Gorham Hollowware Production


Gorham Hollowware Production


What was the process of creating a Gorham silver tea set in 1910?


Jen Lawrence


The Gorham Manufacturing Company did not begin production of hollowware until 1850. The teapot, which became an integral part of Gorham’s production, was one of the first hollowware products created there. By 1910, the production of all hollowware products was both mechanized and done by hand.

Gorham’s success can be attributed to its highly mechanized process of silver production that made fine silverware more affordable. During the period around the turn of the century, Gorham was mainly producing pieces in their Art Nouveau and Athenic lines. There are no records specific to Gorham that outline the process of silver production. However, the mechanized processes of silver production are fairly similar across companies and have not changed dramatically in the past century. All hollowware products, including a tea set, were made using the same methods. First, a mixture of silver ore was put into a ceramic crucible that was then heated in a gas furnace for one to two hours. Historically, copper has been used to supplement the silver as a way to strengthen and increase the durability of the product. Once the silver mixture was molten, it was then poured into cast iron “ingot” molds, 10 inches long, 6 inches wide, and 1 ½ inches thick for hollowware pieces. After cooling, the silver mixture or “ingot” was removed from the mold, ready to be rolled out. Large silver ingots were generally rolled on two-roll mills, until the silver slab was .036 to .045 inches thick.

[See attached file for more information and bibliography]




Jen Lawrence, “Gorham Hollowware Production,” Reservoir of Memories, accessed September 23, 2020, https://reservoirofmemories.omeka.net/items/show/78.