January 17, 2011

M or W

My friend David Wiesand and I are having a very serious continuing discussion about monograms on silverware. We can’t figure out how to tell if something is an M or a W. Monogram-wSpecifically, should the monogram on silver be the right way when it’s set on the table? Or the right way when you’re holding it on your hand?Monogram-w We would love to hear your thoughts on this!

19 comments:

  1. I'm unclear by what you mean by when "on the table" and when "holding it in your hand" - on a knife for example - it would be the same. The "right" way is when the monogram or crest is NOT upside down when it is on the table.

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  2. I always thought it was supposed to be facing the correct way when placed at the table, but now you have me wondering. It seems silly to have it incorrect/upside down at a place setting though, since that's how guests would first view it? Hmmm...

    Kat :)

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  3. I am pretty sure it should read correctly in the place setting.

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  4. Good question--I have never paid much attention and I have tons of silver flatware (4 complete sets--way too much).....I just checked: the initial is facing forward or the spoon/tong/knife end. I love the old monograms!!

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  5. i would say the monogram should be "right way on the table" Just seems logical to look at the set table and see it as it should be.

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  6. Tough question. I would compare this to the William and Mary cypher and conclude it to be an "M". However, truly it could be either as it is lovely as a "W" also.

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  7. When the silver is on the table the monogram should face the user properly. The W would remain a W and the M would remain an M. When the utensils are used the monogram is still in the proper place. Such a lot of words to use to explain. Have a wonderful day!

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  8. It's a "w".....at least if I found it at a flea market it would be...since it would be mine! - Wendy

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  9. Martha Stewart and Amy Vanderbilt say the monogram is upright on the table. HOWEVER. Martha raises an interesting point when she is discussing this with someone who works at Tiffany. She notes that a monogram can detract from the silver pattern, and it might be more wise to monogram on the back of the piece. Just another knot in your monogram etiquette rope.

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  10. hmmm why not show us the utensil, now that we know what the glif looks like but use an overlay as to this way a w this way an m okay

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  11. Anon@16:02... I was too lazy to take pictures, edit them and post them at midnight! Besides, David's got it all now anyway!

    However, looking at all of our combined silverware, we find that there are different ways of doing this, including some that we saw/own that has the monogram sideways, so it's parallel to the length of the utensil.

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  12. I think that an artist who put so much work into his "M" would happily turn it upside down and use it for his "W" as well, for continuity of design if not ease of use!

    But seriously, just looking at the design, I think it's a "W". The flourishes are upward facing, and would also be so on an actual "M"... the top points of the "M" would be split with little balls in the center, and the leaves on the flower would be reaching sky-ward, methinks.

    As far as I'm concerned, you would only set a table the proper way, so whichever way the monogram faces when you set the table correctly is the way it's "supposed" to be... as for monograms that are installed sideways, it's either going to be readable or upside down, depending on whether the person using them is right or left handed.

    Aren't you glad you started this? HA!

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  13. Washington Cube has it right for me. All of my Francis the First pieces are monogramed on the back of the pieces, and they are upsidedown, if you turned them over. The frilly fruit is too busy to have a monogram on the front. I know that FF was so popular in the south that my grandmother and her sister would share their pieces for parties...hence the need for the monogram in order to get your loot back. Now at Beverly Bremmer in ATL she suggests not getting the pieces engraved because they are of more value without. :) Not that I would ever want to sell any of my silver, god forbid.

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  14. I think it's a W. Not for any reason having to do with the position of the silver at the place setting, but because of the font. As a W, it flows, is sort of airy and the open ends sort of unfurl. As an M, it's hunched looking - bottom heavy, no flow to the letter. IMHO.

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  15. It's a "W."

    Monogramming the back of the pieces is a European thing. The tines of the fork would touch the table when it is set. And you'd be able to read the monogram seated at your place.

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  16. I searched through dozens of etiquette books and while everyone had an opinion about what the monogram should look like not a one of them discussed how it should fall on the actual spoon. Looking at dozens of pictures, however, the monogram is generally engraved so that is read correctly when held in the hand. Check the examples on this web site http://www.rmsterling.com/monogrammedpieces.html#Sterling%20Monogrammed%20Serving%

    As with much of etiquette these days, however, many people just do as they please. It would seem that the more self-centered the client, the more the engraving is done so that it can be read by the diner when it is on the table. Which is usually wrong.

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  17. I think it should be the right way as well. Though I must admit with a monogram as pretty as this, getting it to the table is wonderful in and of itself! Beautiful.

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  18. Antique the silver (see link) below- seem to have the monograms up-side-down on the table. The following web link shows examples of antique monogrammed silver- they are all "up-side-down" when on the table.

    http://www.leonceantiques.com/product_info.php/cPath/21_27/products_id/5314?osCsid=0d91mvhgqudi48vi34ufpvssu2

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  19. I have 12 place settings of sterling flatware. My last name begins with "W"
    I was married in 1964. At that time I was told by local jewelry store that the "W" should be up when
    holding silverware. When it is set as a place setting it is a "M"
    I just want to know what is correct.

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