Gorham Manufacturing Company is a renowned American producer of sterling and silverplate. So famous and elegant is Gorham Silver that it has marked its place in the history of the United States. Gorham Silver Company history boasts of great works of art that has made history. Some of its notable creations are:
- The magnificent Century Vase containing more than 2,000 ounces of silver that Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant commissioned to commemorate the United State's one-hundredth anniversary
- The specially designed grand "loving cup" for Admiral George Dewey in 1899 which was composed of 70,000 dimes
- New York’s statue of Theodore Roosevelt which is overlooking the Museum of Natural History
- George Washington’s famous monument in the Capitol’s Rotunda
- The well-known “Independent Man” of Rhode Island’s state house
- Gorham's Chantilly was used by the George W. Bush family as the flatware service on Air Force One
But perhaps the largest single commission that Gorham ever received was from the president of Universal Life Insurance Company of New York, Colonel Henry Jewett Furber. The famous Furber service, as it is known, displayed a lavish 740-piece service that depicted the Victorian era dining. Today, most of the service has become a part of the Rhode Island School of Design’s exhibit on American decorative arts.
It is often a wonder how Gorham Manufacturing Company started and gradually built an empire in the last three centuries.
The Gorham Silver Company history began with Jabez Gorham, a master craftsman in Rhode Island in 1831. Working alongside his partner, a talented silversmith by the name of Henry L. Webster, Gorham silver mainly produced coin silver spoons. For 16 years, the company also made thimbles, jewelry, combs and other small items.
In 1847, after Jabez brought his son, John Gorham into the company and later sold all his rights to John. John worked hard to pay off the company’s debt and turned it from a small shop to one of the largest and leading silverworks in the planet. John Gorham also introduced production methods that used machines aside from improving the designs and expanding the product line.
Due to John’s diligence, 1850 – 1940 was a highly influential time in the Gorham Silver Company history. This resulted from his many tours to Europe’s silver workshops and manufacturers. He found ways for his American workers to be trained by highly skilled foreign workmen. Finally, he hired the Englishman George Wilkinson as Gorham’s premier designer and workshop manager.
As Gorham enters its third century, the Gorham hallmark has received worldwide acclaim. In fact, the Gorham hallmark is viewed as a symbol of excellence and of the highest standards in workmanship. Until this very day, the metalsmiths and crystal artisans of Gorham Manufacturing Company have dedicated themselves to continually uphold the commitment of the original founder's principles.