Reed & Barton are known for their quality silverware. They started in 1824 in Taunton, Massachusetts, when under the name of Babbitt & Crossman they began making a type of base metal also known as pewter or Brittania (which was used to create the Oscar statuette). They later specialized on silver plated pieces and this was well before changing their name to Reed & Barton in 1840.
Reed & Barton were well established as Silverware production company by the end of 1840s selling a large number of their silver plated pieces, including trays, bowls and pitchers to Rogers Brothers in Connecticut that in turn placed the now famous hallmarks on those items. At the same time, they were involved in the production of weapons for the Union Army soldiers and officers in American Civil War along with a growing range of silver plated products, many of them depicting animals such as dogs, cats, horses and sheep by the turn of the century.
Recognizing the increased interest in silver during the mid 1850s, they commenced production of high end sterling silver pieces to satisfy the demand. Their line of sterling silver goblets, flatware, trays and bowls had great appeal and was successfully launched to the public by 1889. At the end of the19th century, Reed & Barton realized that fighting with other silver manufacturers was too difficult, unless they too moved to modern methods of production.
It was the turning point for Reed & Barton. They decided to change their strategy in relation to manufacturing and moved from handcrafting to mass production. After some successful advertising campaigns for their brand of products, Reed & Barton was soon a major contender for other producers and they soon started making trophies for competitions in sports such as sailing, yachting and others, well before the First World War. So it is not surprising that Reed & Barton was chosen to design and produce the official gold, silver, and bronze medals for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
Just like other producers at the time, the company wanted to have a special icon for their silver items. This is when they began the creation of symbols of their own in 1945 to mark their silver pieces. Since then it has become easier for buyers to identify the age and value of their silver items as each one will have a distinctive mark representing the year in which it was manufactured.
The name Reed & Barton is well renowned for their uncompromising approach to consistently deliver high quality and beautiful pieces of sterling silver. Apart from their antique silver and flatware pieces for which they are renowned, they also produce a long list of other products, such as hardwood flatware, cigar humidors, handcrafted chests and stemware, which are also highly in demand among collectors. If you have a passion for silverware and get the opportunity, it is well worth a visit to Taunton in Massachusetts, previously known as Silver City as a result of the vast number of silver manufacturers in the area, where you can also pay a visit to Reed & Barton.