The Stieff Company
Baltimore Maryland
Makers of Sterling Silver & Pewter Wares
A tribute and History of one of americas’ great silversmiths 
the Baltimore Sterling Silver Company, 
with chapters on S. Kirk & SOn, and Schofield Silver. 
SITE UPDATED August 11th, 2023

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The History of The Stieff Company

A single line notice in the November 2nd 1892 issue of The Jeweler’s Circular & Horological Review shows the origins of The Stieff Company at the death of another company.

“The Klank Mfg. Co. made an assignment for the benefit of creditors to Charles C. Stieff”

Klank had been in business only 10 months, when Charles C. Stieff was named as Receiver on Oct. 25 1892. Instead of liquidating the company, money was raised, partners brought in and on Dec. 2 1892 a new business was born.

Records show the value of the Capital Stock at 50,000 dollars at the time of incorporation.

Baltimore Silver and Cutlery wholesaler, Charles C. Stieff

and partners were now in the silver manufacturing business.

What would eventually be known as The Stieff Company was incorporated on December 2, 1892 under the name “The Florence Sterling Silver Company” and had a combined factory and showroom at 110 West Fayette Street in Baltimore.  The FLORENCE name was a temporary “holding name” until the company could be reorganized and re-opened as The Sterling Silver Manufacturing Company.

Mr. Stieff was not a silversmith himself, but an entrepreneur who dealt in silver, cutlery

and fine housewares like clocks and cut glass. His store, Charles C. Stieff & Co, located at 17 N. Liberty Street in downtown Baltimore displayed his retail and wholesale wares.

Letterhead from another company owned by Charles C. Stieff

To learn more about this company, click on the letterhead.


A Post War Boom

In the 1950’s Stieff would make silver items for the Eisenhower administration to give as gifts to dignitaries. Sometimes the White House would send a helicopter over to The Stieff Company and land on the lawn of the factory to pick up items. Stieff also made flatware for use in the White House, some with the presidential seal on them. Mamie Eisenhower toured the factory and picked out silver items.  When Charles C. Stieff III was born in 1955, the first lady sent a personal hand written note to the new baby, which he still has today, proudly displayed in his home.

A Stieff salesmen showing off the wares in the Belvedere Ave. Store (December 1950)

Tastes change, as does fashion and the way we entertain. In the prosperity after the second world war  there was a brief, second golden age of silver. Brides who had received their mothers silver expanded the sets or decided on one of the new “modern” patterns brought out by Stieff. As more women entered the workforce less time was allotted for “teas” or formal entertaining. In the 1960’s silver sales started sinking fast.  Casual dining and stainless steel flatware gained popularity and acceptance. A Silver Service was quickly becoming something that “your mother” owned.

In 1950, Pewter would enter into the house of Stieff.  Stieff started making items for Colonial Williamsburg as well as for it’s own retail stores, as well as retail for stores around the country. In 2011, speaking of the success of his family, Rodney Stieff told me “Silver was a very good business, but it was pewter that made us what we are today” Over time, pewter would become the main business of The Stieff Company.

In 1967, The Stieff Company bought “The Schofield Company” This added more volume to the silver business and brought in highly skilled silversmiths with decades of experience.   In 1977 as the old Schofield dies were wearing out, all of the Schofield patterns would be discontinued. Rodney Stieff in 2011 told me “the best business decision I ever made was to buy Schofield” The purchase of Schofield also brought the manufacture of the “Woodlawn Vase” racing trophy over to Stieff.

click below to read about

The Schofield Company


Pewter was introduced at Stieff in the 1950s and becoming more important to the company.By the early 1970’s pewter had become 60% of the companies sales. A 1971 expansion doubled the size of the Wyman Park Drive factory,  primarily for expansion of the pewter operations. This expansion would help Stieff absorb S. Kirk & Son in 1980.

In 1976, Stieff would acquire “Colonial Craftsmen” of Cape May NJ. Colonial Craftsmen was a maker of Pewter Dollhouse Miniatures” More about them in the pewter section.

