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Providence-Promises and Challenges, 1790-1830 Identity of Providence

What forces shaped the identity of Providence and its people?

Gorham Silver and the growth of industry in Providence

Gorham Silver and the growth of industry in Providence 

  • What does the popularity of Gorham Silver’s products tell us about the US in the late 19th and early 20th centuries? 
  • What is the step-by-step process of creating silver cutlery or hollowware? 
  • How did the growth of Gorham Silver affect the growth of the city’s population, housing, and immigration?
  • Who were the people who worked (or didn't) at the manufacturer? How did the composition of workers at Gorham change over time?
  • Which companies competed with Gorham Silver and where were they located?


Silversmith techniques

  1. Casting - creating an object or part by using a mold
  2. Repousse - creating a decoration by hammering metal out from the back using chasing tools
  3. Chasing - create decoration by hammering it with chasing tools
  4. Spinning - mounting flat metal on a spinning lathe and using tools to press metal against a wooden form
  5. Hammering and Raising - forming a vessel by hammering a flat sheet of metal over an anvil
  6. Engraving - creating decoration by cutting into the surface using sharp tools
  7. Stamping on a drop press - creating a pattern by placing metal in a two part steel die and using a drop press to force the metal into a shape
  8. Stamping with roll dies - creating a pattern by rolling metal through a set of convex and concave dies