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tline3open  Flatware Today: What I Learned

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Author Topic:   Flatware Today: What I Learned
Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 04-22-2007 04:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[01-2573]

Going through numerous Google searches on flatware has been an interesting experience. There is a lot of interesting flatware out there. Sadly for us it is not silver but stainless. Or pewter. Or 'silvertone'.

Since my eyes are getting weary of looking at catalogs, I thought to set out some thoughts on what I have learned. This will sound sort of rambling and disjointed, which it is.

One thing I discovered is that many new sets do not have a gravy ladle. Which surprised me as this has been a settled item for over 150 years that I am aware of.

Instead china sets come with something called the 'sauce' or 'gravy' pitcher. An interesting transfer of function.

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jersey

Posts: 1203
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 04-22-2007 07:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello Dale!

Coming from another "end around" ........Although I have, & use ladles, a pitcher is far more useful to me. That said, I would also need several different sizes. They just seem easier to handle, and pass around the table & that's my thought for today!

Enjoy the day!
Jersey

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Marc

Posts: 414
Registered: Jun 2002

iconnumber posted 04-23-2007 11:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi there Dale & Jersey,..

I find the trend of going to a 'pitcher' instead of a traditional 'gravy boat and ladle' interesting in four ways.

The first is that it reflects on the quantity of gravy used at our tables when we eat these days. Certainly, more than we used to.

The second is that using a gravy pitcher is faster than a boat and ladle, and spending less time eating means more time to do other things.

The third is that a gravy pitcher takes up less room on the table.

The last thing is that a pitcher can be picked up and poured with one hand.

I can say that I have sold smaller
(1 quart) pitchers to clients for that purpose. Down here in the south it only takes 2 men to empty a gravy boat.

So I guess that the gravy pitcher is being offered as a convenience. And.. the gravy ladle will become vestigial, like the ice tea
spoon .

Marc

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1758
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 04-24-2007 11:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Victorian style of eating, with so much emphasis on the ceremony, including the importance of having a separate serving piece for practically every food item, always struck me as being, to a large degree, a ritualistic or even compulsive behavior. Some believe that compulsions arise from the unconscious's need to respond to certain repressed subjects, traumas, or desires. Since modern society no longer resembles the stuffy, repressive Victorian period, maybe it is no surprise that the ceremonial act of consuming food has become so much less ritualistic.

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jersey

Posts: 1203
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 04-24-2007 01:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To continue the thought and go further. I use my small gravy/sauce boats for oil or salad dressing, great for drizzling. Or they can be placed at the ends of the table or next to the person with their choice of dressing. Just the perfect size I think.
I'm getting hungry!
Jersey

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 04-25-2007 01:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Something that fascinated me. American silver companies now offer flatware in European sizes. Even Onieda does.

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1758
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 04-25-2007 02:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Speaking of European things, to compete with the likes of Buccellati, Wallace now makes the "Wallace Italian" line of silver flatware with pattern names like "Palatina" and "Impero". These patterns are based on (if not exact copies) of 19C European patterns. The Wallace Italian "Venezia" pattern very closely resembles Buccellati's "Monte Mario" design. Since Syratech also seems to have acquired the C. J. Vander dies/patterns at some point, Wallace also produces a line of patterns that are reissues of or inspired by old British designs. This includes patterns like Bacchanalian, Coburg, Onslow, etc. Needless to say, these new examples pale in comparison to actual period examples of these patterns.

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Dale

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Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 05-01-2007 09:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are sellers of Brittania metal ingots and sheets. They advertise it as a good way to give pewter an antique look. Or to get into silverplated goods.

Costco sells Grande Baroque sterling flatware. And a number of other established patterns.

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salmoned

Posts: 336
Registered: Jan 2005

iconnumber posted 05-01-2007 09:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for salmoned     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Paul Lemieux:
... Since Syratech also seems to have acquired the C. J. Vander dies/patterns at some point, Wallace also produces a line of patterns that are reissues of or inspired by old British designs. This includes patterns like Bacchanalian, Coburg, Onslow, etc. Needless to say, these new examples pale in comparison to actual period examples of these patterns.

I am the new and happy owner of a set of 4 demitasse spoons in the CJ Vander "William & Mary" pattern made in 1980. I doubt I could afford a similarly pristine set of actual period spoons (or even Wallace's current list prices).

[This message has been edited by salmoned (edited 05-01-2007).]

