Monogrammed Flatware: Yay or Nay?

A monogram is a character that symbolizes someone or something. It’s usually comprised of one to three letters. Once an object has been monogrammed, it is considered to be sealed. It signifies that the item is owned by someone.

According to Raquel Laneri’s Is Monogramming Classy or Tacky? (Reference)Monograms have been around for a long time. In fact, the people from Ancient Greece used to inscribe the first few letters of their city’s or ruler’s name on the coins. “During the Middle Ages, merchants and artisans, as well as tradesman painters and publishers, used monograms –their own or their guild’s–to sign or brand their work,” the author wrote.

These monograms gained immense popularity during the Victorian era. Most of the bourgeoisie in this timeline liked to carve their initials on almost every type of item. This includes linens, shirts, lockets, and even carriages.

Continental and American

In the world of monogrammed flatware, there are two styles- the Continental and the American. With the Continental style, the symbol is placed at the back of the flatware’s handle. With the American style, the character is placed on the front side, but if it obstructs the ornament pattern, it will be placed at the back.

(image source: www.etsy.com)
(image source: www.etsy.com)

 

Some people love fancy monogrammed flatware but some simply don’t. Why do you think so? Here are the banes and boons of monogramming:

Hands-up, yes!

  • Personalized, all mine!

There are people who would go hunting for monogrammed flatware and wouldn’t mind staying up all night in the internet looking for utensils with their exact initials or for someone who would monogram their flatware with new ones. They simply love the personal touch monogramming brings to their ordinary silverware even if it cost much on the flipside. Most even buy sets. They are also used as wedding giveaways.

  • Vintage and Artsy!

Even though the initials in the tableware are different from theirs, some choose to buy monogrammed flatware because they are antique and artistic. For them, it gives a classic look to their home or collection. Some people even frame them or put them on display. A post from Silver Magpies noted the fascinating quality of old monograms. “The actual workmanship on an old monogram truly is a work of art. Hand lettering is worthy of admiration.  ”

Thumbs down, no!

  • Those aren’t even my initials!

For others, monogrammed flatware is a no-no. They just use traditional and normal utensils instead of flatware owned by someone they do not know. An eBay guide  recommends “that (one) should not buy a starting collection with a monogram that is not the first initial of your last name, no matter how good a deal you think might be on offer, as one is unlikely to ever be satisfied with the collection.”

  • Monogrammed may mean less value

Some cross-out tableware with inscriptions in their list because it lessens the value of silver. A guide on sterling silver says that monogramming will reduce the value of your sterling by 25-35%. Some people do not want their things to lessen in value that’s why they keep their utensils and other items free from these inscriptions.

The explanations above are just few of the reasons why someone could want to seek or stay away from monograms.

How about you? What are your thoughts on the matter? Are monogrammed pieces cool or not? Join the discussion in the comments!

 

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!

Imagination’s The Limit: How to Create Beautiful Pieces of Jewelry from Your Eating Utensils

If we’re certain about something, it’s that you will never see your spoons, forks, and knives as mere eating tools after reading this article. What made us say that? Well, read on!

 Etsy

(images source: Etsy)

Would you believe that those beautifully and artistically crafted jewelry are made from forks? Yes, you read that right. Forks! As in the one you use every day for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in between snacks. Amazing, right?

You might be one of those families who, for years, have accumulated a fair number of kitchenware, more specifically, eating utensils that have been clogging their kitchen drawers. They’re still in good condition, with some even bearing family custom and history. You don’t frequently use them, but you feel it’s such a waste to throw them away. What you can do is… drum roll please – turn them into nifty pieces of silver jewelry!

Although this craftsmanship may be newly introduced to some, this trend has been going on for quite a while now. More and more artistic souls are jumping in on the bandwagon – creating their own or purchasing the most unique pieces now available from online shops.

