Introduction to Cutlery and Flatware Part 2


There are plastics and plastics. Unfortunately the word plastic is a word that is generally used by the consumer to underline a product that is cheap, or of poor quality. This is in fact not true as some plastics can cost more than crystal.

Plastic as a raw material can be subdivided into two categories:

1st Choice

2nd Choice

1st Choice is when the raw material is produced by a manufacturer, and supplied with full quality certification to a manufacturer that will transform the material into a finished or semi-finished product.

2nd Choice is when a manufacture collects the waste material that remains after the initial production cycle, or after the transformation, and re-cycles the material. A good example is the cartons used for milk and orange juice. Between the 2 layers of card is a layer of plastic film. At the end of a production run, a block of plastic remains. This plastic is sold and recycled for the production of children’s dolls.

There is also a 3rd Choice that is usually used by Chinese producers. This plastic is a mixture of all possible types of waste plastics, with no certification that it can be used in contact with food.

Eme uses at present the following types of 1st Choice plastics:



Marfran Streif

Metal acrylic


  • Moplan: A very cheap and soft plastic used for economical ranges of cutlery.
  • ABS: A harder plastic that is also resilient to temperature. Has an advantage that it mixes well with colorants.
  • Marfran Streif: A special plastic made from ABS and rubber. Made to German standard B.G.A.: Mitteilung N.170.
  • Metal acyrlic: An expensive plastic that is extremely hard and resilient. Has the advantage of being able to form special colour effects, and to be able to maintain its lucidity.
  • Nylon: Normally used when printed a decor onto the handle using “sublimation” printing.



Silver plated cutlery is divided into two groups; domestic and hotel/catering.

Domestic cutlery has a base layer of 5 microns of Woods Nickel, and 5 microns of silver. Hotel/Catering cutlery has the same base of nickel but with 23 microns of silver.

  • Gold Plated Cutlery.


Unlike silver plated cutlery that with the exception of the knife blade covers the whole body of the cutlery piece, gold plated is used basically as a form of ornamentation, or to evidence a motif.

  • Maintenance and problems.


To maintain the life and beauty of our cutlery, we suggest the following:


  1. After washing by hand, do not leave the cutlery on the side to dry. Dry immediately with a cloth and store away. Soupy water that is allowed to dry on the surface of steel can cause oxidation marks that appear to be rust. It is not rust and can be normally removed with any stainless steel cleaner.
  2. After the cycle of the dishwasher has terminated, remove, and if dry, store away. If you are in a hurry, leave the door of the dishwasher open so that air can circulate. The atmosphere within a dishwasher is very corrosive as it contains a high percentage of salt.
  3. Wherever possible, do not leave food to dry on the stainless steel. Food decays very quickly creating acids that attack the surface of the cutlery. This is even more important where lemon has been used. This is one of nature’s great little acids.


  1. If black marks or pit marks can be seen on the surface, and if these marks are very noticeable on the edge of the knife blade, this is a very good sign that the dishwasher of the client is not properly earthed. When a dishwasher is not earthed, during its cycle electrical discharges are created that attack the edges of steel, and especially the blade edges. Add to this a very corrosive atmosphere (100% humidity and salt), faint rust marks will appear around the pit marks.
  2. The stainless steel has a white chalky appearance, and the plastic stains of white. This is a very clear sign that the cutlery has been boiled. When water reaches its boiling point, it releases a certain amount of calcium that deposits onto the surface of the steel causing it to have a chalky appearance. Plastic at 100 degrees Celsius begins to suffer from thermal stress causing the white stains. If the cutlery is removed from the boiling water and immediately placed under cold water, cracks will begin to show near the joint between the handle and steel.
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