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Oneida ltd. is one of the world’s largest marketers of stainless steel flatware, and offers a complete range of tabletop products. Its operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Australia market stainless, silver-plated, and sterling flatware products, china dinnerware, hollowware, banquet ware, and crystal and glassware items. The company originated in a utopian community established in the mid-nineteenth century, and has had a strong reputation for quality since that time.

The Oneida Community existed longer than most other utopias of the nineteenth century in part because of the solvency of its business, and the members of the group lived and worked together from 1848 until the late 1870’s. Prosperity didn’t shield the organization from conflict, however, and in 1879 the Community split into two factions.  Unable to resolve their differences, the members voted to transform the group’s businesses into a joint-stock company, the Oneida Community, Limited, which would be owned and operated by former members of the society. The community was valued at $600,000 and stocks were distributed according to each member’s original contribution and length of service. The stock was divided among 226 men, women and children, the majority received between $2,000 and $4,999 in shares.

During the fifteen years following Oneida’s reorganization, the company’s financial standing deteriorated. But in January 1894, P.B Noyes, the 23 year old son of Oneida’s founder, rejoined the company after working as an Oneida wholesaler.  P.B. Noyes was 23 years old and replaced an uncle on Oneida’s board of directors. His experience outside the Community enabled him to see weaknesses that threatened the company’s existence. With two months Noyes led a proxy fight to oust directors who clung to old-fashioned business strategies.



Joint-stock company, the Oneida Community, Limited is formed

By the time he reached the age of 30, Noyes had risen to de facto control of Oneida. The board nominated him to the newly created post of general manager. In 1904, he established Oneida’s emphasis on marketing and brand recognition by increasing the company’s promotion budget from $5,000 to $30,000 per year.

From that time on, even during the Depression, advertising remained a major item on Oneida’s balance sheet. Oneida’s earliest advertising campaigns established many of the trademarks that would characterize the company’s advertising for decades to come.

Noyes resigned from general management in 1917 to let younger people into Oneida’s management. Three months after he resigned, the United States entered WWI. Oneida joined the wartime effort with the production ammunition clips, lead-plated gas shells, and combat knives. He later rejoined the company amid financial crisis.

In 1935, the company’s name was changed to Oneida. Ltd. to differentiate tableware produced by Oneida from that of lower quality subsidiaries of the company.

In the latter part of the 90’s, Oneida revamped its strategy and focused on being a complete tabletop products company, emphasizing what had always been their greatest strength.

Oneida bought Rego China, a major marketer of commercial dinnerware

Oneida bought Stanley Rogers and Westminster China, Australia-based marketers of flatware and dinnerware. Also during this period, Oneida significantly expanded its crystal and glassware product lines through several marketing and distribution agreements with independent companies.

A series of economic downturns and competitive pressures had forced Oneida to take several difficult, but necessary steps to protect the company’s long –term viability. The company changed to sourcing instead of manufacturing for all of its product lines.