Barenthal Stainless Steel Patterns
In most areas of the United States, Stainless Steel Flatware has supplanted Silver Plate as the standard for fine dining elegance. Quality stainless steel has a lustrous sheen and inherent durability which makes it highly desirable for a sophisticated table setting.
There are many grades of stainless steel, with 18/10, 18/8, and 18/0 being those most commonly used for flatware. These numbers refer to the combination of metals used in the manufacturing process. The first number is the chromium content. At least 10.5% chromium is needed for the formation of a protective layer of chromium oxide on the steel surface. This layer is what makes stainless steel “stainless”, inhibiting rust, corrosion and staining of the metal. The second number refers to the nickel content of the alloy. Nickel further increases corrosion resistance, hardening the product, and softens and smooths the look and feel of the surface. 18/10 and 18/8 stainless steel offer virtually the same level of quality in silverware. The nickel content is the key ingredient that will help your stainless steel flatware keep it’s “like new” appearance.
18/0 means the flatware was made with 18% chromium content but no nickel content. 18/0 stainless steel is a less expensive material and you will find that many companies will offer this as a lower cost alternative. If you choose flatware made from this material you’ll notice that your flatware won’t keep its “like new” appearance. This may be a good choice when you need a lower cost alternative for an informal or everyday use setting, but you might be disappointed if you choose this material as your main flatware setting for everyday use.
Stainless flatware generally ranges from 1 to 7 millimeters in thickness. The heavier gauges are normally produced by forging the metal to the desired shape. The lighter gauges are made by stamping the piece from a flat sheet. While a heavier, forged pattern is often more desirable, the balance of the piece is more important to the comfort of the dining experience. It should fit easily in the hand allowing for simple maneuverability, whether lifting, cutting, or lancing.
Discount stores often sell flatware of a very low quality and lightweight gauge. While acceptable for occasional use, they will bend and rust easily and not hold up to everyday use. High quality stainless steel flatware will always lend a sophisticated appearance to any tabletop.