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 05-01-2007 11:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Serving pieces have become something called 'serveware'. The use of this neologism is somewhat confusing. At some vendors, it is used to cover everything used in serving food whether ceramic, glass or metal. Others usually put it in a separate category under flatware.

But there is a third spot where these hangout. In what are called 'giftware' or 'hostess gifts' or 'gourmet gifts'. The idea being that people buying flatware really don't need this; but that they make wonderful gifts.

The 'hostess' has been replaced by the 'cook/chef'. Frequently this is preceded by the adjective 'gourmet'. People no longer are entertaining with formal dinners. Instead, they are shown as creating magnificent feasts. That are served in the kitchen or patio. This allows the guests to view the creation of the meal. And the cook/chef to show off their culinary skills and art. Dining is still an artform, it is now part of theater.

The art of dining consists in the preparation of the food. Which activity needs to be shown clearly to the guests. Then das kunstwerk is dished up onto a suitable background with flourishes of flatware on the sides.

I suspect this is dramatically different from the 19th century way of dining. Back then the meals were prepared by anonymous immigrant serving girls far away from the guests. Now the one inviting the guests is the one cooking.

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 05-06-2007 07:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Trying to figure out who makes what is yet another problem. Patterns appear under different names at different retailers. Some are attributed to established makers. Others have what seem odd to me makers: Pfalzgraf's line of stainless is by FarberWare. Now that is an old line brand, but they never really had a flatware line that I recall.

The revival of old US patterns is another issue. Does anyone here know about it?

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 05-06-2007 11:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Then while tooling around the web, I came across this interesting report. It is from a firm that acts as an intermediary between Chinese manufacturers and Western companies. Essentially, they can set a firm up with makers for just about any product line. Here it is:
quote:
Flatware
Report on Flatware


China accounts for 55% of the world's flatware production. In 2004, flatware exports amounted to 8.4 billion pieces, valued at US$882 million.

Total output for 2005 is projected to reach 9 billion pieces, roughly 12% higher than 2004. Most of the increase will be for all-stainless steel flatware.

With profiles of 68 suppliers, this report will show you how to identify the manufacturers best prepared to meet your needs in an increasingly fast-changing environment.

Don't get left behind — you'll also benefit from page after page of detailed industry analysis, forecasts of upcoming trends, product comparisons and much more.

China produces 55 percent of the world's output of flatware. Makers in the country have the capacity to produce a total of 12 billion pieces annually.

In 2004, flatware exports amounted to an estimated 8.4 billion pieces with a value of US$882 million. Manufacturers in China rely heavily on export revenue as local sales account for a mere fraction of their output.

In the past three years, export growth rates have been rising steadily even while the industry is under pressure from rising production costs. In 2003, overseas shipments increased 18 percent in volume and 23 percent in value over the previous year. Exports soared 30 percent in volume and 23 percent in value in 2004. The first quarter of 2005 also recorded a growth in volume of 9 percent and value was up 18 percent relative to the same period in 2004.

The following are some of the trends we see in China's flatware export industry:

    • The majority of flatware manufacturers will increase prices in the next 12 months as they continue to deal with rising production costs.
    • A large number of suppliers will boost their production capacity as flatware demand continues to rise in main markets including the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.
    • Total flatware output is expected to reach 9 billion pieces in 2005, or about 12 percent higher than the previous year. The greater share of the increase will be for all-stainless steel flatware.
    • More companies will upgrade equipment, QC processes and overall manufacturing capability as they continue to focus on OEM markets.
    • All-stainless steel flatware will continue to lead flatware exports, although models with plastic handles will remain popular.
This report focuses on all-stainless steel flatware and those with plastic handles, as the two categories combined account for more than 80 percent of total flatware exports from China. Product and pricing information for flatware with wooden handles and silver/gold-plated items are also included.

The Products & Prices section discusses the main types of flatware available from China and factors that determine price. The Manufacturing module provides a thorough account of production processes and testing procedures for raw materials and finished products, while further information on raw materials is given in the Materials & Components section.

The flatware industry in China is estimated to have 300 to 500 suppliers, many of which specialize in flatware. A number of them also offer kitchen tools. Although it is largely composed of small and midsize companies, there are also a few large and well-established makers, some of which have been profiled in this report. Among them is Fujian-based Wingar which has a staggering production capacity of 35 million pieces a month.


