Silver Brighton Buns

I have heard of Chelsea Buns, currant buns and butterfly buns but never Brighton ones!!

Yesterday was the first time. Apparently this pair of travelling chambersticks were common during the mid eighteenth century and up until the around the time of the first world war. They were often used by officers.

Chambersticks are the low carrying holder with the large diameter tea plate size base (like you may see in a Charles Dickens film)

These Brighton Buns are a smaller similar principle with two screwing together, with their removable capitals nestling in the wells inside. When screwed together for travelling they do resemble a large bun about the size of a teacake!

This pair  have been given to me for valuation. They appear to be silver and bear two, rather worn, tiny assay marks on each . They could be German.

I am on my way to ask my friend and fellow silversmith Lew Marlow his opinion.  He is an authority on antique silver. Then on to Cooksons Precious metals for a metal analysis. The pair also have a crest on each with entwined initials and a stylised crown above.

To be continued………

If you have any information on the above I would be pleased to hear from you.

John Campbell


A recent order from a Swiss retailer included  2 silver hip flasks, a 3oz and a 5oz. These are the 2 remaining sizes of the 4 that we used to manufacture. I was not looking forward to making them as I distinctly remember the last time I made them that they were a pain to make.

In the beginning, the body of both sizes got stuck on its forming tool. This is a long parrellel mandril, concave on one side and convex on the other, which is forced through the seamed oval band. This takes quite a bit of force and is done using a fly press.

So far so good! Now to get the mandril out! Reverse the process? Well – this worked like magic. Out came the 2 mandrils – one for each size. Next step (there are 9 components and several opps per component) to solder on the base and fettle back the excess material. Then the same with the top.

Next the 5 cap components are firstly turned on the lathe and then soldered together, carefully checking that the hinge and bayonet are functioning as required. Next the lower component of the cap assembly is soldered to the body assembly.

 It is now time for hallmarking. The units are taken to the Assay office for testing and the hallmarks are applied. In this case we opt for the laser version as it causes less distortion. Upon return, the components are polished, ultrasonically cleaned and sent to the engraver to have an “initials” box engraved (where people can add their initials)

Lastly it will be packed into the familiar JA Campbell mauve and white boxes.

Enjoy using silver by JA Campbell England

John Campbell

Master Silversmith 

Another silver chalice renovation

Although I do not actually seek repair work, the previous blog telling an interesting story about a silver chalice repair has attracted another one. Not realising someone may type in silver chalice repair and find the original story.

The latest chalice repair is a little similar in that both were damaged in their bowls. This second one has an 800 silver bowl on the top of an ornate brass stem and base and is of Italian origin.

All three parts are soldered together. The tricky bit is that the damaged 800 bowl is quite thin and age hardened making dents, folds and wrinkle removal dificult. It will need to be annealed (making red hot) before this can be attempted. The only trouble is the bowl has a threaded stud lead soldered to the bottom to hold it into the stem. This with all the lead solder will have to be completely removed before annealing. This is because lead and silver will start to ammalgamate when the silver becomes red hot.

Once the annealed, the bowl can be fitted into a temporary wooden chuck on a spinning lathe and the dents and wrinkles “spun out.” This process will put some hardening back into the piece. This time, “work hardening on completion”, the threaded stud can be lead soldered back onto the bottom of the bowl.

At this stage the owner had specified that the bowl be hard gold plated and the ornate stem and vase silver plated. No problem.

Following on from the plating process, final assembly, and dispatching – hopefully another satisfied customer.

Visit for more pictures and interesting descriptions of how we make things!

John Campbell

Master Silversmith