Everything You Wanted to Know About a Dinner Set ... but Didn't Ask!

By: Diana Richards

Dinner time in the United States used to mean one thing...sitting around a kitchen or dining room table with loved ones and enjoying a beautiful meal together. Surrounding the kitchen or dining room table, and eating off a nice dinner set, complete with a fork, knife, spoon, plate, glasses, napkins and a centerpiece was a great way to enjoy some fantastic conversation, and welcome in the evening hours.
In this article we will go back in time and examine the history behind the humble dinner set. Where did it originate? What are the various types? What are some of the best examples available today? These are some of the things we will be discussing in this article.
Civilizations in the ancient world were often characterized by the pottery that remained years after they had ceased to exist. Archaeologists would find these remains as they combed through the various archeological sites. It's interesting to note that many people valued their dinnerware and pottery so much that they were even buried with it.
Sometimes people will refer to dinnerware as "China". Ever wonder why? It's because years ago dinnerware was made from porcelain, and porcelain making was invented by the Chinese over 1000 years ago. Logical answer, eh? Probably invented by the Tang Dynasty, but the emperors of the Song Dynasty seem to be taking most of the credit for it. Half way through the Song Dynasty, around 1100 AD, the process of porcelain making was being circulated throughout the East. By the time the 1400's AD had rolled around, this knowledge had made its way to Europe.
Importing fine dinnerware from China was very expensive. As a result, only those who were rich could afford to own it. No worries...a solution was on the way. The Europeans started to create their own "China" factories. Modifying the process a bit (they incorporated a different mixture of clays, etc.), it resulted in a softer China, one that had a duller tone than the similar products that were being imported from China. Around the year 1700 another form of China was starting to emerge onto the scene. It was called "Bone China", and it was made from a mixture of both bone ash and porcelain clays.
In today's world, most of our collectable and valuable dinnerware is made out of pottery, not the original porcelain. Sometimes referred to as "earthenware", it was extremely popular during the time of Elvis and the Beatles (the 50's and 60's).
Stoneware is the answer, but what is the question? How about "What's the most widely used pottery today"? It seems to be everywhere if you just take a minute to look. From restaurants to stores, from hotels to homes, it's everywhere. It's created by heating the item at a very high temperature until it's completely solid, and can thereby hold liquids. The process for creating Stoneware, like that of porcelain, was invented in China about 3500 years ago. In the mid 1800's, in the Virginia and New England areas of the US, some of the most collectable pieces of Stoneware were developed.
So that's it, the history of the humble dinner set. If you would like to learn of our TOP PICKS in this category, please navigate over to our blog.

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