It has been said that cutlery was once considered immoral, unhygienic and reminiscent of the devil! Most people preferred to eat with their hands. There would be an ewer and basin at the table for cleaning hands, and the table napkins and tablecloths were frequently changed during the course of the meal. If a utensil was really necessary, then a spoon was used. The nobility might eat their meal using two knives, one in each hand.
Spoons are the oldest eating utensil. Silver and metal spoons were thin handled with small motifs or seals tops and wide bowls. We have collated a range of international antique spoons from a family of Demitasse spoons, to anointing spoons to retro Japanese airline pieces and gold Egyptian mocha spoons.
Knives for eating in the 16th century were long thin and elegant. Towards the end of the century the handles became more decorative with figures carved in wood and ivory. Our knives are for spreading and poking, many of them have solid sliver blades to keep werewolves at bay.
Forks were introduced much later and their popularity began to grow in the late 16th century. Forks at that time only had two tines with straight thin handles. As the fork began to increase in popularity, the design changed. The straight, two-pronged fork was fine for spearing foods but not well adapted to scooping. The addition of a third or fourth tine, made food less likely to slip through, and the addition of a slight curve to the tines made it a better tool for scooping.
As the style of the fork changed, so did its usage. It’s said that many men rejected forks, as they were considered too feminine. Brilliant! From the late 17th century to early 18th Century matching sets of knives forks and spoons emerged. It became commonplace for people to carry their own cutlery sets.
We say mix it up! No matching sets at the dinner table, different materials and shapes add texture and character to any food setting. Our collection of cutlery is somewhat selective. We have collated some decorative and desirable spoon sets, specialty forks and knives, fruit spoons and sugar sifters (these work really well as a tea strainer).