Dirilyte: A Full Course Dinner for Tableware Fans and Collectors

(image credits: http://www.thefind.com/)
(image credits: http://www.thefind.com/)

 

Gone were the days of the essentially proper table setting rules when it comes to eating at home with your loved ones. That’s ancient history now in this age of fast-food, take-outs, and food trucks. Owning precious sets of tableware was the norm back then, especially for full-time moms. One name that was very big in decades past is Dirilyte – a manufacturer of golden-hued flatware (spoons, forks, knives) and hollowware (bowls, coffee and tea pots, pitchers). Although not plated and containing no trace of gold, these utensils are still sought after for the company’s story and value until today.

 

Putting the Flash in Flashback

The company started out when Swedish metallurgist Carl Molin developed a solid-through bronze alloy in his homeland in 1914. He brought his creations to New York and was greatly received that he decided to produce more. 1919 saw the founding of Dirigold as a partnership between Molin and Oscar von Malmborg. Selling big time, several Swedish-Americans proposed its expansion in the US that led to its establishment in Indiana several years later.

 

1935 brought about the name change into Dirilyte for the purpose of not misleading the public into thinking there’s really gold in it. Its popularity and production continued that the company started making them with the Bonded Protectant (BP) coating in 1961. This gives the utensils a distinct sparkle and eliminates the need for polishing. Public interest eventually waned and production finally ceased in 1986.

 

Dine Like a Boss

Dirilyte tableware was extremely expensive back in its heyday. A five-piece setting costs over $700. If you’re into collecting vintage tableware, you’re lucky now that it costs much less than that. A 90-piece service set was reportedly sold at $599. For authentication, pieces are marked with either the company’s name and/or a cloverleaf logo commonly found under its handles.

Additionally, four standard patterns were made by the company: Empress, Florentina, Tuscany, and Regal.  The Empress and Florentina showed a more straight-edged handle while the Tuscany and Regal sported a more contoured one.

 

(image credits: http://www.artfire.com/)
(image credits: http://www.artfire.com/)

All that Glitters Is Gold

Care instructions for Dirilyte tableware with or without BP finish are almost the same. The only difference is that the pieces coated with BP do not require polishing, while those without coating need to be treated with the company’s own heavy-duty polish that’s still in production and available today. To ensure that your golden-hued utensils maintain its shimmery appearance and fine condition, follow these simple and easy steps:

  1. Do not wash the pieces in a dishwasher. Instead, wash by hand immediately after use. Use warm water and mild detergent or soap.
  2. Rinse well and dry thoroughly.
  3. Apply Dirilyte polish for non-BP tableware only as soon as tarnishing appears.
  4. Store only in untreated flannel wraps.

The Wrap-up

These days, fewer households are practicing the art of proper table setting. However, it doesn’t mean that it is not fun to try it every once in a while. If you’re looking for fancy pieces of tableware to add in your collection, then you should definitely grab a set from Dirylite.

 

For our tableware, spoons, forks collection: Check out www.theescapeplace.com
Especially our Oneida Collection.

Do you have any thoughts about this post? Come share them in the comments!

The History of the Saratoga Chips Server

Saratoga

 

These days, fries, chips, and other delectable snacks are all eaten with the hands. However, did you know that these foods were actually served with fancy silverware in the old days? Yes, you read that right. Back in 1873, rich people from the Victorian era did not want their potato chips to be touched by human hands because they feared of their food being contaminated with germs.

So in order to serve potato chips, they used a piece of sterling silver flatware called the Saratoga Chip Server. Although this utensil is not commonly used in this modern time and age, it still holds a lot of value, especially among flatware collectors. Its well-made construction, complex design, and rich history make this chip server a must-have item in one’s household.

Let’s travel back in time and discover the rich history of Saratoga chip servers.

A Short History of the Potato Chip

In order to discover the origins of the Saratoga chip server, it is necessary to know the humble beginnings of the potato chip.

The very first potato chip recipe was created accidentally during the late 19th century. It happened inside a small restaurant called “Moon’s Lake House” which was located in Saratoga Springs, New York. George Crum, one of the cooks in that joint was trying to appease a customer who was unhappy with his French fries.

The customer kept on sending his fried potatoes back to the kitchen because he thought they were too thick and soggy. Out of frustration, Crum sliced the potatoes into wafer-thin strips then fried them up to a crisp and sprinkled them with a lot of salt.

