In the City of Firsts, “Dirigold” was not a Kokomo first, but the story of the creation and production did become part of the manufacturing history of the community. The material, which was used to create golden-hued flatware and holloware, was invented in Sweden in 1914 by metallurgist Carl Molin. He brought some of his items to the World’s Fair in New York City, where they were very popular. He later brought six men and their families with him from Sweden and built a factory in Kokomo to manufacture it. The years 1926 through 1930 were spent in the development of the American manufacturing plant and its refinement. Research by the Howard County Historical Society found that the assets of the corporation were later purchased by a group of citizens in Kokomo, and a new company was formed. It was known as American Art Alloys and still continued to market the flatware and holloware under the name of Dirigold. The website dirilyte.com states that in 1935, the Federal Trade Commission brought suit against the company, charging that the name “Dirigold” was misleading to the public because the alloy did not contain any gold. As a result, the company was forced to change the product name to Dirilyte. The company operated under the name of the Dirilyte Co. of America until November 1971, when the product line and equipment were purchased by Hand Industries Inc. of Warsaw, Ind. The name then became the Dirilyte Co., Division of Hand Industries Inc. The tea set shown above is made of Dirilyte and is on display at the Elwood Haynes Museum at 1915 S. Webster St.
Photo by Kelly Lafferty, Kokomo Tribune