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Dale

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Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 05-06-2007 11:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some of the information on the home page of one such firm:
quote:
Established in 1970, we are a manufacturer of knives and swords. We export $30 million worth of goods each year to buyers like you.

Our production
Our 48,000-square-meter factory is located in the China production hub of Wenzhou. We enjoy convenient transportation by land, sea and air for reliable, speedy deliveries. We produce your orders under ISO 9001:2000 guidelines and our products carry other certifications for easy access to your market.

Our products
You can come to us for a wide variety of knives and swords including decorative and kitchen models. We produce up to 50,000 sets every month.

Contact us today
Take a look at some of our selections in our showroom. We also welcome your OEM projects. To learn more about our products and services, contact us today.


The firm then explains how they do this:
quote:
Creating various styles through diverse methods

Makers are offering a good mix of forged and stamped all-stainless steel models, as well as designs with colorful acrylic handles.

Flatware suppliers in mainland China, India and Taiwan are employing different production strategies to satisfy changing market needs and soften the effects of competition.

In the mainland, an increasing number of companies are investing in hot forging. While this metallurgical technique is costly and puts a premium on worker skills, it yields thicker and heavier flatware designs, which are now popular in the EU and the US. The procedure involves hammering and shaping of stainless steel under extreme temperatures, thereby requiring high fuel consumption.

In contrast, nearly all makers in India are opting for stamping, a faster and simpler metal-processing method.

"Stamping is a lot less expensive than forging," said Vasant Kotadia, director of Manek Metal (India) Pvt Ltd. "It enables even small companies to put up manufacturing units at minimal outlay."

According to suppliers interviewed for this report, a stamping line costs 10 to 50 percent less than one for forging. Usually thinner and ornate, stamped flatware finds its way easily into the Asia and Africa markets.

In Taiwan, makers are veering away gradually from all-stainless steel designs, a segment dominated by mainland counterparts. Instead, they are now focusing on releases with food-grade plastic handles.

Easier to shape than metal or wood, plastic may also be applied with color. For the steel part, most companies on the island prefer stamping to forging to support rapid mass production.

By and large, these different approaches are all aimed at boosting the suppliers' capability to offer visually appealing and high-quality flatware.

Some of the latest pure stainless steel designs feature striking finishes and bolder textures. To match modern table settings, unconventional handle styles with rolled tips and bamboo-like details are also being developed.

In the plastic line, clear acrylic grips with floral or fruit motifs are becoming more popular. Versions that are finished to resemble wood are produced as well.


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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 05-06-2007 11:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some nuts and bolts about how this works:
quote:
Some specifics about the product:

Key Specifications/Special Features:

  • Material: stainless steel in grade of 18/8 and 18/0 available
  • Knife material: chrome steel 13/0
  • The sand polishing with the dots make the flatware soft and look nice
  • Included: table/dinner knife, table/dinner fork, table/dinner spoon, tea spoon
  • 16-piece and 24-piece, other combination and request available with customer's choice
  • Package: white gift box, blister card package,color box, wooden case and leather case are available
  • Customized sizes and designs are available
  • OEM orders are welcome

Payment Details:
Payment Terms:
# T/T, L/C

Delivery Details:
FOB Port:
# Shanghai, Ningbo

Lead Time:
# 20 - 45 days

Country of Origin:

  • China (mainland)

Brand Name:
  • KingStone

Main Export Markets:
  • Eastern Europe
  • North America
  • Mid East/Africa
  • Central/South America
  • Asia
  • Western Europe
  • Australasia

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Dale

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Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 05-06-2007 11:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another company's terms and conditions:
quote:
Country of Origin:
  • China (mainland)

Primary Competitive Advantages:

  • Experienced Technical Staff
  • Packaging
  • Product Features
  • Prompt Delivery
  • Competitive Price
  • Small Orders Accepted

Main Export Markets:
  • Eastern Europe
  • North America
  • Central/South America
  • Asia
  • Western Europe

Australasia Key Specifications/Special Features:
  • Material: stainless steel imported from Japan
    Grades 18/8 and 18/0 are available
  • Paper and wooden gift boxes are available
  • Pieces offered:
    o Table knife
    o Table fork
    o Table spoon
    o Dessert knife
    o Dessert fork
    o Dessert spoon
    o Tea spoon
    o Cake fork
    o Soup spoon

