Antique Restoration


The  Restoration of an 18th Century Sterling Silver Ladle

Punch was extremely popular in England in The 18th century.

The word punch comes to us from from Hindi panch (meaning five) and the drink was originally made with five ingredients: alcohol, sugar, lemon, water, and tea or spices.The drink was brought to England from India by sailors and employees of the British East India Company in the early seventeenth century. From there it was introduced into other European countries.

Punch was extremely popular in the 18th Century

Fig l. A group of Gentlemen quietly enjoying the companionship of friends around the “Festive Bowl” of Punch.

Punch was in consumed in large quantity from  individual cups  served  communally from a large bowl and dished out with a long handled ladle as seen in the illustration by the English artist Hogarth.

The ladels for punch as well as the bowl evolved as the status and importance of punch grew over time. Silver was an important indicator of status and Punch ladles were in a class by themselves.

By the The 17th century the  punch ladle had become substantial piece of silver, frequently formed from hammered silver coins for the heavy round silver bowls and they featured  full silver handles. Due to the scarcity of silver at the beginning of the 18th century new styles had to be developed. The introduction of a non-silver handle and lighter bowls were natural consequences. Handles were made of carved or turned wood, horn, or whalebone making 18th-century punch ladles more fragile than other types of flatware, which makes finding one today in good condition a rare event. Whalebone was heated under pressure with steam until malleable, and then twisted into ornate spirals, which hardened and retained their design after cooling.

The double lipped often fluted bowl was introduced around 1740. In our opinion this form is the apogee of a long evolution of design and is the most beautiful and elegant expression of the form.

two double lipped punch ladles

Fig.2: Two double lipped punch ladles, the one with the lighter handle London 1746, by David Henell, the other possibly American by William Homes


The ladles illustrated in figure 2. Are here Courtesy of the Association Of Small Collectors Of Antique Silver.


We restored a  lovely George III double lipped, sterling silver punch ladle with a turned rosewood  handle. It was of extremely good quality a good gauge and weight with a  fluted  generous size bowl.It was joined to the handle with a double scroll and was a very fine example made in London by an important maker in the 1780s. This ladle had been in the same family and had been passed down as an heirloom for generations. Unfortunately; it had suffered damage and had been poorly repaired with lead solder. It was in dire condition.

The scroll work connection between the Bowl and the ferrel that attaches to the handle was originally sand cast and had been broken in the center, possibly as the result of a faulty casting.

The break had been repaired with lead several times . We removed all of the lead from the sterling silver and drilled the core so we could insert a solid sterling silver pin to add support for the weak section.

Georgian Punch Ladle made in London of Sterling Silver restoration Photograph

Fig 3. Georgian Punch Ladle cleaned of lead solder and ready to be reattached

The two parts were then  fitted together with a sterling silver pin that had been threaded, tightly fitted and soldered into the holes to add support..

the sterling silver and drilled the core to insert a solid sterling silver pin tho create a stronger joint.

Fig 4.the Punch bowl  has been welded with sterling silver to create a stronger joint.

The areas around the weld were filed and sanded to blend with the original lines of the scroll work. we were careful to leave as much of the original surface and patina undisturbed. Our goal it to make the repair invisible and undetectable.

Fig 5. The piece  is in the finishing process.

After polishing (by hand) is complete it will be re-attached to the handle with shellac, as it was originally.

The Punc Ladle restoration

Fig 6.  the finished piece.

For some wonderful information on sterling silver Punch Ladles and the evolution of their shape and style we would submit that you may wish to visit the Association Of Small Collectors Of Antique Silver website


Kevin Glenn Crane

Seattle, Washington

For more information read an article Restoring Antique Jewelry by Kevin Crane

An expert in period design, with over thirty years of experience in goldsmithing, platinumsmithing and stone setting,  Kevin Crane, Design Director and owner of Crane Jewelers, specializes in custom design and period restoration.  Trained in Europe with Masters from Germany, Spain and Eastern Europe,  Kevin Crane has  a loyal international following of clients, Crane’s work has been exhibited in North America, Japan, Italy and Germany, and is represented in collections internationally.  His work has been published in Marthe Le Van’s 500 Brooches (Lark Books).

CCrane Jewelers, 519 Pine Street in downtown Seattle, was designed by award winning architects Jim Olson and Tom Kundig in 1987.  Visiting the gallery is often reminisced upon as the experience of a private museum showing objects d’art from the farthest reaches of the world.


Location:              Visit Crane Jewelers Gallery of custom design and antique fine jewelry pieces.

Located at 519 Pine Street just across from Nordstrom in downtown Seattle.

Hours:                   Tuesday – Saturday        10 am – 5 pm


Telephone          206.624.1531 PST






For more information contact Kevin Glenn Crane,     Telephone  206.624.1531  Pacific Standard Time