The development of 18 / 10 stainless steel was the brainchild of Harry Brearley who, in 1913, was working on a project to prevent rifle barrels from corroding so much during use. His analysis of the rifle barrels involved having to dissolve them in acid but, by chance, he noticed that steel which had a high chromium content did not dissolve in the acid.
He experimented with varying proportions of chromium and finally produced a stainless steel with 12.8% chromium. He moved to Thos Firth & Sons in 1914 and commercial production of
stainless steel cutlery began. Refinements were necessary because early versions of stainless steel knives were harder to produce and polish, and they would not cut as well as the existing knives.
Typically, you will now see people ask "What
is 18/10 stainless steel". The "18" refers to the percentage of chromium and the "10" is the nickel content. Present day stainless steel, as produced by Elkington and other Sheffield cutlery companies, is a highly resistant material that can be mirror-polished. Elkington 18/10 stainless steel conforms to British Standards ISO 8442, F.D.A. and US Public Health regulations and European Health Directives.
What is stainless steel?
18/10 Stainless steel flatware is essentially a low carbon steel which contains
chromium at 10% or more by weight. It is this addition of
chromium that gives the steel its unique stainless, corrosion
The chromium content of the steel allows the
formation of a tough, adherent, invisible, corrosion-resisting
chromium oxide film on the steel surface.
Benefits of Stainless Steel
Fire & Heat resistance
Ease of fabrication
Long term value
Now that you know about 18/10 stainless steel
flatware...learn a little about the history