Puiforcat French Silver Hot Chocolate Pot, 19th century
Era: 2nd part of the 19th century.
Materials: silver, wood.
Dim: H 9.84 in (25 cm)/ W 4.72 in (12 cm).
Silver mark: French Minerve from 1838.
Silversmith: EP (in diamond) Puiforcat in Paris.
Silver chocolate or coffee pot with pilaster, laurel wreath and foliage decoration. The pouring spout is topped with a fretel motif representing a hinged fruit basket, allowing a wooden reel to be inserted to froth the drink. The handle is made of rosewood. Chocolate, coffee and tea first appeared in Europe between the 16th and 18th centuries. This type of vessel was used indiscriminately for chocolate and coffee.
Initially a family cutlery business founded in Paris in 1820, the current renown of the Puiforcat name is largely due to Jean Puriforcat, the fourth generation in the family business. It was under his leadership that the company became established in the avant-garde of modern silverwork. In the late 19th century, under the management of his father, Louis-Victor Puiforcat, the company began moving toward the high end of the silversmith's trade, recreating 18th century masterpieces that are now exhibited at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Louis-Victor's son Jean was named master silversmith in 1920.