Cutlery Information and Facts

Published: 19th March 2010
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Cutlery is the term used for any type of implement used in the eating, preparing or serving of food.

The word cutler originates from Middle English. This term came from the word cuteler, which originates from Old French coutelier, which comes from coutel meaning knife.

The knife is the earliest recorded type of cutlery going back to the caveman. Spoons then came around many years later and were made of stone or clay, as metal in early times was not easy to be made malleable. Forks came many years later, The first recorded use was in the 9th century. Their form was not as we know today it was more like a spear shape.

There are three basic types of cutlery. The knife, the fork and the spoon. Modern living though has produced dual function cutlery including the spork ,(spoon and fork) spife (spoon and knife), and knork (knife and fork) or the sporf which is all three.

Cutlery can be made from varying types of materials. In the early days before traditional dining was around cutlery was made from wood. In more civilized times cutlery was originally made from silver (hence the name silver service). As silver proved to be out the price range for most people cheaper versions of cutlery in stainless steel and alloy were produced. You can even purchase cutlery made from plastic for picnics and barbeques.

Sheffield has been the home for cutlery production for thousands of years, but the major growth period was during the 17th and 18th centuries. In recent times this has diminished considerably probably due to cheap imports. The reason why Sheffield was the centre for cutlery production was due to several factors. It has coal for smelting and forging. There are five rivers flowing around Sheffield to produce power for water wheels, which were used for the grinding wheels. But probably the most significant reason being the abundance of Iron Ore which as mined locally along with the coal.

There is more to cutlery than the basic three types. There is specialist cutlery used for specific foods.

You can buy soup spoons, which as the name suggest is used for dining on soup. This spoon is designed with a large round bowl shape, which makes it ideal for this purpose.

You can also buy specialized sets of cutlery for eating fish. The fork has slightly longer curved prongs. Whilst the knife has a very flat narrow blade with a sharp point. Years ago the traditional fish set had bone handles.

The style of cutlery has come a long way since then of course. You can get many different styles now. A lot of modern cutlery is designed to match your tableware. Many cutlery sets now have coloured handles which you can colour co-ordinate with your tableware. These handles are generally made from plastic, and can also vary in design. You can even buy child sized cutlery to teach your child good table manners.


Oneida stock a huge range of quality cutlery that suits luxurious dinner parties, or even silver service standard dining.

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