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Christofle, Charles

1805 — 1863

Maison Christofle officially opened as a jeweller in Paris in 1830 as a partnership between Charles Christofle and his brother-in-law, Joseph Albert Bouilhet. In 1840, Charles acquired the rights to electroplating. Traditional silver- and gold-plating methods were expensive and time consuming so this timed perfectly with the French bourgeoisie’s hunger for the luxuries already enjoyed by the aristocracy. Suddenly, the arts de la table had become an indispensable part of dining room decoration. In 1845 Christofle expanded to include silversmithing and quickly became one of the largest firms in the world, employing 1500 people by 1907.

Since then, Christofle would participate in all international expositions and supply fine table services to many royals and European heads of state including Emperor Napoleon III. The firm expanded in the second half of the 19th century and supplied silverware not only restaurants, ocean liners and hotels like the Ritz, but also the Orient Express and Charles de Gaulle’s presidential jet.

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