Silverware, "Spork," Salad/Ice Tongs, Butter Spreader, Cake Lifter (1893)

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Sun Apr 20 03:25:27 UTC 2003

   STUDY OF FORKS; SHARES IN TABLE SILVERWARE FOR THE DINER OUT. New Designs That Are Constantly Coming Into Fashion Demand Alertness on the Part of the Guest -- The Evolution of the Spoon -- The Fork and Its Modern Uses; New York Times (1857, New York, N.Y.; Aug 6, 1893; pg. 11, 1 pgs

   The dinner progresses until the salad, when comes a huge novelty, a substitute in silver for the lettuce fork and spoon of carved wood.  The new creation is a formidable pair of tongs, one end terminating in a large spoon and the other in a large fork, whose prong tips are slightly curved in.  Altogether the tongs are a foot long, and the half curve, where you are to grasp them for use, is a handful.  The idea is pretty enough, but the present form of carrying it out is too massive, lettuce being so very light.  In open-worked silver with a shortened handle the lettuce tongs will become dainty and appropriate.
(...)(The unsuccessful "strawberry fork" and "ice cream spoon" are described--ed.)
   With the latter supper has to share the new combination spoon and fork intended for serving chicken or celery salad.  This clever idea of some worker in the precisions metal has, at the end of a long delicate handle, what begins as the bowl of a spoon and ends in three prongs of a fork, sloping outward beyond the outer edge of the bowl.
(...)("Bread fork" and "cold meat fork" described--ed.)
   At breakfast appears the awkward, unornamented "cake lifter" and the cunning little butter "spreader," a new adjunct to the lately added table article, the bread-and-butter plate.  The "spreader" is a knife five or six inches long, with a blade varying in size from a half to three-quarters of an inch.  One side of the end of the blade is rounded, the other side rises in a point divided into two teeth.  You break apart your lump of butter with the teeth, and the blade spreads it on the bread.  The butter knife of our fathers is no longer in need.  The new notion is to serve butter in tiny balls or curls or cubes patted in the home pantry and kept solid in a cool place until serving.  For helping there is a spear or lance of silver or gold, the point of which is thrust through the butter ball and so transferred to the bread-and-butter plate.
(...)(Orange spoon, knife, and holder are described--ed.)
   Cracked ice spoons with small fluted bowls are to replace the pretty, insecure little ice tongs.
   The applying of the word silver to our tableware is an Americanism, the sister nation using our language speaks of the same thing as plate.


SILVERWARE--OED has 1860, Merriam-Webster 1848.  "Silver ware" is in the BROOKLYN DAILY EAGLE from the very beginning in 1841.  I'll check the American Periodical Series tomorrow.



"SPORK"--The spoon/fork is not mentioned here by that name.  Unfortunately, there's no illustration.

ICE TONGS--OED has this from 1858.

SALAD TONGS--OED has no entry.  Described here is what OED has as a "salad server," from 1907.

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