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tline3open  Introduction and Wallace and Banner Buggy Spoons

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Author Topic:   Introduction and Wallace and Banner Buggy Spoons

Posts: 6
Registered: Jul 2023

iconnumber posted 07-21-2023 11:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for brackman1066     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for letting me join. I have several silver pieces that have been passed along by parents and grandparents over the years as they downsized homes and eventually passed away. The tea sets, vases, and candlesticks have always been displayed (on rotation, eventually, as I got more pieces) and cherished. The flatware and serving pieces, less so. My family just doesn’t have a lifestyle that lends itself to non-dishwashable tableware. Even if I were to have a fancy dinner for friends some time, most of my social circle is such that pulling out silver flatware could come across as a “flex” (as the kids say) and might make my guests and friends uncomfortable. Neither my husband nor I have any desire to move “up” in our careers to managerial levels which would lend themselves to business entertaining where formal silver would be appropriate. The flatware etc. has just sat in drawers for years.

Inspired by Margareta Magnusson’s The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, I’m trying to seriously de-clutter and reduce the items in our home (not that I expect to kick off the mortal coil anytime soon!). I’ve finally started going through the bags of flatware that came from my mom’s house. I’ve been researching hallmarks and looking things up and trying to figure out what I’ve even got, which no one (as far as I know) had ever really done.

Some of it I hope to eventually sell; it should be in the hands of people who will cherish and use it. That’s not what I’m posting about.

No, after all the research I’ve been doing (why just look something up when you can totally fall down a rabbit hole, right?) I’m getting a bit into this! And some of the pieces are just so lovely—I am going to hang on to them.

Here are a few I will be keeping: a R Wallace and Sons spoon (I have 12 of these) with a hand-engraved patterns (thanks so much to Susan of the QueenOfSienna blog for her information about that) and a Banner Buggy spoon, because I’m a sucker for history.
This is long enough for an intro, so I’ll save my big thorny question for another post. I’d love to hear how some of you keep or display silver flatware that you don’t use for dining, though!

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Scott Martin
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Posts: 11559
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 07-22-2023 11:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Welcome and thanks for the intro.

I only have time for a too short response but search the forums for more info.

Polish once and never polish again. Use your flatware. It is more hygienic to use silver. If you use your flatware regularly then it shouldn't need polishing. For UN-used flatware and hollowware, schedule regular washing. Regular washing could mean every week or month (depends on sulfur exposure in the air and water). Also the dishwasher is OK, just make sure you know the do's and don't's. Doing things like this will ensure your flatware & hollowware's life is extended and that it develops that patina that collectors love and look for.

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Registered: Jul 2023

iconnumber posted 07-22-2023 08:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for brackman1066     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the advice, Scott--if I were single (or even if I were retired) I'd probably take it. However, my husband is a stainless steel kind of guy. We divide up tasks so things don't fall too much on one person, and since I cook, he does the dishes. Even the sites I've found that say you can dishwash sterling say it has to be treated differently, use different soap, etc. I expect he'd find that a little burdensome.

Now, he's a good guy so he'd do it if it were important to me--or at least he'd try. Still, I'm not confident that he would be able to remember which items were silver and which weren't, and he wouldn't be able to always tell the difference. I fear that sooner or later some lovely antique would go through a heavy-duty cycle using liquid Cascade with lemon, bouncing around in a tray with a bunch of stainless, and come out irreparably whitened. It took a long time to get across the need for my sharp knives to be hand-washed, and it's not like they're hard to identify--it's just that they got grabbed up out of habit. And at least he got to be the one who re-sharpened them when it did happen.

My parents had a set of plate they didn't care about and dishwashed it, and it all turned this weird white color. I'm terrified that would accidentally happen (it's not just my husband; my son is a sweet kid and good about doing household tasks, but like a lot of teenagers he often kinda rushes through cleaning jobs). And I'm not going to take over the dishwashing; by the time dinner is done I usually need to get back to my home office to finish up some work stuff because I knocked off early to cook.

So for the most part, I don't see us switching to sterling for our everyday meals. I might ask if he'd be willing to learn to tell some of the bigger serving pieces from the stainless, and then use them! I've still got more than one family could ever use, though.

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Registered: Jul 2023

iconnumber posted 07-24-2023 09:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for brackman1066     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott, I've been thinking over your advice and raised the subject on the phone with my husband yesterday (he's out of town on a work trip). I told him about how I've gone down the rabbit hole researching some of this, and how some of the pieces are just so lovely I hate having them sit in a drawer. He was willing to try incorporating more silver into our daily routine! He said as long as the patterns are distinct he can remember which are which. It probably didn't hurt that I talked about the difference between sterling and non-sterling--his little scientist's ears perked right up when alloys were mentioned!

Thanks for the nudge, Scott! I don't think I'd have broached this but for you.

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Posts: 1648
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 07-28-2023 08:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you want to get your husband even more interested based on his interest in things scientific like alloys, you might let him know that even sterling is actually an alloy. It is 92.5 percent silver alloyed with 7.5 percent other metals, usually copper. The reason is that 100 percent pure silver is relatively soft and you can easily bend it with your fingers. By alloying it with copper or other metals it becomes quite strong. Also, when you do store it you should try to keep it away from any source of sulfur such as anything that is rubberized (rubber bands, shelf liners etc.) or any source of natural gas such as a stove. Sulfur is one of the main causes of tarnish. And keep it away from heat sources since heat accelerates tarnishing. Just regular use (even just once a week or so), keeping it away from sulfur gases and high heat sources, and handwashing should keep it looking great and not needing polishing. And you will be the most elegant and sophisticated family on the block!

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