Beginning in the mid-1890s, some of the larger silver manufacturers produced their more popular silver patterns in varying weights.
There is no one hard and fast rule when it comes to weight marks as different manufacturers had different coding systems. Coding systems could also change from year to year within the same company, and not all patterns were made in different weights.
The different weights were applied to teaspoons and often forks and dessert spoons, never knives. The heavier the weight, the more silver used in producing the pieces, and the higher the cost. Massive was the least often produced. Different patterns were made in different weight categories, and we have yet to see any one pattern made in all five categories.
As the practice of using different weights started waning in the early 1940s, often only teaspoons were made in varying weights. By the mid-1940s, the practice was discontinued.
The different weight categories translated into actual weight differences as follows:
- Trade = 8 to 9 Troy oz. per dozen teaspoons
- Extra = 10 Troy oz. per dozen teaspoons
- Regular = 12 Troy oz. per dozen teaspoons
- Heavy = 14 Troy oz. per dozen teaspoons
- Massive = 15 Troy oz. per dozen teaspoons
International Silver used two different coding systems, with the A, B, C, D and E codes being used most often:
- Light / Trade
- Medium / Regular
- Extra Heavy
Gorham started out using three different weight classifications, Light, Medium and Heavy. This was changed in 1898 to the following:
Shortly after 1898 Gorham added a fifth weight category, Regular:
- R or unmarked
- H or M