Our museum feature this month is a beautiful silverplate tomato server in the Grenoble/Gloria pattern by Oneida. Introduced in 1906, Grenoble/Gloria is an exquisite Art Nouveau pattern that features a gorgeous, flowing floral design. With its elegant, detailed ornamentation, Grenoble/Gloria is an outstanding pattern that wonderfully represents the period during which it was created. This pattern, as with many other flatware patterns, was known by more than one name (i.e. Grenoble and Gloria) depending on who was retailing it. This pattern can be found with both the “Rockford Silver Plate” and “Wm. A. Rogers” markings on the reverse side, both lines becoming part of the Oneida brand through the years.
The last quarter of the nineteenth century is commonly regarded as America’s “Gilded Age,” a term coined by American writers Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner. This economic boom following the Civil War saw the creation of the modern industrial economy, and with it, an increased income for many in America. This new class of wealthy Americans wanted to display their prosperity in the most conspicuous manner possible, and manufacturers of luxury goods were more than happy to meet the increased demand for high-end items, including tea services, art, jewelry, and tableware.
Among the many ways to showcase affluence during the Gilded Age was with an opulent array of tableware comprising hundreds of flatware and serving pieces. Specialized flatware pieces produced during this time include cracker spoons, toast serving forks, aspic servers, and many others. Tomato servers were another popular serving piece, designed with a flat, slotted bowl perfect for lifting a single slice of tomato while leaving the juice behind.
The Oneida company grew out of the original Oneida Community founded in upstate New York by John Humphrey Noyes more than 150 years ago. This Christian communal society was based upon the principles of individual self-perfection and shared property. Women bore the same duties as men, and individual responsibilities varied from day to day. This constant rotation of roles required creativity from the members of the community, and many inventions were developed at Oneida. For more than 30 years the "community" received recognition – and profit – for areas of endeavor as diverse as silk weaving, chain making, and, eventually, high-quality and beautifully designed tableware.
While the Oneida Grenoble/Gloria tomato server in our museum is not for sale, many of the silver patterns in our inventory include tomato servers; be sure to browse our web site. And remember that we always invite you to visit our facilities – here you’ll see a stunning variety of silver, china, crystal, and collectibles. Our retail store and museum are open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm ET, 7 days (except holidays); free tours are available from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm ET, 7 days. The retail store and museum are conveniently located between Greensboro and Burlington, NC, at exit 132 off Interstate 85/40. We look forward to seeing you.