This hand wrought aluminum charger or tray is just gorgeous! A full 20.25 inches in diameter with a raised lip and edge. And the hammer marks indicative of being hand wrought. In its center is a six-inch Moorish pattern ceramic tile. Most likely by Mosaic Tile Company of Zanesville, Ohio. The tile is inserted into the aluminum on the diagonal with an engraved six-inch square at 45 degrees forming an eight-point star. The charger is marked on its back with Hand Wrought, an M above and W below, then Laird and Argental. Meaning it was hand wrought by the Shupe Laird metalsmiths in the Argental line and distributed by Max Willie circa 1930s-1950s.
Aluminum, the third most common element, was once considered more precious than gold. This was due to the process of separating and refining. During the depression it became a lifesaver for some silversmiths who turned to it to provide more affordable wares. And, voila, beautiful hand wrought aluminum items were born. This tray is from the line named Agental. So named by Ernest Gerlach, who found Cellini Craft in 1914. He combined the French word for silver, argent, with AL the element sign for aluminum. Max Willie distributed Argental for many makers, including Randahl, Cellini, and Shupe Laird.
This fabulous example would be gorgeous on your mantle, in your kitchen, as a centerpiece, or a still life display on any surface. Just make it yours.