The History of Cutlery and Flatware and How It Came to Be

Cutlery, in most cases, is used every day. The design and workmanship of it are often overlooked as it has been developed over thousands of years. Decades ago, people ate with their hands, and over the years, things have evolved to what they are today. Flatware has been expertly created and designed in a way to bring people the best possible dining experience, and it’s come a long way.

Various Cutlery The First Tools for Eating

While some people put a lot of effort into finding the perfect set of cutlery, many people still use the very first tools for eating: our hands. In many cultures in the world like in Africa, India, and the Middle-East, eating with your hands is still common and even part of everyday practice.

Scooping and picking things up with your fingers and thumb is often an instinct. However, some people believe that there are health benefits to this as it gets a good amount of “finger flora” into your mouth.

Eating with hands

The Evolution of Cutlery

This first form of cutlery included knives and spoons. They appeared way before forks ever did. The blades were often used as weapons and tools as they date back to the Paleolithic times. Using them to eat started around 1000BC.

Spoons were typically carved from wood, bone, or shells. They were made more and more often as food started to have different consistencies. By Roman times, spoons were made using metals like bronze, pewter, and silver.

Cutlery Set
Forks have been used since Ancient Egypt in cooking, but they weren’t part of the cutlery you would see at dining tables in Europe until 1533. Henry II’s wife, Catherine De Medici brought them back with her to France from Italy, and that’s when the trend began. The old design had 2 prongs compared to our standard 3 or 4. These were developed in the early 1700s in Germany.

In the 1800s, practically every Western home had a full cutlery set, including forks, knives, and spoons on their dinner tables.