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Object Name: Tray
Date: 1853
Related People:
Medium: Silver
Dimensions: Overall: 18 3/4 × 2 1/4 × 30 1/8 in., 130 oz (troy) 7.4 dwt (47.6 × 5.7 × 76.5 cm, 4055 g)
Place made: North America, United States, New York
Description: Cast and seamed silver tea tray; oval in plan with an applied, molded edge scalloped along the interior side; cast, applied scroll and pendent rim; two cast c-scroll handles applied at the short sides; allover scroll and floral engraving on the interior around the engraved tribute in the center, "PRESENTED BY THE/ FIREMAN OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK/ TO/ Zophar Mills/ As a tribute of respect for the faithful/ and energetic discharged of his duties/ as a member and officer of the/ Fire Department/ Aug.t 8th, 1853" in script, gothic script and roman letters; engraved eagle above the tribute, vignettes of Classical deities on either side of the tribute, and three engravings of fire equipment below; four cast scroll feet applied to the base; maker's marks on the base.
Credit Line: Gift of Dr. Adelaide Mills
Object Number: 1932.87a
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Marks: Inscription: engraved with rococo revival border of reserves of scrolls, foliage, flowers, and allegorical scenes based on mythology, eagle, fire engine, fire pumper, and shipping and fire fighting implements around periphery. Center has engraved inscription in block, Old English, and script characters: "Presented by the/ Firemen of the City of New York/ to/ Zophar Mills,/ as a tribute of respect for the faithful/ and energetic discharge of his duties/ as a member and Officer of the/ Fire Department/ August 8,/ 1853" Mark: stamped on base: "W. ADAMS" in a barbed rectangle over "NEW-YORK" in a barbed rectangle

Gallery Label:

This tray is part of a tea and coffee service presented to Zophar Mills upon his retirement as President of the New York City Fire Department. Mills was a celebrated firefighter whose company was credited with halting the Great Fire of 1835 at Wall Street, preventing destruction of the northern part of the city. Most of the pieces in this service appear to be off-the-shelf forms, personalized with Mills's engraved initials. The tray, however, is engraved with vignettes and allegorical scenes that relate to Mills's career and achievements.


Zophar Mills (1809-1887), who married Eliza Phillips (ca. 1815-1902); to their daughter Dr. Adelaide Mills (b. 1852), the donor.