Troubled Times in the Silver Business

In the late 1970’s the Hunt brothers of Texas tried to corner the silver market. Prices fluctuated wildly making the silver business unstable and unprofitable.  When silver could be 50 dollars an ounce one month and 11 dollars an ounce the next month, it became impossible to predict manufacturing cost or price accurately. At both manufactures and retail stores it became an impossible job to deliver goods at the price promised.  The manipulation of the silver market eventually bankrupted the Hunt brothers  and resulted in a 10 million dollar fine from the government.

When silver prices were sky high at 50 dollars an ounce, a lot of old silver was sold to the scrappers to be melted down. We lost a lot of historic silver during those dark days.

(and again in 2011 at the peak of silver prices again reaching 50 dollars an ounce)

(Teak Salad Set from my collection)

S. Kirk & Son

A major competitor, S. Kirk and Son was purchased in 1979. Kirk had tried to diversify over the years as silver sales waned. With limited success at diversifying, the company agreed to be purchased by Stieff with the understanding that the Kirk patterns would be continued. Many of the old Stieff patterns were discontinued in December of 1979 to make room for the Kirk patterns. The antiquated Kirk factory at 2225 Kirk Avenue in Baltimore was closed and all operations were moved to the Wyman Park Drive location of The Stieff Company. Additionally the Kirk Pewter factory in Salisbury MD was shuttered and move to Stieff also. As it had been with the purchase of Schofield,  the goal was added sales volume  which would lower silver costs and the addition of skilled craftsmen at The Stieff Company.

The name was changed to The Kirk-Stieff Company reflecting the 1815 start date for Kirk against the later 1892 date for The Stieff Company.

Kirk management would be blended with Stieff management, and many of the Kirk silversmiths and factory workers came over to the Stieff factory. The STIEFF SILVER sign on the building was unchanged and still glows in the Baltimore night.

Kirk had been a larger company with a larger national market share. This extra presence in the market place would be good for Kirk-Stieff ten years later when Kirk-Stieff Company would be purchased by Brown-Forman (LENOX) and integrated with parts of the silver business owned by the company including Gorham.

In 1984 KIRK STIEFF took on a new logo. The Argent logo was adapted from an ancient symbol used by alchemists for silver or as it was known then Argentum.

From this symbol, the new logo was derived.

It was short lived as Lenox would replace the mark in the early 1990’s

The KIRK STIEFF name would appear only on new patterns introduced after 1979

Earlier patterns would keep either the Stieff name or the Kirk name which was on the backs of handles. The exception being knife blades , which were shared between the two brands and would carry the Kirk-Stieff name, as shown below.


When the factory opened in 1925, Sterling Silver “Lucky Pieces” were given out to people that toured the new building. These are the size of a Fifty Cent Piece.

These very rare early pieces feature the one story building.

(This Lucky Piece was given to me by Charles C. Stieff II, But now returned to the Stieff Family)

These tokens were made for many years in a smaller size (US Quarter) in various forms.

For more on these tokens, click the link below:

Stieff Lucky Pieces and Spoon Pins

The Stieff Company prospered for many years at Wyman Park Driveway.*4 While the new building has enough room for the present, it had been designed structurally so that a second floor could be added at a later date with out disturbing the business below during construction. Within five years, business had grown enough to add the second floor. The building was doubled in size in 1929 to 35,000 square feet.

Invitations to the new factory showroom opening November 4th, 1929 were sent out in the fall of 1929. Click on the invitation to see it enlarged.

The timing of the expansion could not have been worse, as the stock market fell and the great depression was just around the corner. Not knowing how long the economic crisis was going to last, Gideon Stieff kept the employees busy painting and maintaining equipment, and any other “make work” that would keep them employed.

While it cost him a lot of money, Gideon Stieff knew that once the skilled trades of the silver business were laid off, that getting them all back when business picked up would be near impossible.  This act of kindness endeared Mr. Stieff to several generations of Baltimore, who either kept their job during the Great Depression, or those who had a family member that had kept their job... and was able to help their family in such dire times. At the end of the 1930‘s as business did start to pick up... war clouds were forming over Europe, and another chapter in the history of Stieff.

One of those idled by the lack of work, but still receiving a paycheck wrote a very interesting letter to Mr. Stieff. The gentleman was disabled and had been with

The Stieff Company for several decades.  The letter can be seen by clicking below.

