2001/2/37 Serving fork, electroplated nickel silver, Stokes and Sons, Melbourne, Australia, 1911-1949
This serving fork with a kangaroo finial is part of the Bill Chapman Collection presented to the Museum in 2000. It was made by the Melbourne company Stokes and Sons between 1911 and the 1940s. The firm was set up in 1856 by Thomas Stokes, a Birmingham die-sinker and button-maker who had emigrated to Australia in search of gold. From 1867 to 1893 the firm was known as Stokes and Martin, then Stokes and Son and in 1896 it became Stokes and Sons. By the early 20th century, the company had diversified from manufacturing, electroplating and gilding stamped metalwork to the production of medals, badges and silverware. Stokes and Sons was the first major manufacturer of table silverware in Australia with most objects produced in electroplated nickel silver and only a small proportion available in silver (for the company's history see K. Cavill, 'The silverware of Stokes and Sons', Australiana, May 1986, pp.37-41). Presented to the Museum in its original box, the fork is a rare example of the firm's production.