Archive for category Collecting Things

Some Silver Is Better Than Gold

ssbtgOne hundred and fifty years ago, no well-dowried American bride entered married life without a set of sterling-silver flatware–or at least a set of silver plate–intended for use at every meal.

By the 1840s silverware was being manufactured in the major cities of the day, including New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. Thirty years later, America’s silver designs and techniques equaled–if not, at times, surpassed–those of the rest of the world, even winning the Grand Prix at the Paris Universal Exposition of 1878. The discovery of silver lodes in California and Alaska soon brought silver prices down and an upturn in the economy–combined with manufacturing techniques permitting mass production–allowed people at almost every level of society to purchase sets of sterling or silver-plate spoons, knives, and forks.

“The middle classes copied the wealthy,” says Peter J. Theriault, columnist for the Maine Antique Digest, adding that women’s magazines of the period became arbiters of taste, guiding women in their household purchases.

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