  1931 Letter, Louis Anderfuhren


In 1937 Gideon Stieff, President of The Stieff Company drafted a history of Stieff,

in his own words. To see that document click below.

1937 Gideon draft of history.

In 1939 The Stieff Company became the official maker of silver for the Williamsburg Restoration in Williamsburg Virginia. Actual production appears to have not taken

place until 1942, just in time to be curtailed by the war effort.

The 1940 Stieff Williamsburg Catalog

(from my personal collection)

Later, Stieff would also became the suppliers of silver and pewter to The Smithsonian Institution, Historic Newport, Mystic Seaport , The Thomas Jefferson Foundation,

Old Sturbridge Village, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and many others.



World War II would see Stieff production move to that of fine surgical instruments for the United States Army and components for radar equipment. They were also given a government contract for making aluminum Ice Trays of all things. Silver was considered a vital war material and the government took over control of silver supplies.  What ever quantity that Stieff had on hand would have to last them until after the war.  Charles Stieff II said the inventory was almost gone by 1943.  Some small silver items would continue to be produced through out the war, but in greatly reduced quantity.  During the war, flatware production was limited to the patterns shown below. Stainless steel was a “war material” and Stieff switched to silver plated carbon steel blades in 1942. Why carbon steel was not a war material is unknown. The blades were the “new french” style.

An interesting side note, During WWII, Starting in 1942, Stainless steel was a war material. Stieff switched to Carbon Steel “new french blades” that were silver plated. Why carbon steel was not a war material I do no know. Cross town competitor Kirk & Son ran out of stainless steel blades and in 1943 had to revert back to the old style plated carbon steel blunt blades from old inventory.

After the war, Gideon Stieff’s sons Charles, Rodney and Gideon Jr. were coming of age and ready to join the business.  Charles C. Stieff II would become the Vice President of sales, and travel the country extensively to secure new retailers for the companies products. By the later 1940’s the companies silver was being sold in over 400 stores around the nation. Only those retailers that agreed to adhere to strict quality controls were allowed to sell Stieff silver. By the 1960’s Stieff products would be in over 3000 stores nationwide. Rodney became involved the factory and the manufacture of silver. He  would later become President and Chairman of the Board. Gideon Jr. would expand the companies retail operations into the suburban areas of Baltimore as shopping centers grew up in the post war boom.


Early 1920‘s book/Catalog on

Crystallizing Boyhood

click on Crystallizing Boyhood to see this book


A personal experience with Lifetime Silver in 2010.

I received two pieces of new Kirk-Stieff sterling silver for Christmas in 2010. Both were the Stieff Rose pattern... a pasta spoon and a lasagna server. The pasta spoon was stamped twice with the word STERLING, and the lasagna server was not marked sterling at all. Neither of the pieces carried the name Kirk-Stieff or any branding of any kind. Since Charles C. Stieff was a champion of the laws that required that Sterling be marks as such... this was a disappointment. Secondly, It is my understanding that any American silver that is marked with a “quality mark” (.925 or Sterling) is required to  be marked with the name of the maker. (in this case either Kirk-Stieff or Lifetime Sterling)

The requirement to mark silver is to insure that the piece can be traced back to the maker if found to be not sterling. Otherwise the public has no reassurance that what they are buying is truly Sterling Silver and not silver plated wares.

From the Lifetime Sterling site..

All of our products represent the highest quality of American artisanship. Each piece of sterling silver flatware is made in the USA in our own company-owned facilities, and shipped directly to you. We guarantee every product we sell, each of which is backed by our unconditional Warranty.

(Note: the silver is made in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a US Territory)

While I kept the items, my personal opinion is that the dies being uses to make the hollow handles are worn and lack the detail and relief that one would find on vintage pieces, even ones with years of wear. Perhaps this is why Lifetime Sterling now has Stieff Rose on a “Made to Order” status. I have not seen examples of new flat handle pieces such as forks or spoons.

(Image from


1   Night time photographer  of the Stieff Building is unknown

2   1929 Photo Photographer unknown, from a 1930 Baltimore business directory, Stieff Ad.

