From 1954 to 2018
Siam Bronze was founded in 1954 by husband and wife Charles and Bubpha Smutkochorn. In the two decades following World War II, there was an influx of Americans coming to Thailand for recreation mostly travelling from Guam. These American visitors were looking for authentic Thai souvenirs to bring back home for their friends and families.
Charles noticed their special interest in monk bowl which was traditionally made from bronze before stainless steel was introduced. Bronzeware was at that time only available in Thailand, based on traditional knowledge and craftsmanship. He also noticed that the Western tourists preferred to eat with flatware, rather than the Thai way of using hands and fingers which dated back from Ayutthaya period.
Seeing this as an opportunity, he worked closely with 8 brothers whom are monk boys (young men following monks to help carry items and crafting monk bowl) to refine manufacturing technique and introduced new design for flatware made from solid bronze. Prior to Charles initiatives, bronze flatware was only available to the royal family, the rich and the elites due to their very expensive price. Bronze was the chosen material as it was able to detect poison in the food. When come to contact with poison or dangerous substance, the material would change colour and tarnish. Because of this it was a sought-after item.
Charles’ business grew and grew and the first retail shop at 1250 Charoenkrung Road was established with three prominent hotels: Oriental Hotel, Trocadero Hotel, and Princess Hotel (Dusit Group first hotel) in its neighbourhood. From there, Siam Bronze became Thailand’s largest manufacturer and exporter of Bronze flatware and there were over 50 retailed stores that Siam Bronze sourced to on Charoen Krung Road. Siam Bronze then continued to develop other products from bronze such as table wares, and statues.
In early 1990s, silver colour became popular and the market shifted from gold colour to silver colour, hence Siam Bronze’s business changed direction by producing stainless steel flatware and tableware. This was done by procuring World War II decommissioned ship, striping out the metal, hammering it flat and shaping it into different flatware and table.
Today Siam Bronze remains the only company to commercially manufacture handmade solid bronze flatware in Thailand and one of the last few remaining in the world.
To see Siam Bronze famous flatware pattern “Thai Dancer” crafted in 1954, please type in google image: "Siam Bronze"