Every facet of dining plays into the overall enjoyment of the experience, and this is something Lincoln House Cutlery knows all too well. Focusing on offering the highest quality products, this family-run company aims to bring joy to diners, and this all starts with expert craftsmanship. FOUR speaks with Richard Foulerton, Director of Lincoln House Cutlery, to discover more…
Can you give us a brief overview of Lincoln House Cutlery, including how/when it was founded and its history?
At Lincoln House, we specialise in fine cutlery in sterling silver, silver plate and stainless steel. We also sell a beautiful range of sterling silver tableware, barware and gifts.
Our second-generation, family-run business has been making and selling fine tableware and cutlery since my father opened his first shop in 1967. He later started his own cutlery business when he bought a factory in Sheffield (England) in the 1980s. The company won several awards for the quality of its products.
We now sell exclusively online. In addition to our own Sheffield cutlery, we partner with leading luxury brands — Carrs Silver, Robbe & Berking, David Mellor, Arthur Price, and Forge de Laguiole (to mention a few) — to ensure that we offer the most comprehensive range of sterling silver, silver plated and stainless-steel cutlery available in the UK today.
We supply cutlery and tableware for customers’ homes, yachts or jets, as well as for restaurants and hotels. We distribute our products in the UK and worldwide.
What is the company’s main philosophy?
We aim to supply the best British and European products directly to your tabletop.
Our main philosophy is all around the quality of the product. It’s about using the finest materials, brought to life by quality hand craftsmanship. Backed by professional and personal service.
We are also passionate about design. For a product that lasts as long as quality cutlery — in most cases, we are talking about generations — the design has to be timeless and inspiring.
Where does your passion for this field stem from?
Well, as it is a family business, I would have to say, my father. I grew up with it, and I used to love going around my father’s factory in Sheffield and seeing the cutlery being made. I found it fascinating to watch the craftsmen at work and see how the cutlery was transformed from silver or steel sheets into the finished product.
Can you give us an overview of the products Lincoln House Cutlery offers?
We offer a wide range of cutlery in traditional and contemporary designs, available in sterling silver, silver plate and stainless steel. We also sell a very popular range of ‘cream-handled’ cutlery (like the old ‘bone-handled’ cutlery), as well as artisan steak knives with beautifully crafted wooden handles.
We also offer a wide range of silverware, tableware and gifts. Exquisite pieces from silver barware and drinks vessels to silver photo frames, bowls and dishes, candelabra and silver tea sets.
Tell us more about the materials used to craft the cutlery and how this makes them superior…
Traditionally, sterling silver is the finest material for cutlery, guaranteed to last a lifetime. Sterling silver cutlery is beautifully crafted and finished to the highest quality, using traditional hand-polishing methods. Sterling silver cutlery is designed to be used every day – not just kept for the ‘best’.
But for many people these days, high-quality stainless steel is the more practical choice. All our stainless steel cutlery is made from the finest 18/10 stainless steel, which has a high level of corrosion resistance. It is very durable and is the material of choice for many contemporary styles, including the ever-popular range from David Mellor Design.
What would you say it is about your products and the company that sets it apart from others?
We present an unrivalled choice of classic and contemporary cutlery — over 300 ranges — at fantastic prices.
We currently offer 50 stunning designs in sterling silver, direct from Britain’s and Europe’s leading silversmiths: Carrs Silver and world-renowned Robbe & Berking. We believe our range offers the most iconic and comprehensive collection of sterling silver cutlery patterns and accessories available anywhere in the world today.
We also offer complete individuality. We can tailor the quantities people want, specifically to them — and we can add the finishing touches by providing bespoke details to make a very personal product.
Do you often release new products?
With cutlery, it’s not like fast fashion, and we are not in it for the ‘passing trends’. Continuity is key, as customers like to collect cutlery over time and hand it down to the next generation. Being able to add pieces to the same design is very important.
Some of the cutlery patterns we sell have existed for hundreds of years and remain popular today. Added to the fact that cutlery can last for generations, customers can be assured that there is continuity of availability of the cutlery we sell.
But, of course, there are always new designs and products coming to market, so we select new products that we feel will complement our existing range and will also be around in the long term.
