In 1637, William Moulton came together with his two brothers John and Thomas from Ormesby, Norfolk, England, and settled on Winnacunnet Road in Hampton, New Hampshire.
In 1664 his son William Moulton II was born. In 1682 at the age of 18, William Moulton II left the family farm in Hampton and settled near the Merrimack River in a section of Newbury, Massachusetts that would later become Newburyport. By some accounts, he was the first in six generations of silversmiths. While he did buy and sell silver goods, he was basically a general trader.
Joseph Moulton, the fourth in line, worked from about 1764 to 1810 as a silversmith in Newburyport, with home and shop on State Street. He had four sons that were silversmiths. His son William Moulton IV was the fifth in line of the Moulton chain. He worked from 1795 to 1845 as a silversmith in Newburyport, Massachusetts. In addition to supplying well-crafted church silver and other vessels, he made jewelry in his shop on Merrimack Street.
His son, Joseph Moulton, the sixth and final in line, was the one that sold the silver business he inherited, to his father’s two apprentices, Anthony Francis Towle and William P. Jones, in 1857 to form Towle & Jones, Co. In 1873, the son of Anthony Francis Towle, Edward Bass Towle, was added to the business, and the name was changed to A.F. Towle & Son. It was in business through 1902, at which point their dies were purchased by Rogers, Lunt and Bowlen, to become Lunt Silversmiths.
In 1882, Anthony Francis Towle, while still owning A.F. Towle & Son, established the Towle Manufacturing Co. In 1890, the company adopted the trademark of a large script "T" enclosed by a lion. Richard Dimes, an English silversmith who had immigrated to the U.S. in 1881, started Towle's hollowware line.
Over the years, Towle has created numerous sterling silver flatware patterns in the United States: including the "Candlelight" in 1934, the "Marie Louise" in 1939 which became the official sterling silver pattern for U.S. embassies worldwide, "Old Master" in 1942, now considered by some to be the company’s flagship pattern, and the "Contour" in 1950 which was the first American sterling pattern to manifest post-World War II organic modernist design and the only production-line American flatware included in the Museum of Modern Art's Good Design exhibitions.
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