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Circa '70 Coffee Service

A work made of silver, laminate, and ebony.

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  • A work made of silver, laminate, and ebony.


designed 1958; introduced 1960


Designed by Donald Colflesh (American, born 1932)
Made by Gorham Manufacturing Company (founded 1831)
Providence, Rhode Island

About this artwork

In 1956 Gorham Manufacturing Company, the country’s leading maker and retailer of fashionable silver, recruited Donald Colflesh to bring a “contemporary dimension” to its traditional products. Colflesh’s most popular and successful design for the firm was the Circa ’70 series, in which he brilliantly captured America’s ambition to go the moon. In this coffee service, the intersecting angles epitomize the era of space-age design, and the curving, upright thrust of the handles and spouts conveys the aerodynamics of the jet age. Gorham reinforced the coffee service’s space-age associations in accompanying pamphlets, noting its “feeling of vertical motion … the upward look to space.” The company’s name for the line, Circa ’70, also confidently alludes to the future and its possibilities. The sleek contours and elongated ebony finials and handles, however, were exceptional for mid-century hollowware and recall similar embellishments on early-20th-century Scandinavian silver.


Currently Off View


Arts of the Americas


Donald Colflesh (Designer)


Circa '70 Coffee Service


Providence (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Silver, laminate, and ebony


Marked on bottom of each: Gorham / STERLING / 1463 / O


Coffee pot: 29.9 × 18.4 × 14.6 cm (11 3/4 × 7 1/4 × 5 3/4 in.) 1062.2 g; Teapot: 23.5 × 17.2 × 14.9 cm (9 1/4 × 6 3/4 × 5 7/8 in.) 858.5 g; Sugar bowl: 7.6 × 16.5 × 12.4 cm (3 × 6 1/2 × 4 7/8 in.) 384 g; Creamer: 16.5 × 9.5 × 9.2 cm (6 1/2 × 3 3/4 × 3 5/8 in.) 373.3 g; Tray: 3.8 × 45.7 × 45.7 cm (1 1/2 × 18 × 18 in.)

Credit Line

Through prior bequest of Arthur Rubloff

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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