|"The safest rule to remember about forks is that, for everything which may possibly be eaten with a fork or cut with a fork, a fork is to be preferred to any other piece of silver."|
"Forks, we are told, did not become common until the time of Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth. The earliest known paragon of perfect manners, the Prioress in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, very evidently had never seen a fork. Instead, she is featured by Chaucer because 'well she could carry a morsel and well keep, that no drop fell upon her breast.' But, if forks were slow in coming into popularity, they have certainly arrived and are now the most important part of table service next to the actual food itself.
The safest rule to remember about forks is that, for everything which may possibly be eaten with a fork or cut with a fork, a fork is to be preferred to any other piece of silver. If it proves quite impossible to get the food safely on the fork without assistance of some sort, one may use a small piece of bread or roll or cracker in the left hand as a 'push bread.'" From Etiquette, Jr., by Mary E. Clark and Margery Closey Quigley 1926, Drawing by Erick Berry
A selection of oyster, lobster claw and fruit forks from the 1890s.
|1873 design for fruit forks ~ The inverted "umbrella was presumably to catch fruit or fruit juice, that could possibly escape while one ate. Below is the ornate design for a handle for forks or other utensils.|
Below is another design from 1893. It is a "knork" or knife/fork combination utensil, designed to eat pie more easily.
Below is another, more interesting tined pie fork, from 1897.