Silver and Flatware/Wallace Irving/Old Atlanta
Todd in SF wrote at 2016-06-03 23:39:16
The patterns are identical, both made by Wallace. Irving was discontinued in the early 1960's. However, Wallace reintroduced the pattern in the early 1970's but, presumably, decided "Old Atlanta" was a more attractive name for it than "Irving". So true Irving, which originated in the year 1900, is always older than Old Atlanta. Wallace's identifying impression on the back of each piece can help -- the older Irving pieces have a hallmark rather than the name "Wallace" stamped into the silver. As to the forks having a design on the back, what I've noticed is it depends on whether it's a dinner fork compared to a salad fork. If memory serves, the salad forks are slightly fancier as to a deeper slot in the middle with a decorative bottom end compared to the slots on either side, whereas the dinner fork has three identical plain slots separating the four tines. I can't remember which fork has some decorative design on the back where the base of the tines meet the shaft of the handle, but one of them does -- probably the salad fork. I don't think that has anything to do with the pattern name -- I think the pieces are otherwise identical. Of course, if you get Irving pieces that are really old, the knife blades can be silver-plated steel because that's what they once had to do, before stainless steel was invented. Also, older knife blades might be of the "blunt" style rather than "modern", and overall lengths of knives might have changed from time to time as blade styles changed. If you're trying to add to an existing set of either pattern, you can order pieces that are Irving or that are Old Atlanta and the patterns will match exactly. As I mentioned, what's stamped on the back might vary, but whether it features an old-fashioned hallmark or the words "Wallace Sterling", that's tiny and unless your guests are inspecting your silver for such minutiae, they won't notice. And what if they do? When my guests comment on my silver, I tell them about both names and point out that I have some pieces that were acquired more lately that are old enough to have the hallmark, whereas the original set of Irving has "Wallace Sterling" on the pieces and so do the Old Atlanta pieces I added.