Uniqueness is the name of the game. Whether you’re creating them to sell or to wear, surely you’d want to come up with something uniquely yours that will separate you from the rest. Good news for you, all you have to do is to unleash your artistic side and try your hand on this one. First thing you must do before collecting the necessary tools is to check out these design inspirations to help you decide on what you want to do. Done? Let’s begin then.

Pick Your Materials

In creating your very own silverware jewelry, the first thing you should have is the silverware you want to work on. You can use your old utensils, or if you want a more grand-looking jewelry, you might want to check out some silverplate flatware utensils for that.

 

Get the Right Tools

This project includes bending, twisting, and reshaping silverwares, so don’t expect the task to be that easy. It requires skill, and a huge tank full of patience. The tools you will need are:

  • Vice – to help bend the material to your desired shape.
  • Pliers – for cutting.
  • Jewelry Pliers – for bending. Normal pliers will leave marks on your silverware.
  • Mallet – for flattening certain areas of the silverware.
  • Anvil – for use on really flat surface.
  • Drill – if the design you chose needs drilling.
  • Fine Sanding Disc – for polishing the edges.
  • Polishing Wheel – for that shiny finish.

 

 

Work It!

The next step is to cut, bend, twist, and reshape your silverware into your desired design. This is where you let your imagination and crafty fingers do the work and hopefully, create wonders for you.

  1. Now that you have your material, the blueprint, and the tools to help you achieve your goal, the first thing you must do is start bending the silverware according to your design.

Some will choose to cut first but that would make your material smaller, therefore making it more difficult for you to hold it when bending. We advise you to bend then cut to make the process easier. But if you intend to drill holes on your silverware, better cut the piece first before bending. Drilling is easier on a flatter surface.

  1. When cutting, make sure that you have the right length. You can use your own wrist to measure when you’re planning to make a bracelet – this process goes the same with other jewelry.
  2. Twist, turn, reshape, and flatten if needed, according to your desired design.
  3. Use the sanding disc to polish the edges.
  4. Use the polishing wheel for that unmistakable high class jewelry glimmer.
  5. Wear the accessory and match it with your favorite dress.

 

Don’t feel bad if your first project didn’t quite turn out the way you imagined and intended it to be. Remember, this is just your first try. You’re still learning. Don’t beat yourself too much about it. Didn’t they say that practice makes perfect? So practice! Surely, you have a dozen more extra utensils waiting for you to work your magic on. But if you got it the first try, just imagine what you can create next! Happy experimenting!

 

What’s your favorite from all the designs you’ve seen so far? Have you tried creating your own piece? Hit that comments box below!

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

Gorham Chantilly:The timeless, unique, & brief history of a flatware

The aroma of the food prepared for the whole family touches your nose –the scent slowly entices your already rumbling tummy. You see the table being set for the lavish feast that everyone will be enjoying in just a  few more minutes. The plates and glasses are equally as beautiful as the flatwares in your sight. Stepping closer, the lustrous property of the flatware becomes more appealing. Touching it matches the smoothness of your palm and fingers. The design is very intricate as your thumb runs down and checks it. Genuinely, that is a work of art.

If you are not familiar with the names and distinctions of every flatware but you remembered being amazed with a certain collection, chances are that set has the Gorham Chantilly pattern. This is the most popular flatware ever manufactured of all time. It is known worldwide with the elegant design, hence, this is a favorite to be collected. Silver crafted in the most elaborate pattern will definitely suit even the meticulous scrutiny.

 

From Humble Beginnings

This craft has a rich history. Everything began in 1831, inside the humble workshop of Jabez Gorham, a skillful craftsman from Providence, Rhode Island. Together with Henry Webster, they started creating thimbles, teaspoons, combs, jewelries, and some other small products which are all made of silver. However, their main product is the silver spoon. In 1847, great innovations happened as soon as John Gorham, son of Jabez Gorham, became the head of the company right after his father retired. John took opportunity of what the Industrial Revolution offered. He incorporated the mechanized mass production method. For further improvements, he enhanced the available designs, and refurnished the premises to create more space and widen their offered product line.