Payment Details:
Payment Terms:
# TT, L/C

Minimum Order:
# 500 to 999 Pieces

Delivery Details:
FOB Port:
# Qingdao


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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 05-06-2007 11:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A more detailed company profile:
quote:
Business Type
  • Exporter
  • Importer
  • Manufacturer
  • Trading Company

Export Percentage
  • 95 percent to 99 percent

Capital
  • US$8,000,000 to 8,999,999

Primary Competitive Advantages
  • Experienced R&D Department
  • OEM Capability
  • Production Capacity
  • Large Product Line
  • Reliability
  • Reputation
  • Buyer's Specifications Accepted

QC Responsibility
  • in-house

Total Annual Sales
  • US$30,000,000 to 34,999,999

No. of Total Staff
  • 900 to 999

Year Established
  • 1970

Brand Names
  • KingStone

Types of Plant & Machinery in Factory
  • Heating processing, laser markers, punching machines, automated polishing machine, knurling, heat-transfer printer, pressing, air compressor, automated sandblasting machine, wet grinder, milling machine, lathe, grinding machine, drilling, wire cutter EDM

No. of Production Lines
  • 10

Current Export Markets
  • Eastern Europe
  • North America
  • Mid East/Africa
  • Central/South America
  • Asia
  • Western Europe
  • Australasia

Investment on Manufacturing Equipment
  • US$65,000,000 to 69,999,999

OEM Services Provided
  • Yes

Production Type
  • wholly owned

No. of R&D Staff
  • 20 to 29

No. of Engineers
  • 5 to 9

Monthly Capacity
  • 250,000 to 299,999 Pieces

Product Range
  • Cutlery: all kinds of fork, spoon and kitchen knife
  • Knife and sword decoration: Boot knives, fantasy sword, fantasy dagger, cutlery, katana, art knives, utility knife, folding knife, display, hunting knives, Mongolian knives survival, knives stands, military swords, ninja swords, samurai swords, shield, AXES, DARTS, resin knife

Factory Size in Square Meters
  • 48000

Factory Size in Square Feet
  • 516666

Bank Details

  • City of Bank
    � 37 Wansong Rd., Rui'an
    Name of Bank
    � Agricultural Bank Of China


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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 05-06-2007 11:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting design concept:
quote:

Polyresin Egyptian Stylish Cutlery
Dining Ware Collection Polyresin Egyptian Stylish Cutlery with Other Materials Available

Key Specifications/Special Features:

  • Made of polyresin
  • Other materials - ceramic, stone, metal, wooden or pewter - can be used
  • Other Egyptian themes is available - clock, photo frame, candle holder, tealing, jar, music box and etc
  • From design to prototype takes only 2 weeks
  • Experienced craftsmanship
  • Minimum order: negotiable
  • Payment terms: negotiable
  • Delivery lead time: 60-75 days after order confirmation

Delivery Details
FOB Port:
  • Yantian

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 05-06-2007 11:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another one:
An interesting lobster set:
quote:

With terms and conditions.

Stainless Steel Seafood Cutlery Set
BAR-001SF Stainless Steel Seafood Cutlery Set, Includes Six Seafood Forks and Two Crackers

Key Specifications/Special Features:

  • Sea food set
  • Accessories: six pieces seafood forks and two pieces crackers
  • Packing: PVC box
  • Material: 18/8 stainless steel

Payment Details
Payment Terms:
  • TT or L/C at sight

Delivery Details
FOB Port:
  • Guangzhou

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 05-07-2007 12:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Among the current offerings, which can be delivered to you in 45 days:

A figural swan stainless set:


A sort of strange bent spoon set, there may be other pieces:

    A stainless and plastic chop stick and spoon combo:[list]

And a make no mistake in using set of cutters:

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 05-20-2007 03:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In stainless, round bowl soups and bouillon spoons are no longer made for home use. They are available in commercial varieties.

Plastic flatware is now available in stainless steel coloring. Imitation stainless, who would have thought it.

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 05-20-2007 04:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Chinese system here looks a lot like the old Chinese Export Send a design, pay upfront and get flatware shipped to you.

The terms deal in lots of between 1,000 and 1,999 dozens. The cost per dozen is between $2.50 and $3.00, or at least that is my understanding. There is an upfront fee for the refinement of the design, the actual making of dies and start up costs. This sounds ridiculously low. I probably need to go back and recheck this. On the other hand, responsible retailers are selling sets for 12 for under a hundred dollars.

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