From its 19th-century roots to today, Oneida flatware has been marked by artistic design, good craftsmanship and durability. Originally a manufacturer of sterling silver utensils, Oneida moved into silverplated flatware, followed by stainless steel, which it still produces. Oneida's long history and prolific production means that pattern identification may require patience and the use of a number of resources.
Sterling Silver Patterns
Sterling silver knives, forks and spoons were among the first items manufactured for sale by the utopian Oneida community established in upstate New York in 1848. Oneida continued to produce sterling silver flatware until 1975, although never in wide variety. Between 1933 and 1975, barely two dozen different patterns were produced for sale. Online and print silver encyclopedias contain all or most of Oneida's sterling patterns, along with hallmarks.
Although company history does not specify the year Oneida began manufacturing silverplate tableware, replacement service lists include many patterns from the late 1890s and early 1900s among hundreds of designs. Identifying a single pattern is complicated by the acquisition of the Wm. Rogers company in 1929/30, which greatly expanded the number of patterns under the Oneida imprimatur. Print and online catalogs are the best sources for pattern identification, although finding your pattern may also require paging through replacement service offerings. Some listings are organized only by pattern name. If you have little idea of the date of your pattern, an image gallery is more useful.
An additional resource for stainless-steel pattern identification is the Oneida Company. You can browse existing fine and casual lines or submit a photograph for identification of a discontinued pattern. A premium line of patterns is available on an open-stock basis through Oneida's Patterns Forever program.
Silver replacement services provide information on a wide span of patterns, although they may lack images for patterns they do not have in stock. Ebay and collectibles sites often provide illustrations of items for sale. Contact local department, jewelry or antique stores if you have a rough idea of the age of your Oneida piece. Researching such a prolific manufacturer, in business for over a century, presents some challenges to both time and stamina.