3  The Schofield Company was founded in 1903 by Frank Schofield on Pleasant Street in Baltimore.
   The company  was later purchased by Stieff in 1967.  The silver hallmarks for Schofield are on the Stieff Silver

    Marks page.  The Schofield Company

4 The “Driveway” designation was later changed to Drive.

From the inside lid of a box of Stieff Steak knives

I would like to acknowledge the support of the Stieff Family in my continued development of this site. They are assisting by providing information, photos and helping to identify misinformation that is out there about the Stieff Company. 


I am not a member of the Stieff family or part of the entity that now owns the

Kirk-Stieff silver brand. I am collector of Stieff Silver. I operate this web site as a

tribute to the many silversmiths and craftsmen and the Stieff family that guided this great company for four generations. A large part of the site comes from conversations that have have had with the Stieff family. I am very thankful for their support.

If you have any questions or comments... contact me at:


The Stieff Building at 800 Wyman Park Driveway in 1928 just prior to the addition of the second floor.

Erected in 1924-1925 by L. L Chambers.


In April of 1925, manufacturing was moved from German Street to 800 Wyman Park Driveway in the Hamden area of Baltimore. Several years earlier, the location had been suggested by Claire von Marees for whom the Lady Claire pattern was named. Ms. Marees and Gideon had gone to Druid Park and were sitting up on a hill “spooning” as it was called in the day. She pointed out to Gideon that a particular location down below would be a good location for the new factory that his company was planning. Clair von Marees would become Mrs. Gideon Stieff and live until 2003. Both she and Gideon had grown up in the area.

In 1922 Stieff would buy land in the Druid Park area for a new factory.

Photo: Collection of Rodney Stieff

Sign reads:

On this site will be erected

Factory Of

The Stieff Co.


Salesrooms 17 N. Liberty St.

In the spring of 2011, the houses in the background still exist.

The new factory under construction in the summer of 1924

The writing on the photo says 1925 but since manufacturing began in April 1925, this is incorrect.

Also incorrect is the spelling of STIEFF in the upper right corner. The mill building in the background still exists today.

The contractor the building was L. L. Chambers, the contract was given in March of 1924. Cost for land and

building was 200,000 dollars. The building would have 12,000 sqr. foot of floor space and be of an industrial Colonial Design.

The land was acquired from the adjoining Mt. Vernon Mills.

Today, The  Mt. Vernon Mill is now converted to office and retail space, and the Stieff Bldg. is once again a part of that property.

First Stamping in the new factory

“First Blank Stamped in New Factory April 29th 1925”  

The pattern of this blank is Rose    

(see the “How Silver is Made” section to learn how a blank becomes a piece of fine silver)


Photo an enhancement of an original by Thibeaux  Lincecum

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Contact the site publisher for details

Please note, I am not an appraiser of silver. Prices will vary in different regions of the country. On-line auctions and independent appraisers in your area are the best method of determining the value of your silver, for your area.

A warning to some...looking for values.

If you have old appraisals of your silver, they are most likely incorrect. Silver flatware and hollow ware prices have dropped dramatically in the last few years.

Mom’s appraisal from 1980 when silver was at $50 a troy ounce is not a good appraisal. Even one from 5 years ago is going to be wrong 90% of the time. Appraisals of silver should be done by people who know the silver and not looking up the values in a book or on-line.

Most appraisals are for insurance purposes, and not for what the silver should sell for, which is going to be much less. Historic silver with a documented provenance will have more value than grandmothers teaspoons used on special occasions. Photograph your silver for documentation purposes and keep pics in a safe place along with an inventory of measurements.

There is a section on this site dealing with appraisals.

Please take a few moments to look at this section.

I can not recommend or suggest the names of appraisers in your area. The phone book or an on-line search should provide you with information on your local area.

This site, THESTIEFFCOMPANY.COM receives no money or compensation from any of the references or companies listed on this site. We wish to thank others for the use of material from their sites and it is published here as an educational tool only. Some images have come from unknown original sources. If I have used your image without credit or if it needs to be removed, please contact me. We encourage visitors to venture to the other sites shown on this one to learn more about silver and view the images of craftsmanship that they share with all of us.  Ad revenues from the google ads helps me maintain this site for the use by silver collectors and those who are just “wondering” about their grandmothers silver and what’s what in the silver chest. I do not make a profit from the publication of this site, it is for educational purposes only.


