In 1831, Charles Christofle (d. 1863) took over his brother-in-law's bijouterie-joaillerie 'Maison Calmette' and changed its name to 'Société Charles Christofle & Cie'. In 1842 and 1843, Christofle obtained for ten years the exclusive use of patents taken out by the English firm of Elkington & Co. (in 1840 and 1842) and Ruolz (in 1841 and 1842) for the galvanic process of gilding and silvering, known as argenterie electro-chimique. The following years saw Christofle embroiled in many lawsuits to preserve his rights until the patents entered the public domain. Pieces produced by this new process were first exhibited at the Exposition des produits de l'industrie française, Paris, in 1844. Cheaper to manufacture and, therefore, more affordable to own, Christofle's wares won instant acclaim, rewarding the firm with a gold medal and its founder with the Légion d'Honneur. Shortly afterwards, Charles Christofle was appointed Fournisseur officiel du Roi Louis-Philippe and, in 1855, Fournisseur de l'Empereur, supplying fine quality pieces, predominantly table-wares, for the various palaces and ministerial offices of Napoleon III. The firm participated with large stands in all of the major International exhibitions during the second half of the 19th century, frequently winning medals.