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tline3open  Needed-History of Gorham and their Acquisitions

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Author Topic:   Needed-History of Gorham and their Acquisitions
Bob Schulhof

Posts: 194
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 06-28-1999 01:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob Schulhof     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We know that Gorham acquired Whiting in 1924,Durgin in 1921, Mount Vernon in 1923 and Alvin in 1928. We also know that certain of the classic patterns (Mythologique, Mothers,Adam, Colfax, Dauphin, Roanoke, Old Oragne Blossom and Bead) have been re-activated as late as 1990 by new owners Dansk, and I believe that all the new pieces bear the Gorham (spelled out) mark irresepctive of the original maker..

What happened to the popular patterns of these companies after their acquisition by Gorham? Did they continue to be actively marketed on their own, with their old marks? Were they just allowed to die out? Were they produced on special order? When were they produced again with Gorham marks?

Answers to these questions are of interest for those of us who Collect Whiting,Alvin and Durgin patterns. Production and scarcity are always of interest to collectors.

I suppose that each pattern has a story of it's own. But I would be indebted to anyone who can provide some answers. They say the Gorham archives are somewhere in Providence. Would make a good research project.

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Ulysses Dietz
Moderator

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 06-30-1999 10:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Gorham archives went to Brown University's John Hay Library. They should, theoretically, have information about all of Gorham's subsequent acquisitions. However, the curator there also told me that many things were simply thrown out by the workers who were told simply to empty the factory. Who knows what got lost.

One hint I have, is that Durgin's "Iris" pattern (which in its grander version, published by Charles Venable in his book, was called New Art) was purchased by at least one family pre-1910 as "Gorham," even tho' the silver does not have any Gorham mark, only the Durgin script D. So that suggests that Gorham continued to have the dependent companies produce their own goods under their own name, although under Gorham proprietorship--and somehow the Gorham name was known to the buyers. I note that Gorham didn't buy Durgin until 1921--maybe that reflects a later generation's understanding of who had made their flatware?

[This message has been edited by Ulysses Dietz (edited 06-30-99).]

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Bob Schulhof

Posts: 194
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 07-04-1999 06:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob Schulhof     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a few more data points on the subject:
Checking Tere Hagan's pattern book we see:

1. The last pattern marketed as Whiting was Chateau 1923- Pre Merger.
2. Durgin merged in in 1922 and then spordiaccly there did appear apatterns with Durgin marks that were also produced as Gorham patterns 1926,1930,1955.
3. Although Alvin was acquired in 1928, they just kept on making new patterns every year as though nothing ever happened, up through the 1970's.
4. If you check out the posting on "fakes" (general Silver) one dealer refers to Whiting Lily "Special Runs".

It seems as though Gorham did not have any discernible rules.

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Bob Schulhof

Posts: 194
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 07-08-1999 09:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob Schulhof     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spoke to a dealer who says that he has been able to order new Lily pieces from Gorham with Whiting marks. He says that is where all the salad forks are coming from. One anomaly is that the Whiting Lion is BACKWARDS. Has anyone else bought any new Lily from Gorham? Seems like it is buyer beware on Gorham. Retailers marks are going to be very desireable and keep those old monos.

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t-man-nc

Posts: 327
Registered: Mar 2000

iconnumber posted 03-12-2004 01:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for t-man-nc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bob, Contact Sam Hough at The Owl at the Bridge for more info that is where i got a lot of info on Alvin...

"Smaug"

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 01-30-2006 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Resurrecting an old thread. Apologies for doing so.

From a marketing perspective, all this makes sense. What Gorham was seeking was access to the outlets these firms had. Once they achieved that goal, their was not much need to further produce under those names.

Gorham could continue to make the established patterns of Whiting and Durgin, using the dies with marks of the original company. All the while Gorham could slowly introduce its own silver at these locations.

Since Whiting and Durgin were high end makers, Gorham probably had access to many of their outlets. Alvin tended to be a mid level company in terms of price.

So, Alvin became Gorham's inexpensive line of silverware. The company could then offer both a top of the line silver and a popularly priced one.

Makes sense to me at least.

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t-man-nc

Posts: 327
Registered: Mar 2000

iconnumber posted 02-09-2006 07:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for t-man-nc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Alvin in it day was sold in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, was considered to be of high quality... Remember that Alvin was purchased in 1928, but was destroyed by Fire Jan 1, 1925... so, the fire loss made it cheap to purchase in 1928, at the very beginning of the depression..

It is my belief that Joseph Fahys, through his ruthless business dealings and the market down turn (WW1) brought on his own demise...

I don't think it was the production issues or quality, but the loss of his designers that hastened the demise of Alvin...

"Smaug"

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