Gorham Silver was founded in 1831 by Jabez Gorham and partner Henry L. Webster, in Providence Rhode Island. Their main products were silver spoons, but they were also known for their thimbles, jewellery and other small items.
In 1848, Gorham’s son John Gorham took over as head of the company, with the aim to expand. In 1852 Gorham travelled to Europe and returned with the first-steam powered drop press used in America for the production of silver flatware; as well as information he had gained by speaking to master craftsmen and toolmakers to improve his production. Due to this Innovation, by mid-centaury Gorham was one of the Largest Silver Manufacturers in the world.
Gorham’s silverware was renowned for its high quality, and the early success was aided by the familiarity with French and English styles of embellishments, due to this the Company had some very notable commissions. Including, a tea service that was purchased by Mary Todd Lincoln for use in the Lincoln White House.
The largest commission that was ever received was a 740 piece dining service made for Colonel Henry J. Furber, president of Universal Life Insurance Company. The service took over six years to produce and was made in embodies the High Victorian Dining style.
One of Gorham’s designers William C. Codman created Chantilly in 1895, this has become the most famous of Gorham’s flatware patterns.
The company opened a retail store in Manhattan, New York in 1884, which became a New York landmark on 19th June 1984. They also opened a London, England Showroom in 1904. Then following in 1909 Gorham purchased a factory in Birmingham, England which produced many of the same goods they made in Providence, Rhode Island.