Towle Silversmiths

Although Towle Silversmiths was not founded until 1857 (as Towle & Jones) and then 1873 (as A.F. Towle & Son); its progenitors included several members of the Moulton family, whose silversmiths dynasty is claimed to have the longest continuous span of silversmithing of any American family. From father to son, this family produced silversmiths for two hundred years.

The first verified silversmith in the family was William Moulton III (1720-1793). He worked from 1742 to 1762 as a silversmith in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and from 1762 to 1788 in Hampstead, New Hampshire. He then moved in a covered wagon to Marietta, Ohio, carrying his silversmith's tools with him.

His son, Joseph Moulton worked from about 1764 to 1810 as a silversmith in Newburyport. He had four sons that were silversmiths. 1) Ebenezer moved to Boston. 2) Enoch moved to Portland, Maine, each of them continuing their crafts in their respective places. 3) Abel inherited his father's business in Newburyport.

His son William Moulton IV (1772-1861) was the fifth in line of the Moulton chain. He established his own shop in the same place. William had two apprentices, Anthony Francis Towle and William P. Jones. He worked from 1795 to 1845 as a silversmith in Newburyport, Massachusetts. In addition to supplying well-crafted church silver and other vessels, he made jewelry in his shop on Merrimack Street.

His son, Joseph Moulton (1814-1903), the sixth and final in line, was the one that sold the silver business he inherited, to his father’s two apprentices, Anthony Francis Towle and William P. Jones (who were also his apprentices), in 1857 to form Towle & Jones, Co. In 1873, the son of Anthony Francis Towle, Edward Bass Towle, was added to the business, and the name was changed to A.F. Towle & Son. It was in business through 1902, at which point their dies were purchased by Rogers, Lunt and Bowlen, who were later to become Lunt Silversmiths.

In 1882, Anthony Francis Towle, while still owning A.F. Towle & Son, established the Towle Manufacturing Co.

In 1890, the company adopted the trademark of a large script "T" enclosed by a lion. Richard Dimes, an English silversmith who had immigrated to the U.S. in 1881, started Towle's hollowware line. Dimes, who also worked for the Frank W. Smith Silver Co., would eventually establish his own company, Richard Dimes Co., in Boston.

Eventually the company's name was changed to Towle Silversmiths. Over the years, Towle has created numerous sterling silver flatware patterns in the United States: including the "Candlelight" in 1934, the "Marie Louise" in 1939 which became the official sterling silver pattern for U.S. embassies worldwide, "Old Master" in 1942, now considered by some to be the company’s flagship pattern, and the "Contour" in 1950 (designed by Robert J. King, patented by John Van Koert) which was the first American sterling pattern to manifest post-World War II organic modernist design and the only production-line American flatware included in the Museum of Modern Art's Good Design exhibitions.

Read the full history of Towle Silversmiths at Wikipedia by clicking here.



Most commercially available sterling silver objects are stamped with one or more silver hallmarks indicating the purity of the silver and the mark of the manufacturer. Some also have other markings to indicate date of manufacture and additional information about the piece.


Photo fromTiffany Studios (United States, New York, 1889 - 1902). original photograph on Flickr was taken by Beesnest McClain.

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