Michael C. Fina®

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Fact: Michael C. Fina is the place to discover beautiful things for your home.

Tip: Check out these tips and facts for a quick and easy way to learn some fun and interesting things about the products you use everyday.

Tips:

1. To judge the quality of glass or crystal, look for clear, tint-free, distortion-free transparency; a fine, perfectly smooth rim; a long, elegant stem; and a stable foot.

2. To judge the clarity and luster of glass, hold the piece against a pure white background. Inferior grades will show cloudy bluish or greenish tints.

3. To distinguish glass from crystal, hold the glass to light. If the glass acts as a prism and you can see a rainbow, you are holding crystal. Also, when struck, crystal produces a musical ring. Glass does not.

4. Do not store food or beverages in crystal containers for long periods of time.

5. Do not pour hot liquids into cold crystal, or cold liquids into hot crystal. The drastic change in temperature can crack the crystal.

6. Do not put crystal in a microwave, oven, or freezer.

7. When washing glass or crystal: use mild soap, place a rubber mat in the sink, and use a faucet guard to prevent chipping.

8. Dry your crystal with a soft, lint-free cloth to prevent water spotting.

9. Crystal is not dishwasher-safe. Dishwasher detergent is corrosive and the heat from a dishwasher may crack the crystal.

10. Before washing China, wipe it with a paper towel or soft brush; you should never use a knife or harsh utensil to scrape food. 11. China dishes with dried-on food should be soaked in warm water for several minutes; avoid using abrasives, such as scouring powders and steel wool.

12. Fine china should not be soaked in a sink or basin for a long period of time.

13. China dinnerware with hand-applied decorations should not go into the dishwasher, as gold or platinum bands can be damaged by a dishwasher's heat.

14. When hand-washing china, place a rubber mat or dishtowel at the bottom of the sink to prevent chips and breaks. Use a mild liquid soap or detergent, never anything abrasive.

15. If you put china in a dishwasher, use mild detergent and a gentle cycle. It is best to let the china air-dry. If the dishwasher does not have an air-dry setting, stop it before the dry cycle begins and leave the door ajar.

16. Temperature extremes can cause ceramics to crack. Don't take a ceramic piece directly from the refrigerator or freezer to the oven, unless the manufacturer's label says it is okay to do so.

17. Ceramics should never be placed directly on the flame of a stove unless the backstamp (found on the back of the piece by the logo) says the ware is flameproof.

18. Always store fine dinnerware by stacking the plates with felt or paper liners, or put paper plates between them. Cups should stand up straight or hang from hooks; stacking can damage the handles.

19. As a general rule of thumb when setting a table, forks go on the left and knives and spoons on the right. As each course comes, work your way in towards the plate.

20. When picking china patterns, don't be afraid to mix patterns and add a pop of color.

21. In a formal table setting, a butter knife is lad across the butter place, located on the left, while a dinner knife is set to the right of the dinner plate.

Facts:

1. Glass is primarily composed of sand and soda ash with different ingredients added to produce different variations.

2. Unlike plain glass, crystal contains lead, which gives the glass more weigh, increases its resilience and adds a brilliant sparkle. Full lead crystal can only be labeled as such if it contains at least 24 percent lead oxide.

3. The earliest examples we have of glass are from ancient Mesopotamia around 3500 B.C.E.

4. Jewish glass blowers in Alexandria discovered clear glass around 100 C.E., leading to the use of glass for architectural purposes.

5. Pewter and wood were the most common drinkware in the average American home until the early 19th century since most people.

6. The Egyptians were the first to use the pottery wheel to create containers and other symmetrical pieces.

7. What we recognize as porcelain today first started to appear in China during the Eastern Han period between 25-200 C.E.

8. The word "spoon," developed from the Anglo-Saxon spon, means a splinter or chip of wood.

9. The fork did not arrive in Europe until the 11th century and did not become popular in America until the 19th century.

10. Legend has it that the Manhattan cocktail originated in the 1870s from a party at the iconic Manhattan Club for presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden. Attendees liked the drink so much they immediately began to order "the Manhattan Club drink" from local bartenders.

11. The Tom Collins cocktail originated as a practical joke in the 1870s intended to provoke foolish behavior. A person would start a conversation by asking, "have you seen Tom Collins?" Once the listener explained they didn't know a Tom Collins, the speaker, in an effort to agitate the listener, would make up a story about how a man named "Tom Collins" was talking about them in a bar "just around the corner".

12. Over 100,000 Mint Juleps are served during the two days of the Kentucky Derby.