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Cocktail Shaker, 1928

This is a Cocktail Shaker. It was manufactured by Meriden Silver Plate Company. It is dated 1928. Its medium is silver-plated nickel, catalin. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

This cocktail shaker takes the rigid form of the modern American skyscraper. It rises from its widest and sturdiest point at its base into a series of narrowing setbacks, mimicking the architectural profile of some of New York City’s tallest buildings. This cocktail shaker marks a departure in the production of the Meriden Silver Plate Company, which had previously primarily produced tablewares and flatware in historically-inspired patterns rich with decoration. The pared down simplicity of this shaker exhibits modernism’s penchant for smooth unadorned surfaces. The orange Catalin stopper provides a welcome note of color. This shaker is not only modern in its form but it also makes use of patented technology in the stopper. As John Stuart Gordon has pointed out, the Catalin knob was integral to the function of the shaker as a stopper. When depressed, it sealed the shaker. When pulled up, it unplugged the spout and the contents of the inverted shaker flowed out around it. Therefore, a host could pour a drink without worry of misplacing the stopper.[1] The patent date (January 11, 1927) appears on the underside of the shaker and on the strainer and spout apparatus.

This object was donated by George R. Kravis II. It is credited Gift of George R. Kravis II.

Our curators have highlighted 3 objects that are related to this one.

  • Table Bell Bell
  • metal, chromium, bakelite (tm).
  • Gift of Mel Byars.
  • 1991-59-92

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 31.8 × 11.4 × 11.4 cm (12 1/2 × 4 1/2 × 4 1/2 in.)

It has the following markings

“meriden s. p. co. / international s. co. [in a rounded arch centering a rampant lion holding an urn] / 378 /48 oz / patented / jan.11.1927,” sans serif, incuse on underside of shaker body; “pat’d jan 11-1927,” incuse on inner rim of strainer and on underside of spout cap

Cite this object as

Cocktail Shaker, 1928; Manufactured by Meriden Silver Plate Company (United States); silver-plated nickel, catalin; H x W x D: 31.8 × 11.4 × 11.4 cm (12 1/2 × 4 1/2 × 4 1/2 in.); Gift of George R. Kravis II; 2018-22-46-a,b

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Cocktail Shaker, 1928 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=6 December 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>