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Oneida Ltd: A proud tradition since 1880

Oneida Ltd. is the world's largest stainless steel and silverplated flatware maker. Its operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Italy and Australia manufacture and/or market sterling, silverplated, and stainless products, china dinnerware, and crystal and glassware items. The company originated in a utopian community established in the mid-nineteenth century, and has had a strong reputation for quality ever since.

The Oneida Community was founded by John Humphrey Noyes in upstate New York in 1848. The Community was founded on Noyes' theology of Perfectionism, a form of Christianity with two basic values; self-perfection and communalism. These ideals were translated into everyday life through shared property and work. They called themselves Perfectionists and, being logical and literal, they proceeded to substitute for the small unit of home and fmaily and individual possessions, the larger unit of group-family and group-family life.

Their child care system freed the women as well as the men to take part in the Community's manufacturing of animal traps, chains, silk items, and silver knives, forks, and spoons. The Oneida Community soon became known not only for the unconventional lifestyle of its members, but also for the quality of its goods.

The Oneida Community existed longer than most other utopias of the nineteenth century in part because of the solvency of its businesses, and the members of the group lived and worked together from 1848 until the late 1870s. Prosperity didn't shield the organization from conflict, however, and in 1879 the Community split into two factions. Unable to resolve their differences, the members voted to transform the group's businesses into a joint-stock company, the Oneida Community, Limited, which would be owned and operated by former members of the society. The Community was valued at $600,000 and stocks were distributed according to each member's original contribution and length of service. The stock was divided among 226 men, women, and children, the majority of whom received between $2,000 and $4,999 in shares. The progressive nature of the new company was reflected in, among other things, the presence of a woman, Harriet Joslyn, as superintendent of the silk mill and a member of the board of directors.

This is the foundation on which Oneida Ltd. was built.

Learn more about the history of the company: http://www.oneida.com/static/Heritage.ASP

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Page last modified on May 26, 2005, at 09:51 AM