19th century ladle and fork
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Ohio Finds: 19th-century Ladle & Fork

The maker of these hearth utensils marked “Cy. Crites” and believed to be tied to the Crites family of Allen County is not completely clear.

Among the most important skilled tradesmen of the 18th and 19th centuries, blacksmiths made everything from horseshoes to hinges. A smithy was vital, but his often-unmarked utilitarian products can be overlooked in the jumble of antique ironwork.

Even signed examples can lead to mysteries. That’s the case with a scant number of objects signed “Cy. Crites,” a blacksmith who is believed to have worked in Allen County. Two examples are a 19 1/2-inch, two-tine fork dated 1841 and a 21 1/2-inch ladle dated 1848.

It’s likely “Cy. Crites” was the son of John Daniel and Maria Catherine Crites, who moved to Ohio from Pennsylvania. The couple had 13 children, including Cyrus Crites. Although census records indicate Cyrus was a farmer, it’s possible he was skilled enough to have made the utensils and tools marked “Cy. Crites.” However, several of his brothers were also blacksmiths, including Charles Cyrus Crites, also a potential source of the utensils. No matter the maker, any blacksmith-made item from the family is a scarce find.  

Sold at Auction: $1,750 (ladle), $1,375 (fork)