Silverplate flatware has been a popular, and less costly, alternative to sterling silver flatware since the proliferation of electroplating in the 1840s. Developed by Elkington & Co. of Birmingham, England, silverplating techniques were embraced by U.S. manufacturers such as Gorham, Reed & Barton, and Oneida. One of the particular challenges of silverplate flatware, though, is protecting its finish. Through daily use or overly vigorous cleaning, the thin layer of silver on the surface of a knife, fork, or spoon can wear away, exposing the copper base inside.


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