The result was an extremely crunchy dish that is impossible to eat. It was deemed impossible because back in the days, gentlemen and ladies from the upper class would never dare to pick their food up using their bare hands. Since the potato chip has a crisp and thin texture, it would instantly shatter when pierced with a fork.

But to Crum’s and the restaurant owner’s surprise, the customer loved the new dish. Since then, it has been part of the restaurant’s menu. It was then known as “Saratoga Chips”.

Creation of the Chip Server

As mentioned earlier, the upper class didn’t want to touch their food with their own hands. So in order to serve them brittle Saratoga chips, companies like Tiffany, Gorham, Reed & Barton, and others developed a specific type of silverware called the Saratoga Chip Server.

Aside from keeping germs away from potato chips, this handy utensil was also used to drain excess oil from food using holes found on its surface.

Before, potato chips were considered as appetizers in fancy restaurants and not as snacks. That is why people prefer to serve them with this utensil.

Decline in Production

The Saratoga chip server was not the only specialty silverware that was invented during the Gilded Age. The lavish tables of the nouveau riche were filled with a variety of silverware such as fried chicken tongs, cucumber servers, sardine spades, berry spoons, and a whole lot more. There was such an excess in silverware production that in 1925, Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover created a decree which stated that an American Silver Service can only have up to 55 types of silver pieces.  Once the decree was enacted, most companies halted the production of different types of silverware, including the Saratoga chip server.

The Wrap Up

The Saratoga chip server may not be commonly used today, but it is still a great collectible piece. And if you don’t want your homemade chips to be greasy, you can also buy this utensil to drain excess oil from your beloved snack. Do you have this classic piece of flatware at home? If so, feel free to visit the comments section and share your happy dining experiences when using the Saratoga Chips Server!

For more silverware or flatware, visit www.TheEscapePlace.com

Size Matters: Continental VS American Flatware Sizes

Most of us love having our meals out, but have you ever noticed how different restaurants have different types of flatware? Some, you can clearly see came in a set together with the flatware. Meanwhile, others seem to be individual pieces that complement the overall design and theme of the place. Some are bigger and heavier than others. Does this mean that the bigger and heavier ones are more expensive? Not necessarily. Sometimes it just means that they’re different types of flatware.

So there are 3 types of flatware, all with different sizes, balances, and uses: Continental Flatware, Place-size flatware, and Luncheon-size Flatware.

Photo courtesy: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51bJGqSIpAL._SY355_.jpg
Photo courtesy: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51bJGqSIpAL._SY355_.jpg

Luncheon

This type of flatware is the shortest in length, and is the hardest one to find today. Its length was made to balance the dimensions of the luncheon plate; however, it’s not commonly used today. You’d most likely find it in older flatware sets, but rarely in restaurants or homes.

 

Continental

Photo courtesy: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4124HWKEM6L._SY355_.jpg
Photo courtesy: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4124HWKEM6L._SY355_.jpg

Also known as European Size, this is the type of flatware that is the longest in terms of length.  The dinner knife, dinner fork, and soup spoon of this type is longer by approximately half an inch, compared to the place flatware; and approximately an inch compared to the luncheon flatware. Apart from their length, these flatware pieces are also slightly thicker and heavier compared to both their luncheon and place counterparts.  In continental or European style, you would typically find the monograms (or stamps) at the back of the handles, because their forks are held with the tines downward.

 

Place

Also known as American Size, this type of flatware is what you would traditionally see in American households. However, even though the continental size of flatware is becoming increasingly popular in the states, the place size is still the cutlery of choice. They’re lighter and easier to manipulate compared to their continental counterpart.  In the American style of flatware, the monograms are placed at the front of  the handle because typical American cuisine is done with the fork tines held upward to eat.

 

Continental VS Place sizes

Here are some of the common pieces with their size differences between Continental and Place.

Flatware Piece

Continental Size

Place Size

Knife 10 1/2″ 9″
Fork 8 1/2″ 7 1/2″
Salad Fork 6 1/2″ 6 1/2″
Soup Spoon 7 5/8″ 7″
Teaspoon 6 1/4″ 6 1/4″

As to which style of flatware is better is all a matter of preference and what you grew up with. Some people like the heavy feel of the continental style, because (to them) it screams quality. Others, however, prefer the lighter and more relaxed size and feel of the American or place style due to their convenience.

