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Gorham Silverware

Gorham Silverware is regarded as some of the finest in the world, used in the White House by many administrations dating back to Abraham Lincoln. The master craftsman, Jabez Gorham, founded the company in Providence, Rhode Island in 1831. But it was not until he retired in 1847, handing off the reins to his son, John Gorham, that Gorham Silverware began its evolution into the powerhouse manufacturer that it is known today.

John Gorham, a man of considerable foresight, enlarged the premises of his factory and overhauled production, introducing improved designs, an expanded product line, and mechanized fabrication strategies. He also employed William J. Codman, a veteran British designer who trained his American staff in the silversmith methods of the Old World.

Codman was instrumental in developing the Martelé line, which used a grade of silver that was even softer than sterling (.950 compared to the .925 of sterling). This allowed artisans to hammer out elaborate Art Nouveau designs that were previously impossible. Gorham flatware including the King Edward and Chantilly lines remain among the most popular flatware patterns in the world.

Quick Facts

  • In 1875, Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant commissioned Gorham Silver to produce the Century Vase commemorating the United States' one hundredth anniversary. The spectacular vase used more than 2,000 ounces of sterling silver
  • The Martelé line beat Tiffany in the silver furniture category of the 1900 World Fair
  • A Gorham silver presentation pitcher sold at Cowan auctions in 2014 for $9,000

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