Know Your Flatware

Nov 12 09:42 2007 Carl Formby Print This Article

Why choose antique silver flatware and the various types. Information on silver flatware, silverware, silver cutlery and more.

Cutlery is the most essential part of tableware. Known as flatware (of which silverware is just a form) in the USA,Guest Posting it refers to any hand utensil used to serve and eat food in. It traditionally includes spoons, forks, and knives. In the US, it also includes plates, besides spoons, forks, and knives.

A flatware set commonly comprises a salad fork, a dinner fork, a dinner spoon, a soup spoon, and a teaspoon. It is available in the market both in single units as well as a set of five, twenty, or forty five pieces. Oneida, Lunt, Tuttle, Gorham, and Dansk are some of the most recognized brand names.

These utensils are primarily of two main types, sterling silverware and stainless steel. There are other less expensive variants such as silver plated, plastic, and ceramic flatware. Based on the raw material used, the prices may vary from $10 to hundreds of dollars. Available in a wide variety of prices and styles, these items of flatware serve both utilitarian and decorative purposes.

The most expensive variety of silverware available is sterling silverware. According to US regulations, sterling silverware must contain at least 92.5% pure silver. The balance metal in sterling silverware is copper which is added for strength. Silverware required for a five place seating costs anything from $200 to $800, or perhaps more.

Silver flatware can be manufactured in an ornate and unique design, as silver is highly malleable in nature. Such cutlery is very flamboyant and is available in sets of not only five, but also in over a hundred pieces. Sterling silver, however, tarnishes very soon and needs regular polishing. More information on silver flatware can be found at

A more utilitarian and affordable variety of tableware is made of stainless steel. Manufacturers market them as 18/0, 18/8 or 18/10 stainless steel flatware. The figures depict the amount of chromium and nickel in the stainless steel alloy. In the 18/8 variety of stainless steel flatware, the 18 stands for the percentage of chromium and 8 stands for that of nickel.

Generally considered corrosion-free and stain-proof, stainless steel flatware is easy to maintain. There is a wide variety in the design and cost based on the finishing, weight, design, and knife blade quality.

Silver-plated flatware is another very good alternative to expensive silverware. Made from stainless steel coated with a thin layer of silver, it is more affordable and attractive. Production of plastic cutlery has increased manifold in recent years. Used as disposable flatware, it is very hygienic and has great usage in the fast food industry and by various airlines.

The flatware industry has come a long way since its inception in the 1800s.With a large variety in its design and its cost, it today caters to the demands of each strata of society.

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Carl Formby
Carl Formby

Carl Formby owns and operates, a website dedicated to Antique Silver Flatware

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