What style flatware do you have at home? Do they match your dinnerware at home? Planning on purchasing new ones anytime soon? What type? Sound off in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.

Check out our Ebay Store, we have a lot of dinnerware, flatware, silverware, stainless flatware offered. Visit www.TheEscapePlace.com

Kitchen Jewelry

NEW YORK, 1907- Belgian-born chemist Leo Baekeland stumbled serendipitously into an invention that hit gold mine. Originally, he set out to find a replacement for shellac. But in the process of controlling the amount of heat and pressure applied to phenol and formaldehyde, he was able to create the world’s first durable and aesthetically-pleasing plastic he named “Bakelite”.

Dubbed by TIME magazine as the “material of a thousand uses”, Bakelite – due to its extraordinary high resistance to heat and chemical action – was first used as parts of radios and other electrical devices. At one point, the U.S. Treasury even considered minting coins out of Bakelite due to a shortage of the traditional material. After World War II, Bakelite production became more efficient and its application extended to other materials such as clocks, radios, poker chips, billiard balls, and Mah Jong sets. Bakelite was also molded into shiny, candy-colored pieces of jewelry and became subjects of the art collections of design icons like Coco Chanel and Andy Warhol.

The production of canisters and tableware made of Bakelite dawned upon 1950’s America where images of an efficient, sleek kitchen bombarded advertisements. Bakelite made it possible for utensils to become “kitchen jewelry” and the object of appreciation and fascination of the common folk. It has a certain type of beauty, devoid of esotericism, which speaks to the modern man. And indeed, people today associate Bakelite flatware and its introduction into thousands of homes as the presage of the era of the plastic.

Bakelite fell out of production throughout the years because of the introduction of more durable plastics. Although sources say that some parts of the world still manufacture Bakelite products, most items exist as vintage pieces that are collectibles. Aside from being a remnant of glory years, the appeal of Bakelite flatware lies in the fact that the colors mellow as they age making it kitschy and high-end at the same time.

 

Looking for Bakelite Flatware: What to Expect

When searching for vintage Bakelite Flatware, it is important to keep in mind these tips to get the most bang for your buck:

  1. The handles of Bakelite Flatware are typically yellow, red, or orange in color. You will also find, though rarely, some which have polka-dotted, striped, or “V-shaped” designs.
  2. Most sell for $4 or more dollars per piece although those that come in sets, are hard to find, and sell higher.
  3. To test if your Bakelite Flatware find is a genuine, you could use the “sound test” or the “rubbing test”. When you strike one handle with another, the sound you are looking for should be a “clang” and unlike the dead sound antique wood makes. The “rubbing test”, on the other hand, requires you to rub the handles with your thumb until you feel you have created enough heat or friction. If you bring your thumb under your nose, you should be able to smell formaldehyde (even if faintly).
  4. Avoid flatware with mold lines or cracked seams.

Wm Rogers & Son Bermuda Dinner Fork Bermuda Dinner Knife 4 Wm Rogers & Son Stainless Knives

Check out our Kitchenware collection at The Escape Place Ebay Store

Happy hunting!

Stainless Flatware: The Importance of 18/10 VS 18/0

When you’re in the market for stainless steel flatware, you might come across terms such as “18/10 Stainless Steel”, “18/0 Stainless Steel” or in some cases, “18/8 Stainless Steel”.  But what do they all really mean? Is it the quality of the steel? The way it was made? Or maybe, some fancy gimmick to justify one set being more expensive than the other, even though it doesn’t look any better than the cheaper one? Let’s find out.

Flatware Stainless Steel

Stainless steel used on flatware will have different compositions depending on their applications.  But the main ingredients are Chromium and Nickel which add to its corrosion resistance.  Chromium is a hard substance, and is essentially used as a hardener.  Nickel is a silvery metal that doesn’t easily corrode and thus is used to enhance corrosion resistance.  Technically, a higher content of each will be more resilient to pitting and rusting, making them easy to maintain.  Too much Chromium content, however, will result in brittleness which will be unpractical for everyday use.

The Numbers and What They Are

18/10 or 18/0 is simply a numerical representation of how much chromium and nickel the stainless steel has in a particular set.

  • 18/10 – 18% Chromium and 10% Nickel
  • 18/0 – 18% Chromium and 0% Nickel

In general, since most flatware will have the same 18% Chromium; the higher the Nickel content, the more resistant it is to corrosion.  However, it is important to note that Nickel is quite expensive which means that sets with high nickel content will cost more as well.