 

Unstoppable Progress

The progress he desired for the company did not stop there. In 1852, he visited several silver workshops and manufacturing companies in Europe. There, he searched for craftsmen, toolmakers and other experts in the field of silverware. He even hired a leading designer and workshop manager from England by the name of George Wilkonson. In 1895, the brainchild of the designer William Christmas Codman came to life. Codman’s creativity gave birth to the Chantilly pattern. From then on, it has been the best-selling flatware pattern of the company.

 

The Chantilly Pattern 

The lovely border, unadorned center, and fleur-de-lis tip of the Gorham Chantilly were derived from the inspiration brought by the Roccoco style from the 18th century French Regency Era. It was named after the well-known Chantilly palace in France. Along with this inspiration, the Gorham Chantilly   has the symmetrical fan plume design and polished finish. Because of its popularity, even prominent personalities choose this as their flatware. One of whom is the President of the United States. Whenever he boards the Air Force One, this is the choice flatware in the US Presidential Jet. This is also a well-loved flatware by newlyweds.

Since it’s a well-known brand, Gorham Chantilly’s replacement pieces are easy to find. In case one of your utensils bearing this pattern was accidentally marked with a scratch, you don’t have to worry that your collection will become incomplete.

If you want to pair your sumptous dishes with royalty-like flatwares, Gorham Chantilly will be a match made in heaven for your taste. What a lovely collection will this be for your table setting! You will also do an acquisition of a long-term asset in your kitchen. Timeless, elegance, and beauty—all rolled in one in every flatware with the Gorham Chantilly pattern.

Gorham-Sald-Fork Gorham-Teaspoon

You may also visit, www.TheEscapePlace.com for more Gorham Stainless Flatware.

Spots on Stainless Steel Flatware

In 1913, Harry Brearly, an English metallurgist, accidentally concocted a metal mixture which has revolutionized our everyday life. He was working on a project to improve rifle barrels but discovered that adding chromium to low carbon steel gives it stain resistance, thus giving birth to “stainless steel”. Chromium in the steel combines with oxygen in the atmosphere to form a thin, invisible layer of chrome-containing oxide called passive film. If the passive film is scratched or disrupted, oxide will form and recover the surface, preventing corrosion.

Stainless steel is used in almost anything from bridges, monuments and sculptures (some examples include the Unisphere in New York and the Cloud Gate at Chicago), automotive bodies, passenger rail cars, aircraft, jewelry, etc. Most of all, stainless steel has been introduced to homes across the world due to the invention of stainless steel flatware.

Despite the moniker of being “stainless”, our flatware isn’t actually stain-proof. Passive film requires oxygen to repair, so those that have been kept in low-oxygen areas or exposed to certain chemicals can have “spots”. Knowing some tips and tricks on stainless steel flatware maintenance will help restore your cutlery’s immaculate glory.

 

Care During First Time Use

  • When using stainless steel flatware for the first time, hand wash it thoroughly in hot water using mild soap or detergent. It’s important to use hot or warm water because  it will remove all soap residues which cause cutlery to dull. After rinsing, dry the silverware using a towel as air-drying them would often lead to spots.

 

Care During Everyday Use

  • Caring for your silverware during everyday use entails avoiding use for food that have high acid content such as tea, coffee, mayonnaise, tomato sauce, and citrus fruits.
  • It’s also advisable to rinse cutlery immediately after use as stuck food particles can cause corrosion.
  • When using a dishwasher, remember to load fork and spoons with their handles down, and avoid mixing stainless steel flatware with tableware made out of a different metal type in the same compartment or load.
  • Never ever soak flatware overnight! Oxygen levels in water are low which lead to the breakdown of oxides that create protective corrosion layers.
  • Do not pour detergent or soap directly on your flatware. It’s best to discharge it unto a sponge and use that to scrub their surfaces.
  • Do not allow your cutlery to overheat. For example, leaving it on a hot burner or using it to stir boiling food.
  • Avoid using steel wool to scrub stains from your stainless steel cutlery; because it can damage the surface and finish of the flatware.
  • Cleaners containing lemon or orange additives can also cause corrosion.
  • Do not use alcohol or oven cleaners to scrub difficult stains.

