Sterling Baby Rattler, Whistle, and TeetherBy Mark Chervenka
Sterling Baby Rattle, Whistle and Teether
This new sterling novelty appeared in November-December, 1997 in a silver importer's catalog. It's made in a loose copy of early 19th century silver originals. It has a whistle on one end, bells on either side and a mother of pearl teether; overall length, 4". Like many other new sterling items, this piece is made in Thailand (note original crude string tag). The only permanent mark is "Sterling" stamped into the mouthpiece of the whistle.
Construction is similar to originals. The body shape is stamped in molds and seamed together with solder; bells and jump rings are fashioned by hand. Only the way the teether was attached was different. The new teether was glued into the body and the glue was detected by black light. Original teethers were generally attached by extending a silver mounting collar up the teething material an inch or more and fastening the collar with a silver or metal pin. It was strongly built to withstand a child's tugging and biting. Glue is fine for a cabinet piece reproduction but would never do for the original function.
Mother of pearl is also the wrong material for a teether, it is too soft. The majority of originals were of coral or ivory which are much harder materials.