Oneida Limited was not formed until 1880, but the roots of the company date to 1848, when a religious commune called the Oneida Community was founded by John Humphrey Noyes in Oneida, New York. To make ends meet, the members of the sect canned fruits and vegetables, manufactured animal traps, and made steel flatware blanks, which were sold to Meridian Britannia Company for silverplating.

By 1894, Oneida Limited was struggling. That’s when P.B. Noyes, whose father had founded the commune, gained control of the company. The younger Noyes moved Oneida into higher-quality wares in sterling silver, including a flatware line called Avalon, introduced in 1901. He also pushed innovative advertising campaigns, using celebrities of the day such as Irene Castle to promote its products.


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