Created in the twenties after World Wide War I, Liberty took its name from
a military regiment that marched past in the street of Sablé by that
Thirty crafstmen were working in the manufactory.
In 1958, Liberty got specialized in silverplating traditional silverware for table and for christening.
Nowadays, Liberty remains the last silversmith manufacturer in Western France.
Each of its 10 crafstmen is a specialist in his domain and makes endure the traditional way of manufacturing silverware.
Cups, eggcup, babies plates are manufactured according to the method of the "repoussage".
It consist in pushing a disk of brass on a rotating wheel until it takes the required shape, defined by a solid box (or steel) shape (called the "chuck") on wich the brass is pushed.
During this operation, the metal is distorted and it is necessary to heat
it until white hot in order to avoid the breaking of the disk.
To achieve this operation, the craftsman is linked to his tour with a strap in order to always remain at the same distance of his machine and of the objet he is working on.
The extremity of its tool is stuked into a metallic shield hanged on his chest. This helps him pushing on the metal, using the weight of his body. The circular ornaments on the items are printed on the item by pushing a tool directly on the metal, hollowing it out.
It is also possible to print motives on the articles. This operation is called the "guillochage" and is achieved with a special wheel that prints circular lines on the article, constituting the motive.
est une forme de décoration apparue dans la seconde moitié du XIX siècle. Il permet de graver des motifs ou des fresques dans la surface d'une pièce d'orfévrerie au moyen d'un burin mobile qui reproduit, par le jeu des crémaillères et des engrenages, ce que le palpeur perçoit sur le décor de la molette. L'orfèvrerie Liberty possède deux tours à guillocher et plus de cent molettes de décors et fresques différents qui sont centenaires. Notre atelier de guillochage est un des derniers en France.
After several quality controls, the items are plunged into baths to be cleaned and also to prepare their surface to receive silver.
All the items are hanged on frames that goes in the bath. A low intensity electric power goes in the bath through pure silver sheets (the anode) and gets out through the items (cathode). The electricity takes electrons out of the silver atomes in the bath and those atomes goes on the cathode to recover their "lost" electron. At this step, the silver atomes are constituting a solid deposit on the item, creating the coat of silver required.
The electrolysis bath requires many precautions. Frequent analysis have to be done in order to maintain the bath with a correct chemical balance. An inbalance could result for example in dull silver. The time of immersion in the bath and the intensity of the electric power determines the thickness of the silver deposit on the items.
The thickness is not regular, due to the shape of the items and the intensity of the electric power.
That is the reason why one often speaks of weight of silver instead of thickness. (a 3.5 gr on a 1 dm² surface is equivalent to 33µ thickness). µm.
Any silvered article is stamped with the square hallmark that legaly defines
the french silverplated metal. In the square, we can see the initials of the
manufacturer (OL for Orfèvrerie Liberty) and a number, qualifying the
thickness of silver of the item ( I or II, I being the largest thickness).
- ses initiales.
In certain cases, according to the design of certain items, the silvercraft
is asked to give the item the aspect of old silver (with patina).
This operation is achieved with a metallic brush on wich the items are moved.
This technique is used to give matt aspect on the silvered items.
Then he adds artificial patina
The handle of a knife is the assembly of two identical half-shelfes weld together
On the basis of a blade is a rod that will go into the handle of the (future) knife.
Once the blade is adjusted to the handle, we add wax, lead or cement into the handle to join those two parts together.
Once the item is silver plated, the last operation consist in brushing smoothly the article in order to make the silver shine.
This is also done on an electrical wheel that runs 3000 rolls per minute,
using cotton or flannel disks joined together.
This operation gives excellent results but presents the disadvantage of using the thickness of silver (more or less 5% of the thickness). Because of this, an additionnal 10% thickness deposit is realised when silverplating the items, in order to be sure that the final thickness will at least be 33µ.
In addition to the quality controls made at each step of the manufacturing, a final control is done after this operation, just before putting the item into a plastic bag that will protect them from oxydation.