Here is an antique silver plated julep strainer that is marked “Derby Silver Co.” It also is marked with the monogram “L. S.” It measures just about 5 and 7/8 inches in length and the bowl measures approximately 2 and 3/4ths inches wide.
It has grape leaves and a bunch of grapes on one side of the threaded handle. This is called the “Grape” pattern and was patented by Egbert W. Sperry on April 30, 1867. The patent image is the background to the photo. This pattern was made by Redfield & Rice in the late 1860s. Edwin Brittin worked for Redfield & Rice and when they went out of business their machinery was brought to the newly formed Derby Silver Co. by Edwin Brittin in the early 1870s. This Grape pattern strainer might have been made with one of the Redfield & Rice moulds.
The L.S. is stamped in the opposite direction from the Derby Silver mark. It could be that E. W. Sperry gave this strainer to one of his family members and the “S” stands for Sperry.
It is rare to come across a julep strainer with the Derby Silver Co. mark. Of particular interest is the placement of that mark on the handle bowl side up. The Grape design is on the opposite side of the handle. That placement of the mark indicates that this was considered the back of the strainer and supports the placement of the strainer, bowl side down, in the drink when being served (indicated by Harry Johnson in his 1888 book, “The New and Improved Illustrated Bartender’s Manual”). Please see my blog post “The Victorian Bar” to read more about this:
This strainer can be found here at my Etsy shop: