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Object ID # 1957.016.009ab
Object Name Dish, Chafing
Title Meriden Britannia Co. Chafing Dish
Lexicon category 4: T&E For Materials
Date pre-1898
Year Range from 1852
Year Range to 1898
Artist Meriden Britannia Co.
Made Meriden Britannia Company
Place of Origin United States of America
Description A silver-plated chafing dish. Circular, with two, small, U-shaped handles attached at the sides and protruding at an approx. 45 degree angle to the dish wall. The walls of the dish are sloped. A decorative band of etching encircles the dish on the exterior, featuring beading around the top and bottom and a botanical design in the centre. It was manufactured in Meriden, Connecticut by the Meriden Britannia Co. and has the pattern number "82" on the underside.

Makers mark There are two round impressed marks side-by-side, above an impressed "82". The left round mark has "MERIDEN B COMPANY" as well as a crest and weigh scale motif. The right circle has "MERIDEN BRITANNIA CO. QUADRUPLE MERIDEN CT".
Provenance The chafing dish was used in the home of the Hiram and Eliza Kilbourn family in the 19th-century. The dish was manufactured in Meriden, Connecticut, and pre-dates 1898. The Kilbourns resided in Owen Sound, Upper Canada from 1845 to circa 1853 (when they moved to Invermay). The dish was later brought to Owen Sound when the family returned to the town after the death of Hiram Kilbourn.
The manufacturer, the Meriden Britannia Co., began in 1852.

Manufactured by the Meriden Silverplate Co. of Meriden, Connecticut. It was used as part of a tea service that belonged to the Kilbourn family. The Meriden company was founded in 1869 by Charles Casper. In 1898, it merged with other companies to create the International Silver Co. This particular pattern, No. ..., called "......", was produced between 18-- and 18--.

Previously owned by Mr. W. Quay Kilbourn of Toronto, said that the tea service came from the home of his Great-Grandfather, Hiram Kilbourn. Mr. Hiram Kilbourn came to Owen Sound, Upper Canada by sailing vessel, in June of 1845, via Penetang, bringing along a cargo of maple sugar, his family, and the family of Joseph McFarlane. Hiram Kilbourn was a Tanner by trade. His wife was the former Eliza Seaman and they had 3 children with them when they arrived. They formerly had resided at Smith Falls (as did the McFarlanes). He bought Lot 9 on the east side of Poulett St. (Main Street) in the village of Sydenham (later called Owen Sound), circa 1846, while James Kilbourn had Lot 8. At that time, the surname was spelt as "Kilbourne". Hiram Kilbourn's tannery employed six to eight men. He would eventually sell it to Mr. Charles Hall (Croft, Melba, FOURTH ENTRANCE TO HURONIA, p. 36) An 1851 directory listed Hiram and James Kilbourn as Tanners at Owen Sound. They are not listed in the 1865-1866 listing in the W. W. Smith GAZETTEER & DIRECTORY OF THE COUNTY OF GREY, so they must have moved to Invermay before then. It is believed that they moved in 1853.

In the 1851 census of Sydenham Township, Canada West (near Owen Sound), Hiram Kilbourn and his family were farming in Sydenham Township. He was then age 36, Eliza was 30, Sarah was 12, John was 10, James 7, George 4, and Frederick was 1.

The eldest son was John Melbourne Kilbourn. He became a private banker. The Kilbourn family invested in property on the west side of Owen Sound, sold limestone for the foundation of the first C.P.R. grain elevator at Owen Sound in the 1880s, and were involved with the Malleable Iron company at Owen Sound. They sold the land upon which the old stone post office building was built. John M. Kilbourn was Chairman of the General and Marine Hospital Board when a 1910 addition was added to the G&M Hospital. The Kilbourns also built several commercial blocks downtown and in 1913, built the "Opera House" which they leased to Griffith Amusements. (source Owen Sound Historical Society Newsletter, Jan. 1997).

W. Quay Kilbourn said that Hiram Kilbourn is buried at Invermay. He died in 18__. John M. Kilbourn, and other Kilbourns returned to Owen Sound, Ontario.

Sarah Kilbourn became Mrs. Bishop of Owen Sound. She was a grandmother of Billy Bishop, who became famous during the First World War as a flying ace.

In the 1861 census of Owen Sound, no Kilbourns were listed. The 1861 census of Bruce County, in the Arran Township area, listed a household headed by John M. Kilbourn, Storekeeper, who was born in Canada, Congregationalist, age 19, who was then single. Residing with him at that time were Sarah Bishop (age 21), James Kilbourn age 14, Frederick Kilbourn age 12, Margaret Kilbourn age 10, William Boyd age 6, Allen G. Kilbourn age 2, Robert Thomas (born England, age 23), Maria Bishop (born in Upper Canada, age 19), and Mary Anderson (b. Ireland, age 17).

In Bruce County, there were two distinct post villages, Tara and Invermay, which by about 1880 were grown into one village in Arran Township. In the BRUCE COUNTY BUSINESS DIRECTORY FOR 1880 (Wm. E. Evans Publisher), the Village of Tara had F. L. Kilbourn, General Merchant and agent for the Montreal Telegraph Co., while the Village of Invermay had "Kilbourn & Hales" (John M. Kilbourn and W. J. Hale, barrister, etc.). John M. Kilbourn at that time owned or leased 6 and 3/4 acres.

In 1872, John M. Kilbourn advertised in an Owen Sound newspaper "The Subscriber begs to announce to the needy of the Counties of Grey and Bruce, that he has been instructed to find borrowers for $100,000 of British Capital at 8% on the security of funds being the property of Capitalists in Grey Britain" (p. 126 FOURTH ENTRANCE TO HURONIA). In 1882, the Owen Sound Portland Cement Ltd. mill was organized by J. M. Kilbourn and R. P. Butchart. The mill was built about 9 miles northwest of Owen Sound, at Shallow Lake, Ontario. (Ibid, p. 169).

In the 1871 census of Owen Sound, James Kilbourn, age 24, b. Ontario, Congregationalist, and a Tanner by trade was the head of a household that also included George Kilbourn, age 22, b. Ont. (a Merchant), Fred Kilbourn, age 20 (Tinsmith), Allen Kilbourn, age 17 (Tinsmith), Margaret Kilbourn age 16, William Boyd age 12 and Annie Guthrie age 5.

In the 1881 Census of Amabel Township, Bruce North, Hiram Kilbourn and his wife "Ann" (Eliza Ann) were listed. Hiram's age was given as 69. His birth year was given as 1812, somewhere in what became Ontario. Ann was 62.

Hiram James Kilbourn died Jan 16, 1913, age 66. He was born c. 1847 at Owen Sound to Hiram Kilbourn and Eliza Ann Seaman Kilbourn. In 1913, he lived at Lot 17, Concession 3, Derby Township and was a retired Merchant.

Another namesake was Hiram Kilbourn Bishop, who was born at Owen Sound c. 1888 and who died at the age of 4 of diptheria on Sept. 11, 1892.
Collection Food Processing Tools & Equipment
Material Metal/Silver
Dimensions W-25 D-7 cm
Found Owen Sound, Grey County
People Kilbourn, Hiram
Kilbourn, John Melbourne
Subjects Silverware
Dining tables
Dining rooms
Function The quadruple silver-plated Victorian chafing dish belonged to the Kilbourn family of Owen Sound and Bruce County. It was a decorative tableware or sideboard item, which would be used to keep food hot.