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TITLE
John Fraser, Inverness silversmith (19 of 39)
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_SILVERSMITH_19
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
PERIOD
1970s
CREATOR
John Fraser
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
2242
KEYWORDS
jewellery
jewelry
craftsman
craftsmen
metalwork
silversmiths
audio

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John Fraser, an Inverness silversmith, served his apprenticeship in the 1930s with Medlock and Craik, watchmakers and jewellers at 6 Bridge Street, Inverness. The firm later had premises in Exchange Place, and Queensgate.

In this audio extract from the 1970s, Mr Fraser recalls working with sheet silver, producing mounts for pipes and shinty sticks. The photograph, courtesy of Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (IMAG), is of one of John Fraser's pieces - a silver paperknife.

'But you could roll your own sheet too. If you got sheet - you could buy it in, say, at a tenth of an inch thick - and you could take it down to suit yourself, for various things that you'd want. I mean, if you were making an inscription plate you'd make it fairly thin; if you were making a ferrule on a pipe to repair it, you know, and you were putting a silver band on it, or a stick, all these things would be fairly thin. But, if you got a presentation plate say, for a clock, and the clock was well, say, fifty or sixty pounds, you'd want to put a respectable plate on it, so it would be a thicker plate. And you would gradually come up from that to whatever thickness you wanted to use and particularly for whatever job it was.

We used to do a lot of mountings in those days. You still have them done but they were done from a long time back. Where you had to use a reasonable thickness of silver was when you mounted shinty sticks, you know, for the, well, for the 'National Game', in other words. And they were difficult mounts because you had to fit them fairly snug onto the wood and you had to beat them up a bit, you know, to get the shape and so forth. And then the piece at the top was shaped, fluted out, you know, with a - and a dome top on it and you had to do an inscription on that, well, you would use a fair thickness of silver. Because from an engraver's point of view it was hopeless to get something that was very thin 'cos it moved about, and it took much longer to do, whereas if you had a nice thickness of metal you could get a bite into the metal; you could do a much better job, you know, and you could use a variety of different tools whereas if you were using thin metal you'd be perhaps on a tool like a flat tool, or a half round'

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John Fraser, Inverness silversmith (19 of 39)

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

1970s

jewellery; jewelry; craftsman; craftsmen; metalwork; silversmiths; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: John Fraser, Silversmith

John Fraser, an Inverness silversmith, served his apprenticeship in the 1930s with Medlock and Craik, watchmakers and jewellers at 6 Bridge Street, Inverness. The firm later had premises in Exchange Place, and Queensgate. <br /> <br /> In this audio extract from the 1970s, Mr Fraser recalls working with sheet silver, producing mounts for pipes and shinty sticks. The photograph, courtesy of Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (IMAG), is of one of John Fraser's pieces - a silver paperknife.<br /> <br /> 'But you could roll your own sheet too. If you got sheet - you could buy it in, say, at a tenth of an inch thick - and you could take it down to suit yourself, for various things that you'd want. I mean, if you were making an inscription plate you'd make it fairly thin; if you were making a ferrule on a pipe to repair it, you know, and you were putting a silver band on it, or a stick, all these things would be fairly thin. But, if you got a presentation plate say, for a clock, and the clock was well, say, fifty or sixty pounds, you'd want to put a respectable plate on it, so it would be a thicker plate. And you would gradually come up from that to whatever thickness you wanted to use and particularly for whatever job it was. <br /> <br /> We used to do a lot of mountings in those days. You still have them done but they were done from a long time back. Where you had to use a reasonable thickness of silver was when you mounted shinty sticks, you know, for the, well, for the 'National Game', in other words. And they were difficult mounts because you had to fit them fairly snug onto the wood and you had to beat them up a bit, you know, to get the shape and so forth. And then the piece at the top was shaped, fluted out, you know, with a - and a dome top on it and you had to do an inscription on that, well, you would use a fair thickness of silver. Because from an engraver's point of view it was hopeless to get something that was very thin 'cos it moved about, and it took much longer to do, whereas if you had a nice thickness of metal you could get a bite into the metal; you could do a much better job, you know, and you could use a variety of different tools whereas if you were using thin metal you'd be perhaps on a tool like a flat tool, or a half round'