPNS stand. This unusual item is by Percival Vickers of Manchester, well-known pattern Rd No 168130 of 13 March 1891 (see Thompson, p46). It is from a lampshade mould, but instead of cupping the rim and then flaring it to provide a collar for the three-screw fixing of a lamp, it has been left straight and embellished by cut oval windows. The pointed end at the base has also been cut, with a simple star. The vase is supported by a rod and ball EPNS stand that looks like a giant Hamilton or egg-ended bottle stand.
Under the upper ring of the stand is a punched inscription in a flowing script. It is difficult to read and impossible to photograph as it has been punched into a rod, not a flat surface, so most of the letters are missing their tops and bottoms. This is unusual, as it is the first time I have seen any mark other than a pattern number on any example of Manchester glass associated metalwork.
The inscription reads "Electro Plated
? Nickel Silver 10735". Each word, including "?
", was from a single punch, but the pattern number was punched using individual number punches. I have checked my two reference guides, Mappin, 1999 (British EPNS marks), and Matheau-Raven, 1997 (Sheffield Electroplated marks), to no avail - there is nothing resembling this mark, although both books only list marks that assist in attribution.
So, what possibilities are there for "?
"? It is a short word or abbreviation, probably of four letters, and looks something like "C/m/", "Clml", or "Gml". I cannot make it fit one obvious possibility "hardsoldered" in any way, so it must be something else. Another possibility is an abbreviation for either "German metal" or "German silver", but I have never seen this name for nickel silver used in addition to "nickel silver".
Any ideas would be gratefully welcomed. Also does anyone know of a silver / silver plate equivalent to this glass message board?