You cater for both the private and commercial hospitality industries — can you give us details on how you concentrate your efforts for each sector?
Yes, private sales make up most of our business, but we do have a significant — and growing — number of hotel and restaurant clients, both in the UK and worldwide.
Many of our private sales come directly from our website (www.cutlery.uk.com), and they are dealt with by our distribution team. Of course, some private clients who want, perhaps, an added personal touch or something bespoke will call us — and they will receive a very personal service.
Hotels and restaurants, of course, often have greater requirements, depending on whether they are starting up or having a refurbishment — and we can get involved right from the start in terms of thinking about styling and complementing other elements within the table setting. There is always a lot to think about, so we will spend more time with a hospitality client at the outset.
Do you do any custom-made products, and if so, what’s the process behind this?
We do offer bespoke services, such as engraving and etching options, or even gold embellishment for cutlery and silverware — to create a product, especially for the individual client.
We receive a lot of requests for engraving for special occasions like engagements, weddings and birthdays. Or, to create the ultimate luxury finish for your cutlery, the option of applying a rich coating of 24-carat gold is also available.
But custom-made cutlery, i.e. a totally new design that no one else makes, is rare because it requires new tools to first be made, which is very expensive and time-consuming.
What do you hope people will think/feel when using your products?
I hope that when people pick up a piece of cutlery that they have bought from us — whether it’s for their first meal or they’ve had it for 25 years —they feel the difference and have a sense of the craftsmanship that has gone into creating it. To appreciate the quality of the materials.
I believe many people are now very aware of the importance of good quality food. Certainly, in luxury gastronomy, chefs will seek out the best possible ingredients for their recipes. The same should be said for what people actually eat with — the cutlery that goes in their mouths.
I would like people to hold our cutlery and know that each beautiful piece has been lovingly crafted from the best ingredients – like the food they were created for.
You’re a family-run company – how would you say this influences your services and offerings?
First and foremost, it’s our personal service. Having interacted with many other companies ourselves, we know the types of positive customer interactions that stick in mind. We always aim to leave our customers happy that they’ve got everything they can from us.
Also, in terms of our product offering, we all appreciate quality cutlery and tableware – so we don’t try to sell anything we wouldn’t be happy using ourselves!
What does luxury mean to you, and how is this showcased in your products and services?
Luxury is wholly subjective, but no matter what, I believe it should deliver joy. Time can be a luxury — if you have children, having time to yourself is definitely a luxury! After the lockdown during the pandemic, going out for dinner or a concert with your partner or friends was a luxury.
For me, luxury is not about the price of something but the quality. Luxury is a feeling you get, an emotional connection. Everyone should be able to experience that feeling of luxury — that’s why it’s not only about the price. If only expensive yachts and cars were considered a luxury, then most people couldn’t afford them and would never experience them.
Of course, eating with cutlery made with precious metals such as sterling silver or gold may be considered the ultimate luxury; but that doesn’t mean that if you can’t afford those, you can’t experience luxury. That’s why we focus on the quality of materials used in all our products at different price points.
What’s next for Lincoln House Cutlery, any new products or exciting news?
We are very excited because we are adding some new brands to our collection. We are very proud to be launching world-renowned French silversmiths Christofle on our site very soon – we will be offering a wide collection of their cutlery and flatware, tableware, and barware. Christofle is known for the excellent quality of its products, but creativity is also at the heart of its values.
By adding Christofle to our collections, we can offer our customers the best silverware from France — in addition to the best of British (Carrs Silver) and the best from Germany (Robbe & Berking). Christofle will also add something new to our collections with their many iconic products, including the famous MOOD by Christofle.
Also, we are very excited to introduce sknife to our collection. These Swiss-made knives are incredibly high quality, innovative products, which include table knives, steak knives, and accompanying flatware. The Swiss steak and table blades forged in Switzerland are made of surgical steel. Therefore, the blade has a four times higher corrosion resistance — which makes it very well suited to the nautical environment, either on a yacht or sea-side properties and catering environments. The handles of these knives are made from local, sustainably sourced ash or walnut and are wonderfully shaped around the blade and have perfect balance.
These high-class products will only enhance our already strong offering to the private customer as well as the hospitality sector. So, it’s very exciting!