The Post-Stieff years at Kirk-Stieff

In 1990 the Brown-Forman Corporation bought The Kirk-Stieff Company from the Stieff family. As Brown-Forman struggled with digesting the various diverse companies it was buying, the silver market was continuing to decline. Lenox division of Brown-Forman was in the table top business selling china, crystal, silver and flatware. Brown-Forman also owned Hartmann luggage, and was heavily invested in the liquor and spirits business.

Under Brown-Forman, Kirk-Stieff flatware production was moved to the Gorham factory in Smithfield RI.  Kirk-Stieff Hollow ware and Pewter stayed at the Stieff factory in Baltimore. Gorham’s Hollow ware production was moved to the Kirk Stieff factory. Eventually the company decided get out of the domestic sterling silver hollow ware business and move pewter production off shore, mostly to the Pacific rim.

The Stieff Factory ceased production on January 15, 1999 and the building and retail outlet was shuttered on March 31st 1999.  In the end only 75 employees remained in Baltimore to lose their jobs a the time of closing. There had been 150 employees only five years earlier. The flatware production in Smithfield RI was later moved to Pomona New Jersey. Demand for sterling and hollow ware had seen it’s heyday many years earlier.  Lenox “Kirk-Stieff Collection” pewter items would be made elsewhere.

For a few years, production of the Colonial Williamsburg patterns of

hollow ware and flatware were taken over by Reed & Barton Silver Co.

The Stieff family retained ownership of the land and building at 800 Wyman Park Drive during the Brown-Forman / Lenox years, but later sold the property after the factory closed. Struever Bros, Eccles & Rouse purchased the building from the Stieff family. They specialized in rehabbing historic buildings and the Stieff building is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is now a mixed use office building. The Stieff Silver sign has been restored and continues to glow in the night sky. The bulb colors are changed by holiday.  I have one of the red Christmas light bulbs from the sign.

Lenox would later be spun off into it’s own company and Kirk-Stieff with it. The product line expanded into gifts, glass and outlet stores and the silver flatware business soldiered on. Lenox was bought by the “Dept. 56” gift company in 2005. Dept. 56 then changed the name of the whole company to Lenox Brands.

Lenox would enter into bankruptcy in 2008, but emerged in 2009 with new ownership, Clarion Capital Partners LLC

In July 2007, Lenox Brands sold the silver brands of Kirk-Stieff, Gorham, Whiting and Durgin to Lifetime Brands Inc. for 8.775 million dollars (US).  Lifetime Brands now produces various brands of sterling flatware in Puerto Rico.

Interestingly the Lifetime site says ... All of the sterling silver flatware from Lifetime Sterling is manufactured in our own company-owned facilities in the USA—just as it has been since each of the brands was established” Which technically is true, since Puerto Rico is a US territory.

In 2006 Lifetime Brands purchased Wallace Silversmiths, International Silver and Towle Silver.

Lifetime Brands also owns Tuttle Silver.

2019 Update

Currently, none of the Stieff or Kirk patterns are in production.

In late 2011 Reed & Barton discontinued the sterling patterns Williamsburg Shell and Williamsburg Queen Anne. They had been making the patterns for Colonial Williamsburg after Lenox Kirk Stieff dropped the patterns.

Stieff had made Williamsburg Queen Anne starting in 1940 and Williamsburg Shell since 1970.

   The Cider Alley Factory with the Sterling Silver Manufacturing Co. Sign.   Above right, The German Street factory location,  German street was later renamed Redwood Street during WWI.

The Cider Alley building was a former stable converted to a factory, and appears to be in need of a brickmason

NOTE: The Sterling Silver Manufacturing Co. Sign does not quite fit. Bottom left of the sign has a painted over arrow, this sign was a leftover from the failed 1892 silver company KLANK Manufacturing Co.. the name KLANK painted over with the words STERLING SILVER squeezed in. (Chas. C. Stieff took over the failed KLANK Mnfg. Co)

1910-1912 era employees

(photos Baltimore Museum of Industry)

John Siefert (Cider Alley)              Lena on the phone (Cider Alley?)

