KNIFE AND FORK
By the beginning of the 19th century, the one-piece die-stamped fork with four tines (prongs) and a flattened handle had become standard. By this time also, most knife handles were made in silver or silver-plate, die-stamped in sheet form and then filled with resin. [27/03/2003]
Until the 17th century, it was the custom for guests to bring their personal cutlery, but by the 18th century knives and forks were provided in matching sets by the host. The basic form of knives and forks had also become standardised by this date.
History & Use
The steel blade of the knife has a 'tang' or rod at the base that fits into the hollow handle, which is then packed with resin. By the beginning of the 19th century, the rapid advances in mechanisation had led to a standardisation of shapes and designs of cutlery and flatware (spoons and forks). The die-stamped fluted, tubular handle is decorated with the 'Hourglass' pattern, a variant on the standard King's pattern, itself based on French 18th-century designs. The broad, straight, parallel-sided blade has a rounded tip, and this form was standard throughout the 19th century. Since ceramic or enamel handles were prone to damage, their use gradually declined, and silver handles came back into use.