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    

Dansk Ihq "odin" 6 Set-30ea Danish Modern Flatware Germany Quistgaard1958 18 Piece Chef's Knives & Table Setting Ausbein Messer Stainless W/ Carrying CaseBoxed Set 12 Antique Edwardian Solid Silver Tea /coffee Spoons & Nips -elkington87 Pcs Oneida Michelangelo Stainless Flatware For 12 Many Extras! Cube MarkVintage Mid Century Ekco Eterna Canoe Muffin 37 Pc. Flatware Set, JapanSuperb Pair Silver Fiddle Thread & Shell Table Spoons, 1899 Elkington 206g Crest6 Dinner/place Forks Oneida 18/8 Community Patrick HenryOneida Classic Shell Heirloom Cube Stainless Flatware Service For 10 See DetailsDansk Odin Stainless Steel Flatware Made In Germany EamesGense Mid Century Modernist Focus Stainless Flatware Set Demitasse Coffee SpoonKnives From M.h. Cole's Book The Skinning Knife Ekco Korean War Knife BayonetLot 119 Fiesta Flatware Stainless Silverware Serving Pieces Mixed ColorsVintage Reed & Barton Rebacraft Royal Bamboo Stainless Flatware 43 Pc.Goldsun Sashimi Set Kitchen Knife Stainless Steel Cutlery Japanese Chef Knives27 Pc. Sss By Oneida Colonial Boston Aka Minute Man Stainless Flatware7 U.s. Navy (u.s.n.) Teaspoons, Silco, Reed & Barton Stainless Flatware4 Dinner Forks Oneida - Bancroft Stainless Steel Pre-owned2 Oneida Community Clarette Stainless TeaspoonsTowle Beaded Antique Flatware 65 Piece Set Stainless Gold Accent Germany 18/820 Pc Dansk Designs Fjord Flatware Danish Modern Jens Quistgaard Teak StainlessSuper Quality Set 6 1874 Elkington Old English Silver Dessert Forks 288g4 Piece Place Setting A Michlsen Arne Jacobsen Stainless Flatware SilverwareOneida 20 Piece Set +5 "apollo" Generations Silverware Flatware Service For 5 51 Piece Hull Aaa Mantilla Gold Plated Stainless Steel Flatware Set + Case Japan5 Knives/1 Set Chef Kitchen Japanese Knife Sashimi Sushi Stainless Steel CutleryGuy Degrenne 562181 5 Piece Beau Manoir Stainless Steel Flatware Place SettingAntique White Star Line Cunard Flatware Steamship Knife Cruise Line Elkington SpOneida Stainless Flatware Bancroft? Lots Of Pieces Set Service For Made In UsaOneida Distinction Deluxe Stainless H H Flatware -- 94 Pcs + CaseLot 4 Pcs Towle Colonial Plume Germany Stainless Flatware Spoon Fork Knife Vintage Sri Stanley Roberts Ravenna Gold Electroplate 74pc Stainless Silverware46 Pieces Bancroft Fortune By Oneida Usa Stainless Flatware Silverware Service 8Zwilling J.a. Henckels Twin Stainless Steak Knife Set Of 6 #39035-000 4" Knives5 Knives Set Chef Knife Japanese Sashimi Kitchen Cutlery Stainless Steel SushiVintage Roberts, Gold Tone Stainless Steel Flatware Set W Case SilverwareLot Of Celluloid Flatware Set- Stainless Steel Made In France - 37 Pieces SettinSheffield Outdoor Survival Stainless Steel Multi-tool Plier -- Free Shipping64pc Oneida Community *louisiana* Stainless Flatware! 12 Place Settings +serving25 Pcs Brahms By Oneida Community Stainless Flatware Set Lot Forks Teaspoons *09Huge Lot Stainless Steel Silverware Flatware Crafts Cookouts Reunions Mixed2 Oneida Community Brahms Stainless Dinner ForksTwin Star Oneida Community Flatware 39 Pcs Circa 1959 Large Lot **no Sales Tax**Oneida Community Brahms Stainless Flatware 1 Fork 3 TeaspoonsVtg Stainless Silverware Flatware Variety Of Pieces. Lot Of 59"patrick Henry" Oneida Community Stainless 7 Forks- 5 Salad 1 Dinner,1 Cocktail4 Oneida Community Brahms Stainless Salad ForksWaterford Castlebridge 45-piece Flatware Set 18/10 Stainless Steel Service For 8Vintage Pfaltzgraff Providence Usa Stainless Flatware Lot 26 Knives Fork SpoonSix (6) Zwilling J.a. Henckels "opus" Dinner Forks 18/10 Stainless Excellent!Oneida Usa 2 Dinner Forks Bancroft - Fortune Stainless Steel Flatware Glossy5 Knives/1 Set Ying Guns Chef Knife Stainless Steel Cook Cutlery Messer Deba Viners Hallmarked Silver Handled Cheese Knife, Sheffield 1965, Stainless BladeKnork Dinner Fork 7 3/4" Stainless Flatware SilverwareGuy Degrenne 562181 5 Piece Beau Manoir Stainless Steel Flatware Place Setting46 Pc Oneida Deluxe *mozart* Stainless Flatware! 8 Place Settings + ServingDansk Variation Vi Flatware 13 Pieces Jhq Denmark Knives Forks SpoonsSet Of 5 Wusthof Grand Prix Iii Solingen Stainless Kitchen KnivesGorham 18/8 Stainless Steel Silverware - Calais 18 Pieces Forks Knives Spoon(set Of 4) Oneida Community Stainless Royal Flute Iced Tea Spoons ~excellent 31 Pcs. International Lyon "queen's Fancy" Stainless Flatware Set + Extras