About Vintage Gorham
Originally a manufacturer of coin-silver flatware, Gorham soon gained acclaim, selected by Mary Todd Lincoln for the White House in 1859. Beginning in 1863, Gorham became a powerhouse in plated silver, and it left coin silver behind for sterling silver in 1868, producing everything from flatware such as knives, forks, and spoons to hollowware pieces ranging from coffee pots to serving bowls.
The most important designer for Gorham in the late 19th century was the English-trained William J. Codman, who joined the firm in 1891. Codman helped develop the Martelé line, which was made of an even softer silver than sterling (.950 fine instead of .925), allowing Gorham silversmiths to hammer it into flowing, intricate Art Nouveau shapes (“marteler” is the French verb for “to hammer”). Gorham even created signature show pieces in the Martelé style, most famously a silver dressing table and cushioned stool, which beat Tiffany in the silver furniture category at the 1900 Paris World Fair.