Here is a sterling silver julep strainer marked “Sterling” and “H. F. Wichman”. It measures 5 and 3/4 inches long; the bowl is 2 and 7/8 inches wide. The bowl has a light gold matte wash, both sides. Weight is 57.3 grams. An interesting design detail is the smooth bowl…no scallop shell or swirl design.
Henry F. Wichman was born in Hanover, Germany in 1866. His family emigrated to New York in 1868. Henry’s children write that their father went to Hawaii in 1877, a successful candidate to an ad placed in a San Francisco newspaper by Hawaiian King Kalakaua who was looking for an engraver and jeweler. Henry began in the jewelry business that same year along with J. E. Gomes as ” Gomes & Wichman”. One year later ((1888) Henry bought out Gomes and became sole owner. In 1903 the firm of “H. F. Wichman & Co. Ltd.” was incorporated with Henry as president. I estimate that this strainer was made in the 1890s as there is no “& Co.” after Wichman’s name. H. F. Wichman & Co. are still in business today.
Why King Kalakaua was looking for a jeweler and engraver, I do not know. And I don’t know what Henry’s relationship with the King was. The King was called the “Merry Monarch” and liked to entertain. He was very well traveled, a man of the world. Maybe he wanted Henry to fashion a julep strainer for him as it was very popular in the States at that time. Who knows?
The handle of the strainer has an engraving which I thought at first might just be a fanciful design. Looking more closely, however, I think it might be a monogram, perhaps a “J”.
You might also find my blog post on The Victorian Bar interesting as well: http://queenofsienna.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/the-victorian-bar/
This strainer is available for sale here at my Etsy shop: