Tools & Equipment

Gilding Tool

This gilding iron may have been made to stamp a gold leaf trademark on paper labels intended to be pasted to Shaker chairs as to prove their authenticity at a time that worldly companies were beginning to try and grab some market share of increasingly popular Shaker chairs.

  • Accession Number: 1957.8527.1

A few paper labels printed with this stamp have survived but none have been found affixed to Shaker chairs suggesting that they were not ever used.

In the mid-1870s the Shakers, solved the problem of trade-marking their chairs by having gold decals made by Palm, Fechteler & Co. in New York, New York. These decals are frequently found on Shaker chairs. Shaker catalogues cautioned customers that “All Chairs of our make will hae Gold Transfer Trade Mark attached to them and none others are Shakers’ Chairs.

The gilding iron was heated and pressed onto gold leaf prepared with an adhesive, often egg white, that caused the gold leaf to attach to the paper.

The gilding iron was purchased at Hancock from Eldress Emma B. King in May 1957. It had probably been brought to Hancock in 1947 of disposal after Mount Lebanon closed in 1947.