Here are matching antique silver plated julep and toddy strainers that are marked “N. F. Nickel Silver Co.” The name “N. F. Nickel Silver Co.” was trademarked by Oneida Community of Niagara Falls, NY in 1886. The front of the handles are marked “Old Harper Whisky”. The julep strainer measures 5 and 5/8ths inches long and the bowl is 2 and 3/4 inches wide. The toddy is 4 and 1/4ths inches in length and the bowl measures approximately 1 and 15/16ths inches wide.
A Harper ad reads “When the Chill Gets in Your Bones…When you shiver and feel clammy all over – nothing will warm you up – fill you with the glow of comfort – as quickly as a delicious Hot Toddy made with Good Old I. W. Harper Whiskey. ….There’s a soft, delicious mellowness that you will never forget. But you don’t have to be cold – any time you want a toddy or a julep or anything the needs good whiskey, make that whiskey “Harpers” and you get the best.”
Perhaps they were given as souvenirs at the 1893 Columbian Exposition where Bernheim Bros., manufacturer of the Harper brand, had an exhibit.
The name “I. W. Harper” was trademarked in 1905 by Bernheim Distilling Co., Louisville, KY. I believe that the usage of “Old Harper Whisky” predates that. The spelling of “Whisky” was changed to “Whiskey” somewhere around the turn of the century.
Julep strainers are not only a bar tool used in the preparation of beverages, they were also served bowl side up with an iced drink, such as a mint julep, to hold back the ice and mint while imbibed.
To read more, please see this blog post: http://queenofsienna.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/the-old-harper-whisky-toddy-strainer/
Also, please see my blog post “The Victorian Bar” to read more about cocktail strainers in general:
This set is available for sale here at my Etsy shop: