I spotted the chafing dish lying amidst a jumble of other stuff in an old bathtub in the corner of the shop; a recent acquisition that hadn't been sorted through yet. Erik was immediately enamored of the lion's heads on the legs of the chafing dish. I was very doubtful that this thing could ever be restored or cleaned. It was REALLY BAD. The picture makes it actually look BETTER than it was. I thought it might be "too far gone", but the shop owner said we could have it if we wantede to give it a try. He thought it wasn't good for anything but scrap. I had my doubts too.
Yet, to my surprise,I have actually succeeded in cleaning it up pretty well. I'm not quite done with it. I'm still working on the bottom part. I discovered that this chafing dish actually has a copper core, which explains why it's so dang heavy. I did find some maker's marks on the bottom, where it also says 'silver over copper core'. It took me 2 hours and three bottles of Tarn-X and Wright's to get it this far. There were times when I thought I would never get this thing clean. The dirty polishing rags and Q-tips were piling up around me, my rubber gloves were black with tarnish, and STILL there was more black than silver showing. But I perservered.
It's actually quite an attractive piece.
Some of the black on the piece seemed actually to be soot......I have to wonder if this thing was in a fire, or someone had tossed it into a fireplace chimney. It could have been at the bottom of a cellar hole for all I know.....or a sewer. Some things are just better not known!
The word "chafing dish" comes from the Middle English word "chafing", the present participle of the word "chaufen" or "chafen", which means "to warm". It first came into use in the 15th century.
I have no idea how old this piece is, ( or if it's even old at all) but it's very pretty and I am glad that we dragged it out into the light.
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