Makers mark - W. H. White
on silver ladle handleIn colonial Virginia, small towns like Fredericksburg had a variety of artisans and craftsmen to make goods that could not be made on a plantation. Those working in the metals trades included blacksmiths, tinsmiths, coppersmiths, silversmiths, goldsmiths and gunsmiths.
Objects available to the general population included items made of iron, pewter, copper, and copper alloys (brass, bronze, etc.) In most instances, these metals were used to make utilitarian forms such as plates, drinking vessels, candlesticks, and various cooking tools.
Artisans who worked in precious metals, primarily silver or gold, frequently signed their work with a stamped or engraved mark. However, while some pieces of tableware and jewelry from the 18th century made of silver and gold can be attributed to Virginia artisans, the majority of high quality metal goods manufactured during this period were imported from Europe.