A Bit of Dinnerware Nostalgia?

It’s been a while since our last blog post but we’re careful not to blog for the sake of blogging.

Many of you may know that Tabletopstyle is a retail “handle” for Steelite. We established the website in the USA to enable individuals to purchase the dinnerware they experience at their favorite restaurants. Our mother-ship in England has more then 600 craftsmen (and women!) creating hundreds of thousands of pieces each week to very exacting, high standards that we’ve become known for.

When you visit England’s Stoke-on-Trent pottery region, you can’t help by be smitten by the proud history of pottery craftsmanship that still exists, aBottle Kilnsll-be-it on a smaller scale than in decades past. Many reminders of yesteryear, the bottle kilns… have been preserved for antiquity. They represent much more than a curiosity… they represent the foundation of the region, a tie to its industrial roots.

Even in Steelite’s factory, an operating chinaware factory since the late 1800’s, one can still see an old steam engine that is kept as a keen reminder of our honorable past.

Now flash forward and several thousand miles to the west, to New Castle, PA… our USA headquarters. What do we have to do with all that tradition?

Well, our history is similar indeed, steeped in chinaware lore from decades gone by. We’re about 40 minutes from East Liverpool, Ohio, the birthplace of pottery here in the US. We share a curious common ancestor in James Bennett, who came from Stoke-on-Trent and started the whole “pottery thing” in America. Interestingly, Steelite’s factory in Stoke began as Dunn Bennett. The “Bennetts” were no doubt entrepreneurial cousins, each seeking their chinaware fortunes in different parts of the world.

From Ohio in 1901, a chinaware seed floated over and took root in New Castle, later to be known as Shenango China.

Growing up in New Castle, PA, nearly every family ate their daily meals off of Shenango China. If you didn’t have an aunt or uncle who worked at the “pottery”, you could visit the outlet on Wilmington Rd and purchase from a wide selection of Shenango’s hotel dinnerware. Today, it’s almost impossible to read a New Castle News obituary without seeing “worked as a gold liner at Shenango China” or “formerly employed by Shenango China.” The Shenango and Castleton China brands were known throughout the world for nearly a century.

Sadly, Shenango closed its doors in 1991, a victim of losing its soul in a world of emotionless corporate takeovers, consolidations, and deal making.  I remember attending the auction early in 1992, the massive kilns, now cool.

Flash forward to today, or more specifically a couple of months ago when I toured the still vacant, decaying shell that was once home to this dinnerware giant. Those massive brick kilns still stand empty and cool. I could almost see the ghosts of New Castle’s past; wheeling carts of biscuit stock, jiggering plates, making molds with a skilled eye and steady hand.

I noticed ware still strewn about, shenangoand with the permission of the owner, I picked up a few souvenirs, each old, but in new condition. Some 24 years later and the vintage look is back yet again. These designs might even sell today.

back

An interesting footnote is the multi-colored back- stamp that was once used by Shenango. They just don’t make ’em like this anymore?

Or maybe they do… at least we do… at Steelite. We still care about the product, the quality that goes into the process, and we care about the people that make it possible. That’s what separates Steelite from the rest. If the ware is marked Steelite, it is made in the UK, at the same factory that began in the 1880’s and is still producing great chinaware.

Here’s a link to learn more about Shenango China

After a super busy week of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Sales and Extended Sales… hopefully you’ve found this article interesting and refreshing in that we didn’t try to sell, upsell, or market anything.  We appreciate your support and pledge our continued commitment to excellence.

Thanks again!

Warehouse Find

Stainless DisplayWe found a few brushed stainless steel display stands that were designed for two 10 5/8″ x 6 1/2″ rectangle platters. We dressed up a few and thought Craft looked fantastic with the stand!

We have a limited number of these stands that we are offering FREE with the purchase of two Craft platters. Click the picture to see the offering!

This is one of those “I’d better act now” moments that you’ll regret if you don’t.

The stand is a professional quality piece, not the flimsy retail stuff offered by others. Steelite sells to commercial foodservice operations in 130 countries, so you can be assured that the stand is very well made.

This Little Piggie Went to the…. Party?

My TV sits upon an “antique-ish” Spanish style sideboard. It’s handmade and shows the imperfections inherent in a craftman’s hand, as well as those that time has imposed. My TV cabinet is different and everyone who sees it, comments on it.

I remember the exact moment when I purchased the piece. I didn’t need it nor did I want to pay the asking price, but… I wanted it.  Some 25 years later, every single day I’m reminded that I still love the cabinet. The store where I purchased the piece is long gone and quite frankly, I’ve never seen another like it.

So… what does this have to do with dinnerware?  You must seize the moment…. whether it’s a sideboard or a pig…

Extraordinary Entertaining

Extraordinary Entertaining

That’s what it has to do with dinnerware….  it’s unique… it’s over the top.  Like my cabinet, our new piglet shaped charcuterie platter is one of those “keepers” that you’ll love today and 10 years from now. While we call it a charcuterie platter… it makes a fantastic display for cheese or any other party creation.

