As early as 1821, scientists in Europe were experimenting with various iron-chromium alloys in an effort to forge a more durable form of steel, but it wasn’t until 1875 that Henri Aimé Brustlein identified the link between carbon and rust. That spurred decades of research and numerous combinations of chromium, iron, and nickel. By 1911, it was understood that a minimum of 10.5 percent chromium was required to assist in corrosion resistance.

Thus the idea of stainless steel was in the air at the beginning of the 20th century, which is why numerous claims to its origin between 1908 and 1913 have been made. The individual who gets the most credit, though, is Harry Brearley, the head researcher at Brown Firth Laboratories in Sheffield, England. Sheffield had long been a center of arms manufacturing, so it’s not surprising that Brearley stumbled upon stainless steel in an effort to improve the erosion resistance of gun barrels. In the course of testing a piece of steel made of 12.8 percent chromium and 0.24 percent carbon, Brearley realized he’d created what he called “rustless steel,” although Ernest Stuart, an old friend of Brearley’s and the cutlery manager at Mosley's Portland Works in Sheffield, who helped him perfect the ratio, thought “stainless steel” would have more appeal.

Today, most stainless steel is what’s known as austenitic, which describes its crystalline structure. Austenitic steel is not magnetic (in contrast, ferritic and martensitic stainless are) and is usually made of 18 percent chromium and between 8 and 10 percent nickel, which is why cutlery and flatware is sometimes labeled as 18/8 (this formula was patented in 1924 by W.H. Hatfield of Sheffield) or 18/10. In the century since its discovery, stainless steel has been embraced by a number of flatware manufacturers, including those known for their sterling and silverplate, from Oneida to Reed & Barton.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Feeding America

Feeding America

This archive of 76 influential American cookbooks from the late 1700s to early 1900s, assembled by the Michigan St… [read review or visit site]

Tupper Diva

Tupper Diva

Kristian McManus’ fresh, airtight collection of Tupperware catalogs and related ephemera from the 1950s and 6… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Vtg Lot Stainless Steel Marine Turnbuckle Forks Ends Pins & Sail Boat Rigging L3Reed And Barton Benson 108 Piece Stainless Steel Flatware Set,40pc Danish Mid Century Modern Wmf Cromargan Stainless Laurel Flatware SetRandall Custom Made Knives Knife - A Belt Buckle - Stainless Laguiole 8 Pc Pakka Wood French Cutlery Stainless Steel Steak Knives/knife SetTop Vintage Art Deco Bakelite Solingen Fruit Knife Set FlatwareVintage 15pc 1960s Stainless Modern Retro Flatware Amboss Rosterei Austria SuperTop Vintage Art Deco Bakelite Solingen Fruit Knife Set FlatwareHampton Forge Brooke 54-piece Stainless Steel Flatware Set Storage Chest HostessOneida Community Stainless Flatware 143 Pc Brahms Service For 12 Plus ServingOneida (26) Pcs Michelangelo Heirloom Flatware Set Usa Made NiceDansk Stainless 18/10 Flatware 45 Piece Set Glossy Complete Setting For 8Georg Jensen Stainless Flatware 39 Pieces Spoons Forks KnivesWaterford Padova 45-piece Flatware Set 18/10 Stainless Steel Service 8 HostessWaterford Padova 44/45-pc Flatware Set 18/10 Stainless Steel Hostess Service 8Dansk International Design Torun Stainless Steel 40 Pc Flatware SetOneida Bancroft Stainless Silverware Set 62 Piece VsOneida Stainless Flatware Bancroft Fortune Lot Of 10 Teaspoons(1) Ea W75 & W77 Rosewood Scale Boot Knives With Stainless Steel Blades Usa MadeVintage 2 Tier Painted Wood "oneida Community" Silverware / Flatware ChestLot 66 Pcs Oneida Community Chatelaine Stainless Steel Flatware/silverwareVintage 18 Piece Viceroy Sheffield Stainless Steel Cutlery Set - 702 H42Vintage Oneida Community Enchantment Aka Gentle Rose Flatware Set~75 PiecesFrigast Gense Mid Century Stainless Steel Denmark Sweden Silverware Set W/ Stand6 Oneida "bancroft" Teaspoons~flatware~stainless8 Oneida Cube Stainless Steel American Colonial Heirloom Dinner Forks 7 1/4"Vintage Abercrombie & Fitch Sabatier Jeune Stainless Boxed Set Of 6 Steak KnivesVintage Sheffield Regent English Cutlery StainlessVintage 71 Pieces Stainless Flatware Japan Springtime Fork Sppon Knife Serving Dansk Designs Finland Ihq Jette Stainless Flatware Ice Iced Tea SpoonsVietri 12-pc Aladdin Gold Fleck Flatware Silver Lattice Stainless Italy BugattiOneida Sss 82 Pcs. Colonial Boston Minute Man Stainless Flatware 11 Pl. SettingsOneida Stainless Flatware Bancroft Fortune Lot Of 10 Dinner ForksVnt Mid Century Ekco Eterna Stainless Flatware Service For 6 "canoe Muffin" NiceVtg 41 Pcs Marcrest Japan Ebony Elegance Atomic Starburst Stainless Flatware {goldsun} Stainless Steel Sashimi Kitchen Knife For Sushi Cutlery Chef Knives79 Oneida Community *venetia* Stainless Flatware! 12 Place Settings Nice ! Chatelaine 59pc Stainless Oneida Community 8place Flatware Silverware Set Oneida Stainless Flatware Bancroft Fortune Lot Of 10 Dinner SpoonsAssorted Huge Lot 29lbs Mixed Knives Forks Spoons Stainless Steel Flatware Mixed20 Piece Lot Of Oneida Silversmith Ballad Silver Plate Spoons & Forks, 649 GramsDover,oneida (cube)18/10 Stainless 20pc Set Flatware,4 (5pc) Place Settings,euc!39 Piece Oneida Community Stainless Patrick Henry Pattern Flatware Betty CrockerOneida Heirloom Cube American Colonial Dinner Forks 6 Nice!Oneidacraft Deluxe Stainless Chateau Oneida 7 Dinner Knives 6 Dinner ForksOneida S.s.s. Stainless, 5- Teaspoons, "colonial Boston" SatinOneida Morning Blossom Stainless FlatwareDansk Stainless Flatware, Mixed Lot, Variation V, Finland,13 PiecesKershaw Knives Zing All Stainless Speedsafe Flipper Framelock Knife 1730ssOneida Stainless Flatware 17 Pieces True Rose, Arbor Rose, Chaplet UsaOneida Heirloom Cube American Colonial 14 TeaspoonsService For 8 Oneida Stainless Flatware Made In UsaVintage Distinction Deluxe Oneida Hh Stainless Flatware 49pc Set Silverware 70'sVintage Versailles Stainless Msi Japan Flatware -346" Stainless Steel Crab Picking Knife ~ Curved Blade ~ Seafood KnivesOneida Chatelaine 2 Dinner Forks & 2 Salad Forks Stainless SteelCold Steel Knives Tanto Lite 11.5" Overall 6" Stainless Blade Kray-ex Handle 20tEnameled Fruits Stainless Steel Spoons By AvonGeorg Jensen Blue Shark 28 Pc Mid Century Denmark Stainless Flatware Cutlery 60s(27) Pcs Towle 18/10 Stainless Germany Made Vienna Pattern Flatware Set Nice