 

How do I remove stains or spots in my cutlery?

If prevention isn’t enough and you still find stubborn stains on your flatware, there are several hacks which you can keep in mind in order to restore their spotless glow.

 

1)     Go the olive oil and washcloth route. To begin, clean the surface with non-abrasive soap, or baking soda and water. Then, apply olive oil to a washcloth and use this to wipe surface stains. Wipe excess oil with a clean, dry rag or a paper towel. This will also give it a little shine.

2)     Use undiluted white vinegar. Some people swear by this method even though white vinegar has a funky smell. This is especially effective if your flatware stains are caused by heat.

3)     The aluminum foil method. With this method, you’ll need a large skillet, aluminum foil, and water. First, place a large sheet of aluminum foil on the base of a large skillet. Fill the ¾ with hot water and add a teaspoon of salt and baking soda. Slide the cutlery in and let the water boil for 5 minutes. Then, turn off the heat and allow the water to cool before removing the stainless steel cutlery. Rinse each piece with warm tap water and towel dry with a clean cloth. Voila! Clean cutlery!

4)     Use a rust-fighting product with oxalic acid. But only use this as a last resort! This solution should only be attempted under dire circumstances because oxalic acid is a strong chemical solution.

 

Check out The Escape Place ebay store for great collection of stainless steel silver.

These are our Oneida Collection Stainless Steel Silverware. You may click on each picture to check out the item.

Oneida Arbor Rose Spoons       Oneida Dinner KnifeOneida Cherbourg Dinner Knives       Oneida Cherbourg Pattern Salad Forks

What the Heck is a “Spork”?

If you’ve ever been camping (especially with dads or dad-types) or if you’ve ever bought instant noodles from (especially) Southeast Asia, you’re probably familiar with the incredibly infuriating utensil that has too shallow a dip to hold any decent amount of soup for consumption, with prongs on the edge that are either too dull or too short to properly stab through anything other than the soft flesh of fruits. Come to think of it, if your fruit is a bit slippery in texture, you might not even be able to successfully penetrate through that either. Yes, we’re talking about the ever mocked (by the culinary society snobs) utensil: the spork.

spork

 

What the heck is it?

A spork (and for the love of…. Just please don’t call it a “foon”) is a mutant cross between a spoon and fork. It has a shallow scoop or dip with three or four prongs at the tip. This term was coined sometime in 1909, in the Century Dictionary two-volume Supplement. However, the utensil itself wasn’t trademarked until 1969 by Van Brode Milling Co. in Clinton, Massachusetts, when they registered a piece of cutlery which has the features of a spoon, fork, and (at times) a knife. Although the cutlery itself was only registered then, the term “spork” was actually trademarked around 1951 by Hyde W. Ballard (Westtown, Pennsylvania) in the United States, as a singular stainless steel flatware combining a spoon and a fork; then by Van Brode Milling Company as a plastic utensil combination of a spoon, fork, and knife in 1970; and then in 1975 by Plastico Limited (leading British manufacturer of plastic tableware) in the United Kingdom.

Spork: A History

Although trademarks to this hybrid cutlery piece came in the 20th century, patents for prototypes or similar utensils were actually issued in the 19th century.  A combined spoon, fork, and knife flatware was invented and patented in February 1847 (US patent 147,119) by Samuel w. Francis. Other early spork prototype patents were the “cutting spoon” by Harry L. McCoy 1908 (US Patent 1,044,869), spoon with tined edge by Frank Emmenegger in November 1912. These patents predate the actual usage of the term “spork”. However, the basic concept of combining the two flat silvers into a singular piece is prominent and thematic in the earlier patents. As stated earlier, it was only in the 1950’s when the term was actually trademarked.