Mother of Pearl knife, early 20th Century, marked Sterling

Silver plated Blade is marked The Stieff Co. Baltimore.

These knives were made from components from various sources and retailed in the store. This is not a Stieff pattern. A Stieff

silversmith would stamp out the sterling band in the middle and assemble with a company branded blade. Solid mother of pearl handles were often from Germany and blades from England. These may have also been a part of Chas. Stieff’s other business that wholesaled cutlery to business through out the south. (above knife from authors personal collection)

A change of leadership occurred in 1914 when Charles Stieff turned over the title of President and day to day operations, to his son, Gideon Stieff.

On the evening of May 26, 1923, founder Charles C. Stieff died at his desk at The Stieff Company’s Redwood Street offices. The Stieff Company called it’s founder a “born leader who left a legacy of positive actions for American silver” Charles C. Stieff was a believer in the enforcement of the laws requiring the marking of all sterling silver as 925 or 92.5 to identify its purity. He had also been a member of the Baltimore School Board, a City Councilman and a founder of a ferry boat company.

Gideon N.Stieff would continue to run the company until 1970.

His wife, Claire von Marees Stieff (Lady Claire) would also have a

guiding hand at Stieff for the next seven decades.

Under the leadership of Gideon N. Stieff, The Stieff Company would grow to

become one of America’s greatest silversmiths and reach a national market in sterling silver and pewter.

Claire and Gideon Stieff would have three sons. Charles, Rodney and Gideon Jr. As they came of age, the sons would join the business.  Charles C. Stieff II would eventually become VP of Sales,  Rodney Stieff would focus on the factory and become President (and later Chairman), and Gideon Stieff Jr. would expand the Stieff retail stores, and wholesale the companies gold jewelry designs to retailers across America. 



In the fall of 2014, I met with Richard Cain, former Head Silversmith, Pewterer, Production Supervisor and in his words... “what ever else needed to be done”. Rich was at Stieff 1961-1999. It was during those years Stieff bought Schofield and S. Kirk & Son.

Rich has provided me with wonderful in-house work materials, blueprints, photos, the pattern book, catalogs and wonderful memories of working at Stieff. Some of the materials are old KIRK documents used by Stieff to make the Kirk silver after 1979.  I am still process of curating this huge amount of material, and will be posting new parts of the collection here on the site.

In the fall of 2015, I received a large collection of paper materials and artifacts from noted Baltimore Silver expert Micheal Merrill. Michael published the re-printed 1920 Stieff catalog in 1992.. the Centennial of The Stieff Company, as well as several other silver catalogs. He was also a retailer of Sterling Silver in the Baltimore area for many years. Amongst the pieces he gave me are old Stieff, Schofield and Kirk catalogs that have not seen the light of day in decades. As time allows, I will be adding this material to the site... until then it is providing excellent reference material for me... answering many of the questions I get emailed to me each week. Thank you Michael.










On June 2nd 1904, the company name was changed from The Baltimore Sterling Silver Company to The Stieff Company. Warerooms were located at 17 North Liberty Street until 1952. (Near the corner of Baltimore Street and Liberty).  Some materials will show an address of 17 McLane Place which was an attempt to rename some Baltimore streets after the fire... the name change did not hold, and reverted to Liberty several years later.

(Baltimore maps of 1914 show the street name changed back to Liberty Street).


Cloth silver wraps from my collection showing the street name changes

In 1913, the factory moved to a custom built factory at 311 West German street. (now Redwood)  More on the factories in another section of this site. All of the early locations were all within a couple blocks walk from each other.

Stieff Rose with early Crown Hallmark. Circa 1904-1905

The Stieff name was added by a separate stamp. Later the mark would become STERLING-STIEFF with the crown mark.

The Stieff Crown mark Circa 1910

The crown would be dropped on flatware by the mid teen’s but would stay on Hollow Ware until 1929

The name Florence Sterling Silver Company did not last long.
The 1893-94 Polk directory shows The Sterling Silver Mnfg Co. at
110 W. Fayette Street, the old address of The Klank Mnfg. Co.

