Material and Medium: stainless steel
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: 2012.178
This tray is made from Firth 'Staybrite' stainless steel.
In 1913 the Sheffield chemist, Harry Brearley, discovered that steel with a high chromium content did not rust or deteriorate in the same way as carbon steels. He worked with the firm Thomas Firth & Sons to develop it into a commercially viable product. The creation of this new material, known as stainless steel, assisted the process of mechanisation in the cutlery industry. It could not be handled using traditional techniques and blades had to be stamped out from sheets of stainless steel. From 1940, table cutlery and other items were increasingly made from stainless steel, though pocket knives and some trade knives were made using traditional methods and materials.
Firth staybright was one of many brand names registered by firms making stainless steel. The names usually alluded to the ability of the particular brand to resist rusting or staining. Other examples include 'No Rus' and 'Hygienic Steel'.Display Location: