Founded in 1831 in Rhode Island by Jabez Gorham, Gorham Sterling Silver is known as one of America’s finest manufacturers of sterling silver collectibles and silver plate. Back in 1895 the famous designer William C. Codman worked for the company and designed one of the it’s most famous silver patterns known as Chantilly. Even today this pattern has endured and remains one of the most popular. It’s one of the most requested patterns with brides who register their silver pattern at local stores. It’s also been passed down through generations of mothers and daughters.
The silverware from this company has also been used by many of the administrations in the White House, including Mary Todd Lincoln and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant. The company designed a sterling silver vase for Mrs. Grant in order to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United States. It was displayed at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibit and contained over 2,000 oz. of silver. It was 62 inches long and 50 inches high. The designed depicted numerous scenes from America’s history on the surface of the vase. It was exhibited twice more, in Paris and Chicago, and then later destroyed.
The company was extremely prolific in their designs, and one could expect to see the company design a new pattern every few years. Compared to the silver makers in England, Gorham Silver stood apart from all others. Gorham became recognized all over Europe for their rich ornate patterns and the impressive amount of engraved detail in their dies.
During the years of World War II, the company produced munitions as well as numerous types of other materials for the war. In fact, during the war Gorham Silver made millions of shell casings for the Navy and the Army.
A Famous Collection
One of the most known and most famous collections, is that of the late Henry Jewett Furber. This collection contains 606 pieces of tableware and 132 pieces of hollowware. The company bought back the collection in 1949. At that time it was estimated to be valued at $1 million dollars and in today’s market would be worth far more. Today the collection belongs to the RISD Museum after being donated by Gorham Silver.
One of the most known monuments Gorham designed, is the George Washington monument found in the rotunda of the Capitol. They also designed a statue of Theodore Roosevelt and it can currently be found in New York overlooking the Museum of Natural History. Rhode Island’s state house is domed by the famous statue of the “Independent Man”, another company creation.
Air Force One
In recent years, the family of George W. Bush had the company provide the flatware service that would be used on Air Force One and the pattern chosen was Chantilly. Among its other noted American achievements, the company designed the magnificent trophies for two sporting events; the Indianapolis 500 trophy and the Borg-Warner Trophy.
Currently Gorham Silver has diversified into other areas, such as the production of dinnerware. Their china patterns are versatile yet still delicate and of the highest quality. Having a reputation of impressive designs and quality products has made this company one of the most prominent in the production of fine dinnerware.