After reading my post on silverware last month on how to mix and match flatware, someone asked, "How many silverware utensils are there?" The short answer is I have no idea, and the long answer is, "give me a month and I might be able to answer it." Seriously, in my experience I have seen so many it would take that long to gather all of the data, and even then, I would probably miss something. Is it important to know? No it isn't [unless you really need to know] because whatever you have in mind for your table, I can assure you that it is out there.
This is by no means an extensive list. My specialty is interior decoration and design, not that of a silversmith. Nor am I an authority on the exact, and current intended use of these items, because many overlap in some way. Above all, I enjoyed assembling this short list. Access the web links where applicable, so you may view additional images and contemplate a purchase, however view the entire list here first. So let's get to it!
The knife, fork, and spoons you may be most familiar with are just the tip of the iceberg. Some 19th Century (Victorian) silverware catalogs list:
- 50 different forks
- 32 different knives
- 55 different spoons
- ??? different specialties
Asparagus Tongs, c. 1870 Let's start off alphabetically with these exquisite asparagus tongs in the "Kings" pattern. I like the raised shell motifs and the leafy scroll on the pads. Even if you don't like asparagus cook it anyway and serve it in serious style!
Bread Fork - Mid 19th century. Beautiful carvings in a leaf design and engraved "BREAD."
Bread Tongs - Scissor style. It was considered impolite to touch the bread with your fingers. Now it is more than impolite.
Carving Knife & Fork - Christofle/France c. 1920. Part of an elegant set of 137 pieces. I love the handle design that is so French. "Delafosse" was created in the Napoleon III-Empire style. Charles Christofle began his career as a jeweler in 1830. After apprenticing with his copper jeweler brother-in-law years earlier, he realized that Second Empire France had an untapped audience for luxury silverware.
Citrus Spoons - Vintage from the 60s in an elegant and simple design for oranges and grapefruits. Nice for a casual meal, or pair with more elaborate patterns for an exciting contrast. Hand wash immediately with a non-citrus detergent after use.
Crab Fork - For the seafood (crab) lovers. Pick with one end and scoop with the other. I like the Mid-Century design on these.
Dessert Fork in the "Elaine" pattern - About 6" long for eating cake, pastry, or soft fruits that may need a little cutting before eating. I also found another set from "Mappin & Webb" that are labeled 7," the length of a dinner fork. I'm not sure if that is accurate.
Dessert Knife - About 6" long use to cut hard or semi-hard fruits like apples and pears after a meal. These have some wear on them, but the balanced design on the handle is great.
Egg Cruet - An exceptional English George IV sterling silver cruet set for three, c. 1824. Click and read the full story.
Fish Knife "French Kings" Pattern 19th c. - Pair a matching fork, or a more modern design.
Fish Servers/Fork & Knife - Decorated with a maiden and dolphins. One of the best!
Fruit Forks - Artisan created (stainless steel) and nice when eating small or cut fruits (strawberries, melons, raspberries, blackberries, kiwi, large blueberries).
Grapefruit Servers - A perfect way to serve grapefruit, or large navel oranges for two. Pay & Baker from the 1920s. It's best to prepare with a knife before serving as the base is shallow.
Grapefruit Spoons - Sterling Silver Louis XV style Grapefruit spoons. Note that some of the early spoons did not feature serrated edges. Also note these are monogrammed with the letter "M" so if that fits you, these could be a welcomed addition to your collection. Hallmarked D, sterling, Pat. MCH. 3. 91 weighing 48.7 grams. Imagine eating a perfect pink grapefruit with these. Is your mouth watering yet?
Grape Scissors - A more formal way to separate a small serving of grapes from a large bunch without risking the missile effect. This pair is joined by two berry serving spoons and comes with its original box. EPNS Rd. 1892. A perfect gift idea!
Grape Shears - An elegant way to separate a small serving of grapes from a large bunch without making a mess, or worse, seeing them roll across your hostess' or host's white linen tablecloth and into someone's lap. From simple to ornate, some of them look like hair cutting shears. Shown above: Vintage Sterling Silver from Denmark and possibly by Jensen.
Ice Cream Server - Crescent Crown 800 sterling silver from Germany. An amazing antique serving utensil, featuring a carved Bacchus face, grapes, acanthus leaves, and scrolls. Ice cream will never be the same served with this, so make it a special brand. Want!
Ice Cream Spoons - Antique sterling silver from Towle "Arlington" pattern." These have an Arts and Crafts look to them"
Ice Cream Shovels 18th c. Sterling Silver - Featured in my recent interior design, it's the "digging for treasure at the beach" concept.
