Antique Detective: Modern Design Stainless Steel Flatware Shines with Collectors

spoonsBy Anne Gilbert


   These days all things with a “MODERN’ look are “hot” and that now includes stainless steel flatware. Nobody wants to spend time polishing silverware in todays busy world. While it seldom makes an auction appearance, prices are modest.
   What makes the flatware of this era, as well as the 60s, 70s, is that many of their designers worked in other mediums.
   In 1961 furniture designer Joe Columbo and Ambrogio Pozzi, designed a stainless steel flatware pattern, “Alitalia.” Columbo is known for his stylish furniture designs, such as the tube chair.
   While Georg Jensen is best known for his sterling silver pieces, several of his craftsmen began working with stainless steel in the 1960s. A distinctive pattern in stainless steel was created in 1965 by Svend Siune and named “Blue Shark.” It shows the plain, sculptural form and heavy weight that exemplified the new look of flatware. It is still being reproduced.
   Tapio Wirkkal (1915-1985) a famed finish designer who worked in glass, ceramics and furniture designs, also did stainless steel flatware. A pattern, “Composition” was created in 1961. It was still in production in the 1990s, designed for Rosenthal.
   CLUES: There were design changes during the 50s, and 60s that help identify when the pieces were made. For example, flatware of the early Modern period used tapered forms and the soft, organic curves found in “organic” designed glass, ceramics and furniture.
   By the 1960s, 70s, designs seemed more abstract and bold. They often had heavier handles and sculptural forms. Since many patterns have been and are still being made, don’t pay too much. These days original era pieces by famous makers can sell for over $1,000.
   PHOTO CAPTION: Stainless steel flatware designed by Erik Herlow PHOTO CREDIT: TREADWAY-TOOMEY

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