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!

Melamine Tableware for Kids: Is durability worth the health risks?



Most kids tend to break stuff because they still struggle with their hand-eye coordination. Most practical moms, who also want to put their child’s safety first, use melamine tableware to avoid mishaps while feeding them.

Melamine tableware is available in different attractive colors and patterns with a promise of durability, versatility, and your child’s entertainment as he or she learns to eat. Their packages are usually labeled with features like ‘heat resistant’, ‘dishwasher safe’, and ‘shatterproof’, making it seem that they are sensible and convenient to buy. However, what most consumers don’t know is that by buying these products, they fall into a trap full of health risks which the chemical component brings not only to your table, but also into your child’s body.

You may think you’re just being practical, at the same time protecting your child from possible cuts that broken glass or ceramic may cause. However, those incidents are easier to prevent, compared to the hard-to-cure illnesses that melamine can spark.

This article talks about melamine-made tableware and the possible dangers and health risks it poses to people who use it, especially to children.


What is Melamine?

Melamine is a chemical compound with many industrial uses. It is also referred to as melamine resin or melamine formaldehyde. In the US, it’s used in manufacturing kitchen items, plastic products, paperboards, construction materials, and industrial coatings, among others. In other countries, it is also used as a fertilizer.

The component can also be used in the manufacturing of packaging for food products, but is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be directly added to human food or animal feeds sold in the US.

People were first aware of the dangers of melamine in 2007 when it was reported that melamine has been widely used in animal feeds produced in China. In the following year , traces of the same chemical component were also found in several baby formula brands. There were reports on canines and felines dying of kidney failure and babies developing kidney stones.


Melamine Tableware: Plated Danger

As people grew mindful of the dangers of melamine and its presence in the plastic tableware sets they use daily, many asked about the possibility of the compound leeching into the food served on melamine-made plates.

According to FDA’s assessment, the risk posed against people using melamine tableware is extremely low and within acceptable degrees. But there are precautionary reminders in using such dishes and it seems that there are more risks when used by children and infants. In this light, it would be wise NOT to use melamine plates when feeding children; but it would be wiser for you and your whole family, no matter what age, to NOT use them at all.

In 2013, a study was conducted by the Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan to find out if “…melamine tableware releases toxic quantities of kidney stone-forming melamine when exposed to high temperatures – such as when they’re holding hot food.”

The study involved monitoring urine samples of two groups of adults. One group ate hot noodle soup from melamine bowls while the other group ate their hot noodle soup from ceramic bowls. Results showed that the group who ate from the melamine bowls excreted 8.35 micrograms of melamine, while the other group excreted only 1.35 micrograms.

Chia-Fang Wu, lead researcher at the university, stated that, “Melamine tableware may release large amounts of melamine when used to serve high-temperature foods.” And further added, “Although the clinical significance of what levels of urinary melamine concentration has not yet been established, the consequences of long-term melamine exposure still should be of concern.”

Definitely, it is our concern to keep our family safe. Even if plastic tableware with melamine is affordable, practical, and cute, it is not worth using; especially if it only poses great risks to your children’s health.


Safe Choices and Alternatives

Aside from being convenient and durable, everyone must realize that there are no other benefits to be gained from using melamine tableware. There are a lot of safer alternatives including tableware made of stainless steel, bamboo, glass, ceramic, or BPA-free plastics. Either of which is the better and safer choice if you want to assure your family’s health in your own home kitchen.

It is indeed a smart move to get rid of all your melamine-made dishes. But if you’re thinking, “It’s okay. I’m careful with my melamine tableware anyway. I don’t use it in the microwave or when serving hot food.” Then the choice is entirely up to you. But be reminded that acidic food increases risks especially when heated. With this in mind, it would also be good to learn more about Synergistic Toxicity.

If you have any specific queries about melamine, you can also check and post your questions at the official website of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).