Looking for some history on this item

The mark on your fish server reads “E” “P” “N” “S” indicating that it is electroplated. EPNS (electroplated nickel silver) is a generic abbreviation and cannot be assigned to any particular manufacturer. So unfortunately I cannot give you any sort of dating or origin information.


THere is a series of marks on the knife collars starting with WY or WV This may well indicate who made it. It is not a date letter. If it is WV it may be William Vale of Birmingham

The knife handles are made of celluloid or “French Ivory” — this was the first plastic. Invented in 1860 it was widely used in the cutlery business well into the 1970’s.

It wasn’t of course either French or Ivory but by about 1900 the manufacturers had learned to striate the pattern in it to closely emulate the tissue of tusks — which is basically the same material as your fingernails. Under magnification you can see the striation in your pictures.

The Brits have long called anything faux French and the French have returned the compliment. Creme Anglais for custard vs. French polish for a synthetic finish especially on Boulle,

If you are fan of PG Wodehouse’s Jeeves series you will know fish slice sets were what Bertie Wooster gave his friends from the Drones Club when they fell victim to marriage. Which may explain how little use shows on this and countless boxed sets which turn up all the time.


Well spotted, Guildhall!


That is a Sheffield hallmark with the sponsor’s mark WY of William Yates Ltd. I can’t read the date letter with certainty but it may be “l” for 1903/04 or “r” for 1909/10 - or perhaps some other letter, but definitely from the date letter cycle 1893-1917.

Must be an r or later Mark, without a pointelle, wasn’t registered until 1910.

As always I am grateful to Phil for his splendid site.