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Author Topic:   Need Input on Presentation/Article
chase33

Posts: 362
Registered: Feb 2008

iconnumber posted 10-28-2009 06:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chase33     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[13-0742]

Hi all,

I am looking at giving a presentation (which I may turn into an article) on sterling flatware design trends from 1900 to today. My intial thought is to find that one "mainstream" pattern and one "avant garde" pattern that best represents each decade based on the date the pattern was introduced. I have a few ideas for some of the decades, but was hoping I could ask for input from the members on here. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know.

Thanks

Robert

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chase33

Posts: 362
Registered: Feb 2008

iconnumber posted 11-01-2009 05:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chase33     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So I'm guessing by the lack of responses this topic might be a boring one to pursue? Has it been "done to death", so to speak? Probably time to re-think and come up with another idea.

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 11-01-2009 05:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What threw me was the use of 'decade'. This is not the way I usually break down silver designs. Instead, I think of the Colonial Revival as having phases that stretch over long periods of time.

My personal view is that design movements show up in silverware in two versions: plain and fancy. There would be a plain CR and a fancy one. There are both plain and fancy Art Deco patterns. And this appears to be true also of Art Nouveau.

Part of the problem is that sterling patterns are made for long periods of time. And that design does not seem to be the major criteria for new patterns. Don't know how to handle the post WW2 era for design. And there are decades with only 1 or 2 new sterling patterns.

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chase33

Posts: 362
Registered: Feb 2008

iconnumber posted 11-01-2009 08:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chase33     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for your input. I was really thinking more along the lines of the designs that were introduced each decade and how they were influenced by the events and design trends of the decade. For instance, one trend of the 60s was Mediterranean design and as a result, Spanish Lace and Hispana (amoung others)were introduced. Of course there were the more traditional designs like Shenandoah, English Provencial and Meadow Song.
I'm not really thinking along the lines of what were necessarily best sellers, but new introductions.

And is anyone producing new designs today? The most I can find for the period 2000-current are just retreads of older designs.

BTW, I decided to limit the scope to the major manufacturers (Gorham, Lunt, International, Reed & Barton, Kirk, Tiffany, Towle and Wallace).

Robert

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Kayvee

Posts: 204
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 11-02-2009 03:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kayvee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Your project sounds interesting.

Are you familiar with J. Stern's book, Modernism in American Silver? In my opinion she does a very nice job of describing and illustrating American manufactured silver - including flatware - stylistically and by time period. She places silver design within the social and political context of the time. Her book covers approximately 1920's - 1980's.

As for contemporary designs, I think there are many exciting ones for flatware, mostly produced by European firms and mostly in stainless steel. For example, Nedda El-Asmar, a very talented silversmith and designer has produced flatware designs for Puiforcat and Hermes among others. I like her Virgule pattern for Puiforcat, available in steel or silverplate.

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chase33

Posts: 362
Registered: Feb 2008

iconnumber posted 11-02-2009 09:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chase33     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi

Thanks for the reference. I had seen it a few years back and it had slipped my mind. I hadn't seen the Virgule pattern until tonight and I think it is a great design.

It just seems like the (once) great American companies have stopped trying to introduce new and exciting sterling patterns and they keep on turning out the same patterns. While I love my Chantilly pattern, there are many more people who want something new and intersting. While stainless is very practical, I doubt that it will be passed down from generation to generation to be cherished and loved like a fine set of sterling. Heck even I wouldn't mind another set of sterling in a new design that is reflective of todays trends. Fine china companies keep turning out new patterns but the flatware side of tabletop seems to be stagnet (at least in sterling).

Time to step off my soapbox!

Robert

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 11-02-2009 11:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you look at any home magazine from before WW2, notice all the ads for table top items made by US firms. Almost all of the china and glass firms are gone. Only the silver makers remain, most in sad financial condition.

One reason they hang on is their commitment to the bridal register. But that comes at a price: to participate in this lucrative field the silver maker must commit to having the pattern available for 25 years. So, a new pattern represents not only an investment in dies etc, it represents the next quarter century of business. This means that the sterling market is not suited for innovation or new products.

I agree that the action has moved to stainless, and have done a thread or two on new stainless flatware. Here is one of my favorite patterns, Yamazaki's Gone Fishing:

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 11-03-2009 12:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In this topic I put together random thoughts on how the silver business runs today:

Flatware Today: What I Learned

According to advertised offerings, you can send a flatware design to China and have it produced in a quantity of 10K to 12.5K dozen pieces. If we take the lower number and come up with 10 place pieces, we end up with 1,000 place settings. This further breaks down to 83.33 12 piece sets. Payment is up front, ships in 45 days from that time.

So, you can take your favorite antique flatware pattern, send it to China with directions for what pieces you want and have 83.33 sets in stainless in under 2 months. The cost appears to be under $40,000. This is a game changer for flatware.

My topic on stainless designs today is here:
Trends In Contemporary Stainless Design

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1768
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 11-09-2009 02:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They are definitely trending toward stainless and other media. However, check out this link. It was a silver design contest that closed at the beginning of 2009. There are several interesting flatware designs.

[<gone from the internet> designboom.com/contest/winner.php?contest_pk=25]

I found this interesting--a fairly ordinary 19C silverware pattern but remade in translucent colored or clear plastic. To be honest, I think I'd like it in purple plastic better than silver.

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Ulysses Dietz
Moderator

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 11-09-2009 05:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't know how I missed that email--I wouldn't have resisted putting my oar in...
I like the idea of comparing two patterns from any given decade, one MODERN and one TRADITIONAL see somehow seeing which one survived the longest or was the most popular. Good design and popular taste are very often at odds, particularly in silver, which draws out the conservative in us.

One of my favorites is Contempora, designed by Eliel Saarinen for Dominick & Haff in the late 1920s. It is a beautiful sleek art deco design (I own a teaspoon and a dinner fork, both of which I use regularly)...and the Newark Museum has a place setting, currently in our galleries, donated by Beverly Bremer of Atlanta. It was a TOTAL FLOP commercially, which just goes to show...I'm sure some very traditional thing, like Tiffany English King (1885) or Gorham CHantilly (1903)was more popular than Contempora. I'll think more and see.

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