The Spork Today

This hybrid flatware can still be found today. They’ve retained their original function, as a two-in-one tool for meals; however, certain liberties have been taken in their modern production.

spork-2

Although the traditional silver and plastic versions of them are still available (like in certain tableware sets for silver, and in instant noodles packs for plastic), technological advancement has led people to create them using various materials like titanium and stainless steel –which are extremely popular with campers.

Some have even taken them from cheap, disposable plastic utensils to fun and trippy mealtime tools for kids and the kids at heart.

Admittedly, these Frankenstein-ish flatware have evolved for the better through the years. Some which are better in quality can actually pierce through meat, and hold an acceptable amount of soup per dip. Add that to the fact that a lot of them now actually look pretty nice.

 

So what say you all? Yay or nay for sporks? Let us know in the comments below!

 

White House-Worthy Flatware

If actors and actresses flaunt their outfits at the Red Carpet; the guests, flatware, table setting, and menu take the center stage in every State Dinner or special occasion held at the White House. I’m sure most of you are curious about the flatware used in the White House. In every article featuring State Dinners and such, it’s almost imperative to mention about the kind of flatware they’ll be using. Part of the meticulous preparation is choosing the right kind of flatware fit for the occasion. So if you’re wondering what the President of the United States uses when eating; here are two of the most prominent flatware used in the White House:

 

Vermeil Flatware

 

vermeil

The Vermeil (pronounced as vur-MAY) is one of the most prominent flatware used in the White House. The Vermeil, which is a French term for gilded silver, is an English collection from the 18th and 19th centuries. The Vermeil Collection has been used in the White House for almost 50 years. A legacy from Margaret Thompson Biddle (Montana mining heiress) in 1956, this collection includes pieces with mother-of-pearl handles.

A flatware fit for the Queen. When Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited the United States in 2007, the North Portico of the White House was transformed into a room filled with sterling silver, crystal, gold, and fine linen.

welcome

 

To honor and welcome America’s closest ally, President George W. Bush held his first white-tie state dinner. Table settings were carefully planned and prepared. As seen in the image above, right next to the President’s House Crystal is the Vermeil flatware.

What is Vermeil made of? According to eHow, “Vermeil is 0.925 silver that has been gilded either mechanically or by electrolysis. After either process, the gilt object is polished with agate stone to achieve a high luster.” So if you want to achieve that shiny and quality flatware at home without spending thousands of bucks on gold, consider vermeil for your White House-inspired dinner.

 

King Charles Flatware

During the Nixon administration in 1974, a 3,434 piece-set of sterling silver flatware was ordered. It was, however, received after President Ford took his office. In a news article published in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on February 27, 1975, it was said that the Ford White House paid $21, 600 for the silver flatware. Clement Conger, White House Curator, noted that the flatware is estimated to be more than $100, 000 and said that Gorham “picked up the rest of the cost of the silver as a gift to the American people.”

 

The King Charles flatware was named as such by the well-known Providence manufacturer, Gorham, Inc. because of its elaborate 18th century “English Kings” pattern. According to Bill Allman, a White House Curator, “It is often used for formal luncheons and sometimes for dinners. For state dinners, the formal events held for the leaders of other nations that are most often seen on the television or in newspaper photos, the tables are set with the gilded silver flatware that dates from different eras. The forks were made in 1894, the dinner knives in 1924, and other pieces in 1950 and 1994.”

 

king-charles-flatware

 

During First Lady Michelle Obama’s first White House state dinner in 2009, the King Charles flatware was used. In the White House 2010 Governors Ball, the same set of flatware was used.

Now that you know of 2 of the most prominent flatware used in the White House, we want to know which flatware is your favorite. Sound off on the comments section below!

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!