IDENTIFYING 'PREMIUMS' SILVERWARE
We often see flatware on the forum lacking marking that identifies a particular manufacturer. A percentage of such pieces are likely to be what are known in the trade as premiums. The practice of offering free, or subsidized silverware, especially flatware, has a long history that started in the late 19th century.
The idea of 'Premiums' is that a manufacturer will make a special offer to boost sales of certain products, the special offer would be a give-away or an offer of something at a very attractive price. Kelloggs, for example, sold cutlery from the back of their cornflake packets for years, Maxwell House gave away coffee spoons, Colmans offered mustard pots, etc. etc. Such give-aways or special priced offers were 'self-liquidators', Kelloggs would make no profit from the cutlery sales, but would be rewarded with repeat sales as customers built up sets of cutlery and flatware at the special prices and thus maintaining that, all important, customer loyalty.
To make such offers appealing to the customer, flatware had to be sourced at incredibly low prices, in the past, major silverware manufacturers would have turned up their noses at working for next to nothing, but during periods of flat marketing conditions, especially in the 1950's/1960's when cheaper imports from far eastern manufacturers was really starting to bite, the opportunity to keep their factories in production, if only at break-even levels, could not be ignored and the 'Premium' business was welcomed by the manufacturers, but not openly as the last thing they wanted was to devalue the 'bread and butter' lines of their business, thus they produced flatware by the thousands, often unmarked, they maintained anonymity as the maker whilst keeping their own profile high with their regular marked lines. Some flatware producers of course were happy to be identified, but sometimes produced certain patterns not available through the normal retail outlets.
A possible way of identifying some of these premiums is from period advertisements, original packing, letters etc. from firms making such offers, so if you have information to share, then here's the topic to post it in.