As noted in the February 14th 1894 issue of Jeweler’s Circular & Horological Review 
“The Sterling Silver Manufacturing Company, Baltimore, Md., which by an infusion of new blood and fresh capital, emerged from the Klank Mfg. Co., recently passed the first twelfth month of their existence with a good yearly record. They manufacture solid silver holloware and flatware, and a full line of white metal goods, beside doing considerable repairing and replating. Their new and original designs in holloware have proved very taking. Factory at 110 W. Fayette St., office and salesroom at 17 N. Liberty Street.”
Source: Encyclopedia of American Silver Manufactures, 5th Ed. 2004  Rainwater/Fuller

And yet another name change later in 1895 
State of Maryland taxes were paid under the Florence Sterling Silver Company name through 1895.

In 1900, the building at 17 N. Liberty Street would be razed, and a handsome new building erected at at cost of twelve thousand dollars. During construction, they were in temporary quarters at 21 N. Liberty Street. 

Exterior & Interior of 17 N. Liberty Street, Baltimore, Erected  1900

In 1892, the first flatware pattern for the new company was “Hand Chased Rose”. 
This was a hold over of the old Klank pattern by the same name dating back to 1871. Originally the pattern by Klank was Hand Chased, but by the early 1880’s it was produced with dies, 
as it was produced by Florence/BSSCo. & Stieff
Maryland, aka ROSE was introduced in 1900, Stieff used the 1892 date in advertisements and catalogs.  However, several ads in the Baltimore Sun in the summer of 1900 invite customers to come see the NEW pattern Maryland (later Rose) Other early silver patterns were Baltimore, Vestalia, Chrysanthemum, Victoria and Plain & Engraved. 
(The names of Rose, Maryland  and Maryland Rose were used until the 1920’s)

The pattern “Hand Chased Rose” was very similar to “Maryland” and as several other silversmiths about town, including Conrad Klank & Son were making the same pattern, a decision must have been made to close the pattern and introduce Maryland. The two patterns are very similar and easily mixed.

In the early years, the company would make silver for both it’s own retail shop located at 17 North Liberty Street in downtown Baltimore, and for other retailers who’s name would be stamped on the silver. This was an early form of what we could today call “private label” branding. As the companies fine silver products became better known around Baltimore, the company name was industrial sounding name was changed to a more  refined “Baltimore Sterling Silver Company”. The hallmark of BSSCO and or a Crown with a B under it was also introduced.  The earliest examples of the companies silver are not marked and it takes a trained eye to discern it’s origins.

Many early pieces carry only the Crown B mark.

At about 7 PM, November 20th, 1899 a  two alarm fire broke out on the third floor of the Cider Street factory. Damage to the building was about 1,000 dollars with an additional 8,000 dollars in damage to inventory and equipment. The fire limited the company’s ability to fill Christmas and and other holiday orders. Insurance covered all losses to both building/machinery and inventory. The fire was limited to the third floor, and repairs were quickly made. A quick response by the Baltimore Fire Dept. kept the blaze from damaging other buildings in the area. The building was in a former stable that had been converted to a factory, and was owned by Charles C. Stieff.

Stieff’s Rose/Maryland pattern was very sympathetic to the S. Kirk and Son pattern

Repoussé of 1846, Jacobi & Jenkins and Klank & Brother repoussé patterns .

Eighty seven years later, Stieff would buy S. Kirk & Son

The Baltimore Sterling Silver Buckle Company was listed at 17 N. Liberty Street

during the period 1900-1904, and absorbed under the Stieff name in 1904.

The Great Baltimore fire of 1904 burned large parts of Downtown Baltimore but  the Stieff building at 17 N. Liberty Street was not affected.  The fire was stopped just a few doors down at the wall of 9 N. Liberty street, the location of The Stieff Piano Building, saving both companies. The Stieff Piano Co. was owned by relatives.


Baltimore Sterling Silver Co. Letterhead from 1904

This letter head is from a letter by Chas. Stieff to the commission dealing with the rebuilding of Baltimore

after the fire of 1904. Read the letter by clicking on the letterhead.


                 Charles Clinton Stieff, Founder                 Laura Numsen Stieff (1897)

(Stieff Family Collection)