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Another pottery of an entirely different sort, Fiestaware is making a comeback. This dinnerware, rather heavy, and distinguishable because of its pastel and gaudy colors, was designed in 1936. Its art deco styling, featuring concentric circles and eleven brilliantly colored glazes was produced through 1969. When it was reintroduced in 1986 in new colors, it became popular all over again. Its jaunty style and serviceable practicality make it a favorite for everyday use, especially in the form of coffee mugs and breakfast bowls.
I’ve always been attracted to silverware and china that was once used on elegant ocean liners and in fine dining cars on trains. Or those used for setting tables in better hotels. Probably part of a bygone era, institutional silverware from public eating places is collected for many reasons. Nostalgia for more refined times is one. Quality is another part of their appeal, as is their simple, traditional design.
How It Was Made
According to a source at Reed and Barton, Corp., commercial flatware, the kind found in better hotels, was made by electroplating a heavy coat of pure silver on a white nickel silver base. This produced flatware that could withstand constant use without losing its shine or shape. The large-size sturdy silverware is great for everyday use and perfect for setting an interesting table, which, in my opinion, deems it worthy of owning.
While the silver-plating process was invented in England in 1742, American silversmiths perfected the technique in the 1840s. In the mid-nineteenth century silver-plated flatware became an excellent step up from inexpensive tin and was not as expensive as silverware. The upwardly mobile middle class embraced it with enthusiasm. The railroad dining cars and grand hotels exposed people to a wonderful variety of specially made pieces that were designed in the style of the times.