3086 A Very Rare and Fine Silver Wine Siphon
This is a very fine and rare wine siphon, made by the earliest of makers of such pieces - Thomas Hyde (senior). It is designed to convey wine from a bottle to a decanter as a way of separating the wine from its sediment. Siphons were an initial method of doing this, before the wine funnel was generally used.
There is a suction tube to prime the siphon, and a spigot (or tap) to stop the flow of wine. The hole where the wine enters the siphon is .5", 1 cm above the lowest part that enters the bottle further to minimise the risk of sediment entering the decanter.
The siphon is marked twice with the maker's mark only, because by an Act of Parliament of 1739, siphons (at the time known as 'wine cranes') were specifically exempt, among other categories, from being hallmarked. This was because hallmarks would irreparably have damaged the tubes.
Thomas Hyde, (b. 1725) was the son of James Hyde, a London Vintner. He was apprenticed to John Harvey, one of the earliest makers of wine labels. He was a freeman by patrimony of the Fishmongers' Company, although his output seems to have been almost exclusively wine-related silver; he made many wine labels and one funnel is also known by him. Both his sons, Thomas, jnr. and James were in the family business, and James' wife Mary continued the line with her childern and with her second husband, John Reily well into the 19th century.
Dimensions: 14.8 ", 37.7 cm. long.
Weight: 229 grams, 7 oz.7 dwt.
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