A BRIEF HISTORY OF CUTLERY

Sometimes a little history can provide a useful context.

Cutlery refers to sharp tools like knives, or any cutting instruments that are primarily used for cutting things including food. But for many people, it is usually refers to silverware or any hand implement like spoons, forks and knives that are used in preparing, serving and in eating food. It is derived from the word “cutler”, “cuteler” in English or “coutelier” in French which means knife. The term “cutler” was first used in Sheffield that was documented in a 1297 tax return.

High quality sets of cutlery are usually made of sterling silver and are stored and maintained carefully because they are considered by many as valuable household items. Other materials such as steel and pewter were also used in making sets of cutlery. Today, most cutlery sets are made from stainless steel materials and substitutes like melchoir, a nickel and copper alloy. It can also be made of plastic which are used usually for camping, fast-food and for any disposable use. For biodegradable disposable substitutes, wooden cutlery is also available.  

Among the major items of cutlery, knife has the longest history which was originally made by caveman during the Paleolithic era. This primitive form of knife is made of sharpened stone as the blade, and during the Neolithic era the blade stone is attached to a piece of bone or wood. In 3000 – 700 B.C., metal blades were already used which are made of copper and bronze. This type of knife consisted of a blade with a bolster and tang attached to its end to for hand protection. The iron knives were present during the 1000 B.C. and known to have a sharper and long-lasting blade edge.