Meriden Silver Plate Collectibles
The town of Meriden, CT has garnered the nicknames The Silver City of the World and Connecticut's Silver City. These names were given to it due to the fact that at one time it was one of the major hotspots for silver production in the United States.
At one time, a large percentage of the American made silver, silver plate, iron, and pewter products on the market were manufactured there. Many items from this time are stamped with a B and a scales logo which were the marks of the Meriden Britannia Company which began operation in 1852.
Originally Meriden Britannia focused on the production of fine hollowware crafted from Britannia metal. It would later go on to create items of white metal, sterling silver, nickel silver, and silver plating as well. Britannia metal was created in 1769 and was originally known as Vicker's White Metal.
Usually Britannia alloy is made up of 93 parts tin, 5 parts antimony, and 2 parts copper. Zinc and bismuth are often added to the mix as well. Britannia has pewter like qualities with a silvery whitish surface and was used primarily as a base metal in the production of silver plating. It was used for as a low cost, but less durable alternative to nickel silver.
Many items bear the mark EPBM which stands for electroplated Britnnia metal while others have EPNS representing electroplated nickel silver. One of the most famous uses of Britannia today is in the Oscar statuettes given at the Academy Awards. Beneath the gold, silver, copper, and nickel plate layers is a core of Britannia metal.
Items which carry the mark 1848 Rogers Bros. were also produced by Meriden Brittania Co. Meriden was also one of the original memebers of the International Silver Co. begun in 1898 but the original marks were still in use until the '30's.