Origins and Evolution of Modern Cutlery

Everybody uses knives. They are one of the most useful tools ever invented.

However, knives weren’t always as fancy as they are now, and they weren’t always used as dining tools.

Knives and similar sharp-edged tools date back at least 2.5 million years ago. Archaeologists have found knife marks on fossils and bones from around this period. It’s hard to know exactly what these knives looked like, but it’s clear that they were used during this time.

During the Bronze Age, they began making knives out of bronze. Bronze is an interesting metal, with many pros and drawbacks. It’s quite easy to mold and is easily sharpened as well, however bronze knives are susceptible to corrosion and don’t retain their edge as long as more modern metals.

Knives weren’t brought to the dinner table until the Middle Ages. Around the same time that they began crafting swords and axes, they also began to make modern cutlery. It was around this time that they began using wider, more blunt knives as cutlery due to numerous people injuring themselves at their dinner table with their sharp, weapon-like knives.

King Louis XIV of France eventually made sharp-pointed, double-edged knives illegal in 1669. This led to the blunt-tipped versions becoming the standard in Europe. These traditions later migrated to America as well.

In the 15th century, nearly everybody carried knives, everyday. For example, even if you didn’t need one for work, if you wanted to dine out, you would have to bring your own knife. They were also great for self-defense, as back then, when attacked, people generally had to defend themselves. Modern police forces weren’t as widespread.

It was in the 20th century that stainless-steel blades were introduced. This is what we are accustomed to today and what most people generally use. They are generally durable and corrosion-resistant, or at least much more then previous styles of cutlery.

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