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  • Obsolescent cutlery

    Cutlery drawers of older (and some younger) people in the late 20th century often contained obsolescent items retained from the early to mid 20th century.

    Anything silver. In the early 20th century silverware was the pride and joy of many families where the number of items they possessed functioned as a status symbol. In the 1950s stainless steel had replaced silver for cutlery. There were still a few families who lovingly polished their silver spoons every week but everybody else left them to tarnish away in the backs of cupboards and drawers whilst they ate using stainless steel.

    Bone handles. Another common feature from the early 20th century.

    Fish knives and forks. Why? The knives were completely blunt.

    Cake forks. A small fork with a sharpened edge to cut the cake with.

    One-piece tin openers that left a very sharp and jagged edge on the opened tin.

    Tea strainers. A small sieve made redundant by teabags.

    Pickle spoons. A long handled spoon, often a spork, for removing pickles from jars. Still useful today but not many people use them. Why?

    Egg spoons. Often in silver so they tarnish badly from all the sulphur in the yolk. Many families would not use teaspoons for eating boiled eggs.

  • #2
    Re: Obsolescent cutlery

    Those cheese knives called "knorks" spring to mind - a knife meets a fork. You only really saw them in cheese adverts, although I saw one in the cutlery drawer when I was younger, and thought "what is that?"

    Also, ladels (or whatever they are called) for eating soup. I always associated eating Heinz tomato soup with them.
    I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
    There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
    I'm having so much fun
    My lucky number's one
    Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

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    • #3
      Re: Obsolescent cutlery

      There's a massive range of cheese knives available but they only seem to be owned by cheese enthusiasts or posh people that regularly host dinner parties or buffets with cheeseboards.

      Soup spoons seem to be dying out but consomme spoons are almost a relic of the silverware era. Ever 1st class dining room on ocean liners from the Edwardian era had them along with consomme bowls. You wouldn't be seen dead eating a thick soup or a cream soup with them.

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      • #4
        Re: Obsolescent cutlery

        Bone Handles. My mother still has some knives with these handles. They have been well used, but they ate now beginning to crack badly.

        One piece tin openers. There used to be one kept has spare at my mother's and my grandmother's house. One of them also had a corkscrew that flipped out of the handle. These tin openers were rarely used. The tin opener that you wound around the tin, lasted for years. Much longer than the modern **** today. Perhaps they were made in Britain then.

        Tea strainers. Again, one at my mother's. Her mother lived with us but never used the tea strainer. The tea leaves were put in the teapot, water added, then after a couple of minutes, poured into the cup......tea leaves with it. Both my mother and grandmother would drink the tea slowly. The leaves would settle on the bottom. My grandmother would not touch teabags. Typhoo teabags were a cardinal sin has far has she was concerned. (I never did see what the problem with teabags were!) My other grandmother occasionally did use teabags, I can't remember what ones they were. Otherwise, it was Brooke Bond Dividend. The waste tealeaves were thrown on the mint that was growing in her garden. She seemed to have the same metal tea strainer from when I first remember, aged about four up until her death, when I was aged twelve. probably another British product.
        Who cared about rules when you were young?

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        • #5
          Re: Obsolescent cutlery

          I think fish knives designed were to scrape the skin of fish like plaice.

          My Mum always serves cake with desert forks as it makes them easier to eat with no sticky fingers.

          My parents have soup spoons with both their sets of cutlery, & for some reason use them with spaghetti instead of knives.

          Did anyone have a tin opener fixed to the wall? I remember my Gran had one rather than a hand held one.
          The Trickster On The Roof

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          • #6
            Re: Obsolescent cutlery

            I'm the proud owner of a small cheese knife, inherited from somewhere or other. It has a wooden handle and doesn't match any of my other cutlery. I do use it occasionally when I remember it's there.
            1976 Vintage

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            • #7
              Re: Obsolescent cutlery

              Richard 1978....I'd forgotten about the tin opener on the wall. My grandmother had one, but it was fixed to the door of the kitchen.
              Who cared about rules when you were young?

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              • #8
                Re: Obsolescent cutlery

                Electric carving knives, unless the are still made
                sigpic
                Do you really believe the other side without provocation would launch so many ICBM's, subs and ships knowing that we would have no option to launch as well? It would break our MAD Treaty (Mutually Assured Destruction) not to mention the end of the world as we know it.

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                • #9
                  Re: Obsolescent cutlery

                  Originally posted by Twocky61 View Post
                  Electric carving knives, unless the are still made
                  Another thing from the 1981 Only Fools & Horses Xmas Special was Del Boy trying to carve their turkey with one of these manually as he forgot to fit a plug on it.

                  My Mum had a go with one at a friend house & didn't like it because the weight made her hand unsteady.
                  The Trickster On The Roof

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                  • #10
                    Re: Obsolescent cutlery

                    I was always fascinated by those large, two pronged forks for securing meat while carving. I suspect you can still buy them but I don't see many around.
                    1976 Vintage

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                    • #11
                      Re: Obsolescent cutlery

                      Asparagus tongs for eating asparagus with.

                      Sugar tongs for picking up sugar cubes with.

                      Salt spoons for use with salt bowls on tables instead of salt shakers.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Obsolescent cutlery

                        Hardly ever use knives these days...
                        Time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas - go figure!

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                        • #13
                          Re: Obsolescent cutlery

                          Cake breaker. Invented in the US some time in the 19th century for cutting cakes without crumbling them. Early examples are usually silver but the model below dates from around 1970. For some reason or other they never caught on in Britain. I wouldn't mind trying one out if I can find one.


                          Attached Files

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                          • #14
                            Re: Obsolescent cutlery

                            Sugar tongs and sugar nips, i think the difference was the bowl end on the tongs which wasn't found on nips.
                            Attached Files
                            Ejector seat?...your jokin!

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                            • #15
                              Re: Obsolescent cutlery

                              Aran, above, that Cake Breaker looks has though it would break the cake in more ways than one. I would also like to try one out.
                              Who cared about rules when you were young?

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