Cutlery Sets That Made Design History

Cutlery Sets That Made Design History

The very nice folks over at Domus have written a very interesting article about 20 cutlery sets that made design history. It is a really well researched piece about flatware through time that are influential in their design. This isn’t your regular knife, fork and spoon. And of course they have a slide show of photos.

“Extensions of our hands, they embody an etiquette that imposes rules on the use closely linked to social norms. Between continuity and experimentation with shapes and types, a selection of unmissable and iconic cutlery sets.

“Cutlery is a clear symptom of (lack of) social belonging if it is used inappropriately. Placed on the plate in a certain way, it gives the waiters unequivocal signals about our appetite and the enjoyment of eaten dishes. At the table, it should be laid out according to a real etiquette. However, we do not care about it, preferring a casual table setting that rewards closeness and conviviality by sacrificing the etiquette itself.”

This is a great history lesson in design and form versus function.

Check it out at Domusweb.it

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Is it Flatware or Silverware? What about Cutlery?

Is it Flatware or Silverware

Which is which? Is flatware also silverware? Is silverware flatware? What’s the difference? Here’s a quote from the Big Bang Theory that helps set the stage:

Sheldon Cooper : Jacuzzi is a commercial brand, hot tub is the generic term, i.e., all Jacuzzis are hot tubs, but not all hot tubs are Jacuzzis.

Zack : Is that like all thumbs are fingers, but not all fingers are thumbs?

The difference between flatware and silverware is that flatware are eating utensils. Cutlery, such as forks, knives and spoons while silverware is anything made from silver.

In the 1800s the word flatware was used to refer to anything shallow and flat used at the dining table to eat.

Cutlery is a separate thing altogether. Cutlery refers to knives and cutting implements and originates from the old French word “coutelier” (modern French: couteau) which means knife. So technically flatware and silverware could include cutlery, but cutlery would only refer to knives or cutting implements. But nobody really thinks that anymore.

So to sum up: All silverware is flatware or cutlery. But not all flatware or cutlery is silverware.

Got it?

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Happy Birthday to Kitten Spoon

Kitten Spoon

It’s the third birthday of our office kitten here at The Cutlery Review and we thought we’d post a silly picture of a cat to celebrate. This is not our cat, our cat has not shown in interest in flatware. He has no interest in either a spoon, fork or knife.

We aren’t mad at him for that, just disapointed.

Happy Birthday Furball!

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The Knork or “Nelson Fork” by Horatio Nelson

The Knork or "Nelson Fork" by Horatio Nelson
Image: World War I era knork / Science Museum London

Knife, fork and spoon. That’s the three basic categories of cutlery. But you can crossbreed and mix and match, as seen here:

Today we are going to talk about the “Knork” which is the love child of the Fork and Knife. In short, you get a fork that you can use to cut your food before stabbing it and getting it into your gob. Now look at the photo of that old time knork up top. That’s a scary looking rusty blade attached that’s just looking to slice open the corner of your mouth isn’t it? I’m not going there.

But if you only had one arm like Horatio Nelson then this might be your only option. Horatio Nelson was a British naval admiral who went to war with Napoleon in 1798. And it cost him his ark which was amputated aboard a ship. So for his arm and efforts the British Army gave him a golden Knork which was thereon referred to as “Nelson’s Fork”.

The modern day Knork is a lot more practical. Back in 2015 Oprah Winfrey even a knork set on her list of favorites.

And that was a historical cutlery lesson for you.

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