John Vogler, Gunsmith and Silversmith, Salem, North Carolina
John Vogler, Gunsmith and Silversmith (1783-1881)
A prominent artisan and an important community figure in Salem, North Carolina, John Vogler was trained as a gunsmith by Christoph Vogler, his uncle. He completed his apprenticeship with Christoph about 1802 and continued to work in his uncle’s shop as a journeyman until 1806. He worked at various trades in addition to gunsmithing– making jewelry, designing precision equipment, repairing clocks and watches, but his silver work was of a particularly high quality. He had begun working in silver by at least 1806. He became the engraver for the Vogler family because of his incredible skill. He did work for Christoph, Nathaniel, Timothy and George, who moved his shop to Salisbury. John Vogler’s guns were designed with intricately engraved patchboxes with eagle finials and were beautifully mounted in coin silver.
His tableware was as well executed as his other wares. Vogler used embossed eagles on the backs of the bowls of his spoons just as silversmith Samuel Krause of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, had done. After multiple trips to Bethlehem, it is possible that Vogler learned from Krause. Vogler had a number of apprentices including Traugott Leinbach, Timothy Vogler, Jacob Fockel, and his own son, Elias.
There are a large number of extant spoons, both teaspoons and tablespoons, made by Vogler. They are assorted in style from the coffin handled Federal shapes to the more common mid-1800’s forms. Vogler used three different marks through his career, representing his first name with both an “I” and a “J”, as they are the same letter in the Roman alphabet.
Vogler made a number of pieces of equipment, including a surveyor’s compass in brass (now in the Old Salem Collection) and a copy of a physiognotrace, a device for making silhouettes, which he saw at Peale’s Museum in 1805.