Jelly Serving Knife - I had to chuckle when I saw this because I remember the TV commercial that portrayed a typical Gilded-Age formal breakfast: Classical music fills the room and the table is set with an array of antique silver, crystal, and china. The hostess is passing the "Polaner All Fruit" and all is well; when...suddenly, "Can you please pass the jelly?" comes from across the table, causing an uproar and the near fainting of the hostess.
As usual, you can go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hawQ5wobi1Y and revisit or see it for the first time. Priceless!!
Then, a different version I had not seen before: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tO2dtSglwE The dad was not happy!
So, don't call it jelly; scoop and spread it in high style with this c.1900 example from Rogers Bros. Just look at the detail on the bowl!
Knife Rests - An elegant way to rest your knife between dinner courses at the table for equestrian lovers. c. 1960
Knife Rest - Christofle of France "PERLES." Best with more simple or modern flatware patterns.
Lemon Fork - Antique sterling silver "Lunt Pynchon," c. 1902. Serve lemon wedges with grace using this five-inch fork. The simple design works with many other flatware patterns.
Lobster Picks - Elevate an already favored delicacy - Architecturally beautiful!
Marrow Scoop - A simple bamboo pattern from Atkin Bros. c. 1880 - Bone marrow is made of 96 percent fat, and contains a powerhouse of nutrients. It enables good muscle and respiratory function, supports a healthy immune system, speeds wound healing, and generally maintains the circulatory system. Now you can boost your health in a unusual way.
Meat Fork - With a unique handle in mother of pearl, and shaped like a golf club, it is sure to be a favorite for the man of the house.
Meat Fork - Stunning and intricate design on this "Levesley Brothers" utensil. Could also be used to serve bread.
Oyster Forks - In the "Grecian" pattern c. 1930 - Place these on the right next to the knife.
Pastry Server - Heavy with a masculine feel to it. The plain flat end allows the braided handle design to stand out beautifully.
Pickle Fork - With a bone handle, and two arrow tip tines, and one rounded for cutting it reminds of the sea.
Pickle Fork - Bold acanthus leaves decorate the handle on this one. c. 1900 - Old "EPNS" silver plate with a slight bend in the center.
Pastry Server - "Denmark Cohr/Danmark Crest" Handle c. 1925. Note the handle details. What would you serve?
Pasta Server (spaghetti, fettuccine, tagliatelle, noodle, spaghetti squash server) - The FB Rogers "Kings" pattern handle design is in perfect balance with the open design bowl.
Lasagna Server - Sized for your largest parties in the "Kings" pattern, one of my favorite traditional designs.
Sardine Fork by "Alivn Sterling Silver." A magnificent example of sterling craftsmanship.
Sardine Fork by "Towle Sterling Silver" - I may need to develop a taste for sardines! It has an animated look to it in an elegant way.
Serving Fork by "National Silver Company,Queen Elizabeth" pattern c. 1900 - Elegant lines and light tarnish in the handles bring out the carved details.
Sugar Shovel - Use this one to scoop and serve your date or raw sugar, hemp hearts, and chia seeds.
Tomato/Cranberry Server - The "Elaine" pattern from Oneida is simple and works with many other patterns. Who doesn't love fresh garden tomatoes from the garden this time of year? Slice ripe tomatoes with a sharp knife and serve with elegance. Rinse or wash promptly after use because the acid is not good for the finish. Also perfect for that familiar shape of cranberry sauce during the winter holidays.
Finally, an offering from Gorham, a set of 12 Sterling Silver flatware set from renowned sculptor Antoine Heller in the late 19th century. "Heller worked as a die chaser and hand finished the molds used in die stamping silver. Due to the technical difficulty and great detail of the work, and great expense of creating dies for stamping, this was traditionally the highest paying craft position in a silver (or metal) shop at the time." It is not my taste but I can fully appreciate the craftsmanship. Click the link to read the complete story and see everything in detail. It's amazing!
"...Superb multi-motif figural Old Masters by Gorham, circa 1885, sterling silver Flatware set - 122 pieces. This highly sought after and incredibly scarce pattern features busts of the masters of art, in an exquisite finely detailed sculptural high-relief. This set has English hallmarks. It was over stamped (and Gorham marks removed) - the English hallmarks are for Sheffield England by Walker & Hall, with date mark for the year 1934...."
I hope you have enjoyed this journey as much as I have. I could go on...and on. Feel Free to share with those of like-minds. Until next time, what's on your table?