Understanding what they mean

Aside from corrosion resistance, 18/10 and 18/0 stainless steel can differ in appearance and of course, as mentioned earlier, price.  18/10 stainless steel will have more luster than its little brother, the 18/0.  It will also be more durable and will likely be more capable to withstand daily use.  On the other hand, because it has more Nickel content (which is expensive), these sets will generally cost more than those made with 18/0 stainless steel.  18/10 stainless steel flatware will be heavier, more balanced, and have a better “feel” than their 18/0 counterparts.

Although 18/10 is the hands down winner, 18/0 stainless steel isn’t as bad as one might think.  They’re relatively strong and inexpensive.  They may not be as corrosion resistant or as durable as their big brother, the 18/10; but, with a little extra care and common sense, they will last a long time serving their purpose.

There you have it.  These are basically what you need to know about 18/10 and 18/0 stainless steel flatware.  The next time you check out flatware sets, you should know what to look for.  If you really want quality craftsmanship that is durable, that has a good feel and overall appearance, but without minding the extra expense; go for 18/10 Stainless Steel.  However, if your definition of what practical is includes price, don’t be afraid to look at 18/0 stainless steel sets.  Just remember to trust your instincts.  Read the label.  Ask somebody to open them up and try to have a feel of it in your hand.  You will come across items that claim they are what they are not.  Keep in mind that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

Check out our Oneida Stainless Steel Flatware.

Choosing the Right Flatware and Dinnerware for Your Kids

No words can express the joy of having children.  As they grow older, their needs change and it is important to address them accordingly.  Parents will always want what’s best for their kids from the clothes they wear, toys they play with, food they eat, and of course, on what they eat on.  Young children go through the aping stage wherein they try to imitate what other people are doing.  If they see you eating on a plate using a spoon and a fork, they would want to do the same.  However, the potential danger of letting them use regular “adult” utensils is pretty obvious and we’ve all heard horror stories about them.  Choosing their first flatware and dinnerware is important for them to practice eating properly on their own while having a bigger safety margin than using the regular ones.

What they’re made of

Children’s Flatware and Dinnerware are usually made out of plastic, though there are some that are made of sterling silver or bamboo.  Plastic is arguably the best choice for the simple reason that it does not corrode.  Sterling silver might be a bit too heavy for a child.  The phrase “served on a silver platter” comes to mind but, in reality, I don’t think they’d appreciate that line at such a young age.  Besides, considering how much silverware costs these days, it’s not very practical.  Although bamboo is an organic alternative, since it was once a living thing, it will decay eventually.  Also, wood is wood and with wood there are always splinters.  Plastic (as well as rubber) is still king however not all plastics are created equal.  There have been studies about the effects of plastics on humans.  Many cases are still under scrutiny and still under debate.  There is a lot of information online regarding these studies and it’s quite easy to find the information you need.  One tip is to inspect very carefully every single piece before purchasing.  Stay within the middle to high priced sets as much as possible.  It’s also a good idea to stick with name brands since these companies will have a reputation to protect and would likely invest a lot in keeping their products safe.

How Big or Small

Size will always play an important factor in choosing your kid’s flatware.  You need to find the right size for your kid’s age.  It’s understandable that some parents buy stuff for kids that are a couple of years older than their kid’s actual age, in anticipation of their growth.  Although, being able to use them for much longer is a valid argument, you shouldn’t nitpick on it.  What’s important is that they have something they can use comfortably.

Bottom line, kids deserve only the best from their parents.  Choosing the right flatware and dinnerware for them may sound trivial but, it is essentially a big step forward in growing up.  Once your kid start eating from a plate using a spoon and fork, what he learns from that moment, he will use for the rest of his life.  So take the time to do your research for your kid’s sake.

As The Holidays Approach Shop for Great Gifts for Your Loved Ones

The leaves have changed colors and fallen from branches, the wind has gotten colder and colder with each passing day. Christmas carols have started to filter from every business that you go into.

Yes, it is that time of the year once more and you will want to start shopping for gifts now to avoid the crowds at the malls. You may argue that all the best deals are at the malls, yet that is where you are wrong. You can also find great deals online and you do not even need to leave your home. Why brave the chill on the streets and the crowds at the malls?

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