We have a limited supply of our Welsh Slate Charcuterie platter. It measures 11″ x 19″ and is mined and shaped in Wales exclusively for Steelite. For this weekend only, we’re offering 20% off and free domestic shipping with coupon code “piglet”.

Good food is essential for entertaining, but great presentation trumps the experience. Now click the pic and get your pig before they’re gone….! (excellent gift idea too….)

July 4th Celebration!

It’s hard to believe that the 4th of July is here! To celebrate, we’re offering 20% off with coupon code USA20.

We have a few new offerings to note:summer_10

12 oz Craft Quench Mugs in both white and blue. – We special ordered these from our “mothership” in England just for you! This larger version is too big for restaurants but not for the home! Find them here.

Cheers! In 6 different languages including our favorite “4925Q061-6E-2TOogy Wawa” which is Zulu. We’ve lasered 13 3/4 oz Cortina glasses from Bormioli Rocco and we’re offering the set of 6 at a special price of $30… less the 20% discount with USA20 coupon code. The set makes a great hostess gift or you can buy them for yourself because you deserve it!

Another perfect summer offering is our new melamine line “Greystone” from Delphin. Delfin Greystone 2Greystone is a commercial product developed by Steelite for hotel pool services. Its look and texture is over the top! It’s inspired by the ancient Japanese technique of Tenmoku Glazing. (Remember that for the next cocktail trivia moment) This is not your mamma’s melamine! Look for more Delphin offerings as Steelite adds to the product line. Greystone is made in Mexico and is exclusive to Steelite International.

Don;t forget, we offer free shipping with every order over $50. We also offer no hassle returns where we’ll pay freight back too. We appreciate your patronage.

Have a wonderful and safe holiday!

 

OUT OF ORDER = BORING DINNERWARE

I hope to connect the dots and help this blog’s title make a bit of sense. In and of itself, it doesn’t… but bear with me.

I wear many hats at Steelite. One involves promoting our great products, another encompasses traveling around the earth in search of more great products and great factories. I wear another hat when there’s a problem with our facility and yesterday, I put on this hat when one of our associates came running into my office and exclaimed that a toilet wouldn’t stop running…!

As the former General Manager, there are some things I know…. like which plumber I should call to fix things like this. (I would attempt it myself but am prohibited by local ordinance to touch anything involving plumbing.  Yes… I’m that bad at it.)

So, like a trained seal, I ran to the copy machine to secure a blank page. I grabbed a marker and in large bold strokes, I wrote “Out of Order” and then I taped the sheet to the restroom door.

It was at that moment, I realized the relationship between boring dinnerware and the “out of order” sign.

See, I could have expressed “out of order” in a number of more creative ways. I could have made it fun to be directed away from that restroom.

DO NOT ENTER
(I will never eat Mexican food again…)

or

WE KNOW YOU DID IT!
(THIS RESTROOM NOW UNDER SURVEILLANCE)

Both of these variations would have worked… but in a more exciting way.

Boring dinnerware is basically the same, it’ll do the job but there are more exciting ways to experience the message. In our daily lives, we need to ask ourselves “How do I do this… AND… have fun at it”  “How do I do this… AND… do it with style and grace” The AND makes a world of difference.

A day later, the toilet is now fixed and the boring sign removed. I am, however, again reminded of the small but significant ways we can improve and elevate our experiences.

So the moral of the story is “Buy Craft dinnerware and your toilet will never…  oh wait… hum…” Let me try that again.  “Buy Craft and infuse even more excitement into your life.” Yep, that’s it!

To help… enter coupon code “outoforder” for $20.00 off any Craft purchase over $50.00. Here’s a link: CRAFT

Memorial Day Sale!

mem“memorial20” is the coupon code…   20% is the savings for our Memorial Day Sale!

Now is the time to add some Craft accessory pieces like the oval-earred baking dish or maybe a 14″ Freestyle platter.

In any event, 20% is a really good discount when combined with free shipping on all orders over 50 bucks.

We do ask for your patience since Craft is still a global sensation that has been keeping our factory in England beyond busy!

You might check out “Grain” from France’s most famous porcelain manufacturer, Pillivuyt, just added today. Pillivuyt’s quality is at the top of the pyramid… very nice porcelain.

Have a great Holiday from your TabletopStyle team!

 

Our Facebook Page is Up!

FacebookWe need your help in getting the word out about our new Facebook page.

Steelite introduces hundreds of new products at the National Restaurant Show every May and our goal is to let the “people” world know what we’re up to as a company too!

Many of those great products will be available on Tabletopstyle.com so we think Facebook will be the best way to give a quick “shout out.” If you agree, please click the pic and like us… (everyone likes to be “liked”) and if you really like us a lot… then share us with your Facebook friends! We promise continued excellent and super exclusive deals on great professional tabletop dinnerware, flatware, and glass! (oh, by the way, we like you too…)