Sellew and Co.: Historical Notes
Sellew & Co. was the oldest company that produced pewter and Britannia metal wares in Cincinnati. Kerfoot, writing in 1924, was unaware of the origins of the Sellew brothers’ pewter company, saying “. . . we have no definite knowledge as yet as to the true dates assignable to the firm.” However, Brown (1979) states that Sellew & Co. was founded in 1832. Studebaker (2012) writes that Sellew & Co. produced thousands of pieces between 1832 and1860. They made tea and coffeepots along with plates, lamps, and communion wares of excellent quality and metal. William Sellew was born about 1814 (Brown says 1806) in Glastonbury, CT Marriage: Mary Ann Munson on 9 Feb 1847. He died on 15 Oct 1877, Cincinnati, OH. Osmon Sellew came with William to Cincinnati in 1832. He was born on 1 Jun 1810, in Glastonbury,CT. Marriage: Hepzibah Goodrich. He died in1886. Enos Sellew joined the firm in 1835. He was born on 3 Apr 1808, Glastonbury CT and died in1876. There was another brother, Ralph Sellew, born 27 Jun 1813, Glastonbury, CT, but there is no evidence that he ever worked in the Cincinnati firm.
The Wolfs (1977) noted:
· The apparent association between Sellew and Boardman manufacture (a strong relationship between many Boardman and Sellew teapots, creamers and sugar bowls.
· The interchangeability of parts utilized by both Sellew and Homan.
In a 1987 article, they show a later small mark of Sellew & Co: 3/64” high compared to the older larger mark which was 3/32” high.
· Form of the pot is late 1850s-1860s: fluted spout, C handle, lid
· Exhibits the elongated pear-shaped form typical of Sellew.
Many of their earlier design items were taken from the Boardmans. Sellew produced a double belly coffee pot strikingly similar to the Boardman's with the exception of the handle. Similar pots are found in:
· Laughlin plate 609 (Boardman and Co.)
· Kerfoot figure 214 (Boardman & Co.)
· Kerfoot figure 34 (Boardman & Hart)
· Kerfoot figure 209
· Studebaker, p. 57 “distinctively later Victorian”
· Montgomery, p. 185, Fig 11-23 (Boardman & Co.)
· Wolf (2006), Fig. 178 (Thomas Boardman)
· Wolf (2006), Fig. 196.
Brown, John F. “The Sellews of Cincinnati.” The Pewter Collectors Club of America Bulletin, v. 7 no. 9 (78), March 1979, 384-387.
Montgomery, Charles F. A History of American Pewter. (A Winterthur Book) New York: Weathervane Books, 1973.
Pewter. (Sue Studebaker’s Antiques Study Series) Edited by Jessica Thress. [Lebanon, OH] Warren County Historical
Wolf, Dr. Melvyn D. and Bette A. Wolf. “Cincinnati Pewter.” The Pewter Collectors Club of America Bulletin v. 7 no. 3 (75), September 1977, pp. 220-231.
Wolf, Dr. Melvyn D. and Bette A. Wolf. “An Unreported Coffee Pot by Sellew & Company.” The Pewter Collectors Club of America Bulletin v. 9 no. 4/5 (94/95)), September 1987, pp. 1104-105.
An American Pewter Collection: The Collection of Dr. Melvyn & Bette Wolf. First edition. 2006.
The advertisements below were found in various Cincinnati city directories, most of which can be found online at: http://virtuallibrary.cincinnatilibrary.org/virtuallibrary/vl_citydir.aspx
The image of
the 1840 ad was taken from the Pewter Collectors Club of America Bulletin.
1840 Sellew & Co. ad
1842 Sellew & Co. ad
1850-51 Sellew & Co. ad
1855 Sellew & Co. ad and J. H. Stalkamp & Co. ad
1860 Sellew & Co. ad