Butter Knife (1839, 1842)

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Fri Apr 4 03:03:00 UTC 2003

   OED has 1850 for "butter knife," coined by Charles Dickens in DAVID COPPERFIELD.

   13 April 1842, BROOKLYN DAILY EAGLE, pg. 3:
...ivory handle knives and forks, silver-table, teaspoons, and butter knife.

August, 1839
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Volume XIX Page 62
At length the tea-bell rung, and they went down to a long, narrow room, furnished with a double range of cross-legged red-painted tables, covered with dirty cotton cloths; all the other appliances, cups, plates, knives, forks, and spoons, being of the most coarse and common description. The servants (in number not sufficient for one-fourth of the numerous guests) made a disgustingly dirty appearance, and looked like the sort that were to be had cheap. The tea was so devoid of taste and colour that it was impossible to distinguish the green from the black; the bread (being made in the house) was so sour and heavy as to be scarcely eatable; the butter soft, oily, and ill-flavoured; and there were no << butter knives>> . The relishes as they were called, (though few could relish them) comprised some little dishes of warm, tough cucumbers, made amazingly salt; tumblers of hot, purple, overgrown radishes; and small plates of fat gristly chips of black-looking dried beef. Here and there, at great distances apart, sat a saucer containing three or four of those dry, tasteless, choking, and always unpopular compositions, dignified by the name of Federal cakes.

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