I like to fall asleep “day dreaming” about uncovering great vintage finds at estate sales. Sometimes I imagine finding an entire box of pristine Pyrex bowls or perfect 1940s or 1950s dresses in my size. And of course, they are priced really cheap! A girl can dream, right?
I’ve yet to have one of these magical vintage dreams come true, until last month. Jeremy and I stopped in at an estate sale but didn’t expect to find much since it was the end of the last day of a 3 day sale. I like to stop in the kitchens at estate sales first usually to hunt down any remaining colored Pyrex. While browsing the kitchen I spotted the handle of a butter knife etched with starbursts. I immediately recognized the pattern as Oneida Twin Star flatware. My grandmother has bits and pieces of the set and I’d always dreamed of having a full set of my own.
|Twin Star Serving Spoons and Fork|
The butter knife was half covered by a table cloth. As I moved the table cloth for a better look I noticed that there wasn’t just one butter knife, but almost a complete flatware set. They were in a plastic utensil sorter, which I clutched to my chest as I asked Jeremy wide-eyed, “Do you know what this is?” He didn’t. Besides the fact that the set had sentimental value and that aesthetically I liked it, I didn’t really know much about it either. I set out to find the history of the Twin Star pattern and share it with you.
|Twin Star teaspoon, tablespoon, butter knife and salad fork.|
In 1931 General Mills began offering coupons for spoons, forks and knives inside of their flour products. Over 50 General Mills products offered the coupons in the 1950s and were redeemable for flatware table settings, pots, cookbooks from the Betty Crocker Catalogue and an Embassy or Majestic Chest to keep the flatware in. Eventually the coupons became box top points on GM boxes, but due to consumer changes the program ended in 2006 after a 75 year run.In the 1950s the Betty Crocker Catalogue began offering full table settings with the tag line “Solid Stainless by Oneida Community Silversmiths.” The modest housewife could take advantage of the Thrift Plan which offered single pieces of the flatware sets for mostly coupons while paying a small fee for the shipping and handling. For those that loved the pattern and needed to have the complete set immediately, the Speed Plan allowed for a cash purchase with a few coupons used for a discount. It does not appear that the sets offered in the Betty Crocker Catalogue were sold in stores.
|Betty Crocker Coupons from 1965 Courtesy of Gram's Recipe Box|
|Twin Star Catalogue Courtesy of Atty's Vintage|
Oneida’s Twin Star flatware set offered 19 pieces which included serving flatware and a set for children. For $1.25 you could start collecting the complete set with a 3 piece table setting of fork, butter knife and spoon. A highlighted selling point was that the flatware didn’t need to be polished because it kept its luster. The butter knives had an option for a hollow handle which according to the advertisement was a luxury.
|Twin Star Fruit Spoon, Iced Tea Spoon and Sugar Sppon|
|Twin Star Butter Spreader and Sea Food Fork.|
I have not been able to find exact dates of production. Around the web it would seem that Twin Star was either exclusive to 1959 or was discontinued then. I found a magazine advertisement from November 1961 for “America’s most popular” Twin Star flatware set. The offer expired January 1962. The Betty Crocker Catalogue order form offering Twin Star flatware offers the products through September 1965. With a bit of browsing, Twin Star was available well beyond the 1959 date. Maybe that is actually the release date for the flatware?
My flatware set is not complete, but I’m going to keep looking now that I know vintage day dreams do come true.