Oneida Community Legacy: Oneida Ltd. Project
The Oneida Community Mansion House is proud to announce a multi-year oral history project, entitled “An Oneida Community Legacy: Oneida Ltd.” This project seeks volunteers who worked for Oneida Ltd. (OL) to share their stories of what it was like to work in all departments from the factory floor to the board room.
Oneida Limited was once the largest silverware company in the world, but how did it become that? Who drove its success? What was it like to work there? Through audio recordings, we want to tell the story of OL and the day-to-day routines, notable events and lives of its employees. These narratives will expand our understanding of the connections between OL and the Community and provide an important addition to the Oneida Community Mansion House collection of Oneida Community-related artifacts.
An example of the questions:
How did you get your (first) job at OL
What are some of the aspects of working for OL that you think are important for people to know about?
Did your job responsibilities change over the time you worked for OL?
Is there anything that you think made the company unique as an employer?
Can you give some examples from your daily work experience?
Former employees interested in volunteering to participate in the project should first complete the combined Volunteer and Consent online form.
When completed forms are received, a project volunteer will call to verify information on the forms and to set up a time for a recording session. Volunteers from the OCMH museum will conduct the recording sessions either by Zoom or in person with a socially distanced set-up with an audio recorder at the Mansion House. One hour will be allotted for the session with the option to schedule additional time if necessary.
Combined PDF version is available for download if you prefer. Volunteer and Consent Form
I was happy to participate in the OL History project since I felt Oneida Ltd. was a unique company that cared for their employees as much, if not more, as running a business….They didn't want to just provide a working place for their employees, they wanted to build a comfortable community that improved the well-being of all.
It is certainly worth studying for future generations to determine if a company with Utopian roots and true feelings for the well-being of community members was the main reason for its success. I think the Oneida Community and Oneida Ltd. was on to something.
John R., 20+ year OL employee
Oneida Ltd. worker boxing flatware
Oneida Ltd. Marketing & Advertising team
Oneida Ltd. employees in front of Oneida Tower in Niagara Falls
Oneida Ltd. worker boxing flatware
A note from the Project Director, Dave Hill
OL was unique in many ways. Given all that has happened to the company over the past years – both good and bad – I think it’s important to create a record of “the way it was.” One way to preserve those memories is to collect first-person narratives from people who worked in the company’s various departments.
“An Oneida Community Legacy: Oneida Limited,” the project involves recording memories former employees have of working for OL: the day-to-day routines and notable events in the lives of the people who worked for the largest silverware company in the world, from the shop floor to the Sales Office. The recordings will be catalogued and used with museum exhibits and to preserve memories of the company for researchers and future generations.
Recordings will be edited and then catalogued for storage as OCMH museum material. Former employees who participate will have an opportunity to indicate how they prefer their recording be used (anonymous, may be used with exhibits, etc.). OCMH will allow access to the recordings by permission only.
Additional information about the project may be obtained by contacting:
Linda Evans 315 363-7097
Cathy Cornue 315 363-8339
David Hill firstname.lastname@example.org