International Silver Co

Watrous Manufacturing Co. The Twinette Vanity Case And The International Silver Company

The International Silver Company operated from 1898–1983. The company was also styled as ISC. The company was formed Meriden, Connecticut.

At one time this business was the largest company in the world specialising in the production of silverware.

The following companies formed the International Silver Company:

Meriden Britannia Company, Meriden Silver Plate Co., Middletown Plate Company, C. Rogers & Brother, Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co., Simpson Nickel Company, Watrous Manufacturing Company, and the Wilcox Silver Co.

These companies were located in Meriden, Wallingford or Middletown.

The following Hartford companies also joined the corporation:

 Barbour Silver Company, Rogers Cutlery and William Rogers Manufacturing Company. Other Connecticut companies that became part of the corporation also include Holmes & Edwards Silver Company in Bridgeport, Derby Silver Company (Derby), Norwich Cutlery (Norwich), Rogers and Brothers & Rogers & Brothers and Roger and Rogers & Hamilton (Waterbury)

This huge enterprise was also joined by Manhattan Silver Plate ( New York) and Standard Silver Company Ltd (Toronto).

These companies often carried on using their own brand names or their wares were stamped International Silver Company or International Sterling. Often more than one of these registered names appear stamped on their silver products, as you can see on the image below.

The image is taken from a 1920s sterling silver Twinette compact mirror.  The letter W is almost encircled by what appears to be a large C. Some people state that this character is a half moon, rather than a letter. This is the maker’s mark of the Watrous Manufacturing Company. In this instance the character does appear rather like a letter. 


There are other variations of the mark in which the character does look much more like a crescent moon.

The image of the maker’s mark on the base of the compact also gives information about the date of a patented design. But if you look for a patent with that date applied for by the Watrous Manufacturing Company you will not find one. This is because the company purchased the patent from the inventor, Oswald Cathcart in 1922. The inventor was the General and Advertising Manager of Lazell Perfumer. This firm was one of the earliest perfume manufacturers in America. Cathcart wished to design a vanity case which offered a much larger area for face powder and a smaller compartment for rouge. 

 He stated:

The quantity of rouge which will be used during any given period will ordinarily be very much less than the quantity of powder required.



My invention relates to vanity cases and consists in the novel features hereinafter described 
reference being had to the accompanying drawings which illustrate two embodiments of my invention, selected by me for the purpose of illustration, and the said invention and the said invention is fully disclosed in the following description and claims. 


Our notes:

We are grateful to Michael Hetherington for his research which dates this compact to 1923 - 1924 and also provides the name of the inventor.



Fig. 1 represents a perspective view of vanity case embodying one form of my invention in which the rouge compartment is located in an aperture in the cover of the main box or powder compartment, the cover of the rouge compartment being illustrated in open position. 


Our notes:

As you can see from the image above left, the Twinette was made in shapes other than round. The catches may also vary. The compact on the left is fitted with a clasp which is suitable for a wrist strap with a slider to tighten the strap around the wrist.  The base of the compact is also fitted with a bale on to which a tassel would have been attached. 

Scroll down the page to see the 1924 advertisement which the firm placed in Vogue to picture these appendages.


Fig. 2 is a view of the same case showing the main cover raised to open the powder compartment. 



Here you can see the detachable mirror, 10, which forms the base of the rouge compartment. 


PATENT NO. 1423079

Referring to the form of my invention illustrated in Figs. 1,2 and 3, 
1 represents the main body member of the case which is preferably circular in cross section, and which forms the lower portion of the powder compartment.
2 represents the main cover member which is preferably hinged at 3 to the main body member 1, and is adapted to fit over a shouldered portion, 4, of the main body member, and be secured in closed position, 5, on the main body member, 1…



In the bottom of the main body member, 1 is placed the supply of powder which is preferably in the form of a solid cake indicated as 7 (Fig. 3) supported by the usual plate, 8, of metal or other suitable material.


Our notes:

The solid cake (pressed face powder) sits on a metal plate. 

This design of vanity box is also suitable for loose foundation. 

More information from the inventor:

It will be understood, however, that powder in other forms may be placed in the powder compartment although I prefer to employ the solid form in order to avoid the possibility of the powder being spilled as it is used. 


1 main body member adapted to fit over a shouldered portion 4
2 main cover
3 hinge
4 shouldered portion
5 suitable catch comprising a projection adapted to engage a recessed portion 6
6 recessed portion 
7 solid cake
8 metal plate
9 represents a powder puff of usual construction, which is conveniently placed within the powder 
compartment above the surface of the powder.
Inside the main cover member, 2, is provided with a mirror, 10, held in place detachably by a friction 
ring 11 
The main cover member, 2, is provided with a central aperture, indicated at 12…this aperture receives the 
body portion, 13, of the rouge container
the lateral walls of the rouge container being grooved annularly, as indicated at 14, so that when the rouge 
compartment is forced into position in the aperture 12, it will be securely retained therein. 
Rouge… supported on the usual plate, 23.
The rouge container will also be provided with a separate applying puff, indicated at 24.
The rouge container will form the support for the back of the mirror, 10, against which it is held by the friction ring 11.


For the convenience in assembling the side walls of the container are preferably notched, as indicated at 15
16 serves as a catch for the rouge compartment
17 hinge member to which is hinged the separate cover, 18 provided with a catch 19 to engaged the spring catch 16
The cover, 18, of the rouge container is also provided with a small mirror, indicated at 20 held in position 
by a friction roller, 21, and the rouge compartment will be provided with a quantity of rouge preferably 
in the form of a cake, as indicated at 22

VOGUE 1924

Unedited text on the main body of the advertisement which appeared in Vogue in 1924.

Beauty and Utility are the outstanding features of these Vanity Cases in International Sterling.
They fulfill the requirements of vanity with the mirror and the puff,
and besides a note pad, two coin holders and a compartment for visiting cards.
They are made in a variety of new engine turnings and hand engraved designs of character.
Bearing the Watrous trade mark in International Sterling you will find all sorts of clever novelties-
vanity cases in a great variety of shapes and ornamentations in addition to those illustrated, cigarette cases, match cases, buckles etc., all of beautiful design in sterling silver and gold stripe, each with a touch of newness that gives it individuality and character that will please you.


The advertisement shown previously has the image shown above attached to the bottom.

It reads as follows:

Wallingford, Conn.
Succeeded by


 We cropped this off the bottom to make the advertisement large enough to read.

PATENT NO. 1423079

PATENT NO. 1423079


PATENT NO. 1423079


In Figs. 4 and 5 I have illustrated another embodiment of the invention.

Our notes:

The illustrations above show another design of this vanity case with the rouge 122 at the bottom of the case


PATENT NO. 1423079

PATENT NO. 1423079

We have included four pages from the Watrous Manufacturing Co. / Sterling International Co. 1929 catalogue.



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