Newburyport Silver Co.

The Newburyport Silver Co. moved from Newburyport, Mass., to Church Street in Keene, where it enjoyed significant success for a brief stretch.

Did you know that Keene was once the home of a silver company that produced sterling silver here for several years?

The Newburyport Silver Co. opened its doors in Keene in 1904. Seven Massachusetts men founded the company in Newburyport, Mass., in about 1902. The name was retained when they moved the company to Keene two years later, reportedly with some local financial support.

The Newburyport Silver Co. prospered, and a 1908 trade directory listed the firm as one of the most successful industries in Keene. The directory reported a 33 percent increase in sales between 1906 and 1907.

The company occupied a space 165 feet long by 45 feet wide in the Jones Building on Church Street. It had the latest silver-making equipment and employed 40 skilled workmen and 13 traveling salesmen at that time.

Florence Barrett, who worked in the packing room, recalled that she was charged with going to the vault each morning and removing the silver nuggets to be melted down for the day’s production.

The company’s products were sold throughout the country. Despite this early success, the company soon faced financial difficulties.

The Newburyport Silver Co. was closed by bankruptcy in 1915, slightly more than 10 years after it moved to Keene. The stock was sold to Rogers, Lunt & Bowlen silver company of Greenfield, Mass.

The Newburyport Silver Co. made a full line of sterling tableware, flat and hollow, as well as souvenir spoons and novelties. Spoons were its most common items, but trays, loving cups, candlesticks and many other items were also made.

Silver with the Newburyport hallmark is now eagerly sought by collectors.

Alan F. Rumrill is executive director of the Historical Society of Cheshire County, which has been collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the region since 1927. It’s on Main Street. To learn more about its public programs and collections, visit hsccnh.org.