Wallace Silversmiths

Wallace Silversmiths is a major American manufacturer of sterling silver. The company was founded by Robert Wallace. He was the son of Scottish immigrant and silversmith James Wallace and his wife Irene (Williams), who had immigrated in the late 18th century. Robert Wallace became an apprentice to Captain William Mix, at the Meriden Britannia Co.

After mastering the art of silver craft, Robert Wallace purchased a dilapidated gristmill, and began to produce spoons in 1833. He later moved his factory Wallingford, Connecticut. There he increased his production of spoons and cutlery.

Realizing the importance of diversification, Wallace began producing a complete range of flatware using a nickel alloy formula. For the next five decades, Wallace did contract work, producing cutlery for a number of firms throughout the world. Wallace produced cutlery for such firms as Hall, Elton & Co., Fred R. Curtiss Co., and Meriden Britannia Co.

By 1871, Wallace had purchased his partner’s shares and together with two of his sons renamed the growing company R. Wallace and Sons Mfg. Co. The factory added to its products sterling goods and high-grade nickel-silver plated ware, both flat and hollow. Also In 1871, Wallace, his sons and sons-in-law formed a new company. The new company, Wallace Brothers, produced silver plated flatware on a base of stainless steel.

In 1875, Wallace introduced the first three sterling silver patterns to feature the esteemed Wallace name - Hawthorne, The Crown, and St. Leon. These patterns were followed by sterling silver and silver plated holloware.

Robert Wallace died on June 1, 1892, and the sons and son-in-law continued the business. It grew to be the largest manufacturer of flat tableware in the world.

In the 1930’s the company released a series of cutlery patterns, designed by William S. Warren - called the Third Dimension Beauty collection. Rose Point (1934), Sir Christopher (1936), Stradivari (1937), Grande Baroque (1941), Grand Colonial (1942), and Romance of the Sea (1950) combine timeless elegance with the quality craft for which Wallace is known.

Wallace established itself as a prominent name in the silver industry with the introduction of the Grande Baroque pattern in 1941. In 1956 R. Wallace and Sons Mfg. Co. purchased the Watson Company and the company was re-named Wallace Silversmiths. Shortly thereafter, in 1958, they purchased both the Tuttle Silver Company and Smith & Smith Company. As a result of this growth, the Hamilton Watch Company acquired Wallace Silversmiths in 1959.

Over the next 30 years, ownership of Wallace Silversmiths would change 3 times. Hamilton Watch Company sold the company to Katy Industries in 1983. Syratech Corporation (owners of Towle Silversmiths) acquired Wallace Silversmiths from Katy Industries in 1986. In 2006, Lifetime Brands acquired Syratech's assets. The company continues to design sterling, silverplate, and stainless steel flatware.

While sterling silver has intrinsic value for the silver content, antique sterling silver can have far more value as a collectible item. The additional value depends on the silversmith or maker, the quality of craftsmanship, the condition and age of the item.

Other Renowned silversmiths include:

  • Buccellati
  • Chrisofle
  • Georg Jensen
  • Gorham
  • Puiforcat
  • Tiffany
  • Towle

Read the full history of Wallace Silversmiths at Wikipedia by clicking here.

Most commercially available sterling silver objects are stamped with one or more silver hallmarks indicating the purity of the silver and the mark of the manufacturer. Some also have other markings to indicate date of manufacture and additional information about the piece.

Photo fromTiffany Studios (United States, New York, 1889 - 1902). original photograph on Flickr was taken by Beesnest McClain.

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